Arbeat Publishers

On 20 July 2019, the world will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first-time humans set foot on the moon - and Mark will celebrate the publication of his new picture book, Moonwalkers, illustrated by Terry Denton. 

Mark and Terry have previously worked together on Jandamarra and Boomerang and Bat. They remember when Apollo 11 blasted off. The whole world was watching. Moonwalkers shares the excitement of space exploration with a new generation and highlights Australia's role in one of humanity's greatest achievements. 

Mark is a history hunter. He enjoys solving baffling mysteries, searching for glittering treasure and seeking lost stories. His book, The Happiness Box, illustrated by Andrew McLean, was recently shortlisted for the 2019 CBCA Eve Pownall Award. It is the little-known story of a book that was created by Australian prisoners of war for children interned in Changi Prison, Singapore. The original book, written to chase away fear and inspire hope and said to contain the secrets to happiness, is now a National Treasure of Australia’s Great Libraries.

Mark will be touring nationally during 2019, speaking about MoonwalkersThe Happiness Box and his other award-winning books.

 

As a musician, Mark spent many years touring, recording and performing with the world's foremost musicians. Now he enjoys working with students of all ages, inspiring and developing their natural curiosity about books, writing and rhythm.

“My task as a writer is to fossick stories that ‘sparkle’ and make us want to read, hear and understand.

The ‘spark’ to write may be something as simple as a dog-eared photo with a question that teases the imagination or an artifact that generates interest and discussion - a nugget of gold, a relic of war, a shipwreck coin. 

Research has led me to the island of angry ghosts on a search for shipwreck treasure and to the hallowed beach at Gallipoli. In Central Australia I sat in the cave where, suffering from thirst and starvation, Lasseter wrote his last farewell in a crumbled diary. These journeys of discovery help me balance creative interpretation with historical authenticity. Being in the setting I’m writing about, where the historical events actually occurred, is one of the crucial stages in bringing history to life.

The ultimate purpose of research is to become steeped in a period so that in my dreams and imaginings I can walk undetected in the past. If I’m lucky I can get close enough to read the expression in my character’s eyes or hear the tone of their voice.”

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