Speakers Profile - Nick Earls

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Nick Earls is the author of twenty-six books, including novels that have appeared on bestseller lists in Australia, the UK and the Amazon Kindle Store. His work has been published internationally in English and also in translation, and this led to him being a finalist in the Premier of Queensland’s Awards for Export Achievement.

Zigzag Street won a Betty Trask Award in the UK. Bachelor Kisses was one of Who Weekly’s Books of the Year in 1998. Perfect Skin was the only novel to be a finalist in the Australian Comedy Awards in 2003. Its Italian edition was adapted into the feature film Solo un Padre, which was a top-ten box-office hit in Italy through Cattleya/Warner Bros.

He has written five novels with teenage central characters. 48 Shades of Brown was awarded Book of the Year (older readers) by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and in the US it was a Kirkus Reviews ‘book of the year’ selection. A feature film adapted from the novel was released by Disney’s Buena Vista International. His earlier young-adult novel, After January, was also an award-winner.

After January, 48 Shades of Brown, Zigzag Street and Perfect Skin have all been successfully adapted for theatre by La Boite, and the Zigzag Street play toured to thirty-six cities and towns around Australia in 2005. The True Story of Butterfish was written as both a play and a novel, with the play version premiering at the Powerhouse in Brisbane as part of the Brisbane Festival.

Nick Earls is also the author of the world’s first etymology-based time-travel adventure series for children, Word Hunters, which was shortlisted at both the Australian Book Industry Awards and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. His subsequent book for children, New Boy, won Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year (8-10 years) and was shortlisted for the Children’s Peace Literature Award and the Griffith University Children’s Book Award.

His contribution to writing led to him being awarded the Queensland Writers Centre’s inaugural Johnno award in 2001 and a Centenary Medal in 2003. His work as a writer, in writing industry development and in support of humanitarian causes led to him being named University of Queensland Alumnus of the Year in 2006. He was also the Queensland Multicultural Champion for 2006.

He has an honours degree in Medicine from the University of Queensland, and has lived in Brisbane since migrating as an eight-year-old from Northern Ireland in 1972. London’s Mirror newspaper has called him ‘the first Aussie to make me laugh out loud since Jason Donovan’. In 2012, the Age included him among its top ten Greatest Living Australians (along with Bob Hawke, Warwick Capper and Shane Warne).

His most recent published work is the novella series Wisdom Tree, described in the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘a triumphant and extraordinary piece of fiction’.