Paul Jennings

Quick Facts

  • Name: Paul Jennings
  • Born: England 30 April 1943
  • Migrated to Australia when he was 6
  • Awarded the Coolest Book of the Decade Award for ‘The Paw Thing’
  • First writer to sell a million books in Australia.
  • Favourite book: The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Honoured with an Order of Australia in 1995
  • His hobby is restoring and driving classic cars


Paul Jennings migrated to Australia from England in 1949, with his parents and sister Ruth. Like many immigrants at that time his family came to Australia by ship.  Paul Jennings is Australia’s most successful writer of children’s books.  Over three million copies of his books have been sold in Australia alone.

As a child Paul loved reading and dreamt of being a writer. When he was 16 he sent a story he had written to the Woman’s Weekly hoping it would be published.  It was not.  Paul was so upset that he didn't write again until he was thirty-nine. Paul says of this experience: ‘Never be hurt by being rejected. Just keep on trying and most of all don't give up. Much later I decided to write again - stories I thought would make reading fun for children. This time I decided not to give up.’

When Paul left school he became a teacher. He said he can still remember his favourite teacher and when he puts a nice teacher in his books he always thinks of him. As a teacher, Jennings worked for eleven years with children with learning difficulties. He also became a speech therapist and spent eight years lecturing in language and literature.

In 1984, Paul’s eleven year old son complained about a boring book he was reading. Paul decided he would write a story his son would love. He wrote his first book Unreal,  published in 1985.  Since then Paul has had written more than 30 books. He has won the Young Australians Best Book Award 16 times and won the 1990 Australian Writers' Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Children for Round the Twist, a thirteen part television series that became the top rating children’s program in over 40 countries.

Paul continues to do what he loves - writing books for reluctant readers who he believes are children ‘for whom no adult has found suitable books’. 


Some of Paul's award-winning books

  • Duck for Cover
  • Quirky Tails
  • Round the Twist
  • Spooner or Later
  • The Cabbage Patch Fib
  • The Gizmo
  • The Gizmo Again
  • The Paw Thing
  • Tongue Tied
  • Unbearable!
  • Unbelievable!
  • Uncanny!
  • Undone!
  • Unmentionable!
  • Unreal!
  • Wicked!
  • How Hedley Hopkins did a dare, robbed a grave, made a new friend who might not have really been there at all, and while he was at it committed a terrible sin which everyone was doing even though he didn’t know it.