Colourful children’s author visits Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 12-6-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



One of Australia’s most cherished authors, Morris Gleitzman, spoke about his passion for writing, the impacts of his literature on children and the enjoyment he receives from exploring his imagination every day to a vast audience at Notre Dame’s Fremantle Campus on Monday 21 May.

Author of more than 30 books, including the timeless classics Worry Warts, Two Weeks with the Queen and Adults Only, Mr Gleitzman said his stories reflected the essential qualities and values each person held dear in their lives.

“I wanted to suggest that stories, while we use them often for entertainment, have been around the centre of human culture for millennia,” Mr Gleitzman said.

“These stories are modelling exactly the same skills, abilities and cultural traits via the main characters as teachers hope to develop in their students in the classroom.”

The British-born author was an avid reader as a child and soon found a love for writing after migrating to Australia in 1969. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Mr Gleitzman’s colourful career included working as a department store Santa Claus, a frozen chicken defroster and as a paperboy.

Mr Gleitzman also worked as a television screenwriter for the popular Norman Gunston Show in the 1970s.

"However, it was not until a publishing company presented Mr Gleitzman with an opportunity to turn his script about a schoolboy who drove his family and friends “bonkers” into a book that his vocation as an author was realised."

He says that, for him, writing is a technical process that is assisted by a love of language and the ability to explore and evolve characters in any given setting.

“The aspect of writing that I most enjoy is going into my imagination, a place free of all the constraints of the physical and social world where I can have adventures in the context of that freedom,” Mr Gleitzman said.

“When I’m looking for, as I do with each new character, the biggest problem in their life, the problem is almost always timeless and universal.

“The biggest problems we face in our lives today are problems that humans have faced forever and everywhere. Everyone has a need for love, friendship, recognition, validation and, sometimes, survival in their lives.”

Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the Fremantle Campus, Dr Angeline O’Neill, said Mr Gleitzman exemplified the power and importance of children’s literature in contemporary society.

"Notre Dame was indeed fortunate to host the first week of Morris Gleitzman’s Perth visit,” Dr O’Neill said.

"“He is a major Australian author with a significant global readership, ranging from child readers to adults.

"“We see literature in action through Mr Gleitzman’s work. His novels simultaneously entertain and inform young readers, promoting social awareness through the pleasure of reading."

While in Perth, Mr Gleitzman was sponsored by Notre Dame to conduct a series of school visits which included Mercedes College and John XXIII College. These visits provided students with the opportunity to hear about his new book titled After and the chance to speak to the highly acclaimed author.

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