In 2004 his first YA novel The Running Man was published to great acclaim. It subsequently won the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year for Older Readers and was short-listed for the NSW, Victoria and South Australian State Premiers’ Literary awards.
In 2008 the German translation of The Running Man was short-listed for the German Youth Literature Prize and won the German Catholic Children’s and Young People’s Book Prize. In 2014 it was short-listed for the Prix Farniente in Belgium. In 2009 the Italian translation of The Running Man was a finalists for the “Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cento” Prize.
In 2007 his second novel, a ‘laugh out loud’ comedy entitled Don’t Call Me Ishmael! was short-listed in both the CBCA awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and won the 2007 Children’s Peace Literature Award and the 2008 South Australian Festival Award for Children’s Literature. It was also included in the 2007 White Ravens selection for Outstanding International Books for children and young adults. Its sequel Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs was a 2008 CBCA Notable book. The final book in the trilogy Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel and was released in July 2011. It was shortlisted for the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers.
Michael’s other books include, Dinosaur Knights a 2010 CBCA Notable Book described as ‘an original and adrenalin-pumping adventure’, You Turkeys! an illustrated chapter book, part of the Scholastic Mates series for early readers, and Just a Dog which was named Honour Book in the 2011 CBCA awards in the Younger Readers category and won the 2011 Queensland Premier’s award for best Children’s Book.
Recently Michael has written a series of three humorous books for younger readers: Eric Vale Epic Fail; Eric Vale Super Male; and Eric Vale Off the Rails. Eric Vale Off the Rails was selected as one of the 2013 GET READING 50 Books You Can’t Put Down. The books are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe who as well as being a talented artist is an amazing young film-maker who with partner Rita Artmann make up Artspear Entertainment. Joe made the trailer for Eric Vale Epic Fail.
A spin-off series from the Eric Vale books featuring a character created by Eric himself – Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale – will be released soon. The first book Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale: The Case of Animals Behaving Really REALLY Badly will be out in July 2014.
These days Michael is a full-time writer. His books are widely set as school texts and he is in high demand for talks and workshops at schools and Festivals around Australia. He has also enjoyed three very successful visits to Indonesia as a writer in residence at the Jakarta International School (2007 and 2008) and the British International School (2008) as well as the American community School in Abu Dhabi (2012). In 2010 Michael was one of the guest authors at the White Ravens International Children’s and Youth Literature Festival in Munich Germany and in 2012 he was invited to the Edinburgh Writers festival.
Edinburgh Book Festival.