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Graeme Base, author. (Author categories: Local Australian, Children's Book)

Graeme Base

I was born at a very early age in England. That was way back in 1958, but since 1966 I've lived in Melbourne, Australia. I really like it here. 

I always wanted to be an artist, and when I finished high school I studied at Swinburne College of Technology, emerging three years later with a Diploma for Design. I then worked for two unhappy years in a string of design studios before concluding that the wacky world of advertising was not for me. Actually I got fired from the last place. When I asked why they told me because I was ruining their business. Fair enough. 
So I decided to be a rockstar instead. I joined a band called Rikitikitavi with some friends. The band only lasted a few years but I did get to marry the lead singer so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Actually it was great fun. Lots of late nights. During this time I also wrote and illustrated my first picture book, My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch (pub. 1983). 

Three years later Animalia came out - the book which turned a hobby into a career. After all this time it's still the most popular title I have published. 

I've tried to stay involved in music over the years, composing an orchestral version of another book, The Sign of the Seahorse, which was performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2001 (an amazing experience) and recording music for a CD that was packaged with the original hardback of The Worst Band in the Universe. I've written musical stage adaptations of My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch and Jungle Drums and also co-wrote with Yuri Worontschak the theme for the animated TV series Animalia. 
My more recent picture books are Enigma, The Legend of the Golden Snail and The Jewel Fish of Karnak. This last one was inspired by a trip to Egypt I made many years ago. This year, in September, I am releasing a book called Little Elephants. It's set in USA. (I know, with a title like that it doesn't sound like a book set in America - you'll have to read it to find out why!) 

I still live and work in Melbourne with Robyn and our three teenage kids who are into things like music, fashion and film-making. 

Graeme Base, July 2012