- rites of passage
- boarding school life in 1960s West Australia
- coming of age
- fathers and sons
- loss of faith
- heavy metal poisoning
Above are a number of issues Jon Doust covers in his recently completed older reader
book, Boy on a Wire, almost a
novel, a sort of "dislocated memoir" based on Jon's life in a private Perth (West Australia) boarding
school in the early 1960s.
Fremantle Press have published the book.
Bookshops are selling it.
Lot's of it.
Buy a copy.
It could change your life.
Lot's of "Boy" stuff here: Boy on a Wire
If you want to buy a copy, click
And don't forget his earlier novels for younger readers, two books he co-wrote with Ken Spillman.
THE FOLLOW-UP TO MAGPIE
(Teaching Notes below)
Trouble is brewing in the Shire of Serventy.
Hoons in hotted-up cars have started treating the roads
around the primary school like a racing circuit. A gate is snapped clean off its hinges. The oval is ripped raw
by drag racers.
When a school bus is run off the road and an excursion is
abandoned, the Serventy Kids decide that itís time to take action.
Can Hayley get the Bumcrack Kid to join the campaign?
Will Sergeant Wilson catch the culprits before Mrs Abernathy
slays him with her cakes?
Anything could happen in this second exciting Serventy Kids adventure Ė and it probably will!
A story that will especially delight young male readers.
Magwheel Madness TEACHING
NOTES, click on this: NOTES
TEACHING NOTES, click on
Here's Ken and Jon at the Harvest Festival in Bickley.
Here's Ken and Jon talking to pumped up young folk at the All
Saints Festival of Children's Literature.
Jon Doust's old skateboard:
is a comic eco-novel for children.
Jon Doust wrote it with another bloke, Ken Spillman.,
who is a highly credentialled and respected writer in his own write (deliberate pun).
Jon has been many things in his life, including
a baby, a small boy, a naughty boy, a larger boy, a much larger boy, a huge gigantic monstrous boy with broccoli
growing out of his ears, then a much smaller boy again, and, finally, where he is now, which is still sort of boyish.
Jon has never won an award for anything he has ever done, but once lived on chocolate for a month. He only began
writing books because Ken Spillman said he could.
Ken Spillman is a Perth-based writer whose published work includes history, fiction, children's fiction, poetry,
criticism, short film and documentary video scripts, and criticism. He has won or been short listed for numerous
literary awards, and the US reference Contemporary Authors has compiled an entry on his career. Ken wrote the Serventy Kids
books - Magpie Mischief
and Magwheel Madness
- in collaboration with Jon Doust and both
of them have won readers on 16 planets.
As a live performing talking duo, Jon and Ken have captivated audiences at many primary schools and libraries since
OLD NEWS FLASH:
Magpie Mischief was nominated for a string of awards, including The
Greatest Book Ever Written, The Nobel Prize for Books, the Nobel Piece Prize, Restaurant of the Year, and WA
Young Readers Book Award
(they didn't win, but, as
they say at the Oscars: "To be nominated is praise enough."
Here's what the very perceptive folk at All Saints College
in Perth, Western Australia, wrote in their booklet to promote their annual writers' festival:
is a delightfully irreverent story about a group of school kids who gang together and take on the City Council
to protect the magpies nesting in the trees outside their school. It has strong wildlife conservation and anti-bullying
themes, and supports the empowerment of children and the advantages of collective action.
The Age, Melbourne, 2002
and here's a short excerpt
As soon as the chorale ended, Max began his famous imitations. He started with a wattle bird. Then there was
the brown dog from down the street, an ambulance, a kookaburra, someone's whistle, and finally a voice that sounded
very much like the Bird Lady saying "magpie mischief". To top it all off, Squawky flew in and landed
on the Bird Lady's shoulder, looking down longingly at the special mixture.
Not many people had seen the magpies behave like this before. Mrs Stott certainly hadn't. Sitting in her car, watching
the crowd from a safe distance, she began to feel all mushy.
Sniffling, she punched some numbers into her mobile phone.
"Yes, this is he. Whoís that?"
"Yes. Which me?"
"Your wife, you smeghead."
"Sorry dear. Got a lot on my plate."
"You wonít have anything on your plate tonight if you donít stop this magpie madness. And NOW."
For tips on how to make friends with magpies mail Jon Doust, click here.
Magpie Mischief, by
Jon Doust and Ken Spillman
illustrated by Marion Duke
Fremantle Arts Centre Press
PO Box 158,
North Fremantle 6159
"Australia's finest small publisher"
ISBN 1 86368 355 0
to order direct from Australian Online Bookshop
US - ISBS Books, Portland, Oregon.
Britain - Central Books, London
More Books with Jon Doust in them
GREAT AUSTRALIAN BITES Edited by Dave Warner Crime writer, football fanatic and former rock star Dave Warner
has gathered contributions from all over Australia for this light-hearted collection, guaranteed to have something
for everyone. International film-maker Bruce Beresford, former politician Barry Cohen, Rampaging Roy Slavin, HG
Nelson, Western Australiaís
best-known comic Jon Doust, best-selling writer Linda Jaivin, ex-AFL star Mark
Jackson, and Wilbur Wilde from Hey Hey Itís Saturday are just some of the thirty-five contributors.
Jon also featured along with Elizabeth Jolley, Helen Darville (almost as controversial as Doust himself!), Archie
Weller, Glyn Parry and Peter Garrett (dances almost as well as Doust himself!) in Fathers
in Writing (University of WA Press),
a collection of personal reflections on fathers and fatherhood, edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Ken Spillman.
He has also penned a diary of his 1993 election triumph How
To Lose an Election and numerous
other booklets not worth the paper they are written on.
PLAYS: The Old Man, His Son and His Son's
Son is the title of a play Jon has written.
It was read recently at the Blue Room in Northbridge, along with other plays on a theme, "The Year of the
Older Person". Contributing playwrights included Heather Nimo, Sally Richardson, Ian Wilding and Jenny Davis.
The plays will never be performed again.
Jon says: "My
first love was reading and writing and I can still do both."