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    Simon is an award-winning author from Canberra, Australia. He writes stories for young people that are fast-paced, funny and often a little bit quirky.

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The prodigal author returns…to Canberra

Whew! April was quite the month for me. Because only a few days after I flew back from the Somerset Celebration of Literature, I moved from Melbourne to Canberra.

Now, if you’ve ever moved house, you’ll know that it’s about as much fun as poking a cactus into your eye. Well, moving interstate is even worse – maybe about as much fun as poking a cactus into your eye while eating rusty nails in a bathtub full of cold mucus. But finally, after packing up 100-odd cardboard boxes and shedding 10,000-odd tears of frustration, me, my wife, and my faithful hound Mabel have finally settled in Canberra. Keen visitors to this website (hi Mum and Dad!) might recall that I actually grew up in Canberra, so this is something of a homecoming for me.

Now, Canberra gets a bad wrap from a lot of people, but it’s actually a really awesome place to live.

For one thing, it’s incredibly beautiful. The autumn leaves are as red as a baboon’s backside, the sun setting over the Brindabella Ranges is as orange as the crumbs at the bottom of a Cheezels packet, and the morning air is as crisp and clear as a biscotti made of ice. Yes, it’s totally stunning.

For another thing, it has a zine vending machine!

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(Just between you and me, I think Mabel is enjoying the move the most out of anyone.)


And for me, Canberra is a place to work on few exciting writing projects I’ve had churning away in the back of the ol’ head for a while. Watch this space!

The Somerset Celebration of Literature

One of the best things about writing for young people is that you get to be a part of fantastic events like the Somerset Celebration of Literature.

Taking place on the sunny Gold Coast, Somerset has got to be Australia’s best children’s literature festival. I was one of more than 30 authors and illustrators involved in the 2015 event, and oh boy, was it fun – three days of chatting to kids about reading, writing, farting competitions, and Mabel, my amazing talking dog. I also had a wonderful visit to the Mudgeeraba Special School to chat about pirates, detectives and things that go crunch in the night.

There was also a gala party with a free lolly buffet (my 10 year old inner self nearly lost his mind with excitement), a children’s dinner where I got to wear a makeshift fez hat and repeat ‘my name is Judy’ over and over again, as well as what could be the best pop-up children’s bookshop on the planet. And of course, it was great to catch up with a few dozen of Australia’s many talented authors and illustrators.

This is a great festival for readers and writers of all ages, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you are in the Gold Coast area.

I’d like to give the final word to the anonymous young creator of this charming potato comic posted on the festival notice board – I thought it was too weird and wonderful not to share!


Los Misterios de Mr Olfato Fino – Sniffy goes Spanish!

Sniffy the Mouse Detective goes Spanish in Los Misterios de Mr. Olfato Fino

Sniffy the Mouse Detective speaks Spanish in the charming board book Los Misterios de Mr Olfato Fino – ¿A qué huele?

Now I just need to find a Spanish speaker to read it to me!

Cover reveal: The Mystery of the Midnight Crunch

Sniffy_Picture Book_COVER

Hooray – it’s new book time!

My new picture book is entitled The Mystery of the Midnight Crunch. It’s the first story starring Sniffy the Mouse, a rodent detective who thinks of himself as Sherlock Holmes, but is really closer to Inspector Clouseau.

The Mystery of the Midnight Crunch will be out in September. In the meantime, how cool does this cover look?

Tough Times has launched!

Thank you to everyone who made it to Readings yesterday for the launch of the Do You Dare? series and the latest Our Australian Girl books. We had a fantastic turnout of readers of all ages, and the champagne and homemade cookies were well and truly flowing.

All of which means that Tough Times is officially launched and should be in stores by the end of the week. So get on down to your local bookshop to pick up a copy, or grab the electronic version for your Kindle, Kobo, iPad/iPhone or other e-reader.

Want to try before you buy? You can read the first chapter for free right here.

Do you Dare attend this book launch?

Good news, Melbourne! Do you Dare? – Penguin’s awesome new series of historical fiction for children – will be launched on Sunday February 23 at the Readings bookshop in Hawthorn.

And the even better news is that you are invited to come and join the fun.

The first two books of Do You Dare? are Tough Times (by yours truly) and The Bushranger’s Boys by Alison Lloyd. Also making their way into the big wide world on the day will be two new books in the wonderful Our Australian Girl series – Meet Pearlie by Gabrielle Wang and Meet Daisy by Michelle Hamer.

So come on down to pick up a signed copy of these fabulous books, enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea and rub shoulders with some of the superstars of Australian children’s literature (as well as good ol’ me).

When: 3.00–4.30 pm, Sunday 23 February 2014

Where: Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn 3122


Hope to see you there!

DYD launch

Cover reveal: Tough Times

My next book for children, Tough Times, will be going to the printers very soon. Which means I can now reveal what the cover of this action-packed historical adventure will look like.

Tough Times Front Cover SmallI don’t know about you, but I think it looks pretty damn great.

Tough Times is one of the first books in Do You Dare?, Penguin’s new series of historical fiction for readers who like a bit of action, adventure and danger in their stories. Coming to a bookstore near you in March 2014!

Writing update: histories, mysteries and an agent.

2013 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for yours truly, because I already have not one but two new book deals lined up!

The first project is something entirely different for me – a historical novel. A new addition to Penguin’s outstanding stable of Australian historical fiction for children, this action-packed novel is set during the Great Depression, and follows the adventures of a gang of boys in inner Melbourne as they try to save one of their families from getting evicted.

I’ve really enjoyed doing the research for this story – poring over history books in the State Library and flipping my way through the virtual pages of old newspapers in Trove. I’ve uncovered hundreds of fascinating facts about Melbourne in the 1930s (did you know that the Freddo Frog was inspired by the small frogs that live in Merri Creek?) and have managed to work a good many of them into what I hope will be a thrilling urban adventure.

I’ve also written some stories for a second project that is loads of fun. I won’t give too much away at this stage, but let’s just say it’s a mystery series and that there are illustrations involved (not drawn by me, thank goodness). Watch this space!

Oh, and I’ve recently signed with a literary agent, Pippa Masson at Curtis Brown. If you’re the head of a global publishing house with a six-figure advance for me (or heck, a few free pens will do) please get in touch with Pippa directly.

Happy Book Birthday to The Great Stinkathlon!

For he’s a smelly good fellooow…and so say all of us!

It’s a very happy book birthday to my latest junior novel The Great Stinkathlon. As of today, Marty’s brand-new ‘Smelympic’-themed adventure is available to buy in paperback from all good bookstores and websites.

And for the first time ever, you can get your fart-based hilarity in digital format. Head over to the Penguin website to download The Great Stinkathlon e-book.

So what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Copy of The Great Stinkathlon on a table

PS. While I recommend supporting your local independent bookseller, if they don’t stock The Great Stinkathlon (and why not??) you can compare prices across numerous websites at

Cover art for The Great Stinkathlon

Marty’s latest adventure is about to hit the presses, so it’s time for a sneak preview of the front cover! Gus Gordon has provided the hilarious illustrations once again, and the team at Penguin has done a beautiful job on the final design.

Cover of The Great Stinkathlon

The Great Stinkathlon will be published as an Aussie Bite in late February 2013.

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