Bruised: The Second Novel by YHS English Teacher, Tanya Boteju

by Diya, Grade 11

Tanya Boteju

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing our own in-house author, Ms. Boteju, about her spectacular new novel Bruised. Following a young teenage girl who has recently suffered a grave loss, Bruised follows Daya, who engrosses herself in the world of roller derby. The violence and bruises it brings distracts her from her grief, and throughout her journey of introspection, she learns that strength isn’t always physical. Ms. Boteju provided some extremely helpful insight into the writing process, which is something that I know many Yorkies found useful! The following is a list of the most useful advice I’ve compiled from our conversation. 

  1. Don’t have your writing space be the same place as one where you relax! For example, your bedroom. Turning a comforting space into a workspace will do one of two things. Either it will make you stressed when you are trying to relax because you associate the space with work, or, it will make it impossible to get any work done because you associate the space with relaxing.
  2. Writing down anything is useful. Anything! Writer’s block won’t happen to you as long as you’re willing to write down even the terrible stuff. Just a description of a specific setting or scene or free-written rant can be helpful for developing your ideas!
  3. Draw from your own life experiences. Ms. Boteju shared how she used her conversations with alumni and students who are the same age group as her protagonist as development for her storyline. Using the people around you for inspiration is always a good idea, and will make generating more ideas a much easier process.
  4. Schedule your work time. Ms. Boteju said the most difficult part of the writing process for her is just finding the time to work on her stories. Setting aside a few hours here and there, free of distractions, is crucial to the process. Otherwise, it’s far too easy to keep saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and nothing will ever get put on the page.

Being a passionate writer myself, I found Ms. Boteju’s advice invaluable! I truly enjoyed our conversation and hope that other YHS students will find it fruitful for their own writing endeavours. Bruised is now available both online and in physical copy, so make sure to give it a read. It’s one of the books I’ve enjoyed the most in a long time, and I hear the author is pretty neat 🙂

Students Contribute to ISABC Literary Publication

Ariadne has arrived! Congratulations to our writers!

Congratulations to the following students whose work has been published in the ISABC Literary Journal, Ariadne: Spooling Student Stories Vol. II.

  • Grade 9: Gaurangi, Joyce
  • Grade 10: Ariel, Millie, Emma, Isabella, Layla, Joyce
  • Grade 11: Annika, Bianca, Zoe
  • Grade 12: Sophie, Anne, Sabina, Kai, Jacqueline, Talia, Frances, Clare, Isabel, Tera, Coco
  • Graduates: Phoebe, Amy, Alisa, Robyn, Amneet

Ariadne: Spooling Student Stories was conceived in 2018 by Sara Sjerven, Assistant Director of Junior School (then Senior School English Teacher), and Alexandra Lesk, Senior School English Teacher. They had been inspired by the student voice publication put out by BCTELA (British Columbia Teachers of English Language Arts Association), where the work of the province’s public school students could find a wider authentic audience. 

Sara and Alex thought the students from ISABC schools (Independent Schools Association of BC) would also appreciate this same opportunity. They began by inviting contributions from ISABC schools to submit poetry, creative nonfiction, and short stories for consideration to be included in the inaugural issue which was delivered in the autumn of 2019. In Ariadne’s second year, not only did submissions increase significantly, but the publication also opened up an opportunity for a competition to create the cover art to all ISABC students. 

Sara and Alex are very proud to have witnessed the fulfillment of their vision of a venue that celebrates and promotes the humanities throughout ISABC, fosters inter-school collaboration, and develops the core competencies of creativity and communication. As was always the plan when they proposed this project to Elizabeth Moore, the Executive Director of the ISABC, Sara and Alex have passed this endeavour onto another ISABC school to lead. Next year, it will be members of the English Department at Crofton House School in whom they have full confidence, who will continue to create an authentic audience for ISABC student writing.

Here are some of our proud students with their publications: