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Shivaun Plozza

Author, New Speakers

Shivaun Plozza is an award-winning author of books for young adults. Her novel, Frankie, was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year and the Gold Inky; it won the Davitt Award for best YA Crime Novel. She is a former English and Philosophy secondary school teacher and regularly teaches creative writing skills to adults and teens around the country. When she isn’t writing or teaching, Shivaun works as a freelance editor, manuscript assessor and graphic designer.

Where were you born?

I was born in Warrnambool and grew up on a sheep farm just outside a small country town world-famous for it’s cheese.

What other jobs have you had?

As a teen I was stacking shelves at the local supermarket and frying fish and chips for busloads of tourists on the Great Ocean Road. I’ve had an unusual amount of jobs in the health sector – unusual because I have zero training in that area (I studied Creative Arts at uni). I’ve worked in medical records, as a research assistant for the Cancer Council of Victoria and on the front desk of a hospital emergency department. I was also an English and Philosophy secondary school teacher plus I worked as a CRT in London for two years, which means I’ve taught pretty much every subject and every year level at some point.

What themes are recurring in your work?

I’m most fascinated by writing teen characters that are struggling to come to terms with who they are and how they fit into the world. My characters are always smart, strong and funny but tend to make the worst decisions. In writing Frankie I was keen to explore the topic of media bias in missing persons cases as well as portraying characters from low-socioeconomic backgrounds with complexity and care.

What have been the highlights of your career?

So many things! Having Melina Marchetta blurb my first book, Frankie, was a dream come true. She had such lovely things to say and I got to have a quote from her on the front cover.

Winning the Davitt Award for best YA crime novel was such an honour. Frankie made so many award shortlists I was overwhelmed with joy. Being shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year and for the Gold Inky were big highlights for me.

The other standout moment was when Frankie was sold into the US – I can’t believe my very Australian story is going to be read by American audiences. I’m not sure they’ll get all the references but I hope they enjoy reading a story that is so unapologetically Australian.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You could very well have! As well as lots of school visits all over the country I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to speak at festivals like Reading Matters, Somerset Celebration of Literature and Port Macquarie Litfest2444. Plus I’m all over social media and have popped up online in videos for ABC Splash and Bookish.



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