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Open Right

David Burton

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development, Social Issues

David is a multi-award-winning writer from Queensland. In 2015, David published his funny, sad and serious memoir How to Be Happy, which tackled an adolescence of depression, anxiety and sexual confusion head on. He’s regularly requested for his hilarious and inspiring talks.

Where were you born?

Brisbane, Queensland

What other jobs have you had?

Oof, so many. A lot of work with youth as a teacher or workshop facilitator. But I was also the skinniest department store Santa you’ve ever seen. I was also a polite and shy street hawker for charities.

What themes are recurring in your work?

How young people wrestle with the big questions of life is a subject very close to my heart. It’s discouraging to see youth unemployment, mental health and suicide plaguing so many bright kids. I’ve had extensive personal experience with these ideas, and I longed for an adult at the time who could tell me, very plainly, that all of this angst and confusion was normal. A lot of my work is about me trying to be that adult.

What have been the highlights of your career?

In theatre, having April’s Fool tour the country or working with historic companies like the Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe have been such rewarding experience. But the memoir has brought about new audiences for me, and meeting young people who have been touched or comforted by the book has been very moving.

What are you passionate about?

I’m a nerd. There I said it. So large parts of my brain are taken up with fairly trivial pop culture knowledge. But aside from that, I find myself getting very uppity about social justice issues, particularly around mental health. I think we need to find new, accessible ways to talk about the struggles that we all face.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Maybe. I think I remember you too. But your hair was different.

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