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Eleni Hale

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development, Social Issues

Eleni Hale is an author and journalist based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, inspired by real life events, won the Readings Book Prize among other accolades and tells the story of one girl’s journey through institutional care.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne but I grew up on the island of Crete in Greece. At eight years old we moved to Australia. I didn’t speak English so this was a shock, especially at school.

There’s a lot of time to think when you don’t understand what others are saying and must imagine meanings and explanations for events.

I’m convinced my already over-active imagination was turbo-boosted during this time. Once I stopped nagging for us to return to the island and accepted this was our new home, I quickly learnt the language.

What other jobs have you had?

After completing a degree in Professional Writing/Arts at Deakin I went on to gain employment as a journalist at various publications. I spent the most time at the Herald Sun where I covered social affairs, among other areas.

Next I worked in corporate communications for seven years, mostly focused on workers’ rights and industrial relations in the realm of federal politics. It changed my view of society and disproved my previous notion that civilians are largely helpless to incite change. It’s difficult. But, people can stand up and be heard. It is also unreal just how much inequality exists.

I currently teach writing at Deakin University, run workshops, advocate and facilitate writing groups at community centres.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Of course, I love talking about writing. How to write. What to write. The challenges of making a story come to life. Those secrets of the journey to publications I wish I’d known.

Besides writing, I’m deeply interested in themes around overcoming adversity and negative expectations. From experience I’ve learnt that people can achieve much more than they thought, no matter what limits are placed upon them. I’m a strong believer in self-determination, education and community engagement. This is particularly in regards to foster care and homelessness.

Much of this stems from my years as a ward of state and the difficulties I experienced during this turbulent time. At 17 years old I had few options in life. I still recall the day I realised that if I didn’t fight to get myself out of the margins of society I would be trapped there, perhaps for life.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Focusing on my debut novel Stone Girl. It has:

– Won the Readings Book Prize for Best Young Adult Novel

– Shortlisted for the NSW Premiers’ Ethel Turner Prize

– Longlisted for the Davitt Awards

– Chosen for the ADAPTation program through Screen Queensland and Queensland Writer’s Centre. Stone Girl is currently in negotiations for a film option.

– Received three Varuna Writers House awards

– Books+Publishing gave it 5 stars – Shortlisted for the Younger Sun’s 2018 Book of the year

– Young Adult Book of the Year 2018 by Kids Book Review

Where have your works been published?

Stone Girl: Penguin Random House, May 2018

News and opinion pieces have been published widely

What are you passionate about?

Writing and stories, justice, education, homelessness, addiction and overcoming adversity.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Readings Book Prize Winner

NSW Premiers Shortlist

Herald Sun Review

The Today Show

Opinion Piece: Aging

What I learnt about being published

Stone Girl, interview with Boomerang Books

Readings Books

Mamma Mia

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