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Christobel Mattingley has been writing since she was eight and her first pieces were published in the children's pages of magazines and newspapers. Her first book, The Picnic Dog, was published in 1970, when she had three young children. While they were growing up she worked as a librarian in schools and a college of advanced education. Self-employed as a writer since 1974, she has travelled widely in Australia and overseas, speaking in schools and libraries. Christobel has published 46 books for children. Some have been translated, into 13 languages altogether, some have won awards in Australia and USA, several were filmed for ABC TV. Working with Aboriginal people for decades, Christobel wrote the landmark history Survival in Our Own Land, and Maralinga: the Anangu Story. She has received many awards for service to literature and commitment to social justice and cultural issues, including the Advance Australia Award (1990), the Ekidnas Lifetime Recognition Award (2004), UNESCO (Adelaide Chapter) Award (2009), Alice Award (2010). She was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of South Australia (1995), a Member of the Order of Australia (1996), and an Honorary Doctor of Letters of the University of Tasmania (2015).