Friday 23 December 2022

Hazel Edwards OAM

Best known for There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake (1980) series adapted for screen and stage, and illustrated by Deborah Niland, Hazel Edwards writes across genres, media and age groups. Coping successfully with being different, cultural diversity and social justice using humour are common themes.

Author-educator Hazel Edwards M. Ed, B.A. Dip Ed, T.P.T.C. qualified as a primary teacher and graduated from Monash University after studying while teaching fulltime. Her first YA novel General Store (1972) is in the Untapped Australian Literary Heritage Project. Adult non-fictions include Difficult Personalities and Writing a Non-Boring Family History. Her works are published in Chinese, Korean, Finnish, Japanese, Russian, Braille, Auslan signing and dylexic font.

 Hazel Edwards has over 200 books plus translations & adaptations. Children’s theatre is her love.

f2m: the boy within with transguy Ryan Kennedy was the first YA coming of age novel co-written by an ftm. Hijabi Girl series with Muslim librarian Ozge Alkan also typified cultural collaboration by invitation and co-writing.

Keen on participant-observation research, Hazel received the 2001 Australian Antarctic Fellowship, went on an expedition to Casey Base and has published Antarctic themed stories.

She was the first Nanjing International Cultural Exchange author ambassador with dual language projects and later at international schools such as Balikpappan.  Also, a Reading Ambassador for literacy including YABBA & Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Honors include international ALMA (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award) nominations 2012, 2011 and 2010 and the ASA Medal (Australian Society of Authors) 2009. In 2013 she was awarded an OAM for services to Literature and in 2017 the YABBA Graham Davey Citation. Also, Patron of the Society of Women Writers (Vic) and a director on the board of the Australian Society of Authors for 20 years. ‘Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author’ is her memoir based on anecdultery as a creative structure. Adult mystery series with asexual Quinn her ‘celebrant sleuth’ are being scripted.

Despite Lockdown challenges, innovative Larrikin Puppets premiered ‘Hijabi Girl the Musical’ in 2022.

Widowed mid Pandemic, Hazel has four grandsons for whom she writes a story each birthday. Those whom she has mentored to publication are affectionately known as ‘Hazelnuts’.

She mentors those wishing to tell the stories of their extraordinary, but so- called- ordinary relatives or colleagues, the quiet heroes and role models who have solved community problems or invented new ways of improving the lives of others.

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