There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake (1980) which is celebrating a 40th anniversary is better known than its author Hazel Edwards. But she’s affectionately called ‘The Hippo Lady’.
“Writing for children is more challenging, because they are very candid but also very loyal ,” says Edwards. “And a book belongs to the reader’s imagination, not the writer once it is published.” Generations have shared the imaginary friend who comforts readers, apprehensive about doing new things. And hippo gets lots of fan mail (which Edwards answers in character). Her then four year old son Trevelyan inspired the story, when the family roof leaked. A risk-taker, Edwards writes fiction and fact for adults and children. Coping successfully with being different is a common theme. Co-written junior novel Hijabi Girl which is being adapted as a puppet musical by Larrikin Puppets and The Boy Within about a trans guy coming of age , both explore cultural diversity. Collaborating is a way of respecting cultures and getting facts right.
A ex-director on the Australian Society of Authors board and Patron of the Society of Women Writers, Victoria, Hazel favours authorpreneurial creators but also giving back. Her memoir Not Just a Piece of Cake-Being an Author explores longterm creativity when you also have a family. Daughter Kim has been invaluable for a non-digital -native author. Grandsons are ‘yawn-testers’ and she writes each a special birthday story. Physical risk-taking has included researching on an Australian Antarctic Division expedition (2001). Recently Edwards has taken up a life of crime. Celebrant Sleuth;I do or die with Quinn a sleuth of diverse gender who solves mysteries at weddings and funerals and a mini sequel Wed, Then Dead on The Ghan available on Kindle was researched during ‘grandma’ visits to family in Darwin.
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