Dianne lives on the south-west coast with her husband, Pete and dog, Harry.
Short bio (170 words)
Dianne is the author of 21 books. Her latest title The Last Light Horse is the final story in her award-winning ‘Light series’. It joins CBCA Notable In the Lamplight as well as Lighthouse Girl and WA Premier’s Award winner Light Horse Boy. The series inspired Black Swan Theatre’s, The Lighthouse Girl, Perth street theatre, The Giants and is currently being re-adapted by Theatre 180.
Other recent titles include The Dog with Seven Names, winner of the 2019 Speech Pathology Award, and now published in Chinese.
Dianne writes across genres. Her fantasy quest novel, The Shark Caller was sparked by the ancient practice of calling sharks and is optioned for film. Nanna’s Button Tin a gentle picture book story is about searching for a special button.
Dianne completed PhD research into anthropomorphism and loves talking about Animal Characters in Children’s Literature.
A second title in the Aussie STEM Stars series will be published mid-2022, joining Munjed Al Muderis – from Refugee to Surgical Inventor.
Dianne lives on the south coast of Western Australia with her husband, Pete and their dog, Harry. Dianne’s daughter, Sophie works in Canberra. Dianne also has three grown-up step-kids; Kristy, Justin, Sarah, and three grandchildren; Amelie, Mason and Eden who live in Perth.
Dianne grew up in Melbourne, Bangkok and Albury. Her extended family lives in ACT, NSW, QLD and Germany. Although she lives in the south-west corner of Australia, Dianne loves traveling to visit them.
Dianne has always been a bookworm. In primary school she wanted to be Silky from The Magic Faraway Tree. Before that, she wanted to be the Muddle-headed Wombat. Sometimes it feels like this latter wish came true…
Other favourite childhood books included The Sneetches, Bottersnikes and Gumbles, Anne of Green Gables and any story with animals in it. That animal interest never went away; Dianne researched Anthropomorphism in Children’s Literature for her PhD at the University of Western Australia. This also involved writing two novels; one is fantasy (The Shark Caller) the other, CBCA Notable The Dog with Seven Names (shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s Awards) is historical fiction set in north-west Australia during WWII. Both feature animal characters. Her new Animals who Talk website explores this passion for anthropomorphism.
Dianne writes across genres, from picture books for pre-schoolers to fantasy novels for young adults, and historical fiction for all ages. Her latest title, Munjed Al Muderis – from refugee to surgical inventor, is part of the Aussie STEM Stars series. Her picture book Nanna’s Button Tin is published in the US by Candlewick. YA novel, The Shark Caller is a cross-cultural quest novel. Historical fiction title, Light Horse Boy was a CBCA Honour Book and a joint winner of the Western Australian Premier’s Award 2014. Partner novel Lighthouse Girl won the 2010 West Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards, was shortlisted for two Premiers’ Awards, the Crichton Award, was a CBCA Notable Book, and part inspiration for the Royal de Luxe performance of The Giants in February 2015. ‘The Lighthouse Girl’ by playwright Hellie Turner and Black Swan Theatre premiered in Albany/Perth in April 2017 before touring Western Australia. In the Lamplight, the final title in Dianne’s ‘Light’ series was published in April and was listed as a 2019 CBCA Notable Book.
Granny Grommet and Me inspired by surfing grandmas was shortlisted for the 2014 CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year. Dianne’s previous historical picture book Photographs in the Mud is set on the Kokoda Track in 1942. It’s used as an international peace reference and has been published in Japanese. Photographs in the Mud and Lighthouse Girl are recommended texts for the National History Curriculum. Choices, one of three titles for YA readers, was commended for the Family Therapists Children’s Literature Award and is also published in Polish. Annie’s Snails is a chapter book for early readers.
Dianne is a passionate advocate for children’s literature in Australia. She served six years as WA Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (2006-2012) and was a member of the Albany Sprung Writers Festival committee for 10 years. In 2013 she won the Louise Schofield Award for services to SCBWI WA. Dianne is a proud ambassador for Room to Read and Books in Homes.
