About

I’m a Sydney writer and journalist.

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 Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald, Sydney.

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.

My current project,  Cold Stone Soup, is a memoir about growing up in apartheid-era South Africa. It has recently won the Fellowship of Australian Writers 2013 National Literary Awards Jim Hamilton Award for a non-fiction manuscript. It was also a Varuna Writers’ House Scholarship runner-up.

I also write travel stories, mostly for Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald Traveller/Melbourne Age Traveller and associated Fairfax newspapers. 

33 Responses to About

  1. Tiffany says:

    Hi! I finished reading the book and I gave it a 5/5 stars on goodreads it’s amazing! I just love how you tied everything together in the end and it was so well written and planned! I just wanted to ask you a couple questions about the book. Can I ask you why you wrote the book and what you wanted the readers to learn from it? What are the main morals that you wanted the readers to get out of this book? I hope you can reply soon! And it would be awesome if we could become friends on goodreads! I’ll send a friend request!

    Like

    • Hi Tiffany,
      I’m so pleased you like Days Like This. Thanks so much for telling me this and for your generous Goodreads rating! I’ve just posted a reply to you on Goodreads and will post it here too as I think my answer covers your points. If you have any more questions though, please just ask.
      There are a couple of reasons why I wrote Days Like This. Firstly, I love dystopian and speculative fiction. I like to think about how the world of the future will deal with the problems that we are creating today. Sometimes the answers can be a little depressing! But they don’t have to be.
      I think humans have the ability to rise above the mean and greedy. This is what I tried to do with Days Like This. Bad things happen, obviously, but out of the horror of that world, good things can emerge and good people. I believe we are resilient and innately good.
      Obvious themes for Days Like This are the consequences of resisting the science of climate change, greed and the rise of individualism and excessive materialism over fairness and equality. Also, how absolute power has the potential to corrupt even the most well-meaning.
      You ask what I hope readers will get out of the book. I hope that people will consider whether the choices we (and the politicians we elect) are making are right for the kind of world we would be proud to leave behind.
      But most importantly, I hope that people will enjoy the story and feel it was worth reading!
      Take care and happy reading, Tiffany!
      Alison

      Like

  2. Tiffany says:

    Hi Alison, I’m so excited to read Days like This, and I’m very intrigued about it. I’m doing an author study on you for school and I wanted to know how old you are and how old you were when you moved to Australia. You don’t have to answer but I would really appreciate it.

    Like

    • Hi Tiffany,
      Thanks for writing to me. I’m delighted you are finding Days Like This interesting.

      To answer your question, I came to Australia in 1977 after the Soweto riots in South Africa when many people were killed by the apartheid regime. I was 23. So that makes me 60 now, I’m afraid. Ancient, basically.

      I’m most happy to answer any questions you have. Good luck with the author study.
      Best wishes
      Alison

      Like

      • Tiffany says:

        Thank you so much Alison, I appreciate it so much. My teacher said that it was so cool how I got to talk to you. I’m in year 7 and I come for Adelaide so it’s really awesome how I got to speak to you. I’ve started reading it and it’s really interesting, I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

        Like

  3. Margherita Polimeni says:

    Thank you very much!!!! If I learn English well I hope to read one of your books and to come to Australia to meet you!!
    Love Margherita💜💙💛💗💚 👍😃

    Like

  4. Margherita Polimeni says:

    Dear Alison,I’m sorry but I can’t find any Italian translation of your books and I’m not very good at reading english yet.
    Love from Margherita.
    P.S. My mum and my teacher help me to study english.Today I got A in an english test.😃😊✨

    Like

    • Dear Margherita, Never mind! It’s only The Wishing Moon that is translated and you have read that already. Maybe an Italian publisher will buy the rights to my latest book. I can only hope! In the meantime, BIG congratulations on doing so well in English. Keep it up Margherita! All best wishes, Alison 🙂

      Like

  5. Margherita polimeni says:

    Sure. Love Margherita 🙂

    Like

  6. Margherita polimeni says:

    Can you reply me please?

    Like

  7. Margherita polimeni says:

    Thank you very much for your reply. It was very kind of you. I will certainly follow your suggestion . I’d like to write my opinion when I finish to read them. Kisses Margherita.

    Like

  8. Margherita polimeni says:

    Can you reply me, please? Margherita

    Like

  9. Margherita polimeni says:

    Hi, I’ m Margherita, I’m Italian and I’m 11. I have read your novel the wishing moon, and i liked it very much. I have also written a comment for my teacher of Italian. What other novel of yours could you suggest me to read? Thanks, Love Margherita.

    Like

    • Hi Margherita,
      My apologies for not replying straight away – my computer has been at the IT shop being fixed – a virus! But I got it back this morning so here I am!
      I am delighted that you liked The Wishing Moon. I have just had another book for young adults published, called Days Like This, which you may like. It is published by Penguin Australia and they are in the process of trying to sell the rights in Europe and the US, so you will not be able to buy it yet.
      It may be available soon on Kindle if you have an e-reader, or you could order it from a site such as this and they can send it to you: http://www.booktopia.com.au/days-like-this/prod9780143206545.html
      At present, my other books for young adults are out of print, but I am in the process of transferring them to Kindle, so people will eventually be able to download them as ebooks for a small amount.
      If you would like to look at my Goodreads site (you may already have done this), you will be able to get an idea of what the books are about and what might appeal to you. Here is the link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/604016.Alison_Stewart
      You might enjoy The Year The Star Fell, The Memory Shell or maybe Sweetwater Night.
      It is lovely to hear from you, Margherita and please do keep in touch,
      Alisonx
      PS I am impressed with your English. If only I could speak Italian as well (or at all!)

