Julia’s first novel, Obsession, published with Fremantle Press in 2001, won the WA Premier’s Book Award for Young Adult Writing. Since then, she has published fifteen more books for children and young people. Several of her books have been Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council Awards, and others have been shortlisted for various awards, including the Queensland Literary Awards, WA Young Readers Book Award, the Australian Association of Family Therapy Award for Children’s Literature, and the Educational Publishing Awards Australia.
Now, she has expanded her audience, moving into memoir with How To Avoid A Happy Life (Fremantle Press, 2024).
Education and professional positions
After leaving school in a huff at the age of fifteen, Julia has gone on to get several degrees, including a PhD in Writing and a Bachelor of Laws with Distinction.
Julia has worked in many organisations, from the public sector to private language teaching to Parliament (fun fact: she was both Sergeant-at-Arms and Usher of the Black Rod). She works as a consultant on legislation and policy as well as presenting to people of all ages on how to put things into words and explaining why this is a good idea.
Julia is an enthusiastic adult learner of Indonesian, yoga and the cello. Her favourite place on earth is the dog park.
She writes a regular blog entitled, ‘What Were You Thinking?’ for reasons obvious to anyone who has read her memoir How To Avoid A Happy Life.
Work with me
Julia specialises in the development of reports, submissions, and statutory reviews for the public sector, areas which make use of her legal, writing and governance background. She was admitted to practice as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of WA in 2018 and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
She has extensive experience in:
- Drafting terms of reference,
- Analysing policy positions,
- Designing workshops,
- Engaging with stakeholders,
- Synthesising submissions and
- Presenting logical, coherent and workable policy positions
Her eight years at the Parliament of Western Australia complement her time in the public sector and arts governance roles to ensure her advice is nuanced and strategic.
Talks and workshops
Julia conducts a wide range of author talks and workshops for people of all ages, and is an engaging thought-provoking keynote speaker and panellist.
Julia has more than twenty years of experience presenting to children, teenagers, teachers, librarians, and festival-goers on:
- Encouraging resilience
- Sparking creativity with the everyday
- Surviving the tough stuff
- Reading and how it develops empathy
- Mental health
- Special topics: space (for primary children); Western Australian history (primary and secondary); values in action (for primary children); life writing (for all ages).
- Engaging discussions,
- Safe audience participation (especially for younger audiences),
- Q and A sessions
- Activities that foster creativity for storytellers of all levels
Julia loves sharing her unlikely story of becoming a writer. Her experiences of going from shy child to high school dropout to an award-winning author with a PhD inspires and engages audiences of all ages.
She uses objects and images to bring her story to life, shows students how she’s used life in writing, and her audience participation activities are fun, safe and engaging.
She shares excerpts from her books, demonstrates how a story goes from a draft to a finished piece of published writing, and shows how she’s worked with different illustrators and book designers.
Julia adapts her presentation for all ages, and ensures that content is appropriate for her audience.
Julia is expert at presenting interactive workshops to help participants learn practical techniques to strengthen their writing and boost storytelling skills – a learn-by-doing approach.
She inspires students to look at the world around them through the lens of creativity, encouraging them to use their own experiences to make narratives that connect with others and to find new understandings of themselves.
Participants will leave each workshop with more writing than they believed they were capable of, ready for them to polish into finished pieces.
They will also have techniques to take away to ignite their writing.
Julia also fosters inclusivity by focusing on storytelling through the use of whatever medium participants prefer.
Mentoring and manuscript assessment
Julia has been working with emerging writers formally and informally for many decades, including during her time teaching creative writing at university.
Julia works on the principle of strength-spotting – seeing your unique abilities and suggesting ways of capitalising on that.
Writer for hire – writing groups, speechwriting, manuscript assessment, mentoring.
Julia spent two years as a speechwriter, and can create a speech for your event if you don’t have the time.
For writing projects, Julia can provide:
- Feedback about the structure of your manuscript
- Comments on individual chapters or themes
- Advice on the process of writing and editing memoir
- Submission advice
- Discussion on your work via online meetings