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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

16-year-old Cottam resident publishes “A Million Lives”

- she hopes the novel will inspire young women -

by Sylene Argent

When assigned a personal project in her International Baccalaureate English class at Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School two-years ago, Laura Kostwinder decided she would challenge herself to write a novel.

Fast forward two years, the now 16-year-old has long ago completed the class assignment – which earned her first prize amongst her peers and a $500 bursary – and has recently finished a rigorous editing and publishing process with FriesenPress. All the dedication poured into that assignment led to her novel, “A Million Lives” being published and available for purchase as of last month.

  Kostwinder, who attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School for her grade eight year, said her high school English teacher, Ms. Longpré, has always been supportive of her writing, and encouraged her to explore and expand upon her talents. Along with her teacher, she said her parents, Ana Kleer and Remco Kostwinder, have inspired her. The novel is dedicated to all three individuals.

The novel follows the main female lead character as she is reincarnated – starting with Eve in the Garden of Eden to other historical characters of note, like Cleopatra, Mother Teresa, and Amelia Earhart. The lead character takes all her experience with her in each life. Readers will experience her psychological struggles as each life presents new experiences. Though the main character is consistent at the core, the experiences she endures in each life changes her view of the world, Kostwinder said.

  The end of the novel, where the main character becomes a spirit observing the world and reflects on her past lives, is Kostwinder’s favourite part of the book.

  The young author said she and her family travels often, so she used those experiences to help form the book, as well as her experience of having been born in the Netherlands, then living in Brazil, before coming to Canada with her family.

  “We are all human, despite differences, we can respect experiences and move beyond the prejudices we see in the world,” she said, adding she also hopes the book inspires girls, of any age, to become anything they want to become.   

  With the unique theme of the book, Kostwinder hopes her writing will encourage others to move beyond prejudices.  

  “A Million Lives” is available on many platforms, including Amazon, Google Books, and through Apple Books. It is also available through FriesenPress. She suspects anyone could enjoy reading her book, with its look at life philosophy, but she believes young girls would particularly like her published work. Those who wish to learn more can log onto her blog at

  Now ready to start grade 12, Kostwinder is excited to see where her writing talent takes her, but does hope to one day aspire to become a medical doctor.


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