Adjunct Professor Jackie French AM

“I tell every group of kids: I cannot promise you a perfect world, but I can promise you a world of challenges. If you have the courage to face those, and face those with your friends, I can promise you will never be bored.”

Jackie French is one of Australia’s most beloved authors, writing for all ages on topics of history, ecology, fantasy, sci-fi and historical-fiction. She is also a literacy and historical education advocate, and champion for the preservation of wombats.

While French enjoyed writing from an early age, her first published book was born out of necessity. In 1983 she wrote Rain Stones, hoping to earn enough to register her car. The book went on to be shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Younger Readers Book of the Year Award. This was the first of many, with French earning more than 100 literary awards over her career so far, including 13 for Diary of a Wombat. In 2015 she was named Senior Australian of the Year and Australian National Children’s Laureate.

As well as being an author, historian and ecologist, French is dyslexic. As an advocate for childhood literacy, she works tirelessly to defend the right of every child to learn to read regardless of difficulties they may face or their background. Using her own experience, French has created resources to assist parents and teachers of young children in effective methods for teaching literacy to children with dyslexia.

French’s books inspire and empower readers to make ethical choices, and has been adapted for the stage and screen in Australia and internationally. She is the ACT Children's Week ambassador, patron of Books for Kids, YESS, and joint patron of Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People, as well as a director of The Wombat Foundation.


Vice-Chancellor's Alumni Excellence Award


Bachelor of Arts