For Teachers

Forgetting Foster (Allen & Unwin, 2016)

The powerful story of a young boy whose father develops Alzheimer’s disease, from the highly acclaimed author of A Small Madness.

Foster suddenly recognised the feeling that rolled over him and made him feel sick. It was this: Dad was going away somewhere all on his own. And Foster was already missing him.

Foster Sumner is seven years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad’s stories.

But then Foster’s dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. But the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore.

A heartbreaking story about what it means to forget and to be forgotten.

A Small Madness (Allen & Unwin, February 2015)

Does doing something monstrous make you a monster?  When does a conscious decision to hide something become insidious denial? Why did these kids think they had no one to go to for help? What is the psychological toll of this level of refuting reality?  How will they ever recover enough to go forward in life when there is a tiny ghost in their arms?

These are some of the questions I asked myself when confronted by the true story which inspired A Small Madness.

I hope my readers will identify with the love story between the protagonists and that this sympathy will draw them into the subsequent denial and horror they face.  It is a page turner, a frenetic ride, but the ending is open and hopeful.  I hope readers will be moved to think about how a single choice can create and destroy in equal measure.  I believe as the readers feel sadness and fear and anger they will also experience compassion and perhaps even recognise that being damaged is very, very different to being evil.  I’d like my readers to talk about that.

For Teacher Resources on A Small Madness please contact author.


Creepy & Maud (Fremantle Press, 2012)

Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.

Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commenting on human folly.  Maud is less certain – a confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.

Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability – each other.  But life can be arbitrary, and loving someone doesn’t always mean you can save them.

Creepy & Maud is a blackly funny and moving novel that says: ‘It’s okay to be as screwed up as you think you are and you’re not alone in that.’

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