Libby was born in Young, a small town in south western NSW in 1950. After a few years she and her family moved to Glen Innes, on the northern tablelands and then when she was ten they moved out west to Dubbo. She moved because her father was a schoolteacher and each change meant a promotion for him.
There were six children in the family. Libby was number three and there wasn’t a lot of money. They didn’t have television and of course there was no such thing as a computer.
Books and reading were hugely important. She remembers going to the library on a Saturday morning and borrowing five or six books and reading them all by Sunday night.
When Libby finished High School she studied at the University of Sydney. She had a great time studying mainly history but also getting involved in lots of things happening at the University and the city. It was the time of the anti-Vietnam war protests and the rise of the Women’s Movement.
On graduating Libby taught for two years in a small town, Picton, just outside of Sydney. She really enjoyed that time but wanted to travel and in 1976 headed off for five years. She based herself first in Italy where she taught English and then in London where she started writing her first novel, Eleanor, Elizabeth. Libby attended a creative writing group where the other students pushed her to write a better book. In London she also met her husband. They came back to Sydney in 1980 and had three daughters.
When they first came back Libby taught at the University of NSW but now writes full-time. She has written more than thirty books and also taught occasional courses in creative writing and visited lots of schools to talk about her work.
Libby writes picture books, novels for young kids and also novels for slightly older readers. She has also written three books about writing and also a small amount of writing for television: Bananas in Pyjamas and Magic Mountain.
Libby is also this year’s recipient of the CBCA Book of the Year Award 2015 for Young Readers, with The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and the Present. Ill: Freya Blackwood (Allen & Unwin) and the CBCA Book of the Year Award 2015 for Early Childhood; with Go To Sleep, Jessie! Ill: Freya Blackwood (Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Libby’s website is libbygleeson.com.au