James Roy

Photo of James Roy
James Roy was born in western New South Wales in 1968 and spent much of his childhood in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, adventuring by day and reading books at night. Then one day, tired of reading books by dead people, he decided to start writing his own. Since his first novel was released in 1996, James has written a number of critically acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction for young people, including the CBCA Honour Books Captain Mack and Billy Mack's War, and six CBCA Notable Books. In 2008, Town also won the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, as well as the Golden Inky in Australia's only teenage choice awards. Anonymity Jones won the 2010 Western Australian Premier's Book Award for young adult literature. He has also contributed to the series, Stuff Happens, edited by Susannah McFarlane.

James lives with his family in the Blue Mountains. He enjoys trying to make music and art, doesn't like olives very much, and hasn't entirely abandoned his dream of sailing around the world.

Author's Comment: Fact is, I’d never stopped to think that many of my favourite classic books would, if published today, have been young adult fiction. Of course The Outsiders and Catcher in the Rye were at the forefront of the fledgling YA industry before it had a proper name, but it could be argued that other classics – Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Romeo and Juliet – they all make a strong case for inclusion within the YA canon. Consider Hamlet, which ticks off many of the standard YA criteria. Dead dad – check. Mother whoring it up with her brother-in-law – check. Main character introspective and borderline emo; girlfriend so nuts she ends up in a pond; a best friend so cool it hurts – check, check and check. Is it just me, or does Hamlet read a little like a John Green novel?

None of these writers accidentally wrote stories about young people. They chose their characters, they chose their situations, they saw that these stories needed to be told, and they didn’t baulk at the idea of using young people as the central drivers of those stories. I’m sure they were unapologetic about it. And now, after a bit of an early minor hiccup, so am I.

Nationality: Australian

Featured series by James Roy

Chook Doolan (Ages 5 and up)
Stuff Happens (Ages 7 and up)