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Jacqueline Harvey

Author, Curriculum Specialist, Education Consultant

Jacqueline Harvey is the author of 27 novels for younger readers and a Children’s Book Council of Australia award winning picture book. Her bestselling Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series’ are published internationally and have garnered various short listings and awards. Jacqueline travels widely, speaking and teaching in Australia and overseas.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sydney but grew up in Camden, New South Wales.

What other jobs have you had?

I started my working life in an ill-fitting pea green uniform in the fruit and vegetable section of Woollies where my job mostly involved weeding out rancid potatoes and peeling onions. Ah, Uni days! I then tried my luck working in a coffee shop where I soon discovered that I was utterly terrified of the coffee machine. Not a good sign. Fortunately, primary teaching agreed with me a lot more and I spent ten wonderful years in the classroom, before eight years as a Deputy Head of Junior School and another three as a Director of Development. In November 2012 I took the somewhat terrifying leap to become a full time writer and haven’t looked back.

What themes are recurring in your work?

School, friendship, bullying, positivity, optimism, travel, mystery, adventure, family, animals, food, respect, relationships, humour, intrigue and childhood.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Nothing beats the feeling when your first book is accepted for publication and you dare to hope that you might just be on your way. It’s always exciting to be shortlisted for awards and especially lovely when you win – receiving an Honour Book in the 2006 CBCA awards for my one and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was amazing and so too has been winning a YABBA and receiving Honour Book awards in the KOALAs, particularly as they are voted by the readers.

A huge thrill was being shortlisted in the Australian Industry Awards three years in a row and in 2015 having two books in the running, Alice-Miranda in Japan and Clementine Rose and the Seaside Escape. Filling the ballroom at the Four Seasons hotel in Sydney with over 420 people for a high tea to launch Alice-Miranda at the Palace which was followed by similar events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and London was quite surreal. I think though that the greatest highlights have come in the form of letters and emails from children, parents, grandparents and teachers, many of which have brought me to tears. To know that what you do has been important for someone else is rewarding and humbling in equal measures.

Where have your works been published?

Alice-Miranda is published in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Hungary as well as by Audible and the television rights have been optioned by SLR Productions. Clementine Rose is published in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Brazil. Both series are now available in over 80 countries.

What are you passionate about?

Reading aloud – I recently had the opportunity to narrate the first five Alice-Miranda books for Audible and I loved it. Education and literacy in general, Indigenous education, travel and golf. I’m an ambassador for Dymocks Children’s Charities and Room to Read and nothing makes me happier than getting back into the classroom to work with the children who inspire so much of my writing.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I’ve appeared on children’s television shows including Kids WB, Saturday Disney and ABC 3 and at various festivals in Australia, Singapore and the UK as well as doing hundreds of talks in schools.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

My husband and I are both keen golfers and we’ve played on some incredible courses including Pebble Beach and Gleneagles. While I love the game and have a respectable handicap, I’m certainly no expert; however, last year I had an experience I will never forget, scoring an eagle on the second hole on the Old Course at St Andrew’s. It was the first and only eagle I’ve ever scored – and to do it at the home of golf was pure magic. I probably should give up now as that could well be the highlight of my golfing career!

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