Biography of Venero Armanno
Venero Armanno (“Veny”) is a novelist, screenwriter and Associate Professor and Director, Higher Degrees by Research at The University of Queensland.
Veny was born in Brisbane, Queensland, of parents who migrated from Sicily to Australia in the early 1950s. Veny’s father was a self-employed bricklayer; for many years his mother worked as a seamstress for Freemans, a clothing factory in Fortitude Valley.
The young Veny came to books on his own, at the age of three impressing his parents by reading articles to them from the local newspapers. Though there was no history of literature of any kind in the house, Veny read everything he could find, commencing with newspapers and comics, then taking trips on the old tram system to the city library where he became well-known as a regular, and very young, visitor.
Later, Veny’s father started taking him to bricklaying jobs, which introduced a young pre-teen to the realities of hot Brisbane summers and the benefits of hard work. At nine he started Judo classes; at fifteen, Karate, achieving his first dan black belt before he was seventeen.
At just eighteen, while studying Law and Psychology at university, and working as a bricklayer’s labourer on weekends, Veny completed his first novel, called Darker Than Night.
Also with a love of music, around this same time Veny formed a rock band that performed the original songs he wrote for them. Success was elusive and after the band folded Veny set his mind on becoming a published writer—eventually being shortlisted for the Australian-Vogel Literary Award in 1984, then producing many unpublished (“and definitely unpublishable,” he says) early novels.
Since that time success has been kinder, and Veny is now the author of ten critically acclaimed novels, including the recently released supernatural mystery, The Crying Forest. His other well-known books include Burning Down (2017), Black Mountain (2012), The Dirty Beat (2007) and Candle Life (2006).
Further back, Veny’s novel Firehead was shortlisted in the 1999 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award; in 2002 The Volcano won the award with Best Fiction Book of the Year.
His work has gone on to be published in the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Israel and South Korea. His other books include The Lonely Hunter (1993), Romeo of the Underworld (1994), My Beautiful Friend (1995), and Strange Rain (1997), as well as two short story collections: Jumping at the Moon (1992) and Travel Under Any Star (2016).
Veny is a trained screenwriter (Australian Film, Television & Radio School) and has worked with producers at Liberty Films, TM Films, and many others. Several of his books have been optioned for feature film adaptations.
Honours & Awards
Venero Armanno has received many honours and awards, including:
Promoted to the position of Associate Professor and Director, Higher Degrees by Research, The University of Queensland
Literature Board of the Australia Council Established Writers 2-Year Fellowship (2009-2010)
“The Sleeping Stranger” was one of ten winning entries in the “One Book Many Brisbanes” award.
Literature Board of the Australia Council Fellowship
John Oxley Library Fellowship
University of Queensland Teaching Excellence Award
Doctorate Awarded (PhD – CW) Queensland University of Technology
Commonwealth Medal for Service & Contribution to Australian Literature
Creative Industries Faculty Outstanding Alumni Award – Venero Armanno
Best Fiction Novel (The Volcano), QLD Premiers’ Literary Awards
Shortlisted Courier Mail Best Book of the Year (The Volcano)
Arts Queensland writing fellowship
Shortlisted QLD Premier’s Literary Awards (Firehead)
Masters Degree (Creative Writing), Queensland University of Technology
Keesing Studio (Paris) fellowship
Scriptwriting Diploma, Australian Film, Television & Radio School
Shortlisted, Australian-Vogel Literary Award