Ian lives in the tiny township of Tallangatta in north-east Victoria.

He has had a number of picture story books published including – Quincy, The Postman’s Race, and Gumboots. Quincy and The Postman’s Race were awarded ‘Notable Australian Book’ awards by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

In 2003 his picture story book, Buck’s Big Adventure was released. Delilah’s Dream, another picture story book, was published in October 2009 by New Frontier Publishing.

Edge of the World, his latest picture story book, illustrated by Wayne Harris, was published in hardback by Walker Books Australia in 2012 and in paperback in 2014.

Two of Ian’s other books; Periwinkle’s Ride (illustrated by Warren Crossett) and Bumped and Thumped (illustrated by Craig Smith) are published in the USA by McGraw – Hill and Houghton Mifflin. Three of his stories have been published by McGraw-Hill, USA in 2007-08: Monkey Buys Trouble, Tom’s Tryouts and Grasslands.

In 2006 he was awarded a Writer’s Fellowship at Varuna where he wrote Hopscotch Medusa Stone. This novel, published by Walker Books Australia, and released in 2009, marked the first book in the Hopscotch series. The second title, Hopscotch Golden Scarab, was published in 2010.

His YA novel, The Towers of Zordran, a ripping adventure yarn featuring teenagers Jack Hunter and Ruby Tuesday has been published as an ebook and Print-on-Demand by

In 2014 he travelled to Adelaide to take up a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship to work on another novel – Of Boys and Boats. This YA novel has recently been published by Ford Street Publishing, Melbourne and will be officially launched at the 2020 ‘Write Around the Murray’ Festival in September.

It’s 1956 – the year the Olympic Games came to Melbourne. Jack Spiller and his small town mates are caught up in the excitement of the torch relay.

But when Jack and the new kid, Heinrich, discover an unfinished sailboat in ‘Mad’ Mick’s shed, Jack’s focus changes.

Can he convince Mick to allow them to finish it? Or has the old man been too damaged by the horrors of World War One?

A fast-paced, humorous story about the power of friendship.

As well as writing for a Children’s and Young Adult audience, Ian is a regular writer/photographer for ‘Great Walks’ magazine, a national magazine focusing on outdoor activities; and has written articles on a range of topics for newspapers and magazines. He has also had his short stories published in a number of anthologies.

Ian is currently working on an historical novel set in Beechworth in 1857 during the gold rush.

Ian has extensive experience as a presenter of Author Talks and Writing Workshops to schools, libraries and adult groups and conducts ‘Creative Writing for Kids’ classes for primary aged children at the Albury Library Museum, NSW and mentors selected students in creative writing at ‘The Literacy House’, Albury, NSW.

For more information about Ian, his published works and the services he offers, check out his website at and the Creative Net Speakers’ Agency at



1) As a child, what was your relationship with books?

I was an avid reader of Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’ and ‘The Secret Seven’ series. I would save up my pocket money until I had the seven shillings and sixpence to buy the latest book.

2) What advice can you offer to aspiring authors?

Read, read, read AND write, write, write. Practice your craft as much as possible and be prepared for the long haul if seeking publication. There will be rejections from publishers, but remember that doesn’t necessarily mean what you have written is not good or worthy of publishing. Write with fun and gusto and remember that even though there are “rules”, they are there to be broken.

3) What is your definition of success?

Finishing a writing project. Whether it gets published or not isn’t really the be all and end all. If it gives me pleasure and I enjoyed the process then it has been worthwhile. I view rejected manuscripts as merely practice and preparation for the next one which will undoubtedly be better!

Ian’s Story:

I am a retired primary school teacher living in the tiny town of Tallangatta in north-east Victoria. I was born and raised in Geelong and after Teacher’s College taught in and around Geelong until moving to the north east with my wife and four young children.

While teaching at Tallangatta I was fortunate to be awarded two International Teaching Fellowship which meant a year (1991) teaching in Oregon, USA and another year (2005) teaching in Colorado, USA.

As teacher-librarian at Tallangatta Primary School I ran a ‘Writing Alive’ week of workshops with visiting authors and illustrators and decided to have a go at writing for publication so picked the brains of some of the authors, including the late Michael Dugan and Melbourne illustrator, Anne James.

Following their visits I submitted a picture story book title to about 20 publishers with no luck, but a second story I wrote shortly afterwards, based on my son’s fear of dogs, was accepted by Ashton Scholastic and was published as ‘Quincy’ in 1990. The book was awarded a CBCA ‘Notable Book Award’ and went on to be republished twice. Following this success I was encouraged to continue writing and submitting stories.

Following my success with ‘Quincy’, I followed up with a couple of picture story books – ‘The Postman’s Race’ and ‘Gumboots’ published by Mark McLeod at Random. (‘The Postman’s Race’’ also received a ‘Notable’ from CBCA).

I was writing another picture book title when I realised the story contained much more than something that would suit a picture book so decided to develop the story as a novel. This became ‘Hopscotch Medusa Stone’ which was published by Walker Books, who asked me to write a sequel – ‘Hopscotch Golden Scarab’.

I don’t write with a ‘theme’ in mind. I just see or hear something that prompts me to develop a story and go from there. Sometimes it works, sometimes its a fizzer, but that’s all part of the process.

As well as writing fiction I am a regular contributor to ‘Great Walks’ magazine – a national magazine for outdoor enthusiasts. I have also written a number of short stories that have been published in anthologies and I have dabbled in some freelance writing of feature stories for various newspapers and magazines.

Delilah’s Dream’ (New Frontier Publishing), came about when watching some chooks we had pecking around in the backyard and wondering if one of them might dream of escaping the humdrum life of a chook and go on some wild adventures.

Edge of the World’ (Walker Books) was the result of friends suggesting we go and ‘paint the town red’ during a dinner party while I was living and teaching in Colorado. That remark begged the question: “Why would someone want to paint a town red?” and the story of a tiny fishing village near the edge of the world where nobody smiled was created. I was lucky enough to visit the actual village in Scotland where Wayne Harris, the illustrator, based his images and I was gobsmacked when I walked down the main street because it was the village I had imagined when writing the story!

My latest YA novel – ‘Of Boys and Boats’ (Ford Street Publishing) is based on childhood events and memories of growing up in Geelong in the 1950s. In some ways it’s part biography and the rest is pure fiction. Heinrich, is based on a classmate who had come to Australia post WW2 and Percy is based on another classmate who contracted polio.

Edge of the World’ holds a special place in my writing journey because the words and images came in such a rush, as if there was a muse standing at my side while I was writing and guiding my fingers on the keyboard. The whole writing process was super fast and I knew as soon as I had finished the first draft that the story would find a publisher.  Visiting the village I had imagined when writing the story was kind of spooky too. The other bonus was I got to work with Donna Rawlings who was my brilliant editor, and Wayne Harris who poured his heart and soul into the illustrations.

Of Boys and Boats’, a YA novel published by Ford Street Publishing, is due for release in September. Set in 1956 during the Melbourne Olympics it is a fast-paced and at times humourous story about the power of friendship. Writing the book meant I had to research and learn about boat building as Jack and his mates discover a half-finished sail boat in the backyard shed of WW1 veteran, ‘Mad’ Mick Metcalf and set out to finish it.

The book was written with the assistance of a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship for which I am eternally grateful.

Readers can visit my website at to find out more about me and my writing. I am also available for Author Visits and Workshops at schools and libraries and you can check out the Creative Net Speakers’ Agency website at  to learn about the services I offer to schools.

Of Boys and Boats’ should be available in most bookstores in September, or can be ordered directly from me via my email: