Bates, Dianne 1948-

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BATES, Dianne 1948-


PERSONAL: Born March 20, 1948, in Sydney, Australia; daughter of Richard Amos (a truck driver) and Moira (a factor worker; maiden name, Power) Bates; married Bill Condon (a writer), April 21; children: Claire Tremblay, Kathleen Julia (deceased). Education: Wollongong University, earned teaching diploma and B.A. Politics: "Left-wing." Religion: Atheist. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, swimming, playing Scrabble (in tournaments), movies, painting, sculpture, crafts, cycling.




ADDRESSES: Home and offıce—20 Kulgoa Rd., Woonona, New South Wales 2517, Australia. E-mail— [email protected]


CAREER: Writer and educator. Has worked as a nurse's assistant, youth worker in a home for delinquent girls, advertising salesperson, dishwasher, factory worker, university lecturer, cable television and community radio presenter, foster mother, voluntary welfare counselor, newsletter editor, journalist, newspaper editor, children's magazine editor, teacher, performer in schools, storyteller-in-residence, manager of a children's arts and crafts center, manuscript assessor, and bookseller. Owner and founder of Wordaholic Workshop, where she works as an accredited performer and writing tutor at approximately 500 schools throughout Australia.


MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Sydney Network of Children's Authors & Illustrators (founding member), Children's Book Council of New South Wales (president of southwestern branch, 1991-94).


AWARDS, HONORS: Multicultural Children's Literature Award, 1993, for I'm an Australian: A Class Journal; West Australian Young Readers' Book Award, younger readers, 1988, for Grandma Cadbury's Trucking Tales; writer's fellowships, Literature Board of the Australia Council, 1987 and 1988; Varuna Writers' Centre Fellowship, 1989; Notable Book selection, Children's Book Council of Australia, 2001, for The Shape.


WRITINGS:


CHILDREN'S FICTION


Terri, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1981.

Piggy Moss, illustrated by Bill Farr, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1982.

The Belligrumble Bigfoot, Kangaroo Press (Kenthurst, New South Wales, Australia), 1984.

Thirteen Going on Forty, Hodder & Stoughton (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1986, published as The Last Refuge, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

The Worst Cook in the World, Methuen (North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia), 1987.

(Reteller) The Little Red Hen (play), Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1987.

(Reteller) The Musicians of Bremen (play), Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1987.

The Magician, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1988.

A Night at Benny's, Harcourt Brace (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1989.

When Melissa-Ann Came to Dinner, Harcourt Brace (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1989.

Candy in the Kitchen, Collins (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1989.

The Boy Who Loved Chocolate, Omnibus (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 1990.

(Compiler) Christmas Stories, illustrated by Melissa Webb, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

(With Mary Small) Who Pushed Humpty?, illustrated by Craig Smith, Mimosa (Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia), 1992.

Making Friends on Beacon Street, Mimosa (Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia), 1992.

Belly Busters, Red Fox (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1994.

My Wacky Gran, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1994.

Supermouth, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

The Curse of King Nevertrustme, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

We Care for Our School, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

My Other Mother, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

Getting Even, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

In Big Trouble, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

Rotten Rellies, Thomas Nelson Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Schools at War, Random House (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Brad the Wonder Baby, Blake Education (Glebe, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

The Shape, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.

Kings of the Creek, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Cinderfella, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Fangs, Thomas Nelson Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Crash Landing, Thomas Nelson Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Carl's Cafe, Thomas Nelson Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Dateless & Desperate, Pearson Education (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Boys Only (No Girls), Otford Press (Miranda, New South Wales, Australia), 2002.

Urgent Delivery, Thomas Nelson Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Between You and Me, Pearson Education (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.


"GRANDMA CADBURY" SERIES


Grandma Cadbury's Trucking Tales, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1987.

Grandma Cadbury's Safari Tours, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1989.

Grandma Cadbury's Bikie Gang, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1993.

Grandma Cadbury's Water World, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

"BUSHRANGER" SERIES


Basil Bopp the Burper, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

Daring Dora & the All-Girl Gang, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

Jacob Fang & His Feral Family, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

Dame Nellie Nickabocka, Shooting Star, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

Billy Fishbone, King of the Kids, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Hairy Hannah & the Grandad Gang, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Desert Dan the Dunnyman, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Scrum O'Crum & the Bushranger Babies, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.

Nick Nickers & the Great Santa Round-Up, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

(With husband, Bill Condon) Bushranger Bob & theNude Olympics, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

(With Bill Condon) Ned the Nong & the Kelly Kids, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.


