An avid reader (who read under the bedclothes and in the bath), as a young girl, Hazel Edwards wrote her first novel in grade six, a mystery about adventurous children stuck in a mine. This passion for writing continued and after working in a secondary school and lecturing at teachers' college, aged twenty-seven, Hazel published her first novel, ‘General Store’, a book based on life in a rural town and now in the UnTapped literary heritage collection.
It is Hazel’s third published work that is her best known, the children’s picture book classic, ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake’. This special imaginary friend has been cherished by children and parents alike and led to the dubious honour of Hazel being referred to as ‘the Hippo Lady’.
Since its publication in 1980, the age-less Hippopotamus on the roof has been reprinted annually, evolved into a series of seven picture books, inspired a junior chapter book, classroom play scripts, a musical stage production and a short movie. The Hippopotamus books have also been translated into Mandarin, Braille and Auslan signing for the hearing impaired and were presented as an official Australian Government gift to the children of Princess Mary of Denmark.
Whilst Hazel loves creating quirky, feisty characters for newly independent readers in her easy-to-read junior chapter books (such as Sleuth Astrid the mind-reading chook), she writes for all ages and has published over 220 books across a range of subjects and genres.
Published titles include ‘ f2m:the boy within’, the first co-written, young adult novel about gender transition, picture book Stickybeak and the co-written Hijabi Girl series now performed by Larrikin Puppets.
Hazel has collaborated with experts to publish adult non-fiction titles such as such as ‘ Difficult Personalities’ (now translated into seven languages), and helps people craft non- boring memoirs and family histories in her popular workshops based on her book ‘ Writing a Non- Boring Family History”. More recently 'Complete Your Book in a Year' has been offered via Zoom.
Awarded the Australian Antarctic Division Arts Fellowship (2001),Hazel travelled to Casey Station on the ‘Polar Bird’ ice-ship. This visit inspired a range of creative projects including the young adult eco-thriller 'Antarctica's Frozen Chosen', picture book ‘ Antarctic Dad’ and the memoir, ‘ Antarctic Writer on Ice’ as well as classroom playscripts and adult literacy material such as 'Shooting Antarctica'
A fan of interesting and unusual locations, Hazel has been a guest writer- in- residence at the former Fremantle Prison (now the Fremantle Children's Literature Centre), the Mt Newman mining community in outback WA, a visiting author to Pasir Ridge International School in East Kalimantan, Indonesia and an author ambassador to Youfu West Street International School in Nanjing, China.
These places inspired Hazel's books.
Passionate about literacy and creativity, Hazel has mentored gifted children and proudly held the title of Reading Ambassdor for various organisations. Formerly a director on the Committee of Management of the Australian Society of Authors, Hazel was awarded an OAM for Literature in 2013. Currently she's patron of the Society of Women Writers(Vic)
A keynote speaker, Hazel has been involved in web-chats or Zoomed or Skyped internationally as a way of sharing books, ideas and encouraging literacy. She has even been a ‘Living Book’ online, to answer questions.
Downloadable bio of Hazel for organisers under Media Resources.
With two adult children , Hazel writes a new story for her four grandsons each birthday.
Stay connected with Hazel!
Events & Appearances 2022
Private online mentoring 'Complete Your Book in a Year'
PROV 'Complete Your Book in a Year' starts on first Friday of each month, 10am-1pm. North Melb Archives.
Flexibility to go online.
3rd 10 am -1pm PROV North Melbourne
4th OAM dinner
5th 4pm Filming doco panel
1st PROV 10 am North Melbourne
17th Eltham Bookshop 3pm 'Inside Story' panel & signings
5th PROV North Melbourne
23-25th BRISBANE 'Hijabi Girl the Musical' Premiere of Larrikin Puppets
18th Witty Women Lunch: Hazelnuts