Scholar in Residence Kenneth Oppel ’85


Alumnus and Governor General Award-winning author Kenneth Oppel ’85 returned to SMUS this week to speak to students at all three schools about his life as an author, the inspiration behind his books, and his latest project.

Though many of his books take place in fantastical, made-up worlds, Kenneth told students that he does a lot of research to make his books realistic. He gave them a virtual tour of his office and explained how his books come to pass, starting with an idea and – with the help of his family and his editors – becoming a polished story.

After publishing his first book the same year he graduated from SMUS, Kenneth has gone on to write over 20 books in children’s and young adult fiction. He is best known for his Silverwing series, for which he created a cast of characters based on different species of bats, and his Airborn series, for which he won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.

Kenneth’s newest book, Half Brother, tells the story of a young boy whose scientist parents adopt a chimpanzee to be his little brother as part of an experiment. Half Brother was named the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children. He also spoke about his next book, entitled This Dark Endeavor, which chronicles the early life of Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein.


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