Terry Denton is one of those lucky people who can both write and illustrate. He has written fourteen children’s books himself and collaborated on thirty more with some of the most popular children’s authors in Australia.
Terry works best in the world of the imagination. His books are playful, noisy, humorous, colourful, dramatic, and always challenge the reader’s lateral thinking skills. His mind has grown wild and chaotic as a result of being trapped in a big house with his four brothers for the first eighteen years of his life. He eventually escaped and now lives by the beach in a life he shares with his wife and three kids.
Terry Denton won the CBC Picture Book of the Year Award in 1986 and has since been short-listed many times. He won both the Multicultural Book of the Year and the Best Designed Book in 1993. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the 2002 Aurealis Award. His work has won countless children’s choice awards throughout Australia.
When did you start writing?
‘I started writing in 1983. For a long time I wanted to be an illustrator, but surprised myself when I found I had this great urge to write as well. It took some time to work out what I wanted to write, but now I am feeling more comfortable in that role.’
What was your favourite book as a child?
‘I didn’t have a great many books as a child. But the one I remember the most was a cut down version of Treasure Island...with great illustrations...I still have it.’
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
‘The challenge. Starting out on a new book is both frightening and exhilarating. I used to go kayaking and it’s the same feeling. There is also the joy of working with my publisher, building something together.’
Where do you do your writing?
‘I have a studio in the back garden. It is a quiet retreat where I can slip into that level of concentration I need to write. It has a pot belly heater so I can divert myself by playing with fire...a bit of a boy thing...and it has a dartboard...and lots of CDs.’
If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
‘A painter. I do a lot of painting and I love it. I also have another side to me that would love to be a designer and builder of houses.’
What is your favourite food and least favourite food?
‘I love really simple and traditional Chinese and Japanese food. A big family Yum-Cha is heaven to me. Indian food does nothing for me.’