Giving Back to Greenland


It’s no secret, I write about Greenland, and as a full-time writer I make a modest living from my Greenland stories. So, it’s time to give something back. Starting in January 2019, I’m going to give 100% of my royalties for the sale of my novella The Heart that was a Wild Garden, including paperbacks and eBooks (and audio when I get that far), to charity.

Why and to whom?

The why is really easy. I draw on a lot of my own personal experiences from when I lived and worked in Greenland, and I try to incorporate the culture and traditions of an amazing people living in an amazing country in my stories. Greenland is out-of-this-world interesting, and, if you ask me, Greenlanders are some of the most amazing people in the world. I worked with many incredible Greenlanders, and I worked with even more incredible Greenlandic children, teens, and young men and women, in schools, at A-level college, and at the Police Academy in Nuuk.

Sawing blocks of snow in Qaanaaq, Greenland, app. 800 miles from the North Pole.

As a teacher living and working in small, remote communities – and even in the capital city – you discover the importance of education very quickly, especially when many traditional ways of living and working, such as hunting and fishing in the north and east, are under threat from climate change and globalisation. Graduating from school, and learning a trade or studying subjects at a higher level can make all the difference. Which is why I want to support the Association for Greenlandic Children (website in Greenlandic and Danish, only).

As mentioned above, the who is the Association for Greenlandic Children. They work hard to ensure that children in Greenland grow up in a safe environment. Furthermore, the association support children and young Greenlanders through school and into further education. According to the association’s website, there are just under 56,000 people living in Greenland, and roughly 15,000 of them are children aged 0-18. While there are many strong, well-functioning families in Greenland, there are also many others who struggle and need help to cope with the challenges of daily life. Often, as in many countries, it is the children who face the greatest challenges in life. The Association for Greenlandic Children does what it can to help children in Greenland, and in Denmark, through summer camps and outreach family support services, to name but a few of their programmes. There are lots of Greenlanders living in Denmark, and the challenges facing those families can be, in some ways, even more difficult due to cultural differences and the challenges associated with language.

The igloo is on the beach close to the “sea”. Herbert Island is in the distance.

The main character in The Heart that was a Wild Garden is a young girl, and Constable David Maratse finds himself in a parental role, all of a sudden. It’s a challenge for him, to say the least. But I have no sympathy. 🙂 As a teacher, with no kids of my own, I received a baptism of fire (or was it ice?) in Greenland, working with the most amazing kids I have ever met, and am likely to ever meet. I used to describe my job as if I was a paratrooper – parachuting into a community (I did arrive by helicopter), and teaching your way out. So, when I gave Maratse the task of looking after nine-year-old Iiluuna, I had to chuckle every time she surprised and confounded him. I left Maratse scratching his head in despair a few times, as I often did.

The temperature in our “classroom” is about -20 degrees Celsius.

I suppose the purpose of my books, besides entertainment, is to share something of what I learned and love about Greenland and the Greenlandic people. I hope you, dear reader, enjoy my books, and I look forward to giving something back to the kids that truly shaped my years as a teacher, and as a human being. It is possible to support the Association for Greenlandic Children directly via this link to their donation page, or you can buy The Heart that was a Wild Garden from Amazon (and other stores from January, 2019).

The Association for Greenlandic Children also has a Facebook page. Check it out for fun photos and video, and give them a “like” while you’re there. The page is in Greenlandic and Danish, but likes are universal!

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