Sign up to receive our regular news and events announcements – we send about one newsletter per month.

Open Right

Robert Newton


Robert Newton works as a full-time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. His first novel, My Name is Will Thompson, was published in 2001. Since then he has written six other novels for young people, including Runner, The Black Dog Gang and When We Were Two, which won the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three daughters.

Where were you born?

I was born in Townsville, Queensland on an army base.

What other jobs have you had?

I currently work as a full time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Before that, I had a string of jobs. I worked as a groundkeeper on a golf course and a builder’s labourer.

What themes are recurring in your work?

We moved around a lot as a family. By the time I was twelve I’d been to eight schools. I suppose that sort of restless lifestyle taught me a few important lessons in life. It taught me about friendship and what’s it like to be an outsider.

What are you passionate about?

Books. I love the idea that there are kids everywhere getting lost in all sorts of different stories.

Anthing else you’d like to share with us?

I wanted to be a trumpet player when I was younger. I’ve also got a black belt in karate.


Loved it! It is really good for students to have a different experience and some of my year 7’s want to use his ideas in their creative writing.

—J. Corbin, Whitefriars, August 2021

Students were highly engaged during Robert’s talk – his humorous approach to story telling ensured the audience’s attention was captured for the duration of the talk.

—K. Elliott, Kilbreda College, September 2019

Robert did an amazing job at OLMC and we were so excited to welcome him here. The girls treated him like a rock star with signs and posters and queueing for book signings. He held them captivated and his talk was so well shaped and interesting – a great mixture of information and inspiration.

—M-L. Walker, Our Lady of Mercy College, August 2019

From the very beginning, Robert engaged with our Year 8 boys and had them captivated throughout his presentation. This is the third time we have had Robert out and I would highly recommend him as a speaker. Robert Newton’s visit to the school provided an insight to his fascinating life and inspired many writers as well as all the Year 8 boys to be engaged with their writing.

—J. Pagliaro, St. Kevin's College, August 2019

Robert was fabulous, the kids loved him, he was so patient and kind in answering all their questions and even signing some of their books for them. He came off a night shift and still managed to wow the kids. My hat is off to him for managing that.

—D. Dolly, Macleod College, May 2019

Robert was a really engaging speaker and our students very much enjoyed his visit. They were engaged through his prepared talk and also through his responses to questions. One student commented that Robert’s response to questions was a really full and thoughtful. He arrived on time, was relaxed about his presentation, was happy to sign books, have photos taken and to chat to sutdents.

—L. Perry. Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, November 2017

Robert Newton’s presentation was extremely interesting and entertaining and the students were very engaged. They asked lots of questions at the end and many stayed behind to get their books signed. In fact the time we allocated for the presentation was not long enough.

—R. Clark, Brentwood Secondary College, July 2017

The students loved him. He’s really engaging and was great at encouraging young writers to have a go.

—C. Hoffman, Hawthorn Senior Secondary School, August 2012

Enquire about booking Robert Newton

    Find A Speaker