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Robert Newton


Robert Newton works as a full-time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. His first novel, My Name is Will Thompson, was published in 2001. Since then he has written six other novels for young people, including Runner, The Black Dog Gang and When We Were Two, which won the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three daughters.

Where were you born?

I was born in Townsville, Queensland on an army base.

What other jobs have you had?

I currently work as a full time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Before that, I had a string of jobs. I worked as a groundkeeper on a golf course and a builder’s labourer.

What themes are recurring in your work?

We moved around a lot as a family. By the time I was twelve I’d been to eight schools. I suppose that sort of restless lifestyle taught me a few important lessons in life. It taught me about friendship and what’s it like to be an outsider.

What are you passionate about?

Books. I love the idea that there are kids everywhere getting lost in all sorts of different stories.

Anthing else you’d like to share with us?

I wanted to be a trumpet player when I was younger. I’ve also got a black belt in karate.


The students loved him. He’s really engaging and was great at encouraging young writers to have a go.

—C. Hoffman, Hawthorn Senior Secondary School, August 2012

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