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Open Right

Tony Palmer


Tony Palmer is a graphic designer by profession and writes part time about Australian History. His first novel, Break of Day is written with ringing clarity and real immediacy, putting his readers inside the skin of his characters.

Where were you born?

I grew up in outer suburban Melbourne. When we were kids back in the 1960s it felt like we were all the same. We didn’t have mobile phones or ipods back then. It was good. My teenage children laugh at me when I talk about my childhood. They think it was really, really dull.

What other jobs have you had?

I once worked in an advertising agency as an art director. I can remember starting my days at nine o’clock in the morning and finishing the next day at eleven o’clock in the morning. Twenty-six hours without a break. Wow, I was an idiot.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Australia and history. There really is nothing more interesting. It’s easy to forget that our parents and grandparents felt all the same things we feel today and it’s fascinating to see how they responded to the challenges of their times.

What are you passionate about?

I sometimes get worried about the limited knowledge young people have about our nation’s past. History is really important because it’s so easy to be tricked into believing that the things going on around us are simple and easy to fix. They usually aren’t. History can always shed light on complexity. It might be a cliché, but it’s still true: better to believe in something, or you might fall for anything.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I design books as well as writing them. It’s a funny thing being a book designer. I reckon I can go inside just about anyone’s house in Australia and find something I’ve created.

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