Andrew Kooman

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Andrew Kooman
A photograph of a man with brown eyes, brown hair, and dimples looking at the viewer and wearing a green sweater over a black shirt
Born Red Deer, Alberta
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater University of Calgary
Information
Period 2009-present
Genre Historical fiction
Legal thriller
Tragedy
Young-adult fiction
Dramatic devices Greek chorus
Debut works Ten Silver Coins
Magnum opus She Has a Name
Works with Stephen Waldschmidt
Awards Scripts At Work/Alberta Playwrights Network Award

Andrew Kooman is an author and playwright from Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

Personal life[edit]

Andrew Kooman is from Red Deer, Alberta,[1] and graduated from the Bachelor of Arts collaborative degree program between Red Deer College and the University of Calgary in 2003.[2] He also studied English and creative writing at a university in Edmonton,[3] and graduated from the Multimedia Web Developer program at the University of Calgary in 2008.[2] As of June 2012, he was working in public relations at Red Deer College.[4]

Activism[edit]

Andrew Kooman first became aware of the issue of human trafficking while he was working for the Christian[5] nonprofit organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM)[6] in southeast Malaysia,[4] where he met child victims of human trafficking,[6] but Kooman later came to realize that human trafficking is an issue in Canada as well; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimate that between 600 and 800 people are trafficked into Canada every year.[7] Kooman has spoken about the cases in which people have been trafficked into Calgary and Edmonton in order to work in the sex industry, and has posited that sex workers have likely been trafficked into his hometown of Red Deer as well since it is also located along Alberta Highway 2.[8] Kooman continued to work in Malaysia with YWAM for two years, towards the end of which time he visited Singapore,[5] where he attended an international conference on human trafficking, there learning details on the issue that shocked him.[9] The conference focused on the military use of children and the prostitution of children.[10] One of the facts that stuck with Kooman was that there are children aged five and under who are forcibly prostituted daily,[5] and that many of these children end up spending their entire lives as human trafficking victims.[11] Kooman is the director of Raise Their Voice,[12] a creative, justice-driven,[13] nonprofit organisation in Red Deer.[14] The other four members of the organization are his family members.[15]

Writing career[edit]

Andrew Kooman is an author and playwright.[4] All of Kooman's writings focus on justice[16] and many of the issues he writes about are gender-based.[4] Kooman's first literary reaction to human trafficking was to write some short stories.[10] Eventually, he also started writing the play that became She Has a Name in order to bring attention to the issue of human trafficking, specifically in its connections to sexual exploitation.[17] In 2009, the script of She Has a Name was given the Scripts At Work/Alberta Playwrights Network Award.[18] By February 2012, Kooman was working on a screenplay version of She Has a Name in order to expose it to a larger audience.[19] Some Americans expressed an interest in staging She Has a Name in the United States.[10] After starting to write this play, Kooman read about the Ranong human-trafficking incident in a Canadian newspaper[20] and also heard about it through a friend of his who was working at an aftercare centre in Bangkok, Thailand to restore the dignity of former sex workers.[9] Knowing that many of the impoverished girls who are smuggled in this manner become enslaved in brothels as child prostitutes, Kooman used the incident in the backstory of the play.[21] There was a tour of She Has a Name in 2012, and the final performances were held in Red Deer. Kooman was glad to have the tour conclude in his hometown because the people of Central Alberta were very supportive of the play.[22] During the tour, Kooman was awarded the Outstanding Alumnus Provincial Award Celebrating Excellence (PACE) by the Alberta Association of Colleges & Technical Institutes (AACTI) and the Alberta Ministry of Enterprise.[2] In conjunction with this award, a $5000 scholarship was set up in Kooman's name, which he chose to have awarded to students who evince creativity, leadership, and a commitment to those who are in need.[23] The PACE Award ceremony is biennial, and took place on June 13 in Edmonton at the AACTI Board of Governors Conference.[2]

Before writing She Has a Name, Kooman had written other pieces of literature that had been published, such as the young-adult novel Ten Silver Coins: The Drylings of Acchora, but this was his first full-length play.[4] He had, however, been writing shorter plays since 2007,[3] and has written other full-length plays since She Has a Name, including one about Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Christian who was a political prisoner of the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and another about the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands;[6] these plays are called We Are The Body and Delft Blue respectively.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Louis Hobson (February 24, 2011). "Calgary's She Has a Name a 'heart-wrenching' hit". Calgary Sun. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Kooman receives provincial alumnus award". Red Deer Advocate. June 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Aspen Gainer (September 27, 2012). "Play about human trafficking, written by Albertan, comes to Edmonton". Edmonton Examiner. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Pat Donnelly (June 15, 2012). "Fringe 2012: Alberta group's play explores human trafficking". The Gazette. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Anna Borowiecki (September 22, 2012). "Play about human trafficking provides chilling insights". St. Albert Gazette. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Elissa Barnard (June 27, 2012). "Trafficked kids given identity: She Has a Name tells the story of child prostitute". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ Kathleen Renne (February 22, 2011). "Tuesday, February 22, 2011". CKUA Radio Network. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lana Michelin (February 25, 2011). "Play personalizes an industry that strips away identity". Red Deer Advocate. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Play exposes realities of human trafficking". International Justice Mission. May 30, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c Kathleen Renne (February 27, 2011). "February 27, 2011". CKUA Radio Network. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Red Deer News". CTV News. October 2, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  12. ^ Frank Rackow (February 16, 2012). "She Has A Name". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Moving play, She Has a Name, comes with a message". Victoria News. February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Locally Grown Play She Has a Name". Country Sunrise News 15 (3). April 2012. 
  15. ^ Susan Zielinski (September 21, 2012). "Groups helping sex trade victims". Red Deer Advocate. 
  16. ^ Lani Ledingham (October 2010). "living an 'Ah Ha' moment". Red Deer College Notebook. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ Lana Michelin (February 25, 2011). "Play personalizes an industry that strips away identity". Red Deer Advocate. Retrieved July 22, 2012. 
  18. ^ Mark Weber (December 9, 2009). "Local author unveils adventurous and original tale". Red Deer Express. 
  19. ^ Pauline Anunciacion (February 16, 2012). "She Has a Name and a story, too: Theatre performance tours Canada to raise awareness about human trafficking in Southeast Asia". Gauntlet. Retrieved July 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ "She Has a Name". CFUV-FM. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  21. ^ For Kooman's identification of the Ranong human-trafficking incident with child prostitution, see Stephen Hunt (August 4, 2012). "Fringe Review: She Has a Name". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 6, 2012. 
  22. ^ Mark Weber (September 26, 2012). "Acclaimed local playwright wraps successful tour". Red Deer Express. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  23. ^ Mark Weber (June 20, 2012). "RDC alumnus receives provincial award of excellence". Red Deer Express. 
  24. ^ Lara Michelin (September 24, 2012). "Powerful play returning home". Red Deer Advocate.