      Like

  10. Bridget says:

    Hi Alison.
    A couple of the classes at my school have been lucky enough to read your most recent book Day’s Like This. I along with my class and teacher read the book and thought it was excellent. I love the book and will definitely have to check out some of your other books. Thank you for writing such a great book.

    Like

    • Hi Bridget,
      Thank you so much for writing to me to say that you enjoyed Days Like This. It’s really terrific to hear from people who have read books you have written and taken the trouble to write.
      It takes ages to write a book and go through the entire editing process, so your comment is much appreciated. It’s my first dystopian book. The others have been realistic stories, but I really enjoyed writing it because I love to lose myself in dystopian scenarios 🙂
      Take care and happy reading!
      Alison

      Like

  11. milatje says:

    heey alison,
    I wish you good luck with writing books.
    I have a lot of books you read.
    continue writing in the future
    Greetings from your biggest fan mila

    Like

    • Hi Milatje,
      It’s lovely to hear from you and thank you for your good wishes. I wonder if you have read my newest book, Days Like This? It has just been published by Penguin, but only in Australia.
      Anyway, wishing you all the best.
      Happy reading!
      Alison

      Like

  12. cecile yazbek says:

    Hi Alison,
    I am in shock that it has taken me 20 years! to be given a copy of Bitterbloom by a friend – I do believe we were at Rhodes together – I was in Olive Schreiner from 1971,’72 and then went to digs in New St.
    Anyway, I love your book for all the de ja vous – people and places – will look for your others. Meantime, my “Olive trees around my table – Growing up Lebanese in the old South Africa” was pub by East Street, Adelaide in 2007; “Mezze to Milk tart – From the Middle East to Africa in my vegatarian kitchen” is due out any day with a launch in Sydney; my novel is complete and yet to go to press. It would be lovely to meet at some point to say hello – I’ll look for you on Facebook where you may find me.
    More good words and strong lines to you. All the best

    Like

    • Hi Cecile,
      So lovely to hear from you! In fact, I have your book on my bedside table ready to read. My sister (who is still in Cape Town) gave it to me recently and it looks wonderful. I had seen it on the Rhodes alumni website. So I look forward to reading it, esp as I am almost finished a “chilhood memoir” of my own about grwoing up in CT. I was in Olive Schreiner from ’72 to 74 inclusive, so we must have overlapped, mustn’t we? Messe to Milk tast sounds excellent too – I’m a bit of a fan of both, I have to say.
      Anyway, I assume you are in Adelaide? If you are ever visiting Sydney, do be in touch. I’ve been away this weekend and have just returned but will look you up on Fb tomorrow and send a message. Thank you for your kind words. Will be in touch!

      Like

  13. Dagmar says:

    Hi Alison,
    Dagmar again.
    how old are you anyway?
    greetings Dagmar

    Like

  14. Dagmar says:

    Thanks!!
    thanks for the information alison!!!
    may ik have your autograph from you?
    I vind so wonderful!
    thank you very much.
    greetings Dagmar

    Like

  15. Dagmar says:

    Hi Alison,
    I love my book review of The year the star fell.
    I want information about you but I can not find.
    Would you send me information en pictures?
    I am ten almost eleven years.
    Greetings Dagmar

    Like

    • Hi Dagmar,
      Lovely to hear from you. I am happy to send information.
      Do you maybe have some questions for me? And what type of pictures would you like?
      Have you read “The Year The Star Fell” in Dutch or in English?
      Please let me know how I can help you.
      Very best wishes from Alison

      Like

      • Dagmar says:

        Hi Alison,
        I like that you’ve mailed me back.
        I would like some pictures of you and you want to book.
        a few of the foro illustatice was the year of the star fell.
        maybe you can give me a twenty-five signatures?
        I can distribute them in class.
        I’ve read in Dutch, because I myself am down lads.

        Like

  16. Floratina says:

    Hi.

    I was adding a Dutch translation of your book The year the star fell on goodreads and I happened to see your page with published books. I would like to tell you that the Dutch name of The year the star fell is incorrect.
    It should be ‘Valse vriendschap’ instead of ‘Valse vriendskaap’. I thought you might wanted to know that.

    Bye!

    Like

    • Hi Floratina. Oops! Thank you for letting me know the error – Valse Vriedskaap probably means something completely different in Dutch, like False Friend sheep. What an idiot I am. Anyway, it’s now fixed. Thanks also for adding The Year The Star Fell to good reads – I’m glad you liked it. Best wishes to you!

      Like

      • Floratina says:

        Well, I think it can be really hard to don’t make any silly mistakes when writing in a language you don’t understand. I’m pleased to tell you that vriedskaap in Dutch doesn’t mean anything, but it just looked weird. The word sounds more like Afrikaans than Dutch, but those languages are linked. I’m glad I could help you!

        Like

  17. Hello Alison,

    Love the synopsis of ‘Days Like This’ – any chance it will be published in the States?

    Thanks,
    Linds

    Like

    • Hi Linds, I’m so glad you liked the synopsis of “Days Like This”. It will be published in Australia in September 2011 and Penguin Australia will be offering the rights in the States as well as elsewhere. I hope it will be taken up and I’ll definitely keep you posted! All the best, Alison

      Like

  18. Hi Alison, I think your website is absolutely excellent and have enjoyed reading not only about your books, but also your life and achievements, and what a lot of achievements there are. Congratulations, I look forward to your next book, perhaps your masterpiece?

    Like

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