Phillip Gwynne's first novel Deadly Unna? was the literary hit of 1998 winning Children's Book of the Year and selling over 200,000 copies. It was made into the feature film Australian Rules for which Phillip's screenplay won an AFI award in 2002. Since then Phillip's novels have all received both high acclaim and popularity amongst readers including his young adult novel Swerve which was shortlisted for many awards amongst them the 2010 Prime Minister's Award and the Golden Inky.
Phillip's also no stranger to writing thrillers as he has written an adult detective thriller The Build Up, but The Debt is his first series for upper-primary school readers and combines both his substantial literary skills and his ability to tell a good story. He also contributed the novel Michael to Penguin's Stuff Happens series for middle grade readers.
Why do you choose to write young adult fiction? What is it about this genre that you love?
To tell the truth, initially I didn’t choose to write it at all. When I wrote Deadly Unna, my first novel, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Young Adult literature. When Penguin told me that Deadly Unna? was a Young Adult novel I didn’t really know what they were talking about. And, yes, I have written several Young Adult novels since. But I have also written picture books, and younger readers, and adult novels, and screenplays. I really don’t like to be pigeon-holed as this type of writer or that. I’m just a writer. Full stop.