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Open Right

Tony Birch


Tony Birch is a writer of short fiction, novels and essays. He is also an educator and teacher of writing and history.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Relationships within families; masculinity and the difficulties if communication between males; connection through community; memory and loss.

What are you passionate about?

Social justice, creativity, mutual respect and recognition, the three Rs – reading, riting and running, my partner, Sara, and my five children.

Where have your works been published?

All over the place. My individual stories and essays have been published in journals across Australia and internationally. The book length works have been published within Australia.

What have been the highlights of your career?

My PhD in History after returning to study as an adult in 1988, after being expelled from two Melbourne high schools as a teenager. The publication of my first story collection, Shadowboxing, in 2006. The realization that I was actually good at something – teaching – it is a privileged job to have.

What other jobs have you had?

Telegram boy, surgical barber (true), firefighter.

How you describe your approach to an audience?

When I talk to an audience I feel that I easily gain their attention and interest because they feel they can trust me, and that I am not there to speak at them, or to them, but with them.


Tony captivated the audience with his open and candid talk on what influences his writing. Tony arrived in plenty of time for his talk. He was a professional and highly engaging speaker with considerable knowledge to share with his audience.

—T. Sindel, Yarra Libraries, May 2012

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