Teen turns in-class daydream into publishing opportunity

BRIGHT IDEA: Raph Atkins, 13, had his story, Morris, published in a book called My Life and Other Stuff that Went Wrong.Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
BRIGHT IDEA: Raph Atkins, 13, had his story, Morris, published in a book called My Life and Other Stuff that Went Wrong.Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

DAYDREAMING in class has led to an international publishing opportunity for a talented South Golden Beach teenager.

Raph Atkins, 13, has had one of his short stories published in Tristan Bancks' latest book for children, My Life and Other Stuff that Went Wrong, which will be officially launched next month.

The Year 8 Mullumbimby High student is now on his way to achieving his dream of becoming a writer and illustrator with a story about his pet sausage-dog, Morris, who escapes into the wetlands and eats the last remaining (imaginary) Jagrofest birds on earth.

He said the idea came during a class discussion about nesting boxes in the protected wetlands around the school.

"We would be able to see little birds and possums in the boxes with special cameras that were being set up in there ... I thought that was going to be the coolest thing and then I began to think 'what if?' and my story, Morris, sort of just appeared in front of me," Raph said.

"I write and draw all the time, so random ideas and characters just pop into my head.

"I couldn't take part in the class discussion because the whole story was just playing out in front of me like a movie and so I got in trouble for daydreaming in class."

That daydream blossomed from a doodle on a page to a fully-fledged short story that so impressed local author Tristan Bancks that he pitched it to his publisher at Random House.

"Raph is a natural storyteller, a brilliant cartoonist and has incredible comic timing in front of the camera and on the page," Mr Bancks said.

"If he would just stop being so good I could stop including him in my projects and we could each go our separate ways," he joked.

"But now I see him as the Di Caprio to my Scorsese."

The book, My Life and Other Stuff that Went Wrong and another new Bancks novel, Two Wolves, will be officially launched in Byron Bay on April 17.

The launch will follow a writing workshop for young people called: Your Life and Other Stuff You Made Up, which aims to help young writers see the events in their own lives as fertile ground for story ideas.

At a glance

The workshop will be held from 10am to 1pm, with the book launch at 1.15pm at the Byron Community Centre.

For workshop bookings and enquiries contact The Northern Rivers Writers Centre on 6685 5115. The book launch is a free public event.

Topics:  authors children's books writing

Back with Love and Violence

DOWN AGAIN: The Superjesus are Paul Berryman on drums, Sarah McLeod on lead vocals and Stuart Rudd on bass guitar.

The Superjesus are back after 13 years

Wall of help for Our Kids in hospitals

FUNDS RAISED: Our Kids co-ordinator Rebekka Battista with Woolworths Ballina Store manager Nori Bensley and the rest of the Northern Rivers Woolworths' staff at the handover of $54,772.

Donation helps keep kids closer to home

Tourism division welcomes inquiry into holiday letting

Parliamentary inquiry into short stay holiday lets has been welcomed by tourist body.

Opportunity to help grow and diversify regional tourism

Local Partners

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge