I live in Newcastle and have been writing poetry and more recently fiction for over twenty years. I take a special interest in little known but quirky aspects of Australian history. I like stepping into the shoes of characters from other times and places, and bringing them to life on the page.
It’s been my good fortune to have been encouraged by many wonderful colleagues and fellow writers. Among others, Dorothy Porter took an interest in my work, and I’m in debt to her for her fierce, honest criticism ... and her generous encouragement.
I also took great inspiration from a month’s-long writer’s residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland in 2011 as part of the Varuna Alumni writer’s exchange programme.
I feel very lucky, and am immensely grateful to have had several projects supported financially by the Literature Board of the Australia Council. This support allowed me to work full time on my writing for the period of the grants. As all writers know, financial breathing space is one of the most precious commodities.
Some of the prizes I have won for my writing are: the Victorian Premier’s Award, the Wesley Michel Wright Prize (twice), the Val Vallis Award, and the Josephine Ulrick award. Above all however, I value the opinion of readers. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I love best.
As well as being a writer I am also a teacher. I taught Creative Writing at Newcastle University for several years. These days I conduct workshops, sometimes through writer’s centres, but also by private arrangement ... in person, as well as online. I find working with other writers, whether as colleagues or in a student-tutor relationship, energises my own creativity.
Saying that, like many authors, I am heavily into prevarication. I spur myself on by posting inspirational sayings on the wall behind my computer. The current one reads: a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
I hope you enjoy the site and my books.
ʻMemoryʼs snapshots and machinations, its random catalogues of our pasts, lie beautifully revealed.ʼ Anthony Lynch, Australian Book Review
'Judy Johnson is a terriﬁc storyteller.ʼ Dorothy Porter.
'Johnson possesses an unerring gift for story telling.' Sarah Holland-Batt - Sydney Morning Herald