Svendsen, Mark 1962- (Mark Nestor Svendsen)

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Svendsen, Mark 1962- (Mark Nestor Svendsen)


Born August 7, 1962, in Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia; son of Nestor (a farmer) and Dell (a farmer) Svendsen; married Rosamunde Anne Kneeshaw (a musician and composer), September 22, 1984; children: Thyri, Hannah. Education: University of Queensland, B.A., 1983; Queensland University of Technology, graduate diploma, 1991, M.A., 2004.


Office—P.O. Box 61, Emu Park, Queensland 4702, Australia.


Poet, fiction writer, lyricist, and arts administrator. Regional Centre of the Arts, Rockhampton, Australia, graduate administrative officer, 1991-92, administrator, 1992-95. Presenter at workshops and poetry readings throughout Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, 1995—. Queensland Writers Centre, member; consultant to Regional Arts Development Fund, Livingstone Shire Council, and Gracemere Shire Council.


Australia Council, Children's Book Council of Australia.


Writing grants, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998; Australia Council grant, 2000; Children's Book Council Notable Book designation, 2000, for Snigger James on Grey, 2002, for Poison under Their Lips, 2004, for Ratface and Snake-eyes.



(Under name Mark Nestor Svendsen) The Bunyip and the Night (poems), illustrated by Annmarie Scott, University of Queensland Press (St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia), 1994.

Three Moon Lagoon (novella), illustrated by Wendy Kneen, Greater Glider Productions (Maleny, Queensland, Australia), 1996.

Snigger James on Grey (young-adult novel), Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Poison under Their Lips (young-adult novel), Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Captain Me, illustrated by David Cox, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Ratface and Snake-eyes (middle-grade novel), Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Shadowsnake (elementary-grade novel), Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2004.

Circus Carnivore (picture book), illustrated by Ben Redlich, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2005, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.

The Kestrel (picture book), illustrated by Steven Woolman and Laura Peterson, Lothian (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2006.

Wacko the Chook (picture book), illustrated by Ben Redlich, Lothian (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.

Short fiction represented in anthologies, including Sounds Spooky, Greater Glider Productions, 1994; The Girl Who Married a Fly, Australian Association for the Teaching of English, 1997; and Let's Jabberwocky, edited by Jenny Poulter, Currency Press, 2001.


The Turtle Damns the Pursuit of Happiness (poems), Metro Arts Press (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), 1994.

(Editor) Songs of the East Coast, Central Queensland University Press (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia), 1997.

(Editor) Glenda Gabrielle and Meredyth Curlie, True Blue Christmas, Literacy Land, 1997.

(Editor) Dust Road Coming, Central Queensland University Press (Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia), 1998.

(Editor with Barbara Damska) Local Miracle, and Other Real-Life Stories of Survival, Benevolence, Hope, and Inclusion by South-east Queensland Women, MECDA (Salisbury, Queensland, Australia), 2004.

Contributor to magazines, including Northern Perspectives, Imago, Social Alternatives, Idiom 23, and Educating Young Children; contributor of book reviews to Courier Mail.


Mark Svendsen is an Australian poet and author who writes for children, teens, and adults. His novels for young adults include Snigger James on Grey, a coming-of-age story of teen friendships that draws on both past and present. Also for teen readers, the historical novel Poison under Their Lips focuses on a young, idealistic Christian teen who leaves his comfortable home in South Australia to travel to colonial Queensland and help control the region's indigenous populations. One of several collaborations with illustrator Ben Redlich, Circus Carnivore is a picture book in which the nonsense rhymes by Svendsen is paired with illustrations that School Library Journal contributor Genevieve Gallagher described as "an explosion of oils, ink, and collage."

"In the past I have written about bunyips, those mythic creatures said to inhabit the creeks, water holes, and billabongs of Australia," Svendsen once commented "Embodied in those mythical beings is the essence of fear with which characters, through their love and acceptance, can grapple and ultimately overcome. The Bunyip and the Night is a picture book of six poems on the bunyip theme. Illustrated by six different illustrators, the book is not for little children but works very well for older children. Fear of the dark, adults, lonely places, and ourselves are all topics which have been raised by children when reading this book with me.

"Three Moon Lagoon (the euphonic name is of a real place near where I live) is a novella for nine to twelve year olds. It deals with the notion that our dreams, or our love for the future, are our future, and if we cannot dream we are stuck in the rut of today, now being what we fear most. Of course, the two children in this nightmare work out a riddle to overcome their fears and claim the future to be their own.

"Snigger James on Grey deals with the overcoming of fear as the growth which the adolescent must undertake to become fully adult. The child must die, and the adult must begin to grow. My second young-adult novel, Poison under Their Lips, traces the life of an adolescent cadet officer with Queensland's infamous Native Police Force, whose sole job was the ‘dispersal of troublesome blacks.’ This phrase became a euphemism for murder on sight, a directive followed with all too brutal efficiency. This force, whose activities ceased in 1901, charts the period of one of the most barbarous and callous periods of official Australian colonial history."



Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Circus Carnivore, p. 853.

School Library Journal, November, 2006, Genevieve Gallagher, review of Circus Carnivore, p. 114.


Booked Out Web site, (July 29, 2007), "Mark Svendsen."

Brisbane Writers Festival Web site, (July 31, 2007), "Mark Svendsen."