Born and raised in Auckland, Brian Falkner is a children's book author and sought-after writing coach. The author of more than thirteen novels for children and young adults, Falkner's first book was Henry and the Flea (2003), the first of many to receive critical praise. Falkner’s 2005 novel Super Freak was nominated in the Junior Fiction category of the 2006 New Zealand Post Book Awards. The Tomorrow Code (2008) was nominated in the Young Adult Fiction category of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and the 2009 LIANZA Children's Book Awards. Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo (2015) was shortlisted for the 2016 NSW Premier's Awards, and won the Young Adult Fiction category of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Falkner (1962 –) is a children’s book author and writing coach. Falkner was born and raised in Auckland. Professionally, he has worked as a radio journalist, radio copywriter, computer consultant and as a graphic designer. As a writing coach, he tours schools as a sought-after speaker in Australia, New Zealand and the US, and holds 'Write Like an Author' workshops and camps to inspire budding writers.
Writing about Falkner’s first book, Henry and the Flea (2003), Claire Buckley says, ‘I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, I was quite blown away, for a first novel for children … the author really tapped into the way children think and their perspective on the world.’ Doris Mousdale on Newstalk ZB called the novel ‘a spiffing read. Fun for adults to read without being condescending to serious young readers.’ In a review on the Radio New Zealand National Programme, Kate De Goldi said 'I think the really good thing about the book is its incredibly persuasive writing, he's a sharp, varied, quite nuanced writer.' The work was listed as a Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book.
When the three people in the entire world who know the secret formula for Coca-Cola are kidnapped, the giant American corporation is in deep trouble. But the kidnappers didn't count on the extraordinary abilities of a boy from Auckland, New Zealand. The Real Thing (2004) is another action-packed story, listed as a 2005 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book.
Super Freak (Mallinson Rendel) was published in 2005. It is a funny and intriguing read for 8 to 14-year-olds about a boy whose amazing superpower means that he must decide whether he will be a superhero or a supervillain. Super Freak was nominated in the junior fiction category for the 2006 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and was listed as a 2006 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Book.
The Tomorrow Code was published in the US and Canada by Random House in October 2008. Called 'Exciting and thought-provoking' by a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews, it was nominated in the Young Adult section of the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It was also listed as a 2009 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book and was nominated for the 2009 LIANZA Russell Clark Award.
Brainjack (Walker Books, 2009) is set in a world where technological advances mean you no longer need anything except your brain to use your computer. Teenage hacker Sam Wilson finds out the hard way that this isn't necessarily a good thing... Called 'Fascinating and enjoyable' in the Australian Bookseller + Publisher magazine, it will be published in the US and Canada by Random House in 2010.
Brainjack was listed as a 2010 Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. It is also a finalist in the young adult fiction category for the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The winner will be announced in May.
Falkner’s next novel The Project (Random House NZ, 2011) was reviewed in the School Library Journal: '[The Project] reads like an action movie, with plenty of chases, explosions, and by-a-hair escapes.' Publishers Weekly wrote of the novel, 'Falkner delivers a thriller that melds humour, danger, and history. . . . The result is an entertaining mystery with plenty of enjoyable twists and turns.'
The Assault (Recon Team Angel #1) was published in 2012 by Random House NZ. Kirkus Reviews said 'Falkner supplies a tight story that features a strong plot and believable characters. . . . [He] effectively employs the tropes of both survival and war stories to great effect. While an entirely satisfying read on its own, readers can only hope there is a second installment in the works.'
Falkner wrote Maddy West and the Tongue Taker (Walker Books Australia, 2012), illustrated by Donovan Bixley. Bixley also illustrated Falkner's Northwood (Walker Books, 2013).
The second book in the 'Recon' series, Task Force (Recon Team Angel #2), was published in 2013 by Random House NZ.
Vengeance (Walker Books Australia, 2014) was closely followed by the publication of Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3), released in 2014 by Random House NZ.
In August 2015, Falkner’s novel Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo was released. The young adult novel reimagines the Napoleonic era by dotting the battlefield at Waterloo with carnivorous dinosaurs - a history that only 15-year-old Willem Verheyen can put to rights. Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo was shortlisted for the 2016 NSW Premier's Awards, and won the Young Adult Fiction category of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
The novel’s sequel Battlesaurus: Clash of Empires, was released in July 2016.
Also in 2016, his novel Shooting Stars was published by Scholastic. It was a finalist in the 2017 Children's Book Awards.
In 2018, OneTree House published Falkner's Cassie Clark: Outlaw. Writing for Wardini Books, Gareth Ward describes it as an "adrenaline fuelled, kick ass roller coaster of a YA novel. Cassie Clark is indeed an Outlaw - set in the U.S. it's a novel of intrigue, conspiracy theories and reinvention with a cracking pace and plenty of action." Cassie Clark: Outlaw was shortlisted for the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award.
Katipo Joe: Blitzkrieg, a historical YA novel ('fiction inspired by true events') was published by Scholastic in 2020. Young Joe is living in pre-World War II Berlin, with his British father and New Zealand mother, attending school and witnessing the excitement of his friends who are enthusiastically joining the Hitler Youth Movement. Writing for The School Library, Angela Thompson writes "I actually think (and only my opinion) but this may be the best book written by Brian Falkner. It is action-packed, with stunning language that puts you right in the middle of the action – I literally could not put this book down."
Falkner followed this with two other titles about Joe, Katipo Joe: Spycraft and Katipo Joe: Wolf's Lair. The latter is a finalist in the 2022 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Falkner currently lives in Queensland, Australia.
WRITERS IN SCHOOLS INFORMATION
Brian Falkner lives on the Gold Coast of Australia, and regularly returns to New Zealand. He participates in Read NZ Te Pou Muramura's Writers in Schoolsprogramme at select times. We recommend you email us for further information. He is happy to speak to students aged 5-18 years and can take sessions with 20-200 students, with a maximum of 300 students. Falkner can speak about writing teen fiction and being a screenwriter/playwright.
Brian also has two special sessions he can do as part of a visit: 1) A 90-minute talk with a bigger group of students about his writing. Brian runs either a Taste Test or a Freak Out competition as part of this session, which are linked to his books The Real Thing and Super Freak. 2) A 60-minute-long workshop with a smaller group of keen writers who have already attended the talk. Brian is happy to give his prepared talk once or twice in a morning session, and once in an afternoon session. Workshops can be of any duration and slotted in to suit. Find out more about how Brian runs these sessions on his website.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Visit Brian's website
- Brian's 'Write Like an Author' children's writing course website
- Christchurch City Libraries interview
- Brian Falkner's Star Author blog for Christchurch City Libraries
- Radio NZ report on winners of the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults
Updated June 2022.