Sixth Former Kaya Forde has realised her dream of being a published author with her graphic novel celebrating Japanese history and contemporary culture
Kaya Forde currently studies Art, Sociology and English Literature in the Sixth Form and is on track to graduate in June. She has successfully channelled her passion for Japanese Studies and Art into her EPQ investigation – an additional project which encourages students to study independently – culminating in this new story for young readers.
Titled ‘The Story of Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi’, her graphic novel is rooted in the ancient Japanese tale about two gods – the god of the sun (Amaterasu) and the god of the moon (Tsukuyomi) and an ancient feud that resulted in their separation. The myth explains why we do not see them together at the same time in the sky.
With Lambeth Academy’s core values being Commitment to Progress, Excellence in Thinking and Honourable Leadership, Kaya can certainly be said to have embodied all three in her exciting project – acting as a role model and inspirations for other students across the school.
Encouraged by her parents and teachers, Kaya saved up her own money to eventually print and then self-publish a copy of her graphic novel – representing a lasting record of her project and achievement. She hopes it will be the first of many opportunities to illustrate professionally in the future and aspires to continue crafting her talents at university next year.
Commenting on the experience, Kaya Forde said:
"My inspiration for this book stems from my fondness for Japanese history and contemporary culture, such as anime and manga. I spend a lot of free time watching anime and gaining inspiration for the stories and aesthetics. Also, my school trip to the V&A Museum showed me that there is a lack of Japanese representation in the UK, and probably in other western countries. Therefore, being able to introduce and engage children in a new language and culture that enables them to make links between their culture and others’ culture is important to me.
“Currently, I have no plans to write actual children’s books, but I do have a dream of creating my own WEBTOON one day. WEBTOON is an online platform where people post their own original comics to read. It’s a little bit like online manga.
“After Sixth Form, I would like to study illustration at university, where I aspire to develop a beautiful art style that I can adapt to my target audience which is young people. After this, I wish to either create my own books, or work the gaming industry and illustrate for games.”
Mrs Smyth, Head of the Art Department at Lambeth Academy, said:
"I've had the pleasure of teaching Kaya for the last three years and within this time she has never failed to impress me with her incredible talent, focus and 100% commitment. She is a student who knows what she wants and has the tenacity to be the best. I have absolutely no doubt that Kaya will have a long and successful career in the Creative Arts."
Leon Wilson, Executive Principal at Lambeth Academy, said:
“Beyond a rigorous academic curriculum, we are committed to providing what we call an education with character and giving students the space and opportunities to develop as young people, nurture their talents and interests and have confidence in their abilities. This is a fantastic example of that spirit; it is hugely impressive that Kaya has combined her independent EPQ study project into a self-published graphic novel that reflects her love of art and wider interests. We are all very proud of Kaya and I know her sense of ambition and determination will cascade down throughout our school, inspiring other students in their own academic and creative endeavours.”