John Heffernan

Primary & Secondary

Workshop Availability

Metro & Remote NSW

Australia, SE Asia & Europe

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(John Heffernan)
(Charlie Carter)

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John Heffernan wanted to be many things when it came time to morph into an adult. He wanted to be an inventor, designing gadgets like a People-Making Machine, Hover-Boots or a Genius Cap. He wanted to be a Spartan warrior, a Viking chief called Erik Skull-Splitter, a zoo-keeper fluent in Animalese, a climber of unknown mountains – or whatever happened to be the last exciting idea to leap into his mind.

Instead, John went to university and did several degrees in useless subjects like psychology and philosophy, even lecturing in them. Then he became a farmer, with sheep and cows, horses and dogs, wombats, joeys, guinea pigs and giant jungle mice. He even married a wonderful woman and became a father with two beautiful daughters.

But then one day he morphed into an author, writing books about horses and dogs, rats and pirates, kids in war, genius mice and mad scientists, ghosts and ghouls, wizards and warriors, as well as a few serious books about growing up and families and trying to work out what life is all about.

John reckons it’s the best thing he ever did, inventing stories around whatever exciting ideas leap into his mind. Better than growing up, that’s for sure.

He has produced two bodies of work: over thirty books under his own name, and another sixteen in the Battle Boy Series by Charlie Carter. His latest book under his own name is Harry’s War, while a new Charlie Carter series called Omega Squad has been started with book one titled Time Thieves. Two more titles to follow in the Omega Squad series are History Hackers and Time Makers.

John's Books

John Heffernan, published 1997 by Scholastic Australia.

Spud, a blue heeler pup, begins her life in the city, at a time when blue heelers are fashionable. These dogs are bred to work on the land and when Spud is no longer a cute puppy, she is abandoned.

Luckily she is adopted by a new master. She goes to a new home in the country, and receives love and respect from the caring man. Spud’s fortunes change again when she comes under the control of a new owner. He is cruel and violent, and treats her terribly and Spud must rely on her instincts to ensure her survival …

John's Workshops

John conducts workshops and author talks to students of all levels K-12, doing anything from straight author talks about his books, to writing workshops, to a mix of book talks and brainstorming sessions that help students with creative writing. John's workshops have been linked to the Australian Curriculum English Standards and Outcomes. For more information about the following workshops or to have something customised to suit your needs please contact

Author Talks:

General author talks are aimed at inspiring students to read, especially reluctant readers. Author talks can be delivered to small or large groups. Online sessions available.

Suitable for K-12 students.


John’s workshops can be as detailed as required, and span anything from one session to several days, even a whole week on occasions. They are based on a series of exercises that John calls Getting a Head for Tales, which encourage students to develop a mindset for seeing the world in terms of stories. Workshops are usually for between twenty to forty students. Online sessions available.

Suitable for K-12 students.

NAPLAN workshops

John’s NAPLAN workshops focus on writing Persuasive Texts. These workshops are of most benefit if conducted early in the school year. Book early so you don’t miss out!

Suitable for years 5, 7, and 9 students.

Public Libraries

John is available to work in consultation with Public Libraries, Writers’ Centres and Arts Councils on adult writing workshops. These are tylically delivered in the evening.

Suitable for all ages.

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Upcoming presentations:

Literary Learning & Literacy Festival | SYDNEY



A one-day Literary Festival featuring a range of authors and illustrators.
Date: Friday 24th March, 2017
Time: 9.00am - 3.30pm
Location: Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf, SYDNEY
Accreditation: BOSTES/QTC NSW to AITSL National Teaching Standards (see below for details for other states)
Registration Fee: $328.90 (GST incl)

Major Sponsor: Literacy Fair:


Download PDF » Register now »

The teaching of literacy knowledge and skills is integrated across all learning areas of the Australian Curriculum, where students are required to develop knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society.

According to ACARA (2015) ‘becoming literate’ also encompasses the knowledge and skills students need to access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school.

Integrating fiction across the curriculum in a variety of literacy formats enriches students’ literacy skills while helping them gain a deeper understanding of relationships, issues, and events in the world around them. This can be particularly useful when designing curriculum units to support students’ knowledge, understanding and skills relating to the cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia, or Sustainability.

The school library plays an important role in building a reading culture within a school community, and in helping students become literate and engage with literary and information texts as independent learners.

Teacher librarians can achieve this through collaborating with teachers and other specialist staff to develop programs and initiatives that provide rich reading experiences for students using a range of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, in both print and digital formats.

Listen to authors and illustrators, literacy coordinators, class teachers and teacher librarians present on a range of topics addressing these themes:

  • Harnessing Power of Story to help students understand their world and themselves
  • Teaching Visual Literacy across learning areas of the Australian Curriculum
  • Exploring Identity and Cultural Diversity through literature across the curriculum
  • Integrating Digital Tools to support the development of students as readers and writers

The program will include a trade fair exhibiting new resources and products to support literary learning and literacy development across the curriculum.

Who should attend?:

  • Teacher Librarians
  • English Teachers
  • Geography Teachers
  • Primary Teachers
  • Lovers of Literature


For Proficient Teachers

Completing seminar Literary Learning & Literacy Festival will contribute 5 hours of QTC Registered PD addressing standards from the Australian Professional Standards forTeachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

For your convenience this course is aligned to AITSL National Standards for Teachers and meets the requirements for Teacher identified Professional Learning in the following states as outlined below:

  • Victorian Institute of Teaching’s Professional Development (PD) for teacher registration and renewal purposes,
  • Teacher Registration Board of WA Professional Development (PD) for teacher registration and renewal purposes,
  • Teacher Registration Board of SA Professional Development (PD) for teacher registration and renewal purposes,
  • Teacher Quality Institute ACT(TQI) teacher identified Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for registered teachers
  • Queensland College of Teachers’ (QCT) teacher identified Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for registered teachers


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