Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Felice Arena.
Felice Arena’s ability to entertain knows no bounds. Born in Kyabram, Victoria in March 1968 Felice (pronounced feh-LEE-chay), Fleech to his friends, attended La Trobe University. He graduated as a primary school teacher but decided to pursue writing.
He was influenced by authors Colin Thiele, the creater of Storm Boy, Jenny Wagner, author of Bunyip of Berkley’s Creek, J.D. Salinger of Catcher in the Rye fame, Stan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears and The World Book Encyclopedia.
Felice is no stranger to visual arts with a role in the Australian award winning soap opera, Neighbours. In 1992 he debuted as Marco Alessi a role he played for a little over a year. His character was infatuated with Australian singer, Natalie Imbruglia who played Beth Brennan. The pair shared a stolen kiss but that’s as far as the romance blossomed despite hopes of a deeper involvement.
Unhappy with his story lines, Felice decided to leave Ramsay Street and filmed his final scenes in October 1992. Although the writers left the door open for him to return, Marco Alessi faded into soapie history.
Still set on feeding his acting bug Felice starred in London West End theatre in the musicals Hair, What a Feeling and Godspell.
It was during his time in Godspell as Jesus; Felice wrote his first story about a boy and a dolphin. Dolphin Boy Blue was released in 1996 by HarperCollins UK shortly followed by Mission Buffalo in 1997. Felice utilised his sketching skills to help create his characters and tell his stories.
In 1999, Wish was released with Bravo Billy (2000) and Breakaway John in 2001.
In 2002, Felice co-wrote The Specky Magee series with his former school-mate and Melbourne Football Club star, Garry Lyon. The Specky Magee series chronicles the life and times of teenager Simon Magee, an aspiring Aussie Rules football champion. To date, there have been eight titles in the Specky Magee series from the first Specky Magee (2002) to Specky Magee and the best of Oz (2011).
The Andy Roid series launched in 2012 and ten books later is still going strong.
Sporty Kids kicked off in 2015 and the nine titles released to date have covered a multitude of sporting activities from footy, tennis, swimming, soccer and even handball. Stay tuned for cricket and netball coming soon.
His books have topped bestseller lists and won numerous awards, including six Australian Children Choice Book Awards, KOALA, Kroc and Cool awards.
In October 2013 Felice was awarded the "Kids Own Australian Literature Awards (KOALA) Legend award".
Here are some fun facts we found on Felice’s website: www.felicearena.com
- He once had coffee with Hollywood movie legend Sophia Loren … in her house!
- For one year he worked as a primary school art teacher.
- He has a huge fear of swooping magpies (including the football team).
- Felice was once a competitive swimmer. At age 13 he broke the Victorian state record for 50 metres butterfly after training in a farming irrigation channel for an entire summer.
- Whenever Felice goes out for gelato, he always orders the same flavours … chocolate and lemon.
- Felice loves to travel. His (current) favourite cities in the world are New York, London, Edinburgh, Venice, Geneva, Munich, Hong Kong, Lucerne, and Barcelona.
- The same London literary agent who discovered Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling was also Felice’s agent.
- He constantly dreams about living in the Swiss Alps. He thinks he might’ve been a mountain goat or a Von Trapp child in a former life.
- He likes sprinkling icing sugar and salt on his popcorn. He thinks sweet and savoury is a killer combination!
When Felice is not coming up with new adventures to capture the imagination of children around the country he’s entertaining them in person, visiting schools and speaking with his readers.
Who knows what to expect from this author/illustrator. One thing is for sure whatever it is will be GOLD!
Read CKT's interview with Felice Arena (May 2016)
Here are some of Felice Arena's books: