Hazel Edwards

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Hazel Eileen Edwards (OAM) (born 1945) is an Australian author who has written 200 books, including the classic children's book There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, which has celebrated its 37th anniversary and is a short film by Pocket Bonfire Productions[1] which toured nationally with Little Big Shots International Film Festival. Since its publication in 1980, Hippopotamus on Our roof has been reprinted annually, evolved into a series of six picture books and inspired a junior chapter book, classroom play scripts, stage production and a short movie. The Hippopotamus books have also been translated into Chinese, Braille and Auslan signing for the hearing impaired and were presented as an official Australian government gift to the children of Princess Mary of Denmark.

Edwards is a National Ambassador for the 2012 Year of Reading and the Premiers' Reading Challenge and other literacy organisations.


Melbourne-born and based, Hazel Eileen Edwards[2] attended Ashburton Primary and Camberwell High School.[3] After working in a bank and studying at night, she entered Toorak Teachers' College. She taught at Westall High School and was invited to lecture at Frankston Teachers’ College while studying at Monash University (BA 1971, BEd 1974, MEd 1980)[4] at night. Later she lectured in children's literature and psychology at Toorak Teachers’ College, and the Institute of Early Childhood Development (Now Melbourne University), then became a freelance author-lecturer after the publication of 'General Store' (1977) and the now classic There's a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake (1980) which toured nationally with Garry Ginivan productions as 'Hippo Hippo the Musical' (2016).

Edwards writes fact and fiction across media, for adults and children. She collaborates with psychologists, directors, scientists, puppeteers and illustrators and enjoys quirky and fanciful approaches to learning, participant-observation and experimenting with new media.

She has co-written in social issues areas such as transgender in f2m:the boy within and about sociopaths in Difficult Personalities and 'Hijabi Girl' (2016). Her adult 'Celebrant Sleuth: I Do or Die' (2018) has an asexual sleuth. Her memoir 'Not Just a Piece of Cake:Being an Author'(Brolga) was published in 2015.

2012 National Year of Reading Ambassador and three times nominee for ALMA award.(2010,2011,2012)

Her books have been translated into Tamil, Chinese, Korean, French, Indonesian, Polish, Russian and Finnish. She was a director on the board of management of the Australian Society of Authors for 20 years.In 2009, she received the Australian Society of Authors' medal. She received an OAM (Order of Australia Medal for services to Literature)[2] in the 2013 Queens Birthday Honours.[5] In 2017 she was awarded the Graham Davey Citation by YABBA for mentoring young readers and writers.In 2018 she became Patron of the Society of Women Writers (Vic).


As 2001 Australian Antarctic Division writer, awarded the Antarctic Fellowship,[5] Edwards travelled to Casey Station, Antarctica on the Polar Bird. Literary output based on her experience includes Antarctica's Frozen Chosen (a young adult eco-thriller), Antarctic Writer on Ice (her expedition diary), Antarctic Dad (a picture book), Right or Wrong (a play co-written with fellow author Goldie Alexander), Grandma Leaps the Antarctic (an Auslan-signed DVD) and Antarctic Closeup, a National Museum initiative.[5]

Published works[edit]

Cake Eating Hippo series[edit]

  • 'Ho!Ho!Ho! There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Christmas Cake'
  • There's a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake
  • "Hooray! There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Having a Birthday Party"
  • Hand Me Down Hippo chapter book
  • My Hippopotamus is on our Caravan Roof Getting Sunburnt
  • Hey Hippopotamus, Do Babies Eat Cake
  • Look, There's a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake
  • Guess What? There's A Hippopotamus on the Hospital Roof Eating Cake
  • Our Cake Eating Hippo Plays
  • Pocket Bonfire Productions 16-minute film There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake
  • Chinese translations available from Sichuan Children's Publishing House.
  • Audio of Hippo picture books from Bolinda Audio.

