Hazel Edwards — Antarctic Arts Fellow 2000–01

Hazel Edwards head shot
Hazel Edwards
Hazel Edward’s book Antarctic Dad

Hazel Edwards was a 2000/2001 recipient of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Humanities Program. A Melbourne-based author of over 200 publications for adults and children including the classic There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake, Hazel Edwards uses participant-observer research as an excuse for doing unusual things in order to write realistically afterwards.

As Tournament of Minds problem-writer, she created an Antarctic science scenario and solutions were performed by more than 60,000 students Australia-wide.

Hazel was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for services to literature.

Bibliography of Hazel’s Antarctic works

Since being ‘beset’ in Antarctica in 2001, Hazel Edwards has written books, DVDs and plays based on her expedition research including:

Antarctic Writer on Ice (Common Ground Publishers) which is an e-book with colour photos as well as a conventionally printed book, on audio and in Braille. It was serialised on radio in 2006.

The classroom play ‘Antarctica; Cool or What?’ is in Right or Wrong (Phoenix Education) co-scripted with Goldie Alexander. This has a separate Teachers’ Notes book of classroom activities.

Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen (Lothian/Hachette), an eco thriller aimed at young adults, especially appealing to ‘young blokes’. It was nominated for Davitt crime writers award 2004, was serialised on Radio in 2004 and 2005. An audio version is available.

Antarctic Dad (Lothian/Hachette) with free downloadable classroom play-script and iceship model. An audio/braille version is available.

Auslan signed DVD Grandma Leaps the Antarctic including ‘My Gran’s Gone to Antarctica’ and ‘The Lachieberg’. It received the 2005 Educational Excellence in Innovation Award .

Any Ants in Antarctica? (Comet magazine)

Healthy Women (Choice Books) contains an interview with Antarctic Station leader Marilyn Boydell.

Antarctic Impression

Since my Antarctic voyage, when speaking to groups, I use the iceberg as a symbol for writing a book: 9/10 of the work is unseen.

A respect for the work of ‘boffins’ and ‘tradies’ as excellent problem-solvers and tall story tellers has crept into my Antarctic non-fiction and novel characterisation. On-going contact with diversely skilled expeditioners has enriched my life. We still e-mail. They've helped me with plot details, scientific data and photos.

As Tournament of Minds problem-writer, I created an Antarctic science scenario and solutions were performed by more than 60,000 students Australia-wide. More watched.

At conferences, I present the viewpoint of a female, non-scientist, 50 plus author who concludes the Antarctic medical should also test for a sense of humour.

Pre-voyage, I thought physical strength would be vital, but words matter as a way of coming to terms with the scale of Antarctica and many readers have gained vicarious experience because books can travel further than one writer.

I was seduced by the surreal beauty of the icebergs and the serendipitous literary opportunities.

Maybe the Arts Fellowships will give birth to new Antarctic literature?


Collaboration or getting along with co-authors is an important skill in finishing a book length project. Crafting ideas for a specific audience is a vital skill. Awarded the 2009 Australian Society of Authors medal by her peers, and with over 200 published titles for adults and children, Hazel is interested in helping new writers craft for family, corporate or child audiences. ‘Authorpreneurship; The Business of Creativity’ (Keesing Press) is her latest seminar-linked title.

Hazel has collaborated with experts to publish adult non- fiction titles such as ‘Difficult Personalities’, and the YA novel ‘f2m: the boy within’ on transitioning gender. Commissioned to write about historical figures such as Weary Dunlop, Dr Fred Hollows and Antarctic expeditioners, but for child audiences, she’s aware of the challenges of simplifying complex ideas Although Hazel helps people craft their ancestry in her popular workshops ‘Writing a Non- Boring Family History’, she’s best known for the children’s classic, ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake’ which celebrated its 33rd year with a film by Pocket Bonfire productions screened at Sydney Opera House (not on the roof).

Hazel’s 2001 Antarctic expedition inspired the young adult eco-thriller ‘Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen', picture book ‘Antarctic Dad’ and the memoir, ‘Antarctic Writer on Ice’ as well as classroom play-scripts and literacy material.

A fan of interesting and unusual locations, Hazel has been a guest writer in residence at the former Fremantle Prison, the Mt Newman mining community in outback WA, a visiting author to Pasir Ridge International School in East Kalimantan, Indonesia and an author ambassador to Youfu Street International School in Nanjing, China.

A keynote speaker, Hazel has been involved in web-chats internationally as a way of sharing books, ideas and encouraging literacy. She has even been a ‘Living Book’ online, to answer questions.

Married to Garnet, with two adult children , Hazel writes a new story for her two grandsons each birthday.

She is a Reading Ambassador and a director of the Australian Society of Authors.

Hazel’s website contains Antarctic resources and links relevant for school projects and teachers.