"SUPA DOOPER" SERIES


Big Bad Bruce, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1994.
The Bogeyman in the Garden, Longman (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

The Trouble with Parents, Longman (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996, Sundance Publishing (Littleton, MA), 1997.

Troublemaker, Longman (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996, Sundance Publishing (Littleton, MA), 1997.

(With Chris McTrusty) Promise Not to Laugh, Angus & Robertson (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

NONFICTION


The New Writer's Survival Guide, Puffin (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1989.

How Christmas Began, illustrated by Linda Forss, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

Christmas Make and Do, illustrated by Lorraine Hannay, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

Christmas in Australia, illustrated by Lorraine Hannay, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

Christmas around the World, illustrated by Cati Acin, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

Christmas Carols, Songs, and Poems, illustrated by Melissa Webb, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1990.

I'm an Australian: A Class Journal, Jacaranda Press (Milton, Queensland, Australia), 1992.

(Compiler) 1983: The Year I Was Born, Moondrake (Carlton, Victoria, Australia), 1993.

(Compiler) 1984: The Year I Was Born, Moondrake (Carlton, Victoria, Australia), 1993.

Top Tasty Treats, Jacaranda Press (Milton, Queensland, Australia), 1993.

The Funnies: Cartoons and Comics, Jacaranda Press (Milton, Queensland, Australia), 1993.

Wordgames, Longman (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1993.

Revise, Edit, & Re-Write, Ashton Scholastic (Gosford, New South Wales, Australia), 1994.

Famous & Fabulous Kids, Jacaranda Press (Milton, Queensland, Australia), 1995.

Villains, Reed (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996.

Resourceful Children, Rigby Heinemann (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Inventions, Heinemann Library (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Champion Children, Heinemann Library (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Contributor to Behind the Lines: Views from "Behind the Scenes" of Writing and Publishing for Young Readers, edited by Graham Spindler, Australian Library and Information Association (Lane Cove, New South Wales, Australia), 1991.


WITH HUSBAND, BILL CONDON


Madcap Cafe & Other Humorous Plays, Brooks Waterloo (Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia), 1986.

Operation Lily-Liver: A Shadow Play, Macmillan Australia (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1991.

The Slacky Flat Gang, Brooks Waterloo (Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia), 1988.

Stagestruck!: A Collection of Plays, Harcourt Brace (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1992.

The Case of the Kidnapped Brad, Mammoth (Dingley, Victoria, Australia), 1995.

Treasure Seekers, Pearson Education (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2001.


SIDELIGHTS: Prolific Australian writer Dianne Bates is the author of more than eighty-five books for children and young adults. Bates is a primary-school teacher, magazine editor, costume director, and school performer whose career is based on a foundation of education and concern for children. Her own behavior is an example: she and her husband, writer Bill Condon, have been the foster parents of several children over the years.


Bates's first book, Terri, was written out of boredom while she was living in a remote area of New South Wales, Australia, as she remarked on her Web site. After Terri was accepted for publication, "it gave me confidence to write a second, then a third . . . that was eighty-five books ago!" Bates commented.


Among her most popular books is the "Grandma Cadbury" series. In the first book, Grandma Cadbury's Trucking Tales, the irrepressible grandmother of young Cadbury drives a huge tractor-trailer rig, hauling everything from car parts to packaging materials across the length and breadth of Australia. Cadbury is at first embarrassed that his grandmother has such a job, but in short order he realizes how fortunate he is to have a grandma who is resourceful and resilient enough to do the things she does. Each chapter in the book is another adventure for the two, as they camp out overnight in the truck, perform at a circus, and help people in distress. A reviewer in Junior Bookshelf remarked that Bates "has written a lively book which, apart from any useful blows it strikes against sex or age prejudice, will make fun reading." A Books for Keeps reviewer noted that the book presents "zany tastes of Australian culture and humor." In Grandma Cadbury's Bikie Gang, the indomitable old woman is found riding around on a huge Harley-Davidson motorcycle, gathering together a small group of fellow bikers. "For reluctant readers especially, the feisty, unconventional Grandma Cadbury is indeed a treasure," wrote Kevin Steinberger in Magpies.


Bates also uses a motorcycle gang theme in Big Bad Bruce, published in 1994 as part of the "Supa Dooper" series. Bruce is the leader of a terrifying biker gang that roars through Australia, screaming and shouting and scaring the locals. The story follows the various misbehaviors of Bruce and the gang as they are shown to be a fearsome lot on the edge of violence. But the end of the book packs a surprise, as Bruce arrives home and assumes the role of caring father and loving husband.


