The Story So Far…
I have been writing stories since I was a child. The fascination with history came when my dad started teaching me about the local stories of our past. I started researching the history of my hometown – Fremantle, and the many generations in my family who shaped the port town and its incredibly rich personality. Somewhere in there, I developed a sense of ‘home’. As a result, I love to write stories that cultivate a sense of connection and community with one another. It has taken me 25 years as a writer to work that out and wow, is it powerful to realise why you are on the writing journey! All of my writing projects on my desk are driven by this - cultivating community. Community builds resilience, tolerance and compassion.
I don’t live in Fremantle now, but when I visit, I make sure that I get a coffee at Gino’s and wait for the Fremantle Doctor to quench my soul in one big gust of salty air. I now make my home in Canberra, the nation’s beautiful bush capital.
I’ve lived in some interesting places in my life. I’ve lived in Paris, in a converted old convent, when I was a research fellow at the National Library of France. I got to enjoy my favourite pastimes at the same time - looking at very old maps, and practising my French, which I have passionately spoken since embracing the language in primary school. I’ve lived in Broome (not to be confused with the broom cupboard I lived in, in Edinburgh, Scotland). I once lived in a caravan in the sand dunes of Hamelin Bay, in Southwest WA. I wrote a novel on a typewriter with a really, really, really long extension cord! I’ve lived in London, Dublin, Galway, Melbourne, a tiny WA wheat belt town called Wyalkatchem, and I’ve lived in a remote Aboriginal community in the Kimberley (it may have influenced my last novel a little). All of these places have helped kindle a very sound sense of what home means to me – home is wherever you are, if there’s love there too.
I’ve also done some strange jobs. I’ve been a chambermaid in a Scottish hotel (when I lived in the broom cupboard) and I was a barefoot fairy queen, in a fairy shop which was my most favourite job ever, sprinkling glitter on anyone who asked. I was the lead singer and guitarist in my own folk band, which was fun, and I’ve worked in military compensation, petering out payments and decisions to an endless list of veterans with PTSD (which might have influenced my last novel, too). One job I’ve held dear all along, is that of writer. I love shining the light on the stories that make us shiver, cry, smile and connect as humans. What a joy and what a glorious honour to be that vessel.
Having started my career as a high school teacher, I thrive on developing a strong passion for Australia’s heritage in young people. I have worked for 14 years in museum and arts education as a leader of public engagement teams, notably at the Australian War Memorial, Bell Shakespeare, the National Archives of Australia, the Royal Australian Mint and the State Library of Victoria.
I completed my Masters in Creative Writing in 2010, and I now use my passion for interpretation and writing in the museum and tourism sector, as a museum education consultant, and ‘experience curator’ to cultural institutions.
I am President of the Museums Australia Education National Network, and also a former Director on the board of the ACT Writers' Centre. I am proudly a paid up member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) and AMAGA (Australian Museums and Galleries Association). I also have a library card - the most powerful membership of all!
My other passion is permaculture, sustainability, and extreme gardening. It’s kind of out of control. Do you need any tomatoes?
Thanks for visiting – feel free to drop me a line on the contact page - I love hearing from people who have read and enjoyed my writing!
Writing Career Highlights
Cappuccino Diva, Black Coffee Press, 2003.
The Happiness Jar, Storytorch Press, 2013.
The Flying Dream (illustrated by Connah Brecon), DoCs, NSW, 2006.
The Blue Polar Bear (illustrated by Ian Forss), DoCs, NSW, 2006.
The Day We Built the Bridge (illustrated by Fiona Burrows), MidnightSun Publishing, February 2019.
2000: Runner Up, T.A.G. Hungerford Award for Fiction.
2006: Winner, MHS Gold Award for Promotion of Mental Health (Aus/NZ).
2006: Highly Commended, NSW Public Sector Awards.
2008: Research Fellow, Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF).
2010: Commended (3rd) FAW Jim Hamilton Award.
2011: Shortlisted, HarperCollins Varuna Award.
2011: Shortlisted, Penguin Varuna Scholarship.
2013: Runner Up (to Hannah Kent's Burial Rites), FAW Christina Stead Award.
2013: Winner, ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction.
2015: Shortlisted, NLA Creative Fellowship.
2004: Ubud Writers' and Readers' Festival in Bali Indonesia.
2014: Southern Highlands Writers Festival, Bowral, NSW.
2014: Jugiong Writers Festival, Jugiong, NSW.
2014: Corrugated Lines Writers Festival, Broome, WA.