1989: The Great Grand Final – signed copies

1989 great grand final coverMy latest book, ‘1989: The Great Grand Final’ has been going great guns. Its a perfect lockdown read for you footy deprived fans out there in isolation. If you want a copy, it’s stocked online at major retailers.

Or, if you’d like a signed copy, I’ve been posting them out with special messages to friends, family, or just a gift to yourself. $35 including postage in Australia. Purchase through my new author site which has a commerce function.

Thanks for all the support with 1989 sales and book packs in these difficult months.

I have a podcast relating to my Speakola speeches website, and episode 2 is about Allan Jeans’ ‘Pay the Price’, using the audio from the interviews for the book.

Corona Karma Book Packs

I decided to offer some more free karma book packs for families back in lockdown.
Some of the karma is from you to me by buying stock I have on hand that will no longer be sold at author and MC speaking gigs, because there won’t be any for a while!They are the paid packs A-G.
The other is an offer from me to families who have been locked down for a second time and would enjoy a free signed book pack. There’s no need for any explanations. In my view, anyone in lockdown this second time is taking a massive hit for all of us. I’d love to brighten your day with something nice in the post. Just email or message me ‘karma pack + address’ for yourself or a friend /relative, and the books from Pack H will arrive.
I’ve got twenty of these to deliver.(80 books)
Here’s the full range of packs. The free pack is at the bottom. You can buy individual books too if that’s your choice, especially a signed ‘1989 The Great Grand Final’ which is $35 including postage.
Here’s how I’ve divided them up (with original RRP at time of release). I’ll set it out on my website too.
pACK a
Lockdown Pack A (Adult): Cost $90 plus postage)
1989: The Great Grand Final (non fiction $33)
Making News (novel about UK tabloid news misbehaviour $28)
Players (novel about Footy Show misbehaviour $23)
Australia United: Adventures at World Cup Germany $20
B Family footy 2
Lockdown Pack B (Family footy pack) $90 plus postage
1989 The Great Grand Final $33
Players $23
Galahs DVD $20
Speccy-tacular AFL Stories $17 (Compilation: mine is called Bontempelli and Jong)
The Selwood Boys – The Miracle Goal $15
A Boy Called Bob (signed by Bob Murphy) $18
Can choose different Selwood title. Can swap Players for Making News or Australia United. For box Set of Selwoods add $25 to total.
C soccer
Lockdown Pack C (Soccer/football pack) $40 plus postage
Australia United
Making News
Stuff Happens Jack
D Funny
Lockdown Pack D (Upper Primary Funny Pack) $100 plus postage
Red Ned (hardback) $20
Laugh Your Head Off Again $20 (Compilation includes Andy Griffiths, mine is ‘The Saucerer’s Apprentice’ about a Vampie seagull.
Laugh Your Head Off Again and Again $20 (Compilation mine, Sir Bum)
Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat (mine, St Reginald’s School for Children Who Only Eat Plain Pasta)
Stuff Happens Jack $10
The Selwood Boys, The Miracle Goal $15
Add $25 for Selwood Box Set
E Footy Kids
Lockdown Pack E (Upper Primary Footy Pack) $90 plus postage
The Selwood Boys 1-4 ($60)
A Boy Called Bob (signed by co author Bob Murphy) ($18)
Speccytacular Footy Stories $17 (Compilation: mine is called Bentempelli and Jong)
Stuff Happens Jack $15
F Lower primary
Lockdown Pack F (Lower Primary) $100 plus postage
Harry Highpants (paperback) ($15)
Red Ned (hb) ($20)
The Minister for Traffic Lights $20 (hb)
The Emperor’s New Clothes Horse $25 (hb)
Emo the Emu (pb) $25
Stuff Happens Jack $15
The Selwood Boys: The Miracle Goal $15
G Early childhood
Lockdown Pack G (Early Childhood) $90 plus postage
The Cow Tripped Over the Moon (hb) $25
Hickory Dickory Dash (hb) $20
Baa Baa Blue Sheep (hb) $20
Harry Highpants (pb) $15
Emo the Emu (hb) $25
H Karma
Karma Pack H $0 (free & no postage charge)
Making News
Harry Highpants (pb)
Stuff Happens: Jack
The Selwood Boys: The Miracle Goal
If anyone wants to add $10 to help cover postage on the free packs, that would also be gratefully accepted.
Email me, PM on facebook or DM on Twitter. Swap me an address for a bank account. I’ll drop off if local to Northcote (to porch, no chats!) but otherwise post.
All the best, stay well, may this memorable and terrible time pass quickly.
If you are contacting me to say that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague, thank you and yes I know.

