Who is Toni Grant?
Author, creative and passionate advocate for mental health initiatives with awareness and recovery through creative processes.
And … proud graduate of the Australian Writers Centre
My childhood home was a sugar cane farm in North Bundaberg, Queensland. I love that place. The smell of ripening cane. The burn before harvest. The space and freedom. Motorbikes. Dogs. Dams. Sheds. Machinery. Small crops. (well maybe not the small crops!)
I am fortunate. A simple life paved a pathway for a child with an active imagination.
Graduate of the University of Queensland Gatton College, I obtained a Bachelor of Business (Tourism) and have worked in the NFP, environment, health, government and publishing sectors.
I’ve spent the best part of 25 years living in western NSW with my family. In 2020 I had the good fortune to return home to my beloved Queensland surrounded by the natural environment, family and friends.
As a child, my imagination was stirred by characters living in far flung places and leading quite different lives to me. Enid Blyton was my favourite author. Those treasured childhood books remain in my library.
Trixie Beldon, DC Comics and The Phantom came next. Then Little Women, Pride and Prejudice and a first taste of contemporary fiction in Polo.
Les Norton. And Stephanie Plum. Or Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase. Earl Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
You see, it’s the characters. It’s always the characters. I love meeting them. I’m intrigued by their interactions and how they work around the constraints of their environs. Particularly when their decisions lead to complex, awkward or hilarious situations and fantastic adventures.
Do you want to know a secret? I have another passion equal to storytelling.
I’m fascinated when creative output embraces science. In particular, projects that help audiences grasp important social messages. The art science interface is critical. It’s magical.
For example, the BRAINSTORM project with Black Box Creatives in Dubbo in 2018. We explored the relationship between teenage behaviour and scientific research on the teenage brain. The original play was written in the UK by Company Three. It was a privilege to adapt Brainstorm to portray our western NSW youth.
Creating a focus on recovery outcomes in mental health through art is truly rewarding. During 2016 the Pen to Power exhibition utilised mind mapping techniques to plot emotions and find individual solutions to aid in the recovery of mental and physical trauma. We all gained so much through that process. The results were truly magical.
And that’s me. Well, some of me. Can’t tell you everything at once!