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Gabrielle Tozer

Author, Journalist

Gabrielle Tozer is an internationally published author with a background in journalism, editing and copywriting. Her YA novel, The Intern, won the State Library of Victoria’s 2015 Gold Inky Award, and its sequel Faking It is out now. Gabrielle has shared her passion for storytelling and creativity at numerous events, including the Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Children’s Festival of Moving Stories, Somerset Celebration of Literature, National Young Writers’ Festival and the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s National Conference.

She has also been featured on Weekend Today, Triple J’s Breakfast With Matt & Alex, ABC Radio and in various media publications. An advocate for “paying it forward”, Gabrielle is also the founder of the web Q&A series, The Bottom Rung, which is an online hub to help students gain confidence before entering the workplace. Gabrielle’s third YA novel, Remind Me How This Ends, and first picture book, Pip and Pop (illustrated by Sue deGennaro), both hit shelves in 2017.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. After studying journalism and creative writing at the University of Canberra, I moved to the heart of Sydney and have lived there for the past decade.

What other jobs have you had?

Video store chick, academic tutor, magazine features writer, deputy editor, chief sub-editor, managing editor, copywriter… the list goes on! I loved these roles because they involved working with fellow creative souls, wrangling words on the page and, in many instances, pop culture and telling stories about fascinating people.

What themes are recurring in your work?

I’m drawn to writing big-hearted underdogs who haven’t quite got it all worked out yet. They’re often outside their comfort zone, or at a complicated crossroad point where the next step involves facing their fears, or, in many cases, they’re still discovering what they want – and need – in the world. It’s also common to see themes of love, friendship, family, self-doubt, bullying, embracing flaws and feeling like a fish out of water woven through my work. I feel like an evil puppeteer whenever I put my characters in tricky, emotional, awkward and heartbreaking situations, however it’s amazing to see how they twist and turn their way out of them.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Winning the State Library of Victoria’s 2015 Gold Inky Award. Speaking at the same festivals as my literary heroes, including Melina Marchetta and Morris Gleitzman – their books inspired me to become an author in the first place. Being invited to give the commencement address at the University of Canberra’s Orientation Week. Spending a week as an ABC Heywire mentor working with young storytellers from regional and rural Australia. Seeing my books in stores in Australia and America. Speaking about The Intern on national television. Receiving fan mail and messages from readers… and meeting my gorgeous readers, of course! That never gets old.

Where have your works been published?

Australia, America, New Zealand and Germany.

What are you passionate about?

Sharing my love of writing, editing and words to inspire and educate. Unlocking stories from within aspiring and reluctant writers. Learning from mistakes and finding what makes people unique. Practising productivity, stress-squashing and handy life hacks. Watching television. Bumbling through dance classes whenever possible. Eating hot chips with extra chicken salt.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Perhaps. Was I gasbagging on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram?

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Listen to Gabrielle on Triple J’s Breakfast with Matt & Alex (from 15:00-27:00 mins) http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/media/s3964764.htm

Check out Gabrielle talking about The Intern with Wagga Wagga TV:

Testimonials

Gabrielle engaged our students with her enthusiasm for reading and writing, and I am sure she left many students and teachers feeling inspired to tap into their creative energies and begin to write. Gabby spoke insightfully about the writing process and the importance for writers to separate the creative and editorial processes. Her delivery was upbeat, friendly and funny and she was well-prepared with audio-visuals. She signed books, gave out prizes, kindly posed for fan photos, and was generous with her time. We highly recommend Gabrielle Tozer and would happily re-book her for a speaking engagement in the future.

—Tracey Byrne, Brigidine College, St Ives, August 2018

Having Gabby visit our school was an amazing success. Our Year 9 and 10 girls were genuinely enthralled as she shared her writing journey. She entwined personal anecdotes and writing tips highlighting the varied and individual process writing takes. Gabby spoke about her books with such a sense of love and pride that the girls were inspired by her passion for literature. I highly recommend Gabby

—Louise Piggott, MLC School, Burwood NSW. September 2018

Each of Gabrielle’s presentations made such an impact with our Year groups and her workshops with Year 7 were delightful.

What an amazingly talented and generous writer for us to host – we feel incredibly lucky to have secured Gabrielle for the two days. Our English teachers have been so positive about Gabrielle’s sessions and her immediate and easy connection to our students.

—Gabrielle Mace, Head of Library & Information Services. August 2018

“Gabrielle Tozer is a breath of fresh air. She is such a natural presenter and had our young adult audience captivated with stories of her book writing processes. We look forward to inviting Gabrielle back to Penrith Library for more events and workshops.”

—Samantha McLaren, Penrith City Library 2018

Gabby Tozer was amazing as our visiting author for Book Week 2018. She presented to Year 7 and 8 students who were mesmerised by Gabby’s stories about growing up in Wagga Wagga, buck teeth and the bikini incident! The students lapped up Gabby’s words describing her experiences writing for magazines and took on board the pragmatic and useful strategies that will benefit their writing into the future. Thank you so much Gabby for sharing your passion for words and writing with us all.

—N. Schey, St Catherine’s School, 2018

Gabrielle Tozer visited Alice Springs in 2017 where she gave interesting and informative talks to groups of year 9 secondary students. The students were attentive and absorbed as Gabrielle talked about her top five tips to being a writer illustrated with stories about her life – some amusing, some heart breaking, to show them how they can use their own experiences in their writing. There were plenty of questions from the students following her talks which Gabby answered honestly and frankly. Feedback from the schools indicated this was a worthwhile and valuable experience for the students.

—Celia Oatley, Children's Book Council of Australia - Northern Territory, 2017

Our students almost demanded we bring Gabby in for an Author Day after meeting her at a writers’ festival excursion. Once the same students found out we had been able to book her for the day, they were beyond excited! The day itself was absolutely fantastic with our students enjoying all of the workshops, author talk and ‘fake press conference’ to answer the kids’ questions. The creative writing pieces the students came up with were of a fantastic quality and it was a very enriching day that fits well in to the syllabus and social/personal capabilities. Students enjoyed the day so much, Gabby was fielding questions about what students should study to be an author or journalist. Seeing the students so inspired was incredibly rewarding for all involved. I highly recommend Gabby for any school visit.

—Andrew Jackson, Chifley College Shalvey Campus

Gabrielle Tozer is an author, journalist, editor and copywriter whose passion for the written word was on display for all to see … From the first editions of her self-made magazines to the German edition of her first novel, The Intern, it was wonderful for the audience to see tangible evidence of her journey … It is these passing insights into process that, in my opinion, are the most valuable takeaways for the students in attendance … To close the presentation, Tozer recounted a personal tale that would mortify most teenagers. I won’t spoil any future talks by providing the details here, but the takeaway for the students was, in the fullness of time, an appreciation for the quirky experiences that make up our lives can open up a myriad of storytelling possibilities.

—Darryn Swaby, Somerset Celebration of Literature

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