There’s no self-making beds, make-your-own-pizza parlours, chocolate waterfalls or vines to swing on in sight at Australia’s literary superstar, Andy Griffiths home like his novels suggest. Andy refers to his residence as a “treehouse” and when you climb up to the middle level, a 180 degree waterfront panorama and the grasslands of Jawbone Reserve in Williamstown is the mesmerising reality instead.
Just last week, Andy Griffiths’ and illustrator, Terry Denton won Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards for “The 52-Storey Treehouse.” The funny fantasy-adventure story was the best selling book in Australia in 2014 and more than five million copies of Griffiths’ and Denton’s four Treehouse books have been sold.
Andy attributes his Williamstown “treehouse” which is currently listed for sale with Compton Green as a significant source of inspiration. “This second level has such a beautiful, tree house like feel because of the floor to ceiling windows and the whole world feels like it’s coming in. We’d be all up here (my wife who is my editor, my daughter and my illustrator, Terry), inventing crazy books and ridiculous drawings. It felt like we were kids playing in the treehouse and we captured that feeling in the book. The house and view inspired the book at a very deep level.”
“It’s like having a front row dress circle seat to watch the world go by. We love the drama of the sunsets and the storms. While upstairs, there’s a quieter sort of feel and the main bedroom is like a haven away from the action. It’s what you need as a writer, you need to be expansive and be able to engage with the world but you also need to have quiet times.”
As Andy calmly stares out into the distance, there’s a feeling his mind may right now be plotting the next story invention. “My mind has too many ideas. The more ideas you trench up, the more that they suggest and I could sit up here on this second level forever. The first time I entered our home, I was just blown away by the view. I just knew right away that it was the perfect blend for us to live and work.”
A glimpse of Dr. Seuss tattooed on his arm confirms one of his favourite authors. “I remember how excited I would get reading Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton books. I try to replicate that same amount of excitement in my books and I passed on my love of books to my 13-year-old daughter, Sarah. She is a very good writer and will throw things into the mix every now and again. She’s very sharp and gets a significant vote.”
Once in several punk rock bands before becoming a high school English teacher in Mildura, Andy used to feel like kids didn’t have the same exciting relationship with books like he had experienced so he began writing for his students. “I didn’t expect to be famous as I was writing absolutely absurd humour. I once thought, I’m never going to have a proper career as a writer but I’ll have a happy career as an eccentric just writing for my amusement and perhaps the amusement of a small fraction of the population. By pleasing myself, I ended up striking a very genuine chord. It’s important to never guess what people may like but be true to yourself.”
11 years ago when Andy published “The Bad Book and “The Very Bad Book,” there was controversy surrounding his novels because some parents believed that the plots were too violent. “There was a lot of misunderstanding about what I was doing and people were upset thinking I was subverting parent authority but I didn’t mind having those arguments. I argued that children’s literature should be about exploring what happens when kids don’t do the right things and it’s a safe imaginative space to do that. I’ve always fought for the right of books. I think the treehouse is wild but safe. Books are wild.”
Andy’s property, 2/113 Esplanade, Williamstown is currently listed for sale with a marketed price range of $1,400,000-$1,500,000. It’s due to go to auction on Saturday 13th June at 11am. He is also famous for a range of other books and is also best known for his Just! Books and The Day My Bum Went Psycho. View the 3D video of the property: http://www.realestate.com.au/property-townhouse-vic-williamstown-119771559