Learning English through fantasy and word play

( ) Updated: 2015-07-15 16:13:07

Learning English through fantasy and word play

Author Gordon Allen (left) and his book Edwin and the Quest for Drow. [Photo provided to]

Gordon Allon, Vancouver-based author and educational leader came to Peking University for his new fantastic fiction Edwin and the Quest for Drow and communicated with students and local readers.

Q & A with Gordon C. Allan

Why did you decide to write this novel?

I was an English teacher for many years at a very prestigious private school in Montréal, Canada. Part of the curriculum I was required to teach included grammar and language nuance. However, most of the students were not interested in studying the mechanics of writing. I also discovered that there was little correlation between learning grammar in isolation and improved literacy. I therefore conceived of the idea of writing a fantasy novel in which the main characters were actually parts of speech and where their interaction included lots of word play.

So what exactly is Edwin and the Quest for Drow about?

It's the story of a young boy called Edwin who is about to start his summer holidays when he is unexpectedly whisked off to an elaborate estate owned by a mysterious Uncle who is also a collector of rare books. We also learn that this uncle was a friend of Edwin's late father who recently passed away under mysterious circumstances. When Edwin arrives at his uncle's mansion, he soon discovers a secret room that contains ancient leather-bound books. When Edwin opens one of these books, he is transported into the book’s story where he embarks on a series of adventures to stop an evil character called Drow from re-writing the book's story. At the end of the adventure, Edwin learns more about his magical power and what really happened to his father. He also learns that his adventure has not ended but only just begun.

I understand that the novel is in both English and Chinese. Why?

One of the goals of writing this novel is to immerse second-language learners in the English language while providing Chinese cross-reference pages to help them confirm what it is they have read and enhance their overall comprehension.

How has the novel been received?

As an educator, I used draft versions of the novel with both native-English speakers and second language learners. Their feedback has been very positive and they all want to know if there will be a sequel.

Will there be a sequel?

Yes, the novel lends itself to multiple sequels so, if all goes well, I will be doing a lot of writing over the next few years.

Where can I get more information about the novel or where to buy it?

Just send me a quick email at:

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