Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Duncan Ball.
Duncan Ball loves Mozart. He is a friend to Selby, Australia’s only talking dog and he is the clever creator behind Emily Eyefinger, the girl born with an eye on the end of her finger. Yes, you read correctly, Duncan loves Mozart.
Born in 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts, Duncan is the middle child of three children.
His father was a civil engineer for the American Air Force, which meant his family moved around. They moved from Boston to an Alaskan Air Force base when he was four, at the time of the Korean War. The base was used to send supplies to Korea, which meant there was a threat of air strikes.
Alaskan summers are short. When Duncan and his siblings weren’t participating in practice air raids, they were embracing their simple lifestyle, television free, filled with games and lots of family time. Alaska is not known for its warm weather which meant the majority of their time was spent indoors playing cards and listening to the radio.
In his younger years, Duncan and his sister spent a memorable summer in a log cabin on a country farm. His days were spent down by the stream catching trout for breakfast. One particular morning Duncan shared the stream with a big brown bear who was thankfully too interested in his fishing than in Duncan. Needless to say, Duncan didn’t hang around, he ran, faster than he had ever run in his entire life. The bear - probably still catching fish.
As Duncan grew his family relocated back to Boston before moving to Madrid, Spain. During his three years in Spain Duncan and his siblings were sent to different schools. Duncan was sent to a school where no one including the teachers spoke a word of English and as Duncan didn’t speak a word of Spanish it made things pretty interesting for a while, but he soon picked up the language and made some good friends.
Duncan relished his time in Spain soaking up the culture as he navigated his way through his teenage years. Many happy hours were spent in The Museo del Prado, Spain’s national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art dating from the 12th to the 19th Century. It was during this time he developed an eye for paintings. Duncan loved them so much he began painting and believed he had found his true calling, in fact, some of his works were shown in galleries in America.
He also began reading. Duncan had not been particularly fond of reading during his primary school years but upon discovering poetry, he quickly developed a new passion.
Duncan’s travels continued with summer camps in Switzerland spent mountain climbing and hiking trails which he continued when he returned to America to finish his studies. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Boston University and went on to follow in his father’s footsteps and study Civil Engineering. But after a year Duncan decided it was not the life he wanted and returned to Europe. He studied French in Paris and was again seduced by the museums and culture.
When the money ran dry, Duncan moved back to Boston and returned to University to study Chemistry then Mathematics. He worked his way through University as a Chemical Technician.
Dividing his time between work and study would be enough you might think, but Duncan found time to marry and welcome two beautiful sons to the world. With the little time he had to spare, Duncan continued to paint.
In 1974 Duncan and his young family moved to Australia, instantly falling in love with our culture and country. It was here he began writing. His first book was an adult thriller. He then went on to write for children and has never looked back.
Duncan quit his industrial chemist job and took up residency as the editor of School Magazine for the Department of Education in NSW. Within his four and half year tenure, Duncan learned a lot about the children’s writing world and worked tirelessly honing his craft.
In 1982 he made the decision to write full-time and left School Magazine. Duncan had been working on a story about a talking dog, Selby, for Family Circle Magazine and had taken his stories to his publisher. The first Selby book was published and nearly 20 books later Selby’s antics are still entertaining children.
During his career, Duncan has authored over 70 titles including various picture books, novels, plays and a collection of humorous poetry. His equally successful series, Emily Eyefinger was first published in 1992 and there are now over 10 in the series.
Duncan lives in Sydney with his wife, Jill and their ginger cat, Jasper.
To learn more about Duncan Ball, visit www.duncanball.com.au
Here are some of Duncan Ball's books: