John Heffernan

Andrew Daddo

John has produced over thirty books under his own name and another nineteen as Charlie Carter. His main age group is 10-14 years, but he writes for older and younger readers, producing both YA novels, picture books, and books for early readers, making him one of Australia’s most diverse authors.

Persistently popular have been the award-winning Spud novels. These three books (Spud, Chips and Pup) deal with life on the land in Australia seen through the eyes of work dogs. They are fiercely realistic, showing a way of life that can be hard and cruel at times, but also beautiful.  A Horse Called Elvis is in this vein, too. It can be enjoyed by readers in the 10-12 age range, but has more layers to engage older readers.

John has also written on war and refugees. My Dog is a picture book for all ages about the war in Bosnia. The sequel to this book (More than Gold) deals with a young Bosnian refugee who settles in Australia with his mother.

Other books include: Sykie, a fantasy tale about the power of imagination; a series of supposedly true ghost stories, Haunted Australia; and a creative writing CD and book kit titled A Head for Tales. There are books for very young readers such as: The Boot ThiefEric & Einstein and The Revenge of Dr von Burpinburger.  Among John’s much-loved picture books are: The Island, Two Summers and One of Those Days.

Novels for older readers and young adults include: Marty’s Shadow, a psychological thriller;  Where There’s Smoke, set around the Victorian bushfires of February 2009; and Harry’s War which deals with the destructive power of family secrets and the affirmative forces of friendship. To find out more, visit

Under the pseudonym of Charlie Carter, John also writes the Battle BoySeries for readers in the 7-10 year age group – especially reluctant readers. There are sixteen books in the collection. And for slightly older readers there is the Omega Squad trilogy. For more

John’s latest book, published in early 2014, is set around the war in Afghanistan. Naveed is part of Allen & Unwin’s Through My Eyes Series, and is aimed at upper primary/lower high school readers.


Spud, Pup and The Boot Thief are CBCA Notable Books.

Rachael’s Forest was shortlisted for the Wilderness Society’s Environmental Award for Literature.

My Dog was awarded Book of the Year for Younger Readers, and Honour book in the Picture Book category by the CBCA, as well as being shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Two Summers was shortlisted for CBCA Picture Book of the Year and received the Crichton Award.

A Horse Called Elvis was awarded CBCA Honour Book for Younger Readers, and was shortlisted for 2007 YABBA awards in a new section for Years 7-9 readers, and again in 2008

The Island received an Honour Book Award from the CBCA, and a White Raven award at Bologna, inducted into the International Youth Library in Munich.

Marty’s Shadow won Honour Book for Older Readers from the CBCA, and was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.

Where There’s Smoke was shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for the Patricia Wrightson Award.