Mem Fox was born in Melbourne in 1946, but she spent most of her childhood in Zimbabwe, Africa. In the mid-sixties she went to drama school in London. In 1970 she returned with her husband to Australia where they settled in Adelaide. In 1983 her first book Possum Magic was published and it is the best selling picture book ever in Australia. Since Possum Magic Mem Fox has written more than 25 picture books for children. Apart from the children's books Mem Fox has also written several books for adults. The best known of these is Reading Magic published in 2001. Apart from being an author Mem Fox is also a dedicated teacher.
Mem Fox has been presented with many awards including "the 1990 Dromkeen Medal for distinguished services to children's literature"; an "AM in the 1993 Australia Day Honours awards", for services to the cultural life of Australia; an "Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Wollongong", Australia, in 1996; an "SA Great award for literature" in 2001; and the "Prime Minister's Centenary Medal" in 2003.
"As a child I was immersed in the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. I wept with grief over The Little Matchgirl and The Little Mermaid, and loved it when the idiots and the baddies got what was coming to them in The Emperor's New Clothes and The Nightingale, and was thrilled beyond belief when the ugly duckling turned into a swan: I always thought that was going to me be me and it gave me great hope!," says Mem Fox.
"I could not have written my own stories with such intensity of feeling had I not had the finest examples to lean upon and Hans Christian Andersen was the finest of them all.
I am wildly grateful that the Danish government thinks me worthy enough to be an ambassador for Hans Christian Andersen in this 200th year celebration of his birth. I learnt of this honour ten months ago and keeping it a secret for so long has nearly killed me. The honour is, for me, a fairytale in itself."