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Phillip Gwynne


Phillip Gwynne is best know for YA novels, first making his mark with the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Deadly Unna in 1998. Since then Phillip’s books have all received both high acclaim and popularity amongst readers, and he has penned works for all ages. He continues to write young adult novels (Swerve being the most recent), and his adult thriller The Build Up led to an epic thriller series for upper primary students: The Debt. Phillip now has a legion of young fans too, with picture books Yobbos Do Yoga, What’s Wrong Wobbegong? and more.

Phillip Gwynne’s first novel Deadly Unna? was the literary hit of 1998 winning Children’s Book of the Year and selling over 200,000 copies. It was made into the feature film Australian Rules for which Phillip’s screenplay won an AFI award in 2002.

Phillip’s also no stranger to writing thrillers as he has written an adult detective thriller The Build Up, but The Debt is his first series for upper-primary school readers and combines both his substantial literary skills and his ability to tell a good story. Phillip also has ventured into picture books with Ruby Learns to Swim, Yobbos Do Yoga and more.

What other jobs have you had?

I was a professional AFL footballer. I graduated as a Marine Biologist and worked for Northern Territory fisheries. I have also worked as a computer programmer. I have taught English as a second language. I have picked fruit. I’ve done lots of stuff!

What themes are recurring in your work?

The relationship between boys and their fathers (or grandfathers). Questions of masculinity. Of race. The impact of place on people and people on place.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about boys reading, especially boys who come from a background where reading isn’t necessarily encouraged (like mine!).

What have been the highlights of your career?

Watching my film Australian Rules (based on Deadly Unna) premiere at Sundance Film Festival was an extraordinary experience.

Where have your works been published?

Germany. France. USA. The film Australian Rules has shown all around the world, recently headlining a festival in Kenya.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am currently writing The Debt, a six book high-octane thriller.

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