Bates's work has also sought to illuminate the positive side to her own personal tragedies. "My most popular books have been the 'Grandma Cadbury' and the 'Bushranger' series, but The Last Refuge, my novel for ten-to-fourteen-year-olds, is probably my most important," Bates remarked on her Web site. "The story is narrated by a young girl who witnesses, and is a victim of, domestic violence. I was abused as a child, and am pleased that through this book, I have been able to talk to the media, educators, and other people in the field of child welfare about what I see as a deficiency of rights for children in our country."


In The Last Refuge, originally published as Thirteen Going on Forty, thirteen-year-old Mitch lives in an abusive household with her brother, sister, and "a mother unable to break with her violent husband," wrote Stella Lees in the Australian Book Review. The situation with her father worsens until a "final outrage" drives Mitch to report the abuse to school authorities; in doing so, she saves the family, entering a shelter for abused spouses and children. Mitch and her family confront the seriousness of the problems they face, and Mitch even considers forgiving her father after he spends some time in jail. "Mitch hopes to have found the last refuge, which is peace of mind," Lees wrote. Bates, Lees observed, "writes with compassion and authority" on a complicated and emotionally volatile subject.


With The Shape, Bates presents another novel based on her personal experiences, this time the death of her daughter, Kathleen, at two years old. The family in the story faces the shattering aftermath of the death of a baby, and narrator Julia has to confront both her own feelings and the changes in her mother, who is slipping deeper and deeper into depression. Depending on her own feelings, Julia is either comforted or frightened by The Shape, a moon shadow that regularly appears in her room. Addressing issues surrounding tragedy, the book "is a well-written attempt at an unusual subject for thoughtful junior readers," observed Janet Sumner in School Librarian.

Bates approaches tragedy and difficult issues in her writing, but many of her books focus on happier subjects. Other works, such as My Wacky Gran, continue the theme of unexpected role reversals. In My Wacky Gran, a young boy listens to Gran's improbable adventures in pole sitting, mountain climbing, and skydiving. In Supermouth, grandpa accidentally superglues his teeth together, and his grandson's efforts to help result in mayhem. Alex, protagonist of Boys Only (No Girls), yearns for new ways to scare away girls, but he cannot avoid the attention of Simone Temby, the new girl who finds him irresistibly cute. Basil Bopp the Burper has to run away from home and join the circus because no one can stand his burping habit. When an old lady takes Basil into her home, he finds that she has a disgusting habit even worse than his own.

Bates is also the author of a number of nonfiction books profiling notable young people, including Famous & Fabulous Kids, Champion Children, and Resourceful Children. The Funnies: Cartoons and Comics discusses comic strips and cartoons and shows kids how to draw them. Villains explores the history of Australia as an English penal colony and whether or not the early residents of Australia deserved to be called villains or even should have been charged with crimes in the first place. Top Tasty Treats provides information on children's favorite foods and snacks, including chocolate, bubble gum, and other treats.

Bates shares her life with her husband, writer Bill Condon, and the two have collaborated on several books. In addition to all her other roles, Bates is also a tournament-level Scrabble player. Among her dislikes, as she told CA, the author lists "cruelty to children; unscrupulous, powerful people and people who impose limits on themselves and others; drunkenness; cigarette smoke; and discordant music."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


PERIODICALS


Australian Book Review, October, 1994, Meredith Sorensen, review of Big Bad Bruce, pp. 67-68; December, 1994, Linnet Hunter, review of Big Bad Bruce, pp. 60-61; May, 1996, Stella Lees, "Beyond the Pale," review of The Last Refuge, p. 58.

Books for Keeps, March, 1989, review of GrandmaCadbury's Trucking Tales, p. 19.

Junior Bookshelf, June, 1988, review of GrandmaCadbury's Trucking Tales, p. 134.

Magpies, July, 1993, Kevin Steinberger, review of Grandma Cadbury's Bikie Gang, p. 32; March, 1995, Nola Allen, review of My Wacky Gran, p. 24.

School Librarian, November, 1987, Sheila Armstrong, review of Grandma Cadbury's Trucking Tales, p. 327; autumn, 2001, Janet Sumner, review of The Shape, p. 135.


ONLINE


Allen & Unwin Web Site,http://www.allen-unwin.com.au/ (August 21, 2003), profile of Dianne Bates.

Diane Bates Web Site,http://www.users.bigpond.com/billcondon/dibates.html/ (August 21, 2003).

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