1989: The Great Grand Final

1989 cover 2This is my first longform sportswriting book since ‘Australia United’ and my first book for adults since 2010.

According to Hawk Chris Wittman, ‘It’s the Woodstock of all Grand Finals’ and that seems about right to me. This is a story of the game with the MOST stories. Dipper’s ribs, Dermie and Yeates, Ablett’s perfection, goals, violence, streakers, more violence, more goals. John Platten’s terrible concussion.

And it’s more than a game, too, in the sense that the 1989 round 6 game stands as one of the greats of all time, between the same too teams, and there were great stories running through both clubs all season.

The Hawks and Jeans were focussed on Back to back, for the first time in the club’s history, an obsession for coach Allan Jeans who missed 1988 with an aneurysm, and still felt the pain of losses in the 1984 and 1987 grand finals.

And Malcolm Blight breezed into Geelong like a blinding flash, harnessing a talented bunch of almost stars and turning them into a scoring phononemon.

Rohan Connolly’s review of the game on Footylology.

A fantastic podcast episode of the Greatest Season that Was: 1993

Interview with Gerard Whateley, SEN

The Hawk Talk podcast with Nick Mason and the Tizz

The book can be purchased here, or in this corona crisis period, you can support Tony Wilson Home Industries and I’ll post you a signed copy. I also have karma packs that I’m both giving away to families doing it tough, and selling to readers who might support an author whose gigs have dried up. See details here.

To read snippets of the book featuring each of the interviewed players, search #1989TGGF on Twitter, Instagram of my author facebook page.

The launch was at the Glenferrie Hotel just before lockdown on March 12th. Don Scott (special comments that day) said some words. Dermott and Yeates were sensational. Thanks to all who attended.

1989 invite

Cow and the Great Australian Storybook Collection

Pleased to hear that Laura’s and my book, The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, is part of the New Ltd Great Australian Storybook Collection.

The collection is one of those ‘take token to your newsletter’ type arrangements and you get a collector album, and a new book for $2.70 each day for 14 days, starting 9 February 2020. .

If you enjoy Cow, Hickory Dickory Dash and Baa Baa Blue Sheep are similar in look and tone, and are backstories to famous nursery rhymes. Laura and I have a fourth in the series, ‘Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Slide’ which comes out in 2020. Order online or at local bookshop. Alternatively, email me and I will post signed copies which make nice gifts for that 2-6 year old. ($25 each, plus postage, $60 for all three)

web header cowhickory dickory dashbaa baa blue sheep thumbMy son has cerebral palsy and with it’s theme of perseverance, the Cow Tripped Over the Moon is dedicated to him. I like this clip of us reading it together.

Cow has now received a few accolades. It was a CBCA Honour Book in 2016, it was the National Simultaneous Storytime book in 2017, and now it gets this 100,000 strong reprint.

International rights ex A/NZ available. They have reverted to myself and Laura.

Red Ned & Harry Highpants

Over the last few months I’ve released one new title, and reprinted an old favourite.

Red Ned is illustrated by Heath McKenzie (Don’t Open This Book) and published by Lake Press. It asks the important question, what if you had bright red har, hated it, burnt it off by misapplyiing bleach, panicked, sought out a barber while wearing a bin on your head, and were mistaken for Ned Kelly.