In addition to book writing, Dianne was invited to compose an ode to the Albany Entertainment Centre. With fellow writers, Kim Scott and Maree Dawes, she read at the building’s Opening Ceremony in 2011. Other regional projects include creating and recording a collection of linked children’s audio stories for the Northcliffe Understory Sculpture Walk and in 2012 Dianne was commissioned to condense the history of Albany into information chunks for presentation on ‘information poles’ along the Princess Royal waterfront.
Dianne’s love of books is one reason she became a writer. Her stories are about many things; different cultures, the environment, friendship, being brave, turns in the road and taking chances. She also likes exploring things from different perspectives.
Dianne presents author talks and workshops at schools and festivals across Australia and Asia. She is an ambassador for Room to Read, a proactive organisation that helps disadvantaged children change their worlds through the power of books and reading.
Dianne is a bookworm who reads and writes every day. She can’t imagine a world without books.
Interviews and Recent Articles
’12 Curly Questions’
(Booktopia, April 2014 – external site)
‘Know the Author’
(Magpies, Volume 29, March 2014 – pdf, 5mb)
A Baker’s Dozen Questions
(Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE – pdf)
The Last Light Horse (Fremantle Press, 2022)
The Dog with Seven Names (Penguin Random House, 2018)
In the Lamplight (Fremantle Press, 2018)
Light Horse Boy (Fremantle Press, 2013, 2018)
Lighthouse Girl (Fremantle Press, 2009, 2010, audio 2011, 2013)
Photographs in the Mud (FACP, 2005, 2007)
Nanna’s Button Tin (Walker Books, 2017)
Granny Grommet and Me (Walker Books, 2013)
Books for Middle Grade Readers
Annie’s Snails (Walker Books, 2014)
Horse-Mad (FACP, 2005)
Jungle Trek (Thomson Learning, 2004)
(Thomson Learning, 2004)
Being Billy (Thomson Learning, 2003)
Ironkid (Thomson Learning, 2003)
Butterfly Notes (Thomson Learning, 2002)
Novels for YA Readers
The Dog with Seven Names (Penguin Random House, 2018)
Shark Caller (Penguin Random House, 2016)
Choices (FACP, 2001, 2009, Polish version 2011)
Border Line (FACP, 1998, reprint 2003)
Dolphin Song (FACP, 1995, new cover 2002)
Lighthouse Girl (Association for the Blind, 2011)
Voices in the Forest (Understorey Sculpture Walk Northcliffe, 2006)
War Menagerie (Good Reading, April 2013)
Dinosaurs on the Page (Albany Seniors’ Recollections, 2008, 2009, 2010 Ed.)
Writer on Tour (Good Reading magazine, April 2004
A Sense of Place (RRR Network News, 2002)
My Story (Something About the Author, issue 204, 2000, US reference)
WA Premier’s Award Children’s Book Award, 2014 (Light Horse Boy)
CBCA Honour Book, 2014 (Light Horse Boy)
SCBWI WA Louise Schofield Award for Services to Children’s Literature, 2013
WA Young Readers’ Book Awards, 2010 (Lighthouse Girl)
FAW Mary Grant Bruce Award for Children’s Literature, 1997
Down-South Literary Awards, 1995
Society of Women Writers’ Bronze Quill Award, 1992
2019 NSW Premier’s Patricia Wrightson Award (The Dog with Seven Names)
2014 CBCA Awards (Granny Grommet and Me)
WA Premier’s Awards, 2010 (Lighthouse Girl)
CBCA Crichton Award, 2010 and CBCA Notable Book x 2 categories, 2010 (Lighthouse Girl)
NSW Premier’s History Awards, 2009 (Lighthouse Girl)
WA Young Readers’ Book Awards, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2002, 1999, 1996
Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature, 2001
The Wilderness Society Environment Award, 1999