PAGES FROM A WRITER'S LIFE
Anthony Hill saves the souls of all-but-lost children. (Max Harris)
Anthony Hill was born in Melbourne on 24 May, 1942. In a varied career he has been a newspaper and television reporter, political journalist, antique dealer, speech-writer for Australia's Governor-General, and now full-time author.
He lives in Canberra with his wife Gillian. They have a married daughter, Jane, who lives with her husband, Paul, and daughter, Emily, in Melbourne. They have a step-granddaughter, Lucy.
Anthony is published by Penguin Books. He is a member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Children's Book Council of Australia. and the ACT Writers Centre.
Anthony attended Box Hill Grammar School (now Kingswood College) and Box Hill High School, before matriculating and starting work as a copy boy and then a cadet reporter with the Melbourne Herald in 1959. He and Gillian married in October 1965, and in 1972 they went to Canberra where Jane was born. For more info go to Anthony's Q&A.
After five years as a political journalist at Parliament House, Anthony and his family moved to a village near Yass, an hour's drive from Canberra, and opened an antique shop. They were there for five years, and the experience formed the basis of Anthony's first three books. For more info go to Anthony's Books > Early Books.
Returning to Canberra in 1982, Anthony worked as a television journalist, and press officer with the Australian Public Service, the Australian National University and the National Museum. In 1989 he was appointed speech-writer to the Governor-General Bill Hayden and his successor Sir William Deane. The next ten years gave ideas for many of Anthony's books including the award-winning The Burnt Stick. For more info go to Anthony's Books > First Success.
Anthony became a full-time writer in 1998. But working for the Governor-General inspired his best-selling novel Soldier Boy, about 14-year-old Jim Martin, the youngest known Anzac. It led directly two two more military books – Young Digger and Animal Heroes. Anthony followed these with two more novels, This time written specifically for an adult audience. The first was The Story of Billy Young, A teenager in Changi, Sandakan and Outram Road (2012), and in 2016 For Love of Country: A true Australian family story of love, war and the ultimate sacrifice (Penguin/Viking). For more info click the book covers on this page or go to Anthony's Books > Military Books.
Family pets and Animal Tails provided two stories for younger readers, The Shadow Dog and Lucy's Cat and the Rainbow Birds. And Anthony brought a life-long love of history and research to Harriet and River Boy.
Anthony has written two novels for adults based on aspects of Australian exploration and the convict era, and presently working on a third. The first was Captain Cook's Apprentice, which took Anthony from a 10-day sail on the Endeavour replica to a session at the National Library with Captain Cook's hand-written journal. It was published by Penguin Books in 2008, with a new and expanded edition in 2018. He has since written The Last Convict, a novel based on the last known transported convict to survive in Australia. He died in 1938. The book was to have been published by Penguin Random House in June 2020, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic has been deferred until 2021. For more info click the books covers on the home page.
And what's next for Anthony Hill? He's currently working on a companion book to Captain Cook's Apprentice: a novel about the circumnavigation of Australia by Matthew Flinders in HMS Investigator 1801-03.