Tony Wilson has written two hilarious satirical novels about celebrity and tabloid media. He is also the author of five picture books, and has worked successfully on television (Race Around the World and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever!), radio (Triple R’s Breakfasters) and print media (The Age and The Monthly).
I was born on the top floor of the old Mercy Hospital in East Melbourne. Mum had four children, and told us at one point that she was in it for the superior chops they served new mothers at the Mercy. Soon after, I was living in Donvale on Melbourne’s outer east. I remember a big willow tree, and an Alsatian that murdered my rabbit Raphael.
I grew up wanting to be a professional AFL footballer like my father. I got pretty close, making the senior list and playing reserve grade for Hawthorn. Apart from footy, I also worked in the intimate apparel section of a major department store, hanging bras on hooks. I can still name a bra for every letter of the alphabet. A is for Adorable, B is for Bendon …
I’m very interested in the media, and the way celebrity culture is fanned by the media. Both my satirical novels have related to sporting celebrity and public manipulation by the tabloid media. For six years on radio, I read the news each day, and it made me wary about the way information is fed to us. With my children’s books, I mainly try to make myself laugh!
My career highlight is still probably winning the 1998 series of the documentary travel show, Race Around the World. I was also very pleased to be named a Sydney Morning Herald “Best Young Australian Novellist’ in 2006 for Players. With the kids books, Harry Highpants was a White Raven selection at the Bologna Book Fair in 2008, and The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas has been shortlisted for the Crichton Medal (for Sue DeGennaro’s superb illustrations) and named as a CBCA Notable Picture Book.
I’ve appeared at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Writers Festivals, as well as being an occasional member of the Brains Trust on the ABCTV quiz show, The Einstein Factor. During the World Cup, I was the on the street correspondent for Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever. That was me with my shirt off pretending to be John Aloisi.
I can sing the Barry Crocker version of the Neighbours theme song in Latin, and I once signed autographs with Dermott Brereton leaning on his Ferrari because he made the kids get my autograph too.