More about Felice...
In addition to being a prolific writer of children's books, Felice Arena is also an accomplished actor, speaker, TV presenter and playwright.
In the Nineties he played Marco Alessi in the TV soap opera Neighbours for a year before heading off to pursue a musical theatre career in London. During his time in the UK he starred in West End musicals Hair, Godspell and What a Feeling.
It was in this period he began to write, sparked by nostalgia for his boyhood days in country Victoria. Felice's debut novel, a story about a dolphin and a swimmer set in Australia, was picked up by a UK publisher, and he hasn't looked back since.
Felice’s books have topped bestseller lists and garnered several awards, including six Australian Children Choice Book Awards. Some of these include the Andy Roid series, the much-loved junior reader books Sporty Kids and The Besties, the hugely
popular Specky Magee series, his acclaimed historical adventures and CBCA notable books The Boy and the Spy, Fearless Frederic , A Great Escape, and most recently his cheeky read-aloud picture book Poo And Other Words That Make Me Laugh!
Felice's books have also been published in the UK, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, and China.
FACTS ABOUT FELICE:
Felice was named after his grandfather - a longstanding tradition for many first-born sons in Italian families. Felice is pronounced Feh-LEE-che. Felice actually means ‘happy’ in Italian. Family and friends call him ‘Fleech’ for short. Occasionally he gets Felix, which is the English version of Felice.
Felice was born in the Victorian country town of Kyabram. He and Garry Lyon (his co-author of Specky Magee) attended the same primary school - where it's well documented that Felice would often take specky-tacular marks over the top of the AFL great.
("Well documented"... um, fact-check, please! )
When he was thirteen Felice broke the Victorian State Country Swimming record for 50 metres Butterfly - he trained in an irrigation channel because his town pool had closed for the season. Yes - that would make a great book! Watch this space.
Felice is a qualified primary school teacher. He taught for only one year before landing the role of Marco Alessi in the hit Aussie Soap Opera Neighbours.
In 2013 Felice was named Koala Legend of the year (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) and in 2020 was awarded the YABBA Graham Davey Citation Award for his contribution and impact on Australian Children's literature.
Felice eats an apple every day.
When going out for gelato Felice will always order the same flavours - lemon and chocolate - except if the gelataria happens to have Sicilian Cassata. Sicilian Cassata always trumps 'limone e cioccolato'