Dec 04

Books Writers Read with Hazel Edwards

Author interview by Hazel Edwards

Hazel Edwards and Susan WhelanI am very pleased to welcome Hazel Edwards to Reading Upside Down. I have been delighted over the past couple of years to develop a friendship with Hazel via email and social media and more recently to have the opportunity to meet Hazel personally at the Writers in the Park festival in Sydney. Hazel’s There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof eating Cake was a favourite story with my children when they were younger.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
Nicole Hayes’s One True Thing, well sustained YA teen voice, and Leah Kaminsky’s The Waiting Room, powerful, poetic and disturbing. Plus Three Dragons for Christmas (Christmas Press) which includes Sophie Masson’s story. This is a beautifully produced book, which I am giving to my grandson.

I spoke at First Tuesday’s Bookclub at Camberwell’s Dymocks, which has the most well informed readers and met both Nicole and Leah on the panel. One of the privileges of being an author-speaker. You find new authors.

Do you have a favourite genre? What do you enjoy most about it?
Mysteries with unusual settings where I learn about the real place and that society but also enjoy the sleuth’s problem-solving and care about the character.

Do you have a book you like to re-read? If yes, which book?
I rarely re-read. (Except for hippo books on request)

Where do you read most often? Why?
In bath. On Ipad when travelling. Audio books when driving.

Do you have a favourite book from your childhood?
No. I read very widely. I finished a wall of Enid Blyton by age 11.

How do you choose which book to read next – Cover? Blurb? Recommendation from a friend? Reviews?
Because I meet many authors, I try to support them by buying their books. Usually I read by recommendation.

You can put one book you have written and one book by another author into a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. Which books would you choose and why?
There’s a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake because it has been read by three generations to their children and the shared experience is part of their nostalgic history. The other book might have blank pages, so the future could write their own.

Can you share little bit about your current or latest writing project?
My memoir or Questory (Quest + Story) Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author (Brolga Publishing) is unlike my other books. Aimed at an adult audience, it goes behind the pages, to share the realistic details of the life of a long term author who also has a family.

As the back cover reveals:

Hazel Edwards has a cake-eating hippo on her roof , an OAM for Literature and thousands of book-children,as well as a real family. Plus a readership in thirteen languages.
Using ‘anecdultery’, Hazel explains why long term writing is risky but vital culturally. The hippocampus is where memories are kept, even those of Antarctica, where Hazel was an expeditioner. She shares her author work style, Hazelnuts mentoring and the quandary of how much to reveal. (OAM is not for Hippo as an Outsized, Awesome Myth.)

Hijabi Girl, a funny, junior chapter book is a co-written with OzgeAlkan, a YA /children’s librarian and illustrated by Serena Geddes. It will be available in early 2016.

There’s also a possibility of some of my work being performed. Children’s theatre is my greatest love. When a book goes into other media that is so satisfying for the original creator.

Not Just a Piece of Cake


Hazel Edwards is a well known and respected Australian author. Her work covers a range of genres and includes books for children, teens and adults and works of fiction and non-fiction. She is best known for the classic picture book There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, which celebrated it’s 35th birthday in 2015. Hazel’s latest book is the memoir Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author (Brolga Publishing) and her junior fiction title Hijabi Girl will be available in early 2016. Visit Hazel’s website for more information about her books and writer events. You can also find Hazel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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