About me & Awards

(see below for AWARDS and Question & Answer)

I was born in Brisbane on New Years Eve, 1958. While everyone celebrated the New Year, Mum was left holding the baby. I was the youngest of seven children - Mum wanted a girl. She got me instead. I went to Coopers Plains State School, where I was good at English and soccer, and where I got punched in the eye by a girl one year older than me - I ran home! From the age of eight to fifteen I was obsessed with soccer - I spent every spare moment kicking a ball against the house, or trying to knock the branches off trees from twenty metres with a well-aimed right foot drive.At Acacia Ridge High School I decided to concentrate on a life of soccer instead of education, so I failed Year 10. The principal suggested I not return for Year 11, so I didn't. I worked instead - fruit picker, storeman, clerk. And I played soccer on the weekend - still dreaming of football glory.After three years of hard work and no chance of making the FA Cup Final at Wembley, I decided to go back to school as an adult. This time I passed all my subjects and went to university. At uni I studied poetry and how to get drunk very quickly. I excelled at both subjects, but chose poetry as a career.I now live in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains with my wife Cathie and our two children Jack and Joe. A few years ago Jack and Joe started playing soccer for the local club and yes, you guessed it, I couldnít keep away. So now I play for an all-age soccer team in winter, and in summer for a 7-a-side team called THE MARSHMALLOWS (because we're soft, fat, and pink!). Cathie doesnít play, although we all try to talk her into it. She does belly-dancing instead - she was the inspiration for Barbara the Bellydancer in Tom Jones saves the world.I make a living as a poet, and have done so for fifteen years. I write books for all ages, and visit over 200 schools every year - thatís the best part of my job - meeting lots of children, young adults and teachers. Oh yeah, and talking to them about poetry, and soccer.

AWARDS:-
love, ghosts & nose hair
- shortlisted Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award 1997
- shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Award 1997


A place like this
- shortlisted Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year 1999
- shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Award 1999
- Commended Victorian Premier's Literary Award 1998


the spangled drongo
- WINNER - New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards 2000

my life, my love, my lasagne
- Shortlisted KOALA/YABBA Book of the Year Awards 2000.

the simple gift
- shortlisted Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year 2001
- shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Award 2001

- highly commended Children's Literature Peace Prize


Tom Jones saves the world
- shortlisted Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year 2003
- highly commended Children's Literature Peace Prize


do-wrong ron
-
Honour Book,  Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year 2004
- Shortlisted Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year 2004.


by the river
- Winner NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2005.
- Honour Book  Australian Children's Book Council Book of the Year 2005.
- Winner Australian Speech Pathologists Book of the Year 2005.
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