Jackie French

Jackie FrenchJackie French wrote her first children's novel, Rainstones, living in a shed with a wallaby called Fred, a black snake called Gladys and a wombat called Smudge. (It was described by the editor at HarperCollins as the messiest, worst spelt manuscript they'd ever received . . . but has been deeply loved by tens of thousands of readers since.)

The messiness was mostly due to Smudge the wombat, who had a particular hatred for Jackie's typewriter (an old one she'd found at the dump) and left his droppings nightly on the keyboard. But the spelling was due to she fact that she's dyslexic, and can't focus on single words to see if they're spelt properly or not.

Jackie was born Sydney in 1953, grew up in Brisbane, graduated from the University of Queensland and moved to her present home in the NSW bush in her early twenties. She and her husband and son live in a house made of stone from the creek, with a wombat named Pudge, a mob of larriken lyrebirds, a frequently drunk goanna, a rambling garden and a waterwheel that provides their power when it's too cloudy for the solar panels.

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