A book about accepting who we are, and not wanting to be someone else. You can buy it here.

‘You are who you are, that’s the truth, such is life’


Harry Red NedThat’s my son Harry holding Red Ned.

On the subject of Harry’s, the title Harry Highpants is the one I get the most requests for over the years. For a while now, it’s been unavailable from its original publisher, Scholastic. Fior it’s 10th birthday, I decided to reprint it myself. It’s a story about freedom, protest, democracy, self expression, diversity, revolution, and PANTS!

In the words of one librarian – “We love Harry Highpants as a text for exploring persuasive writing.”

If you’d like to freshen up your library copy, or meet Harry Highpants for the first time, send me an email via the contact tab on this website. It’s $15 plus $7 postage for a signed copy within Australia. We can exchange address and account details, and you can be part of the movement for pants freedom.

Hartry highpants 10

Hickory Dickory Dash – NSS 2018

Reading Hickory with Watts Street Children's Centre in Box Hill, part of the ECMS centres.

Reading Hickory with Watts Street Children’s Centre in Box Hill, part of the ECMS centres.

It’s almost here! Less than a day to go and I’ve just got back from buying mouse ears at the $2 shop. I feel lucky, proud and excited that Hickory Dickory Dash was picked by ALIA as the National Simultaneous Storytime title for 2018. At last count, more than 980,000 people had registered at alia.org.au/nss

I’ll be reading at the Royal Children’s Hospital at 11am tomorrow, and thinking of people spread far and wide across Australia, and for the first time, New Zealand, all engaging with our book and connecting with the age old ritual of sitting down together to share a story. The RCH is a place I’m well acquainted with, as my seven year old son Jack has cerebral palsy, and is an outpatient with the Rehab team there. My read will go live on the RCH’s facebook page and on ALIA’s facebook page from 10.55am AEST.

laura wood swing

Illustrator and swing dancer Laura Wood is on the right

Hickory’s illustrator Laura Wood won’t be there, as she continues her nomadic swing-dancing tour of Europe. She really does swing dance! We’ve never actually met, having collaborated remotely on both Hickory Dickory Dash and The Cow Tripped Over the Moon. But we’re friends on facebook, and I love seeing her dancing photos.

It’s been an exciting buildup. I had a book dual with Dave Hughes, who’s book is also nominated for the Koala and YABBA Awards (vote for us kids!) chatted to Jules Schiller on ABC Adelaide, Rochelle Hunt in Melbourne, Sally Rippin and the Triple R Grapevine team on Sally’s monthly ‘Reading Room’, and even did a little spot on Channel 7’s, The Daily Edition, with focused on the back story to Hickory.

CSB Tony Wilson 001Laura and I are so fortunate to have back to back selection for this. Last year, we had 686,324 registrations at 6,129 different locations for The Cow Tripped Over the Moon. This year, the last number I heard was 980,000, with a few days to go. Help us get to one million kids reading, across two countries. You can register right up until the event starts at alia.org.au/nss

You can purchase a copy of Hickory Dickory Dash, The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, or Emo the Emu.

It’s all a lot of fun, and I feel honoured to be an ambassador for children’s literature on this important day. Thank you ALIA, thank you Scholastic.

And thank you to my family and especially our youngest, Alice. The book is dedicated to her. As she says herself, ‘that MY book’.

It's her book

Alice, 3: It’s her book

Here are some questions the team at GoYo Kids (kids books and yoga put together!) asked me for their facebook page:

1 – Tell us about your inspiration behind writing Hickory Dickory Dash

Hickory is a sequel, or as I sometimes like to call it, ‘a squeakuel’. I’d like to say I invented this joke, but must come clean and admit that it’s the geniuses over at the Chipmunks movie franchise who got there first. The first in the series was last year’s NSS title, The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, and when it went so well, I tried to think of another nursery rhyme I could backstory, and Laura could illustrate. Hickory was actually a natural fit, because I loved doing the time codes in Cow for the countdown to the big event, and Hickory Dickory Dock has a natural timecode built into the story. The nursery rhyme tells me the ending of the story, it has to climax with a mouse running up a clock. I just have to build up to that, and in the end I went for a mother mouse, looking for her two lost mouse children, while an eye patch wearing cat is out and about, making it a nervous room by room search. It’s Owl Babies (separation anxiety), meets Possum in the House (room by room tour), meets Tom and Jerry (cat and mouse hijinks) meets The Cow Tripped Over the Moon (nursery rhyme backstory).

