Welcome! I’m a Sydney journalist and writer. I’ve lived in Sydney for more than 30 years after growing up in Cape Town, South Africa.
I’ve written nine novels, seven for young people and two for adults. Four of them have been translated into Italian, Danish, Dutch and Thai. I’ve also worked as a newspaper journalist on publications including The Sun-Herald, Sydney and The Sydney Morning Herald.
My first book for adults, Born into the Country, was shortlisted and published after entry into South Africa’s AA Mutual Life Vita Young Writers’ Award. One of my YA books, The Wishing Moon, was shortlisted for the Australian Multicultural Children’s Award and was a Children’s Book Council Notable book.
Penguin Australia published my young adult dystopian novel, Days Like This, in August 2010. It was a finalist in the 2010 YA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The idea for Days Like This came from a growing unease about our diminishing natural resources, combined with the rise of a heartless individuality. The book explores the consequences – a world where people are exploited to serve the needs of an elite.
My current project, Cold Stone Soup, is a memoir about growing up in apartheid-era South Africa. It was a runner-up in the 2010 Penguin/Varuna Scholarship. Thanks to Helen Barnes-Bulley at Varuna, The Writers’ House, I have received invaluable help with editing.
I also write travel stories, mostly for Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald Traveller/Melbourne Age Travel and the Sydney Sun-Herald Travel and associated Fairfax newspapers. Stories include a remarkable trip on Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Cape Town; a cycle journey from Prague to Dresden; a luxury rail trip from Calgary to Vancouver on the Royal Canadian Pacific Express and a drive to South Africa’s Blyde River Canyon along the “Panorama Route”.
I’ve also written about a cycle trip in Provence, a nostalgic visit to Paris, and a walking trip along Italy’s magnificent Cinque Terre.
I’ve recently returned from Cape Town where I did a wonderful hike on the majestic Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the only UNESCO world heritage listed national park contained entirely within a major city. You can read the story – Trek Across a Magic Kingdom – in Travel Writing.
Coming up is a story on Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, about two hours’ drive from Cape Town in the lovely Overberg, Grootbos, which is not only a luxury resort but a place that effectively combines nature conservation, responsible tourism and community upliftment.
Also a story on a wonderful selection of some of Cape Town and Franschhoek’s boutique hotels and guest lodges – like going home, only in a completely different country!
Soon, I’m off on a canoe safari down the Zambezi in the pristine Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe plus I’ll be taking a trip up Malawi’s Shire River to Lake Malawi – Lake of Stars, following (a little bit) in the footsteps of my great-grandfather, missionary explorer Dr James Stewart who did it in a canoe in 1862.
And later this year, I am travelling to Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
If you’re interested in reading any of these stories, they’re posted (or will be posted) in “Travel writing”.