At 83 years of age, Bundoora Retirement Village resident Beryl McGovern has launched a new career as a children’s book author.


How long have you lived in Bundoora?

I’ve lived in Bundoora for 14 years in the retirement village. Before that I lived in St Helena and I spent most of my married life in Watsonia.


What do you like about living in Bundoora?

I like that it is close to family. I am used to the area and it is easy to get around.


Have you always wanted to write a children’s book?

I have always loved writing and communicating with people. I often write little poems and stories.


What is  34 Cumquats  about?

It is about picking cumquats with my grandson when he was four years old. It was just another ordinary day really. We were babysitting him and it was an activity for him to do, counting the cumquats and then making jam. I never imagined it would lead to a book.


How did 34 Cumquats come about?

My husband suggested I publish the story but I didn’t really think much of it. Then one day, I saw a program on TV about Indigenous literacy and it really spoke to me. I thought that if I published the book, I could raise some money for the Literacy for Life Foundation. A friend sponsored me to cover the printing costs. We had 100 books printed and they sold out very quickly, so we had to order a second run.


How much money have you raised for the foundation?

I’ve raised $2000. The charity keeps me updated on its progress. They had 15 graduates from the program last year – they were all adults – which is great. I feel really pleased to help in such a small way. I think it would be terrible not to be able to read.