Fox Julie Hunt


Shine Mountain
Song for a Scarlet Runner
The Coat
The Little Else series
Precious Little

Forthcoming books:


Early books:
Away! Away!
The Answerman
The Woman who Knitted
the World

The Coat – behind the story

I began having ideas for this story when a friend of mine was making a suit out of newspapers. He make a solid free-standing papermache jacket. It stood in the kitchen and had a lot of presence. It was like a person. At the same time I was thinking of another friend – a Polish musician who lived in a falling-down house. He played accordion and had a dark sense of humour. His instrument was very old and when he played it a musty smell came from the bellows. To me, the air that came out of that accordion smelt of mould and graveyards and old churches. But the music was exuberant.

Another thing that influenced me when I was writing The Coat was performance. I was singing with a group called the Kazakstan Kowgerls. We sang songs from Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania and, when we got it right, the music was beautiful. It was bold and wild and sometimes very sad. We sang ‘heartbreaking gypsy tunes that made the audience lie on the floor and weep’ just like in the story! The experience of performing in front of an audience helped me write the book. When you are on stage you grow larger like the man in the story did. I find writing itself is a kind of performance. It allows me to inhabit a bigger world than I do in everyday life.



Ron Brooks
is one of Australia's leading picture book artists. He has won many awards, both here and overseas. He lives in Huonville, Tasmania.