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Born and raised in the south-west of Western Australia, Avan was brought up surrounded by countless books, animals and chainsaws, though which of those had the greatest influence is still up for debate.

As a boy he watched Rumpole of the Bailey and Matlock and dreamed of lawyering. He finagled a law degree, but saw sense and pursued a passion for history with a PhD at the University of Queensland. There, he taught, won several awards and worked as a furniture removalist whose specialty was destroying chipboard furnishings.

He and his wife now live in the north of Spain where Avan has been known to take a long winter dip in the cold Atlantic, after which his words are always slurred, though only sometimes on the page.

He is the author of Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent, a history from Monash University Publishing, and the forthcoming novel, Sunflowers and Spinifex, from Fremantle Press. Avan continues to write novels and works as an editor.

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