Heffernan, John 1949-

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Heffernan, John 1949-

PERSONAL: Born June 15, 1949, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; married, 1975; wife’s name Victoria (a grazier); children: Hermione Callista, Ophelia Agnes. Ethnicity: “Anglo-Saxon, I suppose.” Education: University of New England, B.A., diploma of education, B.Ed., and M.A. (with honors).

ADDRESSES: Home and office—Walcha, New South Wales, Australia. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Author. Formerly worked as a farmer.

AWARDS, HONORS: “Notable book” citations, Children’s Book Council of Australia, for Spud and Pup; Australian Children’s Book of the Year award, younger readers category, Children’s Book Council of Australia, 2002, and Children’s Book Council of Australia Honor Book Award for picture books, both for My Dog; Crichton Award for Two Summers; honor book citations, Children’s Book Council of Australia, for The Island, The Boot Thief, and A Horse Called Elvis; White Raven Award and inclusion in International Youth Library, both for The Island.



Spud, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, New Australia), 1997.

Rachael’s Forest, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia) 1998.

Pete Paddock-Basher, illustrated by Stephen Axelsen, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 1999.

CBD (science fiction; volume 1 of “Mythos” trilogy), illustrated by Matt Cosgrove, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 2000.

More than Gold, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 2000.

My Dog, illustrated by Andrew McLean, Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 2000.

CHIPS (science fiction; volume 2 of “Mythos” trilogy), Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 2001.

Pup, Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2002.

GBH (science fiction; in “Mythos” trilogy), Margaret Hamilton (Sydney, Australia), 2003.

Two Summers, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2003.

A Horse Called Elvis, Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2004.

The Adventures of Pete Paddock-Basher: Six Stories, ABC Books (Sydney, Australia), 2004.

The Mind Master: The Quentaris Chronicles, Lothian Books (Melbourne, Australia), 2004.

The Island, illustrated by Peter Sheehan, Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2005.

Heads for Tales (creative writing kit), Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2005.

Haunted Australia, Scholastic Australia (Sydney, Australia), 2005.

Sykie, Hachette Livre (Sydney, Australia), 2006.

Stinky: The Tale of a Smelly Dog, Hachette Livre (Sydney, Australia), 2007.

The Boot Thief, Hachette Livre (Sydney, Australia), 2007.

Eric & Einstein, Pan Macmillan (Sydney, Australia), 2007.

Marty’s Shadow, Omnibus Books (Adelaide, Australia), 2007.

Contributor to books, including H20 (short stories), ABC Books (Sydney, Australia), 2005. Contributor to magazines, including Cricket.

The book My Dog was translated into French and Japanese.

SIDELIGHTS: John Heffernan told CA: “Recently my wife and I made a big decision. We sold our farm. This was a huge change for us, really, having farmed cattle and sheep for almost thirty years. I managed somehow to squeeze in the writing over the last ten years, but gradually that grew until I was squeezing in the farm work instead. Something had to give. Luckily my writing was successful enough that we were able to make the transition.

“So now I am a full-time writer. We have stayed on the land in a scaled-down way, with a couple hundred head of cattle, just to keep us out of mischief. But essentially I am now writing all the time.

“This is wonderful, simply wonderful. I’m still not quite used to the feeling, but I am gradually sorting out the directions I want to go, and planning books for the next few years. Initially I want to expand the audiences I target. Most of my books have been for readers in the upper primary school to lower high school years. I have recently produced some chapter books for earlier readers, and I am aiming at doing more picture books. At the other end of the scale, I have finished a young adult book. I plan to write several more of these, for I feel the category suits me well.

“Any adult work? Yes, there will be one or two of those eventually. But first I have at least three years of other books to write. All in good time.”



Magpies, November, 1997, review of Spud, p. 35; November, 1998, review of Rachael’s Forest, pp. 34-35; November, 1999, review of Pete Paddock-Basher, p. 34.


John Heffernan: Australian Author of Children’s Books,http://www.spudplus.com (April 3, 2008).