From Hook to Book


Chris Bell has written 35 published short fiction books for children, including picture story, chapter and YA. Her junior eco novel manuscript Strange Creatures received a Highly Commended in the 2016 CYA Writing and Illustrating Competition – published author prize. In 2014 Chris was awarded a Varuna Retreat Fellowship to work on Prison Boya YA historical novel set in convict Van Diemen’s Land. Chris’s contemporary YA novel Jumping Through Hoops won the 2011 CYA Writing  and Illustrating Competition – published author prize and was long-listed in the international 2012 Mslexia Writing for Children Competition. Chris holds a Master of Creative Writing and a Diploma of Arts – Professional Writing and Editing. She is the Assistant Coordinator of SCBWI Vic (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and in 2014/15/16/17 served as one of the CYA Writing and Illustrating Competition judges.

Chris writing scene Scotland websiteChris works as a full-time writer. Currently she is working on an adult historical novel set in the period of the Great War. One of the most exciting aspects of this project is the research, especially as it took her all the way to Scotland – the home of her Scot’s forebears. Standing on the banks of Strathclyde Loch she discovered her characters had stowed away with her and come home to the land of their births. Chris had a fantastic time getting to know their lives and loves, language and traditions, though she could not share their love of haggis.




Highly Commended – Strange Creatures (junior eco novel) 2016 CYA Writing & Illustrating Competition (Published Author Award)

2014 Varuna Retreat Fellowship – Prison Boy (YA historical novel) Eleanor Dark Foundation (Varuna Writers House)

Long-listedJumping Through Hoops (YA contemporary novel) 2012 Mslexia Children’s Writing Competition (U.K.)

Winner – Jumping Through Hoops 2011 CYA Writing & Illustrating Competition (Published Author Award)

Second PlaceGlass Under Tin (YA novel) 2003 FAW National Literary Awards – Jim Hamilton Award – Unpublished Manuscript

Shortlisted – The Golden Man The University of Canberra 1997 National Short Story Competition (Tertiary Section)

Certificate of Merit – Gone Again Auswrite Short Story Competition 1996

Certificate of Merit – The Face in the Mirror Auswrite Short Story Competition 1996

Certificate of Merit – Gone Fishing Auswrite Short Story Competition 1996   


Writers Victoria | Australian Society of Authors (ASA) | Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI Vic) | CBCA |Varuna Alumni | Young & Jackson Writing Group | LLLCD Writers’ Group.


Master of Creative Media (Creative Writing) with Distinction   Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) 2012

Year of Reading for Writers 2009   Victorian Writers’ Centre

Year of the Novel 2008 (Andrea Goldsmith)   Victorian Writers’ Centre

Diploma of Arts – Professional Writing & Editing   Box Hill Institute of Technology 1998

Certificate in Creative Writing   Box Hill Institute of Technology – 1995


7 thoughts on “About

  1. Billy Mollon on said:

    Hi Christine , I have distant Scotish relations who lived at Hamilton Palace Colliery at Bothwellhaugh and recently I found a photo of one of them during a google search and it said she was the last woman coal sorter at the colliery . I am not sure which of 4 sisters it was but her surname was Mollon .
    Regards Billy .

    • Hi Billy
      Lovely to connect to someone who also had relations who lived at the “Pailis”. My fascination emerged in 2008 after a visit to Wonthaggi State Coal Mine where my great-grandfather and family emigrated to from Bothwellhaugh in 1912-13. Further research on the village fuelled an idea I had for a novel and I did a lot of research to learn more of Hamilton Palace Colliery as an early setting in my story.
      The double bonus for me was learning so much about my family’s history and early years.
      Best wishes,

      • Marion on said:

        Hi Christine,

        I found this extremely interesting as my late mother was born and brought up in the “Pailis” in 1927. My grandfather and most of his sons would have worked down the pits. My grandparents had a family of fourteen and my mother was the second youngest. I briefly remember visiting my grandparent’s house in the village when I was a “wean” before it was demolished and they were re-housed in Bellshill in North Lanarkshire.

        The BBC recently broadcast a short film called “The Lost Village of Bothwellhaugh” which shows family life in the village, filmed on an 8mm reel by one of the actual residents in the 1960’s.

        After watching this film I started looking for information about Bothwellhaugh hence this reply.

        Kind Regards,
        Marion McAvoy.

  2. Hi Marion

    Lovely to see you here and learn of your grandparents’ family living in the “Pailis”. Wow! the village houses were pretty small to accommodate fourteen children, though I know they could fit quite a few in a room, not to mention per bed.

    I have the DVD of The Drowned Village, courtesy of Tom Eadie, a former resident of Bothwellhaugh and a wonderful help to me in my research for my novel.

    When I visited Scotland in 2010, I found lots of helpful information, newspaper articles and references at the Motherwell Heritage Centre and also through speaking with one of the rangers at Strathfield Country Park.

    Bothwellhaugh’s history fascinated me and I have loved researching and writing about the place and time (early 1900s) when my great-parents and uncles lived and worked in the Hamilton Palace Colliery.

    Thank you so much for leaving your comment. It’s wonderful how history connects us.

    Best wishes,

  3. Hi Chris, what is your book about bothwellhaugh called?
    Also, I am researching about someone called Stewart Thomson who was the colliery cashier for a long time, do you know anything about him?

    • Hi Ziggy

      Great to see you at From Hook to Book.

      My novel is not published as yet. I’m waiting to get back to it after a break of 12 months writing another book. I want to do a little rewriting before I submit it for publication.

      I found some information on Stewart Thomson in a booklet titled Bothwellhaugh: A Lanarkshire mining community, 1884-1965. It was on the internet at one time, but, sadly, the website is no longer in existence. You may be able to purchase a copy through The Motherwell Heritage Centre, a fantastic resource for all things Bothwellhaugh. If you would like to contact me by email chris+@chrisbell+com+au, (just take out the + signs and replace the last two with . i.e. or visit contact page) I can send you some extracts. Was Stewart Thomson a relative?

      Look forward to hearing from you.

      Best wishes,

      • Thank you but I already have the book. I will try the website. Stewart was my Great-Great-Great-Granddad
        Thank, Ziggy

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