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 2001 I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Theatre/Media) and later received a Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting from the Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS). These bits of paper mean I’m much smart.
My career began with writing for newspapers, theatre & television. In 2007 I was nominated for an Australian Writers’ Guild Award (Awgie) for a youth/community theatre project titled Smashed. The same year I received 2nd prize in the Grenfell Henry Lawson Short Story Competition and was commended in the Children’s Book Council (NSW Branch) Frustrated Writer’s Mentorship Program for what was to become Chicken Stu. 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. Also I eat a lot of cheese.
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 German (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.
I’m married and my wife and I currently reside in Sydney though we 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?
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.