Amazon Author Interview

Raphael Wilkins


Supporting Education  Leaders from Accra to TaipeiRaphael Wilkins_Zindabad!



Congratulations, Raphael! Your book’s available on the Amazon bookstore. How did you feel to see it there for the first time?

Each step of progress is exciting, but for me the biggest thrill is seeing the cover design: a bit like seeing a new baby for the first time. When actual publication comes, I get a great sense of relief and completion: the book metamorphoses from something inside my head and my private world, into a tangible artefact that anyone can see, that exists independently, even if I were to die tomorrow.



Can you tell us about your book and why you wanted to write it?

The book is the third volume of a trilogy of travel memoirs, recounting my work as a visiting education expert, being fortunate enough in that particular work to make 47 trips spanning 20 countries, and five continents. I didn’t want to forget those experiences, I wanted to share them with others who might find them interesting, and having started the project it was important to me to complete it.



That’s certainly a good reason to write it. Have you always been a writer / wanted to become an author?

I have always enjoyed writing as a creative activity:  developing thoughts into something that other people can examine.  Before turning to travel writing I wrote some academic books and over 70 articles.



So you’re obviously a seasoned writer/author. Changing your genre from academic to travel writing is very interesting. What made you take that leap and publish your book?

For me, writing is compelling, I need to let it out.



I totally agree! Have you any more book plans in the pipeline?

Yes, I am working on two new books at present. One is a (slightly) fictionalized account of behind the scenes Parliamentary lobbying. The other is a different kind of travel memoir, exploring the journey into retirement and old age.



That’s good news. You know how much I enjoyed your book – in fact, I felt like I’d been on those journeys with you. What advice would you offer other aspiring authors who are thinking of self-publishing? 

Just do it, don’t be disheartened by low sales and lack of recognition, keep writing for its own sake.



Thanks very much, Raphael! All the best with your entertaining and edifying book!





You can buy a copy of Zindabad! here:








This travel memoir narrates 14 journeys in the capacity of a visiting education expert, spanning eight countries in four continents. The story combines personal and professional concerns; it is told lightly, in a conversational tone, intended to be informative, entertaining and thought-provoking for a broad range of readers of travel books throughout the English-speaking world.



The narrator, Raphael, meets colleagues Ian and Carol, and sets off for Lahore. In the steamy, dengue-infested monsoon they advise on teacher licensing, amid a muddle of different agencies and agendas. Then in Karachi he supports a locally organised conference, a regular event he helped to establish. Raphael explains a long project to help a number of Indian states to develop ‘global good practice’, and narrates a visit to Gujerat, where Modi’s leadership is evident, with colleagues as part of that. He returns to Karachi for the next conference in the series, this time with colleague Eleanore, and then to Lahore for more work on teacher licensing with Chris. They attend the Wagha border ceremony, meet tigers and buy rugs.



The Indian project culminates in a conference in Delhi, which Raphael attends with colleagues. He goes to Stockholm with Joyce to support a project on school leadership. Next Raphael describes visiting Cartagena in Colombia, to speak at a conference and to enjoy tourist attractions. He and Joyce teach a course in Islamabad for a bullying tycoon, and marvel at the city’s style and culture. Raphael speaks at a conference in Lagos and enjoys meeting an old friend. He speaks in Taipei and learns about the culture and history of Taiwan. Raphael and Joyce teach a short course in Accra and are immersed in its life and character. He returns to Lahore with Eleanore for the last conference in the series, and takes a long farewell of that city. Finally Raphael and colleague Edward teach a short course for the dictatorial regime in Astana, Kazakhstan.






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