Lian Tanner

Ten things about me

1. I was born in Tasmania and have lived here nearly all my life. If you cut me open, you would find ‘Tasmania’ written on my bones and in my heart.

2. I have three older brothers and no sisters.

3. I was a very shy child, which is probably why I like writing about bold girls. I loved books and horses, and I was so bad at netball that no one ever wanted me in their team.

Michael, Nigel, me and Robert

Me and my horse Chief



Rio Grande’s Last Race

Now this was what Macpherson told
While waiting in the stand;
A reckless rider, over-bold,
The only man with hands to hold
The rushing Rio Grande.

He said, `This day I bid good-bye
To bit and bridle rein,
To ditches deep and fences high,
For I have dreamed a dream, and I
Shall never ride again.

`I dreamt last night I rode this race
That I today must ride,
And cant’ring down to take my place
I saw full many an old friend’s face
Come stealing to my side.

`Dead men on horses long since dead,
They clustered on the track;
The champions of the days long fled,
They moved around with noiseless tread—

… Urk …






4. When I was in Grade 6, I learned all 21 verses of Banjo Paterson’s poem ‘Rio Grande’s Last Race’ for a school concert, then lost my voice halfway through the fourth verse. I think it was nerves.

5. I studied Earth Sciences at university, because I liked the stories of the enormous glaciers and volcanoes that changed the shape of the world. But the practical side of things was my downfall. I was hopeless at identifying the different rocks and minerals, and one of my Geology lecturers said it was a great relief to everyone when I dropped that subject halfway through my degree.

6. Right up until I was 38, I didn’t think I was very creative. Then I went to drama school and learned how to find the amazing ideas that were lurking inside me.

7. After drama school, I worked as a professional actor for three years, touring plays around Tasmanian schools. Amongst other roles, I played a nun, a dog, and a convict who was about to hang for her crimes. This was good background for a writer, as it taught me all about dialogue and action.

Me as Musket the dog

8. I like gardening, and have a chicken called Clara and a very handsome tomcat called Harry-le-beau, both of whom try to help by digging up the beans and broccoli. Harry also has his own writing career – he hasn’t updated his blog for quite a while, but you can find it at



9. I get some of my best ideas while walking on the beach, which is just three houses away, at the end of my street. It’s a very quiet street and a very quiet beach, with good swimming in summer. We often see dolphins in the bay and sometimes, if we are lucky, whales. When I’m stuck, and don’t know what to write, I go for a long walk, which almost always gets me unstuck again.

The beach at the end of my street

I love reading!


10. I recently worked out that I have probably read about 10,000 books in my lifetime. All those books, and I still love reading!