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NEW RELEASE BOOK – MEDIA UPDATE – YOUNG ADULT: Promising Azra by Helen Thurloe

| 19 August 2016 | Reply


YOUNG ADULT: Promising Azra by Helen Thurloe

Allen & Unwin
July 2016
Paperback, $19.99
368 pages

Young Adult/Contemporary


‘Reading Promising Azra prompted me to revisit stories I have heard too many times to count. Forced marriage is not bound to a certain culture or religion, it’s an epidemic affecting children from many backgrounds. For real change to be possible, it’s important for us to hear these stories.’ Dr Eman Sharobeem, Community Engagement Manager, SBS.

Azra’s dreams of finishing high school in Sydney and going to university are threatened by her uncle’s plans to marry her off to an older cousin she has never met – will she have to choose between her family and her happiness?

Azra is sixteen, smart and knows how to get what she wants. She thinks. When she wins a place in a national science competition, she thinks her biggest problem is getting her parents’ permission to go. But she doesn’t know they’re busy arranging her marriage to an older cousin she’s never met. In Pakistan. In just three months’ time.

Azra always thought she’d finish high school with her friends and then go on to study science, but now her dreams of university are suddenly overshadowed. Can she find a way to do what she wants, while keeping her parents happy?

Or does being a good daughter mean sacrificing her freedom?

– In 2012-2013, at least 250 Australian girls aged under 18 were forced into marriage.
– In the UK, between 2,000 and 3,000 child marriages occur each year. 
– In Pakistan in 2013, 20% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18.

About the Author:

‘Azra Ajmal is a fictional character. However, the things that happen to her are all based on true and/or possible events. The stories on which I based Promising Azra were either told to me by people I interviewed, or discovered in my reading of legal cases and other published articles. In fact, much worse things have happened to real life girls, but I wanted Azra’s story to reflect a more typical (and less clear cut) forced marriage experience in contemporary Australia, and not to highlight the extremes that sometimes appear in the media.’

Helen Thurloe is an award-winning Australian writer, with her poems and essays widely published.

Promising Azra is her first novel. To support its completion, the project was awarded a mentorship from the Children’s Book Council of Australia (NSW), as well as two residential fellowships through the NSW Writers’ Centre, and Varuna The National Writers House.

Her day jobs have included political staffer, public relations consultant, teacher of the Alexander Technique, and furniture sales and marketing. Helen has lived in both Brazil and Britain, but Sydney is now home.

Category: News

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