Jackie French AM is an Australian author, historian, ecologist and honourary wombat (part time); 2014–15 Australian Children' Laureate; and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year.
Jackie was born in Sydney grew up on the outskirts of Brisbane, and is still not dead. She has lived for more than 40 years at the top of the gorge in the Araluen Valley, where her ancestors lived too. Only one school she attended burned down. This was not her fault.
Some of Jackie’s books have sold millions of copies and won over 60 awards in Australia and internationally. Others were eaten by the wombats.
Instead of hobbies she has: written over 200 books; built a house and power system; planted thousands of trees; eaten lunches with friends; read to her grandkids; tried to find her glasses; eaten dark chocolates, whatever fruit is in season and the odd feral species (some are very odd). She coined the term ‘moral ominvore’ to describe her diet. There is a dispensation for dark chocolate.
Jackie has studied over 400 wombats and been the (almost) obedient slave to a dozen of them. She is an enthusiastic cook married to an enthusiastic eater. If you visit do not bring cake. It is the duty of a guest to eat. Lots. Then eat some more. If you are worried about calories hike up the mountain and look for endangered species. But you will find more on a bush mooch than a bush walk. Watch out for the eight species of snake. Don’t worry. They’ll also be watching out for you.
Jackie writes for adults, young adults, and even younger humans, on history, ecology, and her award-winning historical fiction for all ages, but... write just one picture book about a wombat and no one lets you forget it. Ever. Please do not mention Diary of a Wombat or the word ‘prolific’. Or the story of how her first book was accepted because a wombat had left its droppings on her typewriter as, after 25 years of repeating it, she is bored.
Jackie is also dyslexic and patron of literacy programmes across Australia with a wide and deep – if accidental – experience in learning differences and methods and their outcomes for students, as well as a passionate advocate for equal-opportunity education. She still can't spell.
The Rights of the Child Reader
1. Every child has the right to learn to read, with the methods they need to do so
2. Every child has the right to access the books they need; for pleasure, learning, empathy and to grow their brains
3. Every child has the right to read books in their mother language, about their own culture
4. Every child has the right to say, ‘This book is boring. May I have another?’
5. Every child has the right to be given books that are free of racism and hatred
6. Every child has the right to access the extraordinary heritage of the written knowledge of humanity
Every adult has the right to know the children of this planet are being given the tools of literacy and the power of books to change the world and ensure our future.
The Vanishing at the Very Small Castle (the Butter O'Bryan Mysteries #2)
It's 1932, the height of the Depression, and Butter O'Bryan and his friends have another mystery to solve.
The Very Small Castle is home to Butter O'Bryan, his father, three aunts, friends Gil, Olive and Tish, and their dog, Woofer.
But now there's also a monster at the castle!
When glamorous film actress Delilah Divine vanishes in the middle of filming on Howlers Beach, the police suspect her co-star who plays the movie's villainous monster...
But soon more strange disappearances begin to occur, leaving the police baffled.
You can preorder a copy here
Coming May 2021
From one of Australia's best-loved storytellers comes an exciting mystery adventure story set in 1874 about the Cobb & Co.
It's a dark and dangerous journey for the Cobb and Co night mail coach, but when his coach-driver father is injured, young Jem Donovan must take the reins.
Surely a boy like Jem can't handle a team of four horses and guide the coach on a rough bush track through fog and untold dangers?
But there are six passengers on the coach tonight, each with a secret.
And if Jem can't get them all to their destination by morning, the seventh secret could be deadly ...
No Hearts of Gold
Coming December 2021
SOME GIRLS ARE BORN TO BE LOVED,
SOME ARE BORN TO BE USEFUL,
AND SOME ARE BORN TO BE BAD..
In this magnificent and broad-sweeping saga, award-winning author Jackie French defies the myth of colonial women as merely wives, servants, petty thieves or whores. Instead, in this masterful storyteller's hands, these three women will be arbiters of a destiny far richer than the bewitching glitter and lure of gold.
You can preorder a copy here
Christmas Always Comes (with Bruce Whatley)
Coming October 2021
It's Christmas Eve in 1932, and Joey, Ellie and their parents are droving cattle in the drought.
How will Santa find them on the long and dusty road? And will there be pudding and presents and a tree in the morning?
But Joey knows that Christmas always comes.
From two of Australia's best-loved picture book creators comes a story about finding joy and beauty where you least expect it, and how kindness can create miracles.
You can preorder a copy here
Get in touch
I love hearing from readers but can't answer all the emails immediately. If you need help with a school assignment, please check out my FAQ page. It may have the answers you seek. If that hasn't helped, have a browse here, here or here.
If you need to get in touch with me directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have publicity or media enquiries, please get in touch with Yvonne Sewankambo at
If you would like to book for a speaking engagement, please see Speakers Ink for QLD, Booked Out for WA and Victoria and email@example.com for SA. For more information on the terms of talks, workshops and school visits, see the Bookings page.
I may take a few weeks to reply to mail. Please write to:
PO Box 63
Braidwood, NSW 2622
Stay in touch
Sign up! Expect a newsletter once a month, with news about the wombats, my books and latest recipes. For past editions of the newsletter, have a look here.
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