The Writer's Room

The Writer's Room

A quick chat with prolific children’s book author Jane Godwin on the mysterious magic of reading and writing.

Describe yourself in five words.

Curious, playful, driven, helpful, tired.

What’s the first story you remember creating?

In grade 2, I wrote a poem about drinking hot chocolate on a very cold day. It wasn’t very good!

You’ve written so many books! What’s been the one that’s taught you the most about yourself?

Each one has taught me something different about myself, and each one has also taught me something different about the mystery of the writing process. Probably the most personal books for me would be Falling from Grace, Tilly, As Happy as Here and When Rain Turns to Snow. So often the writing of a story is almost prescient, as in I’ll be writing about some aspect of life and then something very similar will happen in my own life or in the life of someone around me. It’s quite unnerving! Also, sometimes I don’t realise exactly what I’m writing about until a long time after I’ve written it.

What does reading mean to you?

Inspiration, education, wonder, and a sense of connection – it means everything to me.

What’s the most surprising thing about being a writer?

It never fails to surprise me in the most delightful way when I receive an email from a young reader who has really connected to one of my books. For me, this is the most profound and mysterious and kind of miraculous aspect of being a writer. The fact that you can communicate so intimately with another human being who may be completely different from you in every way. That in writing for yourself you are also writing for something in others. It’s like a magical connection occurs.

What’s your three tips for people wanting to write?

  1. Read
  2. Don’t wait for the perfect time to start writing – just write!
  3. Write about something you feel passionately about. Don’t worry about writing to a trend. Your voice, authenticity and originality will emerge if you are exploring something that you have a deep and personal connection to.

You share the gift of writing - can you share some favourite anecdotes about people you've helped discover the joy of books/writing?

Sometimes when I’m in a classroom working with students, I’ll see a kid who is really engaged and ‘in the zone’ with their writing, so much so that they don’t want to stop when the time is up. Then a teacher will comment that that particular child usually writes nothing. It’s then that I know I’ve made a connection and helped them unlock their own creativity.

Who’s your favourite author?

This is such a tough question for me because I have so many! But here are a few:

Authors for kids: Kate DiCamillo, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Sophie Blackhall, Doug Salati

Authors for adults: Claire Keegan, Elizabeth Strout, Rachel Cusk

What book are you reading now?

This is Happiness by Niall Williams, and A Little Spark by Barry Jonsberg

What book would you like to tell our audience about? 

I’ll tell you a bit about Look Me in the Eye, which is my latest book. It’s about three girls starting secondary school in the year after the Covid pandemic. Bella and Connie are best friends, and they live in the same suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne. When Connie’s older cousin Mish moves into the area, she starts to disrupt things, with dramatic results… The story is about friendship, trust, and growing up in a post-pandemic world. It’s about the ways in which the lockdowns affected us all, and it also explores ideas around surveillance, freedom and privacy.


Hatchette are the proud publishers of books by Jane Godwin. You can find all of her books here.