2 – Why is storytelling important to you?

Stories are essential to humanity, at least as we’ve evolved so far. The formats and methods change, but since forever, and forevermore, someone will be sitting down with someone and saying … ‘you’re not going to believe this’. That’s my job as an author, to create stories that unfold in interesting or original ways and inspire people to ask … what happened next? It’s built into us as people, and so if it’s done well, it taps into an essential need. I’ve always been a reader, I love that format of storytelling, and so it’s a great privilege to write some books that people read. Something like NSS honours the reading ritual, the great literacy project that we as a society need to be fostering, and so being the face of this campaign has been an amazing thrill.

3 – How will you be joining in on Wednesday May 23?

I’ll be at the Royal  Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Scholastic Australia have a book bunker there, and the live feed will be shown to kids in hospitals around the country. It’s a particularly special location for our family as my son jack, who has cerebral palsy, is an outpatient at the RCH.

Please tag your photos and videos #NSS2018. I would so love to see how National Simultaneous Storytime looks in your part of Australia or New Zealand.

Here is the awesome AUSLAN read of Hickory, that went out to all registered participants.


Here are some pictures from last year.

Olive Black series author Alex Lee, reading at Auburn Primary, Vic

Olive Black series author Alex Lee, reading at Auburn Primary, Vic

Parkes Shire Council

Parkes Shire Council

Trinity Catholic School, Murrumburrah

Trinity Catholic School, Murrumburrah

Springfield Library in Queensland

Springfield Library in Queensland


Cow’s Perfect Flight – Images from NSS 2017

She did it! We did it! What a day.

686,324 people registered to hear The Cow Tripped Over the Moon as the ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime title. It was read at 6,129 locations. That’s more than 150,000 than any previous NSS title.

I went to the Royal Children’s Hospital and read to patients there, as well as some local schools who came in for the morning. Here is the video of my read.

Many thanks to ALIA, Scholastic Australia, my editor Rebecca Young, Laura Wood of course, and my wife Tamsin and four kids. What a thrill it was. Unfortunately, Laura was in the UK and couldn’t be there to receive the glory she deserves. We have another title together at the end of the year, another nursery rhyme back story.

Here are some photos from the RCH, and around the country.

Brian Schmidt,

This is the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics, ANU Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt, READING MY BOOK!!! He says the astrophysics are sound.


Tony Wilson at the Ella Latham Auditorium, RCH, Melbourne. Credit: Alvin Aquino/RCH Creative Studio

anthony morris

Childcare specialist Anthony Morris – Moon attempt 1, North Fitzroy ,Melbourne

Brail read - Vision australia - Jamie Kelly Carmela Carey

Jamie Kelly and Carmela Carey, reading a Braille version for Vision Australia

tony and fam

Tony Wilson, with Polly, Alice, Tamsin, Jack and Harry.

Captains Starlight with Tony Wilson

Captains Starlight with Tony Wilson

Older students helping the littlies at Newington College

Older students helping the littlies at Newington College, NSW

Heather Wellard at ALIA

Heather Wellard at ALIA, Sydney, NSW

Springfield Library in Queensland

Springfield Library in Queensland

Ramsgate PS, NSW

Ramsgate PS, NSW

Parkes Shire Council

Parkes Shire Council – dressing up a storm, NSW

Trinity Catholic School, Murrumburrah

Trinity Catholic School, Murrumburrah

Olive Black series author Alex Lee, reading at Auburn Primary, Vic

Olive Black series author Alex Lee, reading at Auburn Primary, Vic

SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin reads in Sydney

SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin reads in Sydney

Shoalhaven Libraries. Great animated stuff!

