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Doug MacLeod had his first book published at the age of sixteen, which earned him a fan letter from British comedian John Cleese. After graduating from the writing course at The Victorian College of Arts, Doug became head writer of the hit show The Comedy Company, and continued working full-time in TV for fourteen years, before leaving to write novels for young adults.
Doug MacLeod will take expressions of interest from schools in South Australia in May 2012
I worked as a builder’s labourer one summer. I also wrote the advertising jingle for the Jetstar ad featuring Magda Szubanski. My best job was having my own radio program on the ABC because I got to interview some of my heroes, including the late Douglas Adams.
Most of my books have moons on the cover – so clearly I must be obsessed with the moon. I tend to write about characters who are misfits, because I think I was when I was young. I try to make my books funny, but I don’t actually like jokes, and prefer it if the comedy comes out of character and situation.
In 2008 I received an Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Dogstar, the animated series I devised. I also won the inaugural John Hinde award for science fiction (which meant money), and the Fred Parson’s Award for Contribution to Australian Comedy (which didn’t). That was one amazing night.
My books are in Australia, England and America. My TV shows turn up in weird places. I went to Prague in 2000 as a total break from work, and the first thing I saw on Czech TV was one of my Fast Forward sketches dubbed into German.
It sounds shallow, but I’m passionate about comedy. I think that good, thoughtful comedy can achieve wonderful things. It can even bring about positive social change. I wish there were more genuinely funny books for young adults, but many writers tend to shy away.
My best known book is probably Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns, which started as a practical joke on a publisher in Adelaide. I had a lot of fun working as the script editor on Kath and Kim. (You can even see me in one of the shows if you look very carefully.)
P.S. My website is www.dougmacleod.com.au
Doug did a great job with his presentation today and the Teacher Librarians in our audience are now very keen to buy more copies of his books to return them to the shelves of our school libraries in Queensland. Doug and his carer Stephen were fantastic to work with and are both so friendly and down to earth.
Doug also did Author Talks with two groups of our Primary students and I had great feedback from our Head of Curriculum. She found his session excellent. My own 8 year old was in one of his sessions and hasn’t stopped talking about Doug and Dogstar and the dog character Hobart all afternoon so he has left an impression on her too.