Summer Reading Club
space craft special edition 2017

Michael Hyde

Hi there, my name is Michael. I’ve been writing for over 30 years–mainly for children, adolescents and Young Adults. Examples of my work are MAX, Tyger Tyger, Hey Joe, Surfing Goliath, Change the Game series and my most recent, Footy Dreaming.

After 25 years as an English teacher I began lecturing in Creative Writing, Sports Writing and Children’s Literature at Victoria University and presented writing workshops for students and teachers across Australia.

I also received Victoria University’s Arts Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2013 I successfully completed and was awarded a PhD which looked at the stories of the rebellion of the Sixties in Australia. All along the Watchtower, is my own story of the sixties in Australia and was part of my PhD.

More recently I appeared on the award winning SBS 4 part documentary on ASIO, ‘Persons of Interest’.

I have just completed another YA novel, Morrison and Mr Moore, about an unlikely friendship between a soon-to-retire school Principal and a rebellious 17 year old student.

Getting to Know Michael Hyde

Game On: How did you get into writing?

I liked writing at school but didn’t really get given the chance to pursue it. In 13 years of schooling I was only given two opportunities to write what I wanted to write. So when I began teaching in the 70s (yes I’m that old!) I wasn’t going to let my students miss out.

Some of my students realised that most of the books we were reading were written by American and British authors. They enjoyed the stories I used to tell them in class, on excursions and camps. And so they asked me to write some of them down. My very first small books were published in the 1980s.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, not always although I loved writing stories and poetry and reading. I began a school newspaper in secondary school for which I got into heaps of trouble mainly because it criticised certain school rules that I thought were ridiculous. For example, in the government school I attended the girls and boys were separated in class, at the canteen and the grounds. This was the case for all schools in the early to mid 60s. One of my teachers supported me and he got told off by the Headmaster, like he was a little kid. I still see that teacher and he has come to a number of my book launches.

But the one thing that drove me into writing was what we call these days, the ‘cultural cringe’. Meaning although we had our own culture, stories and so on, right up to the 1970s there were very few Australian stories written by Australians for Australian kids. It was the same for music, rock ‘n roll, film, publishing etc. The huge majority of all that came from the USA and England. From then to the present day our multicultural Australia has never looked back telling our own stories.

 What are some of your favourite games to play?

My favourite card game is 500. I love playing that with friends while listening to music.

I don’t play any computer games although all my kids have and do play. I become a bit bored pretty quickly whenever I have played them, although my wife and I did play Mario Bros late at night after our youngest had gone to bed. I was hopeless and she won all the time. I also love beach cricket.

Do you have a favourite sport, sporting event or sporting hero?

Well let’s start with my favourite sports. I LOVE Aussie Rules but don’t play it. I don’t kick very well but kind-of accurately can kick over twenty metres. Ha! I barrack for Collingwood (which means lots of you are booing and some are cheering) but will watch any good game. My BIG heroes are Michael Long, Nicky Winmar and Adam Goodes for all the fantastic work they’ve done over the years fighting racism–which I hate with a passion. You can see all that in my novel, Footy Dreaming. I still play tennis now and then and love bodysurfing. Walking on beaches is a favourite pastime for me. Good for thinking about story ideas.

And I love canoeing. Years ago I actually completed the Murray River Marathon. One of the hardest physical things I’ve ever done. I have one kayak and two canoes. I much prefer canoes.

What kinds of activities do you like to do to supercharge your summers?

Surf beaches get me all the time. Boogie Boarding. Reading on the beach is great. Beach cricket I love, except when my bowling is constantly whacked into the water. Making delicious drinks. Paddling canoes.

I spend a lot of time in the middle of the bush just outside Foster in Victoria (not NSW Foster), where we have hammocks and a river that runs fifty metres from the front door. Kookas, wallabies, wombats and lyrebirds abound–and snakes (red belly blacks and tigers).

I like playing on my drums–bongoes, big and small djembes, congas – and learning to play the didgeridoo. I can play it OK but can’t master the ‘circular breathing’ technique.

Can you recommend some good GAME ON reads for our SRC  Members?

Well I’d be silly if I didn’t mention some of my books, especially those with GAME ON themes.

Footy Dreaming is great for 9-14 year olds. Plenty of footy, plenty of arguments, plenty of people changing, a big pie-eating contest and two young men who you will end up loving.

My Change the Game series are interactive stories where you make decisions concerning the game and try and steer one team to victory. My youngest son tried to work it out by going backwards in the story which he discovered was impossible to do. Footy, soccer (some also call this game ‘football’) and basketball all feature in this series. They are now out of print but are in all libraries. Good for 7-100 year olds but mainly 8-14.

Surfing Goliath is about a small town where every three years monstrous waves and a bronze whaler shark arrive. Some want to catch the wave while others want to catch the shark. There are lots of fun characters in this story as well.

Tyger Tyger is for a little bit older reader but I reckon 13-17 would like it. It’s a story about football, the players, the clubs, the people but also about a mysterious beast that comes to the dreams of the main character, Johnny Carbone. Why does he have these dreams/nightmares that terrify him? You’ll have to read it.

Enough of mine – here’s authors whose books with the theme of ‘Game On’ I reckon you’ll enjoy:

Michael Wagner, Cheryl Critchley, George Ivanoff (Gamers), Raewyn Caisley, Michael Panckridge (Legends), Phil Kettle (The Big Bash), Paul Collins.


To learn more about Michael visit his website.

A Creative Tip

Keep your eyes, ears and heart open… then wonder.

My first writing mentor was John Morrison. After reading some of my early short stories John told me that a writer has to keep their eyes, ears and heart open. By that he meant a writer has to be observant. And then he suggested that people who like writing are usually observant, they experience events, objects, behaviour, people–big and small things–but what they must do is to recognise how observant they actually are. And then comes the zinger–with all this observing and taking things in, the budding writer has to wonder. Wonder why? Wonder how come? Wonder what if?

The above idea might sound a little easy or maybe a bit stupid, but have a think about it. And of course a journal of ideas always helps. And don’t back off from writing a poem, story, play, song, play, film that’s about something that fascinates you but may not at first seem interesting to others. Just start writing

Hot Off the Press

Michael Hyde’s book is now available. Have you had a chance to read it yet?

Book Title: Footy Dreaming

Publisher: Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd

Recommended Reading Age: 11+

Book Description:

Ben and Noah play on opposing teams in a footy-obsessed town. They each dream of playing on the G – and this is their make or break season. Tensions rise as sledging goes too far. Will Noah lose his cool, and his chance, in the face of prejudice? Will Ben reject racism and forge his own path? Noah and Ben have the potential to play in the AFL. It’s up to each of them whether they make it.

Sneak Peak

Read a few preview chapters now!

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