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Michael Wagner

Author, Storyteller/Performer

Michael Wagner is one of Australia’s most popular and original writers for children. His 70+ books successfully engage readers (even reluctant ones – especially boys) with quirky humour, fast-paced action and unpredictable storytelling.

What other jobs have you had?

I worked as a radio broadcaster for the ABC for about ten years. I’ve also written all sorts of things, like comedy scripts, songs and TV shows. But I think my favourite job ever was working as a cinema usher. I got to see all the latest movies for free!

What themes are recurring in your work?

Sport is probably my most recurring theme, particularly in my books for young readers. But I generally weave in as much humour as I can, so most of my sporting stories can be read for either the action or the comedy.

Another theme that seems to crop up often is ‘beating the odds’. I love to give sweet-natured character a near-impossible problem, like overcoming a nasty bully or solving a difficult dilemma. It fills me with hope to see good people triumph.

And, then there’s ‘the importance of family’. That appears in just about everything I’ve written, whether it’s the loyalty of brothers (Maxx Rumble), the mateship of fathers and sons (The Undys), or the bonds between mothers and sons (Pig Dude).

Haven’t I seen you before?

Only if you’ve got very good eyes and an excellent memory. I’ve appeared on TV a few times as an author, and many years ago as the singer in a band. I’ve also appeared on lots of ABC radio programs over the years.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I once spent a whole day writing my own personal mission statement and it boiled down to three words: move, motivate, inspire. That’s what I hope to do (and amuse as well) whenever I write, or speak, or conduct workshops: move, motivate, inspire.



Michael was terrific. He adapted each talk to fit with the age of the kids he was addressing. His talks were funny and engaging, and the kids were all interested, and asked great questions of him. We have quite a few of his books and by the next day, we didn’t have a single one left on the shelf, as the kids all wanted to borrow his books, plus they all wanted me to buy his latest series “So wrong”. So, in summary, we were very happy with his visit and would recommend him to other schools.

—F. Haynes, Mount Evelyn Christian School, September 2017

Everyone was impressed with Michael’s approach and his engagment of the students and we would love to have him back again at some point. The students thoroughly enjoyed his sessions and found his ideas really valuable. We were, in short, thrilled!

—S. Dalton, St Michael’s Primary School, August 2017.

We had a great day on Monday with our visiting authors. The staff and student feedback was very positive and more importantly the books of the visiting authors are now in high demand from library! Naturally each author had their own style for presentation but each was considerate of the group before them and adjusted the talks accordingly. Michael W was great and was very patient with our year 6 girls who think he is wonderful as they just love Destiny’s Right Hand – the year 3 & 4 girls have all made their own ‘Ted’ puppets.

—R. Hirst, Lowther Hall, September 2012

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