Cattell, James 1954-

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Cattell, James 1954-


Born November 19, 1954, in Wellington, New Zealand; son of Richard (a vicar) and Priscilla (a nurse) Cattell; married Dorelle Davidson (an artist); children: Ruby, Edith. Ethnicity: "Ex-New Zealand (Anglo)." Education: Attended Victoria University of Wellington, 1973-74, and University of Auckland, 1976-78.


Home and office—Victoria, Australia. E-mail—[email protected].


Honeyweather & Speight, Melbourne, Australia, partner, 1988—. Partner of a flower farm and a toy shop; sculptor and painter; puppeteer; creator of automatons.



(With Gary Crew) Gino the Genius, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Australia), 2000.

(With wife, Dorelle Davidson) Albuman's Quest, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Australia), 2001.

(With Dorelle Davidson) Confessions of a Bad Dog, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Australia), 2002.


James Cattell once commented: "As a child, I wrote a number of books as far as chapter 2, and illustrated them to chapter 3, then left blank pages with chapter headings up to chapter 10. I was very fond of short chapters and full stops. After the age of fourteen, I totally forgot about writing until I was about forty-two.

"I studied law, history, philosophy, literature, and art, but left university without a degree of any kind, determined to be a sculptor. In 1979 I left New Zealand and arrived in Melbourne, Australia.

"I worked for ten years as a puppeteer and street performer, and I lived surrounded by dusty sculptures and paintings. During this time I met my partner, Dorelle Davidson. After our daughter, Ruby, was born in 1987, we started an art business, where we produced murals, sculptural signs, and sometimes children's playgrounds. Life became very busy after our second daughter, Edith, was born in 1990.

"In 1999 we decided to try a new business and opened a toy shop in front of our home. The year before I had shown some drawings and sculptures to Helen Chamberlin (the children's publisher at Lothian) and Gary Crew. Gary Crew sent me the text for Gino the Genius soon after. Knowing nothing about the publishing industry, I had quite a difficult time illustrating the story, but everyone was most patient and eventually the book saw the light of day. It was an exhilarating experience.

"While working on the book, Dorelle and I tried our hands at writing some of our own stories. Albuman's Quest and Confessions of a Bad Dog have been published. Dorelle prefers writing in the peace and quiet of a small flower farm we have on the southern coast. I prefer to sit in our shop in St. Kilda and write to the sounds of arguments and screeching brakes, to which I add music."

Cattell told CA: "I have recently been tied up with the creation of sculptural components for playgrounds, but I hope to get back to writing at some future point."



Honeyweather & Speight Web site, (March 12, 2008), author biography.