Nayland alumna wins book award


Nayland College congratulates ex-Nayland student (1993-1997) Saradha Koirala, on winning the 2022 NZ Book Awards Young Adult category with her book ‘Learning to love Blue.’ The book is a sequel to ‘Lonesome when you go’ which was a 2017 Storylines Notable Book Award winner.

Saradha has very vivid and happy memories of her time at Nayland, with two teachers in her senior years, Valerie Steel and Ali Forder, particularly encouraging to her, and solidifying her desire to be and become a writer. Saradha was also very involved in music and performance here, remembering especially the tours she went on to Christchurch and Wellington and being on the sound desk for some of the musicals. “Which is probably why I like writing about this particular time of life,” she says. 

Image by: Supplied

Much of the high school descriptions in her novels are based upon her own high school days and she feels lucky to have had such lovely friendships whilst here. After leaving College, Saradha studied English literature at Otago University before training as a secondary school teacher in Wellington. In 2007 she completed a Masters in Creative Writing from Victoria University. She has now published three poetry books and two books for young adults. She currently teaches English, Literature and Creative Writing in Melbourne.

‘Learning to Love Blue’ is a celebration of finding independence in a new city. Paige has left school, her band, her family, and Wellington behind to strike out alone in the Melbourne music scene. She must navigate new friendships and romantic relationships, all the while navigating her complicated feelings about her absent Mum. She’s following in the footsteps of her musical heroes, and it helps that her high school crush Spike lives in Melbourne – but will she fit into his new life? 

Saradha Koirala conveys all the mixed emotion of this setting in a way that is realistic, compassionate, and firmly placed in the journey into adulthood. Relatable at every turn, ‘Learning to Love Blue’ draws you into Paige’s journey through Melbourne’s streets, bands, record and coffee shops, and has you rooting for her to the very end.

Image by: Tracey Winslade

Here she is reading from her book:

Remember too, there is a Spotify playlist to accompany Learning to love Blue.

Books by Saradha Koirala — Image by: Supplied

By Tracey Winslade (Librarian)