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Julie Murphy

Australian children's writer, with a background in Zoology and Zookeeping.

Hi!   Welcome to my web page.  Feel free to look around. I hope you find something to interest or inspire you – or perhaps both.

Ocean Animal Adaptations cover

desert animal adaptations cover

 
About me

I was the sort of little kid who spent her play time sorting through stones to find the ones with sparkly specks in them. I thought the specks were flecks of gold. I also thought I could predict the weather, and solve any problem if I thought about it for long enough. Jump a few years, to a tween who conned her friends to help put on plays (that she wrote) for very tolerant relatives. I was a fairly serious student at school, determined to do well so I could follow my dreams. I studied Zoology at university and loved it. However, as no one was throwing a job at me when I finished my Masters, I took a side-step into the fascinating world of zookeeping, which kept me busy for ten years! (See photo - me with a young wombat. If only all zookeeping tasks were so cute and cuddly!)  I worked part-time, and spent many other hours writing - firstly scientific reports on my research results, then articles for popular magazines and short stories.

On the home front, I enjoyed going backpacking overseas every few years, for months at a time. I have been very lucky to have visited parts of Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and, of course, Australia. Backpacking can be rough at times, but it does give a wonderful chance to meet the locals on their terms, which gives you a better feel for a place. Some of the places I visited have since changed a lot, which makes me even more grateful for the opportunities I have had. My favourite experiences were trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal, and hanging out at Etosha National Park's waterholes in Namibia. The wildlife rely on waterholes for their drinking water, so spending a few hours near a waterhole lets you see an amazing array of animals including wilderbeeste, lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes and warthogs. Oh, and I musn't forget Scotland!  Checking out a puffin colony on a wild and windy cliff edge was spectacular!

 Time waits for no one, so my work was put on hold for a while when my partner and I decided it was time to start a family. Now our daughter is 11, and I have been writing for children for over a decade. We still love to travel though - especially to beaches - although our destinations and modes of travel have become somewhat less adventurous. In 2007 we towed a camper-trailer around outback Australia for 3 months, which was a bit different from sharing the back of a truck with 23 campesinos (South American farmers)...although there were a few similarities at times!

shadows   

I am now happily immersed in the wonderful world of children’s literature., specialising in animal and nature-related topics. I have been lucky to have published non fiction books, articles, verse and other assorted bits and pieces for young readers.

              Sea Birds                        Nutrition across a lifetime   

I was thrilled when my non fiction book "Great Barrier Reef Under Threat" (Macmillan Education, 2011) received a Commendation (Children's series) in the Royal Zoological Society's Whitley Awards, 2011, and was shortlisted for the Wilderness Society's Environment Award for Children's Literature, 2012 . 

Great barrier Reef Under Threat - cover

I have new books coming out in 2014. See my "Publications" page or "News" page for info as it comes to hand.

My plans for the future? Continuing to write for children, and branching out into Trade fiction books for children – especially picture books. I am always writing and submitting to publishers...and keeping my fingers firmly crossed.

Current works-in-progress include picture book manuscripts, a book of articles about animals and a mid-grade fantasy novel (I think nearly every writer has one of those on the backburner).

I live in Melbourne, Australia, with my husband and daughter.

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to have a look at my Recent News and Publications pages via the links at the top left-hand side of this page. I hope you will drop by again some time!