Author Profile: Gloria D. Gonsalves

gonzalvesGloria D. Gonsalves (Gonsalves is both her maiden name and her pen name) writes with a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of every person who reads what she writes and in the lives of all whom she aims to support through writing. Devoted to writing poetry and tales for children and adults, her literary works aim to support humanitarian projects and inspire creativity in others, especially children.

Not just a writer, Gloria is a creative promoter for writing itself: She has founded World Children’s Poetry Day (WoChiPoDa), an initiative aimed at instilling the love of poetry in young people. She is also the potent force behind “Africa Is Not What You Know,” a global campaign for Africa, for every human who respects and loves Africa to highlight the positive aspects of Africa and change the media’s insistent and distorted focus on Africa as backwards. By profession, Gloria is a creative writer, proofreader and editor, with a diverse background of experience in support roles for multilateral diplomacy, management of official documents, air travel operations, tourism operations, incentive travel and events coordination.

HER WRITINGS

Gloria’s adult books include I am Tausi , a memoir, and The Wisdom Huntress: Anthology of Thoughts and Narrations , as well as two books of poetry: MAHABA Prints in My Heart and Mists of Sense Require Fierce Poesy , her latest work.

Her children’s books, illustrated by children with parental consent, include Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania , a children’s fable; Swahili Folklore: A Compilation of Animal Facts, Folktales, Nursery Rhymes and Songs , and Diamonds Forever , a book of poetry.

Gloria’s children’s books use stories and drawings to lead the reader to become a part of the story. By having children participate in the literary work, she inspires them to want to be involved, arousing their interest in reading and writing more creative works.

Gloria is also a contributing author and poet to online magazines, platforms and journals including AuthorHouse Authors Digest , When Women Waken Journal , Naturewriting.com , Kalahari Review , Badilisha Poetry , SIBYL Magazine and Plum Tree Books . Occasionally she writes opinion pieces for newspapers. She also writes about nature snapshots for her blog, an inspiration from her husband (and personal lawyer), who enjoys flower arrangements.

 

BEGINNINGS

Originally from Korogwe, Tanzania, Gloria lived there for 27 years before migrating to Europe for further studies. She was bo rn to Tanzanian parents; her paternal grandfather was from Goa, India; she has lived in Ireland, and today she is a German citizen. Yet her soul still lives in Tanzania.

Gloria (children call her Auntie Glo) attended primary and secondary school at Kifungilo Girls’ School, which shaped her love for reading English books and writing. While there, she read novels as a way to improve her English language skills. During her second year of secondary school, she participated in an English essay competition, winning third place and with it a cherished Bible. The positive result of that competition led her to complete a dramatic play, which with assistance from her teacher became a special program for visiting schools. It was also a motivation for her to keep writing in the English language.

Years later, while pursuing her Masters degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Cologne, she discovered blogging and began sharing her poems. A friend suggested she compile her poems into a book. Gloria listened to that precious advice but did not act on it immediately.

Instead, treading cautiously, she chose first a short story that she had written for an online magazine. She randomly chose an English publisher in Poland. She sent the story, and it was picked, “Editor’s Choice of the Week.” There would be no stopping her after this. She was committed to writing.

THE HUMANITARIAN CONNECTION

Gloria’s deepest aspirations for humanitarianism come from her African and global experience, and she is always seeking ways to use her writing to support humanitarian related projects.

Her first attempt to merge her passion for writing with humanitarian causes was in 2009, when she hosted a themed party (African Safari Party) to launch what was, by then, her three published books. She raised 500 Euros and donated to a primary school in her hometown Korogwe, the funds going towards providing the school a comfortable learning environment for students. In 2010, Gloria considered cofounding a company that would channel profits from her books to charity causes. Yet she realized that coordinating fundraising events required fulltime commitment and dedication, which she was unable to give due to her job demands as a full time employee. If she gave up her job, however, she would lose her salary, which largely supports her writing passion.

So she came up with another idea. Since publishing her first book in 2006, Gloria has never cashed any of her books’ royalty cheques. In July 2012, Gloria attempted to cash the different cheques (with minimal amounts) to UNICEF. She immediately realized, however, that cashing in small amounts cost more than the amount to be received. Not giving up, she continued to toy with the idea of supporting an existing cause. Meanwhile, she came across an online article calling for submissions related to the SOS Sahel project. She contributed two poems, which are featured in an anthology consisting of poetry, art, music and photography. All proceeds of this collection will go to SOS Sahel.

In October 2012, Gloria saw a tweeted message about RABMAD, acronym for Read A Book, Make A Difference, an online network ( www.rabmad.com ) that promotes authors who donate a percentage of their books’ sales to their own charity or cause. An idea vividly formed in Gloria’s mind: She could buy a bulk of her own books at an author’s discounted price and sell them for a profit, a portion of which would be donated to an existing humanitarian cause. Overjoyed and grateful for that tweeted message, Gloria kicked off the idea with her newly published book The Wisdom Huntress . For every copy sold directly by her, she donates a portion to Tanzania Albino Charity.

Through the profits of her books as well as direct donation of books, Gloria primarily supports Children and women related causes or those who are sidelined by society or suffer unequal treatment, such as albinos and LGBTs.

 

ADVOCACY

In 2014, Gloria founded World Children’s Poetry Day (WoChiPoDa). World Children’s Poetry Day (WoChiPoDa) is a day dedicated to children’s poetry. This day is celebrated on the first Saturday of October. On this day children learn to experience poetry in fun ways. Children can recite poems written all by themselves. Listeners can be family, friends, schoolmates, teachers or anyone else. And all this is done next to a big fire, lantern or candles. The first WoChiPoDa was celebrated last year on Saturday, 4 October 2014.

Although there is a World Poetry Day, celebrated annually on 21 March, that day only gives an opportunity for children to be introduced to poetry in classrooms. Gloria realizes that there’s an important element missing. Poetry is treated as being boring and dull by young minds. Children therefore need to learn and experience poetry in a fun way other than through school curricula or what is written for them by adults. So Gloria believes that a day dedicated to poetry written and read by children in its entirety is absolutely necessary. For more about the WoChiPoDa initiative, visit www.wochipoda.com

Previously, in 2013, Gloria created a global campaign, “Africa Is Not What You Know,” a plea to rise and uplift what Africa already has – and what the media has not a clue about, preferring to further a stereotype of backwards Africa. Whenever she can in her online platforms, especially related to literary works, she highlights the positive aspects of Africa and urges others to do likewise. (From 2013 to 2014, she had a Facebook page for this global call.)

EDUCATION 

Gloria attained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Tourism Marketing from Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland, and her Master of Science Degree in Environmental Sciences from Cologne University, Cologne, Germany. She also holds an S.A.C. Diploma in Professional Proofreading and Editing from Stonebridge Associated Colleges, United Kingdom.

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Gloria says, “Writing is not only a pastime I passionately enjoy,” but also one that requires tremendous courage. “The courage to – expose thoughts in public, accept rejection, accept criticism, make mistakes, resolve own problems, find own style and keep writing. As long as it is a passion and I place no limits to my imagination, I will never run out of a desire to write.”

Gloria now resides with her husband in Koenigswinter, Germany.

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