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Jackie French's writing career spans 20 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, translations into 36 languages, 8 genres, 3721 bush rats, many awards, 6 possibly insane lyrebirds, assorted Burke's Backyard segments, radio shows, newspaper and magazine columns, theories of pest and weed ecology and 27 shredded door mats. The doormats are victims of the wombats, who require constant appeasement in the form of carrots, rolled oats and wombat nuts, which is one of the reasons for her prolific output... it pays the carrot bills!
Jackie wrote her first children's book Rainstones in a desperate attempt to earn $106.40 to register her car, while living in a shed with a wallaby called Fred, a black snake called Gladys and a wombat called Smudge. It was described by the editor at Harper Collins as the messiest, worst spelt manuscript they'd ever received. The 'messiest' was due to Smudge the wombat, who left his droppings on the typewriter every night; the spelling was due to the fact she is dyslexic. But at least it stood out from the pile!
Jackie is one of the few writers to win both literary and children's choice awards. Hitler's Daughter won the 2000 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers, the UK Wow! Award and has been listed as a 'blue ribbon' book in the USA. Other awards include an Aurealis (scifi) Award for Cafe on Callisto and ACT Book of the Year for In the Blood.
Diary of a Wombat (illustrated by Bruce Whatley), has become Australia's most awarded children's book - and broke all picture book publishing records for the number of copies sold in its first year! Jackie and Bruce have continued their successful collaboration with picture books Christmas Wombat, Flood (a tribute to the recent Queensland flood victims) and more recently Fire.
To add to her amazing credentials, Jackie, 'gardener extraordinaire' has written 6 gardening books, covering topics from aphids to chooks to chocolate cake!
In 2014, she was chosen to be the Australian National Children’s Laureate for 2014 and 2015. The Laureate’s role is to promote the importance and transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians. Find out more here.
Jackie French presented at the Celebrate Reading National Conference - The Inside Story on Quality Australian Literature for Children, held at The Literature Centre in Fremantle from 13-14 September, 2013 and will work with us again in Fremantle, and in the Pilbara, in November 2014.
- Meet Jackie in Hedland - Community Event, Tuesday 18 November, 7pm at the Matt Dann Theatre in South Hedland.
- Meet Jackie at our Term 4 Family Open Day, Sunday 23 November, between 11am-1pm at The Literature Centre in Fremantle.