About This Author

Request Author Booking

Nean McKenzie
Grade 4-6

Nean McKenzie is a children’s writer and optometrist from Western Melbourne. Her first two middle-grade books, Cryptosight and Xenoflight, are adventure stories about Australian cryptozoology. Her third novel Timefire is a time travel story about bushfires in Australia’s history. All books are set in country Australia.

Nean was awarded a Maurice Saxby mentorship in 2016. She has a diploma of Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT. In 2023 she was selected for a two-week fellowship at the KSP Writers Centre in Perth.

Nean is a fan of coffee, cats, running and, of course, reading as much as she can.

Testimonial: Nean came to work with our 5/6 students, she shared insights on the ups and downs of writing a novel as well as how she finds her inspiration. The students were engaged and inspired by her workshop. They had a chance to begin to visualise a character and write about them using strategies demonstrated by Nean. I can’t keep her books on my shelf, students love to read and reread her descriptive, language rich and engaging texts. We are looking forward to having her visit again!
St Mary’s Primary School, Altona

Books by Nean McKenzie


Best Suited 8-13 Years
In the scorching summer of 2033, Gilbert Black is accused of being a firebug, just like his mother was thirteen years previously. That night a fire starts on his family’s farm. A fire with a tunnel in the centre of it. And that’s when things start to get really weird.

Pulled repeatedly back and forth through time, Gil finds himself at all the big Australian bushfires from the last two centuries. He searches across the years, determined to unlock the secret to his family’s legacy.

Gil can’t change the past, but can he learn from it in time to return home and save his family from the biggest inferno ever known?


Best Suited 8-13 Years
Apart from the company of her flying pet ferret Fernando and her auntie Carla, 13-year-old Nessa Santiago is alone. Her mother died in a circus accident and she has never known her father. But when the day finally comes for Nessa to meet him, everything goes wrong. Her auntie unexpectedly leaves in a helicopter and a menacing Cryptid Hunter, who captures unusual creatures like Fernando, shows up instead. In order to keep Fernando safe, Nessa must run.

With help from Kep, a boy from her school, Nessa embarks on a wild journey through rural Australia to find her father. Nessa, Fernando and Kep are pursued by the anti-cryptid organisation HARNESS and a mysterious giant bird in the sky. Along the way, they meet weird and wonderful creatures, but with each new encounter, more questions arise.

What are the visions Nessa gets every time she closes her eyes? And what are they trying to tell her about her parents?



Best Suited 8-13 Years
What if you could see what is hidden?

Rafferty Kaminski is a 13-year-old who believes in facts. Not like his Cryptozoologist father, who searches for creatures not proven to exist.

When their father disappears in the Flinders Ranges, strange things start happening to Raff and his younger sister Zara. They learn that their father belongs to a secret organisation and they are suddenly being pursued by bunyip hunters.

Raff is drawn into the weird world of Cryptozoology as he and Zara follow ‘sightings’ of creatures around country Victoria. Will they find their father? And what is the ancient voice that only Raff can hear as they approach the Wombat State Forest?


Our Partners