2016 Adventures in the World of Kids’ and Teen Books

It’s so boring when people say, ‘Where did the year go? It’s almost Christmas!’ but, seriously, ‘Where did the year go? It’s almost Christmas!’


It’s the last day of work for me today for 2016 and I’m trying to remember what, exactly, happened, so I’ve gathered some of my fave pics from Instagram and from this here blog to tell the story of 2016.


My goal each year is to write the best books I possibly can, to bring them to life in interesting ways – live talks, video, image, sound and interactive – and to try to inspire people to pick up a book or create something. Hopefully I’ve achieved some of this in 2016. In 2017 I’m embarking on a Story Project. More on this mission in the new year.


I hope it’s been a good year for you, that you get to spend some time over the next couple of weeks with people you love and that 2017 will be your best year yet.


I started the year by climbing Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s tallest mountain, twice. I vowed that it would be my year of walking and climbing. Instead, it was the year of coffee and doughnuts… and Trump.


But the doughnuts were exquisite in 2016. Trump, not so much.
I may have mentioned before that kids’ and teen authors are an amazing bunch of people. This is at Somerset Celebration of Literature in March with Deborah Abela, Tammy Williams and Lian Tanner.


One of my favourite humans, writer and illustrator Gus Gordon, who draws the pictures in the My Life series.


This is a pic from Gus’s funny, original and visually stunning new picture book Somewhere Else.
A real treat to meet ABC broadcaster Simon Marnie and to learn from two of my favourite authors John Marsden (Tomorrow When the War Began) and Anna Fienberg (Tashi) at this year’s Byron Writers Festival.
Filmmaker Brett Stephens and I pitched my novel Two Wolves as a film to an audience and a panel of top producers at Byron Writers Fest and we won the pitch which was fun. Hopefully some day it’ll be a movie!




I loved sharing ‘Don’t Sit Where You Knit’ in school visits. It’s a hilarious true story by a twelve-year-old writer that we included in My Life & Other Exploding ChickensThere is another very funny true story by a young writer in next year’s book, My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins!
I loved visiting schools all over Australia and trying out my new story ideas, seeing which ones worked and which ones still needed love.


It was fun pranking a bunch of stinky kids in a bookstore with Kids’ WB host Shane Crawford.

My uncle gave me this original Ginger Meggs artwork, done by my great great uncle Jim Bancks, who created the comic strip in 1921. It used to hang on my grandmother’s wall and I would look up at it when I was a kid and get inspired to draw my own comics. Meggs and Bancks were a big part of me wanting to create stories for children and teens.
I spent every moment I could this year working on two new books for release in 2017: My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins for March and The Fall for May. I have been working on The Fall since 2012.


I bought a typewriter recently to write a new book and to make the process a bit more physical and interesting. I love working on it. It’s so hard to delete or correct anything so it keeps you powering forward. Perfect for a first draft.


I’ve just finished reading the proof pages of The Fall. 😉


Celebrating Roald Dahl Day in Federation Square, Melbourne, with authors Felice Arena, Jacqueline Harvey and Gus Gordon was memorable. We performed Fantastic Mr Fox live onstage.


Thanks to all the readers for a brilliant year.
I hope to do a whole bunch of this over the next couple of weeks.


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