When I’m asked who my favourite writer is, I’m often stumped for an answer. Not because I don’t have one, but rather there are so many to choose from that picking one feels impossible.
If I could answer, it would be a person who doesn’t exist – an amalgam of Neil Gaiman’s masterful craft, of Elizabeth Gilbert’s indelible humanity, and Wendy Orr’s emotional truth. In considering, however the question of whose writing moves me most, one name immediately springs to mind and surpasses all others: KATE DI CAMILLO
My love affair with Kate began when I first read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane many years ago. It’s a gorgeous story about a vain china rabbit who is well-loved and rather selfish. One day he is lost overboard while vacationing on a steamer with his owner – a little girl called Adeline – and he embarks on the most extraordinary journey to find his way back home again. In the process, he comes to love and lose many people, and though he is broken and mended several times, he emerges a kinder rabbit. It’s a story of kindness and compassion, of being broken and healed, and of the journey we all go on to discover our true selves. Kate’s writing has a fable-like quality that acts as a healing balm for the soul.
From her tale about a tiny mouse with big ears and a bigger heart (The Tale of Despereaux) to her book The Magician’s Elephant, which begins when an elephant falls through the ceiling in the Opera House, Kate weaves stories that speak to the heart of what it means to be human.
She is the perfect representation for me of what a writer should be – a shaman and a healer; a user of words to knit together hearts that have been broken.