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Leigh Hobbs was born in Melbourne on 18 April 1953. He grew up in Bairnsdale, a small country town in Victoria. Leigh is a painter, sculptor, and critically acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books.
Leigh is best known for the character “Old Tom”, who first appeared in a series of four illustrated junior novels back in 1994. The original paperback, Old Tom, has been reprinted nine times! Old Tom’s Holiday was created as a full-colour picture book in 2002 and was shortlisted for the 2003 Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award. Old Tom Man of Mystery followed in 2003 and Old Tom’s Big Book of Beauty is the latest addition to the picture book series, published in 2007. A French/Australian co-production television series was created based on the original “Old Tom“ character.
Leigh’s infamous character, “Harriet” was introduced to readers in 2002 in Horrible Harriet (shortlisted for the 2002 Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award). Hooray for Horrible Harriet followed in 2005 and Horrible Harriet’s Inheritance is Leigh's latest release!
More quirky characters followed in the form of Fiona the Pig in 2004 and Mr Chicken Goes to Paris in 2009, (short-listed for the 2010 Children’s Book Council Awards and short-listed for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards for Children's Fiction 2010). Leigh’s latest creation is the delightful “Mr Badger”. Mr Badger and the Big Surprise is the first book in the popular junior novel series, of which there are four so far. Leigh is currently working on a new book, Finding Amelia.
Leigh works in a wide range of mediums. He’s been a freelance artist for The AGE newspaper. He designed the colour scheme for the entrance to Melbourne’s Luna Park and the creature that sits atop a ride inside the park called the ‘spider.’ A Flinders Street Station teapot he made is in the National Gallery of Victoria, and two caricature sculptures he created for Sydney’s Luna Park in the early 1970's are at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
The Literature Centre was thrilled to have Leigh in-residence in August 2012. His engaging sessions delighted students of all ages.