Shoalhaven Libraries. Great animated stuff!

A whole country tripping over the moon

nss bannerOne of the great thrills of my writing career is ‘The Cow Tripped Over the Moon’ being selected for ALIA’s National Simultaneous Storytime for 2017. NSS is national bonding over a common book, and this year it is Laura Wood’s and my Cow!

ALIA estimates that more than half a million kids will register to moon jump with us on 24th May, 2017 at 11am. I’ll be reading the book at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, home of a Scholastic Book Bunker, but also a place we visit regularly with my son, Jack, who has his cerebral palsy managed there. It’s going to be a special day, and all four of my kids will be coming along for the festivities.

Any location that contains kids can register for NSS, and you do so at ALIA’s site. Hoping to break through that half a million barrier!

There are activities and paraphernalia  to be had at the ALIA website. Cow finger puppets, activity inspirations, graphics, teachers notes, and a little video of me promoting the event. Eddie Perfect is involved too, courtesy of Story Box Library. Visit the site! There will be digital presentations of the book emailed to participants on Monday 22nd May, so have your cloven hooves strapped on before then.

I’ll be participating in a Twitter chat, as @byTonyWilson, hosted by @picturebookbc at 8-9pm AEST on Thursday 4th May, talking NSS and picture books generally.

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon is now available in both hardback and paperback.

auburn north ps 11043172_10153735601377166_1671323630930061352_oThere is a short video of me reading Cow to Jack in the books page of this website.

Jack and the Boss

Wrote this as a facebook post a couple of days after the gig. It was replublished on news.com.au, and Jack and I even did a little ‘good news’ spot on Channel 10’s The Project. Jack has cerebral palsy and cortical vision impairment.

This is perhaps my favourite ever photo of Jack.

Photo: Sonia Denisenko

Photo: Sonia Denisenko

We were so unsure whether to take him to see Springsteen in Melbourne this week.

On the one hand, he is seriously obsessed. He watches “Bwuce” all day on YouTube. No greatest hits fan is Jack. He requests specific gigs, tracks, guest artists (‘Bwian from Gaslight Anthem with Bwuce!’). He knows all the E-Street Band by name.

On the other hand, lack of vision and sensory processing issues mean he can’t cope with loud music. He’s made screaming exits from the school fete and dozens of other PA scenarios. He even hates rain if it’s too loud on the roof.

So we thought he was no chance to cope. My prediction was two minutes max. My wife Tamsin convinced me we had to at least give him a shot.

All day he said he didn’t want to go. “Maybe I’ll see Bwuce later,” he said over and over. Then he’d cry, begging not to go. “I want to see Bwuce another time! Not today!”

We set up the plans for our inevitable failure. My brother Ned offered to wait outside AAMI Park.

Jack flinched at the first blast of noise as we exited the train.

“Is that Bwuce?”

“No that’s Jet,” I said.

“Is there clapping at Jet?”

“Yes there will be clapping at Jet.”

“Will Bwuce be on soon?”

“Yes, after Jet.”

“And Steven Van Zandt?”

“Yes, he’ll be on guitar.”

“And Patti?”

“Yes, she’ll be there too.”

“Bwuce’s wife, Patti?”

“Yes, she’s Bruce’s wife.”

“And Nils?”

And so we namechecked the whole E-Street Band as we crossed the railway yards.

It got louder and louder, but he seemed to be coping.

Then a nervous moment. Security told me I couldn’t take in a backpack.

I explained Jack’s cerebral palsy. “Without this I reckon he’s no chance,” I said.

“Fair enough,” said the most sensible security officer on earth, and ushered us through.

We found our way to the back of the ground section, using lifts and ramps that toured us halfway around the stadium.


