Screen grab of a text message with the following text: "Can't talk. Ruining the lives of fictional teens."

Okay, maybe I can ‘talk’ for a minute or two. It’ll give those teens a chance to regroup for their next defensive play.

I’m Alex. I’m a writer. After finishing a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature, it recently hit me that I’m officially now a full-time writer. It’s not the first time – I worked as a journalist for almost twenty years – but back then I was paid to write and I was published a lot. So it’s an interesting experience to start from scratch as a fiction writer, where payment and publication are rare. But I love what I’m doing now – I can make stuff up and not get into trouble. Not that I made stuff up as a journo, because that would be wrong, and unethical, and illegal. 

Let me start again.
A portrait of Alex Fairhill
Alex Fairhill - just before a cat
crashed the shoot.

I’m Alex Fairhill and I write for kids and teenagers, and also occasionally short stories for adults, media and academic articles and book reviews. But fiction is the fun part. I feel like part of me is missing if I don’t spend time writing.

I studied journalism and literature in a time before the internet was widespread and students had to hand-deliver assignments to the faculty office. My dreams of writing fiction were cut short when my first book – a novel I started in year 10 – was cruelly deleted by a parent running a virus scan. Okay, it was an accident, but it still hurt. But it was probably a good thing because it was not good. At all.

It was about a band in a country town that was basically an early nineties version of the Partridge Family. They wore white leather suits with fringes. Some stories are not meant to be published.

I wrote on and off throughout high school and uni, and even though teachers and tutors told me my work was good enough to be published I didn’t have the confidence. And journalism was a way to write stories that people wanted – no, needed – to know.

After many years in the media a variety of threads drew together that made me re-examine my life. I wouldn’t call it a midlife crisis exactly, but I’d had ongoing health issues, moved to a new town, became a parent, and had no desire to return to journalism. I also discovered a lack of good stories for children who’ve experienced trauma – and stories that feature these children – that aren’t bibliotherapeutic, didactic, hit-over-the head narratives. So I went back to uni to get a grasp on the ublishing  industry, and started writing again – first picture books, then short stories, and YA novels, and middle grade. I write to the idea or characters, then work out where it sits and which audience it’s for.

I believe fiction can tell stories that non-fiction fact can’t, exposing readers to issues and perspectives they might not otherwise see.

I have a strong interest in stories about trauma, how they’re written and how they impact the reader. My academic work has examined how fiction can give a voice to marginalised groups, including those facing legal restrictions through other channels, and the role fiction plays in identity formation. It’s an area I’m keen to pursue as a PhD in future.

But I love reading humour – the drier the better; I’m a sucker for a love story with strong characters and will pick up just about anything. My blog’s a bit of a hotchpotch of reviews, writing about writing, and occasional rants about the media, but it’s all me – it’s where I’ve come from, where I am, and where I’m going.

Alex Fairhill is my pseudonym, allowing me to lead a secret double life. In reality, I’m an ex-journo, I’m married, a mum, and live on a rural property in western Victoria, Australia. I have two cats named Finn and Heidi who will fight to the death for their right to stop me writing. As Alex, I’m an ex-journo, I’m married, a mum, and live on a rural property in western Victoria – you get the idea. Everything you read here is me – only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Seriously.

Fun facts

If I could survive solely on coffee, mangoes and sushi, I would.

My guilty pleasure food-wise is a bread roll smothered with butter.

I make up songs, and often sing out loud without realising. I’ve learnt this behaviour is okay in private, but will get you arrested in public.

I’ve been married for 17 years, been a parent for four, and my child is eight. Hmmm… mysterious…

I was once busted by a former prime minister carrying a slab of beer into the offices of the national broadcaster. One long bushy eyebrow was raised.

I made another former PM laugh when I tripped over a camera cable.

I went off on a weird tangent when interviewing an A-list Hollywood star and we ended up talking about hooning around farms and taste-testing wine for research purposes (not at the same time).

My first question as a newspaper journalist was ‘How long was it?’ The answer was ‘You’re asking me how long a four-day event was?’ and I was interviewing the publisher’s wife. In my defence, I’d been handed a photo of a cross-country horse race and didn’t know it was part of a four-day event. And it was my first day of work experience. And they asked me to work for them after that, so no harm done, other that extreme embarrassment.

As a sports reporter, I covered everything from canoeing to lawn bowls to AFL to the Australian Open to international cricket. I may have fallen asleep for 15 minutes logging shots for a Test match. It did not affect the story. The next wicket woke me up.

I was once told by an author that reviewing books by people you know is a bad idea. I reckon including books by people you know in an academic paper is worse.

I’ve competed in the following sports at various levels, including state: hockey, tennis, gymnastics, surf lifesaving, netball, athletics. 

Got a question for me? Add it to the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

Social media Twitter: @AlexFairhill 
Blog: www.alexfairhill.blogspot.com (but you already know that, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this page)

Professional memberships (most under my real name):
Australian Society of Authors
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Writers Victoria
Children's Book Council of Australia
Golden Key Society


  1. What's the best book you've read this year?

  2. Good question! I liked so many for very different reasons. Melina Marchetta's On the Jellicoe Road is brilliant; One True Thing by Nicole Hayes for topical realism and great characters; Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is another with fantastic, well-rounded characters. One that was brilliantly written in terms of tackling an important issue was Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, which is written from the POV of the alleged rapist, Keir. It's an uncomfortable, confronting read, but the way Lynch draws the reader into Keir's life, then forces you away from him is masterful.

  3. Having said that, a lot of my reading centred around topics and units for my Masters degree, which I've just finished, so I'll have more time to read now and I'm ready to delve into a wider range of genres.