Eleven year old Ashleen Khela of Kenthurst Public School is NSW’s youngest and Australia’s female youngest published author and book writer.
Ashleen authored, illustrated and designed her fiction story book ‘17 Stories’ which was published in November 2023. The book has been published by Autumn Art Publisher Patiala in India, and released at her school by principal Mr Grant Rimmer.
To meet the costs associated with publication , Ashleen decided to raise her own funds instead of asking her family. She worked hard for two years collecting drink cans, plastic and glass bottles and taking those to recycling stations. She planted yucca, mango, guava and jacaranda trees in her backyard during covid lockdown and sold those. She also chose to break open her piggy bank to meet the remainder of costs.
Ashleen wishes to donate all proceeds from the sale of her book to the Cancer Council of Australia, Starlight Kids Foundation as well as to contribute towards the underprivileged kids of India and other developing nations. She has been selling her book through word of mouth and social media to raise funds for her chosen charities.
Ashleen was born in Australia and has travelled to India for holidays.
Some of her fictional narratives draw inspiration from her own life experiences.
From her Sydney backyard during the Covid lockdown to the enchanting realms of caves, mountains, and rural Punjab in India, Ashleen says she invites readers on an imaginative journey and aims to raise awareness about social disparities and underprivileged children in developing nations and generate funds to support their needs.
Looking ahead, Ashleen said she is already crafting her next fictional storybook, aspiring to publish it before her 12th birthday. “This upcoming work will shed light on neglected women’s rights, emphasising the capabilities of young women in both privileged and underprivileged parts of the world.
As I grow older, in addition to becoming doctor to help my community, I envision establishing my own charity to further aid underprivileged children by way of writing a book each year for this cause,” she says.
Buy a copy, and find out more at Ashleen’s website www.ashleenkhela.com