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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)

Watch Gabrielle talking about The Intern on the HarperCollins Teachers’ Hub:

Check out Gabrielle talking about The Intern with Wagga Wagga TV


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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