Penni Russon was born in Hobart, and spent her childhood roaming around on a small mountain. Eventually she had to grow up, and she moved from Tasmania to Melbourne to study classics, archaeology, women’s studies and contemporary literature. She writes, edits and teaches creative writing, and lives in outer Melbourne with her husband and three children.
Describe your childhood?
I grew up in Hobart. I was the kind of kid who loved being a kid, I never wanted to grow up. I loved reading and playing and exploring and making stuff. I loved pretending to be something else. These were the days when kids just had free range of their suburbs, and I hardly remember any grown ups being around at all, though I guess they must have been there somewhere hovering about. My best friend and I had this (very naughty and not recommended) game where we used to pretend we'd lost a pet and we went around knocking on people's door, describing it in such detail and so caught up in our own stories that we'd end up quite sorry for ourselves. I'm not sure what the motivating factor was - to get a glimpse into other people's houses perhaps, or maybe it was just the storytelling aspect. I also did a lot of drama when I was growing up, my first play was when I was nine and I played one of Rabbit's friends and relations. I was paid $30 and I used the money to get my ears pierced (Mum had said I couldn't get my ears pierced till I could pay for it myself - I think she hoped I'd be a bit older before I got the cash together).
How did you start writing?
I started off studying classics and archaeology but somehow got waylaid into women's studies and contemporary literature. I never stopped reading and loving kids books. Then I did the professional writing and editing course at RMIT. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I never knew how that would go, or if it would work out, but I never really had a very good go at being anything else, though I studied editing and still do it freelance (but only the fun parts). The more I write the more I love to write.
What are you doing now?
I'm currently doing a masters at Melbourne uni, so I can talk to other people about writing.