We found our spots. Plenty of room. Not too loud at all. The calm before the storm.

“Will Bwuce play American Land?” Jack said, which is Bruce’s thumping Pogues-ish ode to American immigration. Jack’s favourite.

“Maybe,” I said

“Will he play Badlands?”


Then it started. The “Melboooourne”, the clapping, the drums, the music. American Land it was.

Jack did the shrieking he does for the YouTube songs. His happy cheers. He called Bruce’s name. He called Steven van Zant’s name. He jiggled, he rocked, he had a ball.

For 12 songs.

One hour and ten minutes.

Then he broke. Youngstown broke him, and he asked to go home.

Ever since he has watched this video. Over and over and over.

His first words when he woke up the day after:

“I’m a Bwuce Springsteen fan. I’m a Bwuce Springsteen goer.”


Jack and I received lovely notes from all over the world. One of the nicest was from Natalie Sarny, who is following the Springsteen Summer ’17 tour right around the country. She took a photo of Steven van Zandt looking at Jack’s video.

van zandtThe book dedicated to Jack and his perseverance is ‘The Cow Tripped Over the Moon’. It is a CBCA Honour Book, and the National Simultaneous Storytime title for 2017. (May 24th, 11am)

This is Jack and my appearance on Channel 10s ‘The Project’

Cow Soars to CBCA Honour

cbca stickers

After seven horrible attempts on the moon, Cow finally nailed it and has soared higher than we ever imagined possible. Catapulted by Laura Wood’s gorgeous, funny illustrations, we’ve won equal second prize (Honour Book) in the Early Childhood category of the 2016  CBCA Book of the Year awards.

Congrats to Anna Walker and ‘Mr Huff’ who won the Book of the Year in our category.

Cow is my eighth picture book, and Cow herself had eight attempts on the moon, and it all seems quite poetically symmetrical, so much so that I have to sometimes remind myself that I’m not a Cow and can’t really jump very high any more, thanks to arthritic ankles from playing too much footy.

I’ve dedicated Cow to my third child, Jack, 5, who has cerebral palsy, and whose persistence and perseverance far outreaches Cow’s. He’s been ecstatic and says, ‘did we win? did our book win?’ I’ve said yes, and haven’t complicated the story with details about actually coming second. Who knows, maybe a rhinoceros cleared the moon three hours before the Cow? Who’s got a head for this sort of detail? We won something, that’s what’s being conveyed here.

There’s been further good news regarding the title. The Patch Theatre Company will produce a show in 2017 called ‘Yo Diddle Diddle’, which will be hip hop infused physical theatre show, using my rhythm and rhyme. It has a three week season in Adelaide, then a rural South Australian tour, and then a national tour. Arts promoters can book Yo Diddle Diddle here.

patchBecause Cow was on the CBCA shortlist, I’ve received some wonderful little gifts over the last couple of weeks. These have included a school bound new illustrated version made by Grade 1s, magic clay cows, teachers who have sung jazz versions of Cow, students who have sung nursery versions, new sketches of Cow, librarians who have dressed up … it’s all been quite wonderful.

Here are some of the highlights:

This is Leilani, from Avoca Beach PS, used with permission.

The Cow Tripped Over the Moon – read by Leilani from Avoca Beach Public School on Vimeo.

Thank you, Joseph, Grade 3, Camberwell Grammar, you little genius.

joseph cgs fartedyear 4

IMG_0307Magic clay

Auburn North PS, ‘Supercow!’

auburn north psTeacher Holly Bidwell posted her book week dress up effort to Twitter.

cow teacher Holly BidwellI did four sessions at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year. This one with Chrissy Perry (Penelope Perfect)

melb writers festivalUniversity lecturer Kylie Meyer has made a great teachers resource that you can check out here.

kylie m reading resource

I’ve completed and Laura is working on another nursery rhyme backstory, Hickory Dickory … , which will be published by Scholastic in 2017 or 2018.

You can purchase Cow here.