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Open Right

Tony Wilson

Author, Corporate, Entertainer, Inspirational Speaker, Speaking Out

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).

Where were you born?

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.

What other jobs have you had?

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 …

What themes are recurring in your work?

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!

What have been the highlights of your career?

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.

Haven’t I seen you before?

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.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

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.

Testimonials

Tony was just wonderful. He rang me before and we talked about the theme being based on communication.
He talked about how good and bad communication had influenced his career.
He then shared his insight into his son Jack. We are a special school for students with intellectual disabilities.
Although his  talk was personal and moving he also managed to entertain us with his humour.
I believe he made many of the staff think twice about how to develop relationships with parents using better communication and sensitivity.

—H. Corlett, Emerson School, June 2016

We just had our visit from Tony Wilson this morning. He was amazing! Thank you so much for organising and suggesting him. He spoke to the whole school and was entertaining and informative. He read two of his books with great enthusiasm and his talk was right on message in regards to our topic today of sustainability. We really appreciate all the hard work he put in to making the day such a success.
 
Both staff and students really enjoyed the session and have been talking about it since!

—S. Austin, Heathmont East Primary School, June 2014

Tony Wilson was great. The Year 12 students really enjoyed his presentation which included his very interesting life story, career highs and lows. There were lots of life lessons interjected with much humour and intelligence. Feedback from the students indicated his presentation was one of the highlights of the day. He pitched his presentation exactly right and we would not hesitate to use Tony for the same presentation next year.

—J. Young, Westbourne Grammar School, May 2013

Tony Wilson was the main draw card at two of our children’s week events last week in Nillumbik. The children and adults loved Tony’s engaging and entertaining story telling. They were fascinated with the real life traffic light which flashed Mauve during the reading of The Minister for Traffic Lights. We were thrilled to have had Tony as part of our children’s week celebrations in Nillumbik.

—R. Birrell, Nillumbik Council, November 2011

My favourite part of the afternoon was when Tony had 400 children being dancing flowers. (Read the full story, care of the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, here.)

—C. Morton, St Finnbarr’s, August 2011

Tony was sensational and very well received by the students. We would definitely like to invite him back again [to our Year 11 & 12 motivational day].

—H. Glenn, Swinburne Secondary College

He absorbs his brief, makes constructive suggestions, and delivers a product that has been an absolute winner at each of the functions.

—P. Rowell, Monahan + Rowell Lawyers

Tony Wilson was simply brilliant. His attention to detail, his demeanor and willingness to assist with our evening was superb and truly appreciated. His capacity to understand the ‘business of the evening’ and yet bring his own interpretation, humour and delight was remarkable. Cannot recommend him highly enough. With our sincere thanks.

—D. Poulton, Illuminating Engineering Society

Tony was just wonderful. He rang me before and we talked about the theme being based on communication.
He talked about how good and bad communication had influenced his career.
He then shared his insight into his son Jack – we are a special school for students with intellectual disabilities.
Although his  talk was personal and moving he also managed to entertain us with his humour.
I believe he made many of the staff think twice about how to develop relationships with parents using better communication and sensitivity.

—H. Corlette, Emerson School, 2016

Just wanted to say a very big thank you from all the students, teachers and Library staff –both Donvale and Kew- for your fantastic presentation last week. The children loved meeting you and had so much fun.

—-D. Lester, Teacher Librarian, Carey Baptist Grammar, 2016

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