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Jack Heath is the award-winning author of ten exciting books for young people. He started writing his first book at age thirteen and had a publishing contract at eighteen. His work is now sold all over the world and translated into French and Vietnamese. Jack regularly tours Australia to teach creative writing and shares his love of literature. His enthusiastic presentations have helped thousands of teenagers to get hooked on reading.
In the course of his research, Jack has gone scuba diving with sharks, traveled through Texas, Russia, and Cambodia, trained with firearms, toured prisons and interviewed guards, examined body parts at the morgue, read only books by women for a year, been a stunt driver, played bass in a rock band and performed street magic for an afternoon. He is also the Deputy Chair of the ACT Writers Centre. He has appeared on Today Tonight, Pyramid, Sunrise, Stateline, The Shak, Kids WB, State Focus and various other TV shows, as well as being featured in the Shanghai World Expo.
I was born in Sydney, but I’ve lived in Canberra since I was nine. This may be why so many of my characters turn out to be government spies.
My previous professions include fry cook, music teacher, web developer, street magician, tech support agent, debt collector, and rock star. None of these jobs is as much fun as writing.
An interviewer once asked about the theme of “breaking glass” in my novels. I’d never thought of it as a “theme” before – it’s just something that happens a lot because characters keep getting thrown through windows!
I love being able to meet the writers who I admired growing up. Chatting with Matthew Reilly, Bret Easton Ellis, Isobelle Carmody, Jeff Lindsay and John Marsden were definite career highlights.
My books are published in Australia, the USA, Canada, and New Zealand. From late 2011 they are also available in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
I love everything about books – reading them, writing them, and talking about them. I also love making music, dancing, and watching magic tricks (but not in combination).
You might have! I run a pretty popular YouTube channel, and I’m on TV from time to time. It turns out that game shows are a lot of fun, but only if you’re bad at the games.
Thanks for the opportunity! You can find teachers notes for Replica here. But more fun: I can never remember my shoe size when I go bowling, I speak tourist Russian, and I changed my ringtone to a coughing sound so I don’t have to turn my phone off when I go to the movies.
I just wanted to let you know how much the students enjoyed Jack Heath visiting last week. He was highly engaging and passed on good information about writing and reading. The Year 6 group particularly enjoyed Jack reading some of his choose your own adventure books and having to make decisions as a group. The Year 7 talk was great too.
I also received positive feedback from Staff. They felt that Jack was entertaining but also hit on areas that were good for classrooms, like how important the editing process is, taking time to write regularly and how necessary thinking time is. Jack also gave some great advice about characterisation too.
We would definitely have Jack back again and would recommend him to other schools.
Jack Heath recently spent 3 days at our school, running creative writing workshops for our Year 8 students. Each workshop took 90 minutes, and there were 3 workshops per day, so Jack was extremely busy.
Students were initially engaged by Jack’s sense of humour, and his storytelling ability. Having gained their full attention, Jack was then able to teach them a great deal about the art of creative writing. Each student worked on a short story inspired by Jack’s setting the opening scene. Many students then had the opportunity to share their story with the group, and receive feedback from Jack. All the feedback he gave was very positive, while also giving the students ideas for improvement. Jack then gave the students practical strategies for editing their work and carrying out their own refinements to any written task, skills which they took away with them.
A highlight for the students was Jack’s reading of the opening chapter from his new novel, Replica. Students have already been asking Library staff for this book, which is not released until August.
Our school was lucky enough to have a school visit from Jack Heath and he was nothing short of excellent. My Year 7 students appreciated his quick wit and approachable nature, and took great delight in the memorable and amusing anecdotes that accompanied his workshop material. He happily and readily answered student questions with ease and confidence and had all students in my class engaged and ready to write. My Year 12 Children’s Literature class learnt from Jack’s workshop about the importance of young adult fiction conventions and many students reflected their learning in their future work.
The day went exceptionally well and the feedback was that he was great – many students describing it all as ‘Amazing!’ Our students were exceptionally well behaved which is a testimony in itself!
Jack is a very personable and engaging speaker and the workshops were so comprehensive and such a good learning experience.
The entire Middle School (about 400 students) were in the palm of Jack’s hand from the beginning. He is a self deprecating, enthusiastic and hilarious storyteller who draws his audience in. Staff and students alike really enjoyed his presentation and they are still (3 weeks later) telling me how great it was.
I would heartily recommend Jack Heath as a speaker for boys and girls from Year 5 to Year 8. The creative writing workshops he ran for our Year Sevens were a big hit, particularly the boys who were keen as mustard to borrow his books afterwards. Some teachers are reading his books in class too, which is fantastic.
Jack is an entertaining guest speaker who shares his passion for writing and reading. Students enjoyed his storyteller approach and responded well during question time.
Feedback after the presentation included, ‘I haven’t read any of his books, but I want to now!’ We will be adding more titles by Jack Heath to our collection.
The Year 7s and 8s were beside themselves with excitement in their library lesson when Jack was there talking to them and listening to their stories. The boys loved working with him and he was so great with all ages. We are madly trying to arrange a time when he can join us again.
Jack is an inspirational speaker who mixes good humour with educational content. A must for any teenage group!
Jack worked with our Year 7 students for a week as a Writer in Residence. He was highly engaging for girls and boys and gave the students fun and practical ways to improve their creative writing. We would recommend him and would be happy to have him back.
Jack Heath was obviously a pro at this sort of thing. The kids hung on his every word and asked good questions. Their English teacher (who is not in the techie-brigade) was impressed with what he said about writing and refining your work.
Jack Heath was fabulous! All the Year 7s, especially the reluctant readers, loved him and were excited about reading his books and trying to have a go at writing themselves. They rushed out and went to hire his books from the library so much so that we have had to order more. He is an absolute inspiration, encouraging young adults in their literacy development. His blend of ‘saying it like it is’ with his humour and unique dance moves made the day so special for the students.
I wanted to contact you to let you know that we were incredibly happy with the work that Jack did on our camp last week. He was incredibly engaging and the kids who attended all loved having him present to them. Their feedback at the end of the camp was that they would love to have him come back and that he was by far their favourite session across the three day camp.
Please pass on my thanks to Jack.