Antarctic related works[edit]

  • Antarctic Dad' Kipas Books re-issue 2018
  • Antarctica's Frozen Chosen
  • Antarctic Writer on Ice
  • Right or Wrong? Plays that make you think
  • Antarctic Closeup in Making Tracks series

Other popular works[edit]

  • 'Celebrant Sleuth;I do or die'
  • ' Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author'
  • 'Hijabi Girl' co-authored with Ozge Alkan, illustrated by Serena Geddes.
  • f2m; the boy within (co-authored with Ryan Kennedy) [6]
  • Writing a Non Boring Family History [7]
  • Authorpreneurship;The Business of Creativity(Keesing Press ASA)
  • Cycling Solo: Ireland to Istanbul (2006) and 'Trail Magic' co-authored with Trevelyan Quest Edwards
  • Outback Ferals
  • Difficult Personalities Penguin Aust & also The Experiment (USA edition) and Polish (Rebus) Russian, Chinese and Korean editions, co-authored with psychologist Dr Helen McGrath.
  • Sir Edward 'Weary" Dunlop and Professor Fred Hollows and 'Edith Cowan' in Aussie Heroes series.
  • Fake ID e-book with Tamil translation (Cre-A 2018) as Poli Adaiyalam. www.crea.in
  • Stalker
  • The Giant Traffic Jam
  • A Hairy Question
  • Kalo Li's New Country
  • Non Boring Travel Writing
  • The Business of Writing for Young People
  • Simply Events
  • Flight of the Bumblebee
  • Plato the Platypus Plumber (part-time)
  • Chopper Rescue editor

E-book series[8]

  • Project Spy Kids

'The Frequent Flyer Twins' series.

  • Frequent Flyer Twins

Literacy Performance Scripts[9]

  • An L of a Difference
  • The Parts of Speech TV Show

Memoir; Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author (Brolga)

Works in collections[edit]


  • 2013 OAM (Order of Australia Medal for services to literature.) Queens Birthday Honours.[13]
  • 2010-12 Astrid Lindgren Children's Literature Award nominations
  • 2009 ASA Medal (Australian Society of Authors Medal)
  • shortlisted for 2009 Alice Award (Australian Women Writers)
  • Premiers' Reading Challenge lists
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade Community Award 1990
  • 2005 Somerset Ambassador of Literature (Qld)
  • 2005-6 Premier's Reading Challenge Victoria, South Australia and NSW
  • 2006 National Literacy and Numeracy Champion
  • ABPA Book Design Award 1981 for There's a Hippopotamus On Our Roof Eating Cake
  • Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (ANARE) writer 2001 Humanities Berth
  • 2011 Long-listed for Children's Book of the Year (Hurray! There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Having a Birthday Party)
  • 2011 White Ravens (for f2m;the boy within)
  • Bronze Medal Book Design Leipzig 1982 for There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake
  • Curriculum Innovation Excellence Visual Storytelling Project 2005
  • Youth Literature's Top 150 and in the ABC's most popular titles of all time


In Principle Webchat interview with Hazel Edwards OAM by Henry Grossek https://vimeo.com/307407451

  1. ^ Pocket Bonfire Productions.
  2. ^ a b "Mrs Hazel Eileen EDWARDS" (PDF - 211Kb). Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division (A-E). Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 7 June 2013. p. 209. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Hazel Edwards-Award-winning author". Camberwell High School Ex-Students Society Inc. (chessmoves.com). Retrieved 23 June 2013
  4. ^ "Hazel Edwards". Alumni Profiles-Stories. Monash University. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b c "Hazel Edwards, 2000-01". Antarctic Arts Fellowship. Participants:2000-2009. Australian Antarctic Division. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  6. ^ "f2m; the boy within" . e-book, hazeledwards.com
  7. ^ "Writing a Non Boring Family History" . e-book, hazeledwards.com
  8. ^ E-books series. hazeledwards.com
  9. ^ Literacy Performance Scripts. hazeledwards.com
  10. ^ Lu Rees Archives (University of Canberra) canberra.edu.au
  11. ^ Schloss Blutenberg www.ijb.de
  12. ^ Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (Sweden) www.alma.se (in English)
  13. ^ It's an Honour website

External links[edit]