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Open Right

David Lawrence


David is a comedy writer/performer who has written for numerous TV shows including Hamish & Andy, Comedy Inc., TV Burp and Talkin’ About Your Generation, and accidentally became a children’s author in 2008.

His books, Anna Flowers, as well as the Fox Swift, Ball Stars and Maxi the Lifeguard series all have sporting themes and use comedy to tackle issues such as bullying and racism in schools.

David’s latest book Ruby and the Pen involves a magical ink pen and (according to Kirkus Magazine) is full of “Roald Dahl-esque hijinks”. It is the first of fun-filled series that includes Xander and the Pen and Finn and the Pen.

David is a proud Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and works with students in remote communities to write their own stories.

Where were you born?

I was born in Brisbane but my Queensland links are rather tenuous as two months later we moved interstate. Dad was in the Army, so we were always moving. This meant being ‘the new kid’ at a lot of different schools – it was challenging but also exciting.

What other jobs have you had?

While I was at Uni I worked in a bottle shop, then after graduating went into stockbroking and later became a financial analyst for an oil company. Like most financial analysts, I then moved into writing and performing comedy.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Without trying to be too preachy, the themes of my books include bullying, racism, leadership, teamwork, and supporting others around you. The stories often have a sporting backdrop to engage normally reluctant readers.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Having a sold out season with ‘The Man With a Golden Run’ at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It was an autobiographical ‘reality’ show about my attempt to run the Melbourne Marathon – lapsing into a coma at the 39 km mark made the story a lot more entertaining! I am still very proud of the first TV show I ever wrote for – ‘The Big Bite’ (2002) that won a number of awards. It was especially pleasing as we were all unknown writers and performers and Channel 7 took a big risk on us. The show unearthed Chris Lilley, Kate McCartney and most importantly my business partner Jo Gill.

In terms of book writing, receiving the 2019 Children’s Environmental Award for The Stormy Protest (the second book in the Maxi the Lifeguard series) was definitely a huge thrill.

What are you passionate about?

I am especially passionate about improving children’s literacy in remote Indigenous communities. Through the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, I’ve worked with some amazing students from the Tiwi Islands to write the Japarrika series and Tiwi Seasons with Marius. The look on these children’s faces when they hold up a published book that they have created is priceless!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have been lucky enough to be paired with champion sports stars when writing a number of my books. Eloise Southby (Anna Flowers), Cyril Rioli (Fox Swift series) and Trent ‘Maxi’ Maxwell (Maxi the Lifeguard series) are extremely gifted athletes but they also work and train incredibly hard to be successful. It was great to collaborate on Fox Swift with Jo Gill who did all the illustrations. As the world’s least talented artist, I am always in awe of how illustrators can bring the pages of a book to life. And along with Jo, I have had the opportunity to work with the brilliant James Hart (Ball Stars), Peter Baldwin (Maxi the Lifeguard) and Cherie Dignam (The Pen series).


Staff that worked with David throughout the week said he was a pleasure to be with, polite, funny, friendly and engaging with them and the schools they visited.

David’s presentation was relevant, engaging, professional and funny. He kept the students interest (and an hour session is a long time to do this). There were lots of questions too and both staff and David have said they needed to stop the questions to be able to end the session.

One teacher librarian said that the students were more motivated to read after David’s visit, which is great and our aim is to help students maintain their reading habits over the school holidays. Another teacher said they were very impressed with David’s engaging and interactive session and it was the best she had experienced from any author.

We would definitely recommend David and hope to have the opportunity to work with him again.

—J. Branson, City Libraries Townsville, November 2017

David was terrific! His talk was thoroughly entertaining and inspiring.
He managed to pitch his talk so that it appealed to both the boys and their dads and consequently there were lots of questions from both quarters (and from staff).
We have had a lot of appreciative feedback throughout the day.
I would thoroughly recommend him as a speaker.

—C.Casey, Camberwell Grammar School, August 2014

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