I’m one of five boys and we all grew up (just not very high) on a farm outside of Yass, New South Wales. In my quest for knowledge (and to avoid real work) I’ve completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Theatre/Media), a Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting from the Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS) and a Master of Teaching from the University of New England. These bits of paper mean I’m much smart.
In 2007 I was commended in the Children’s Book Council (NSW Branch) Frustrated Writer’s Mentorship Program for what was to become Chicken Stu. Chicken Stu, published by Scholastic in April 2010, was my first children’s novel. The story is loosely inspired by the antics I got up to with my four brothers on our home farm. Chicken Stu is also published in Germany (as Nichts Fuer Weicheier) where it won the LesePeter Award for outstanding children’s fiction.
I was the recipient of a 2011 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship and used it to work on my second novel, Bad Grammar. Bad Grammar was released in January 2013 by Walker Books Australia and is set at a remote boarding school for rough boys.
As well as writing books, I write plays. Two of my plays have been nominated for Awgie (Australian Writers’ Guild) Awards:
- Best Community/Youth Theatre play (2007) for Smashed
- Best Play for Young Audiences (2018) for my adaptation of Oliver Phommavanh’s book Thai-riffic!
For 7 years I worked for the Wakakirri National Story Festival, an arts festival for Australian schools promoting education through the telling and sharing of stories. I was Festival Director of Wakakirri in 2010 and 2011.
I currently reside in Sydney but I have itchy feet to travel – the itch is most definitely not Athlete’s Foot because as a general rule I am opposed to sport so how would I have caught it?
Also I eat a lot of cheese.
A List of Things You Might Not Know About Me
- I can’t swim (I am a world champion doggie-paddler, but that hardly counts)
- I lived in Italy for 9 months and can speak Italian, badly (dove la pizza? Ahhh, ecco la pizza. Yummo, yummo)
- I once starred in a show as a WWF style wrestler named Corporal Carnage and somehow managed to avoid breaking any bones.
- I once worked as a clown for a street party and kids screamed when they saw me, though not in the good way.
- In Kindergarten, I was the smallest kid in the year – by a lot. During the end of year circus extravaganza performance they made me play the strongman.