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Philip McLaren was born in Redfern and is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people from the Warrumbungle Mountain area, New South Wales. He has worked as a television producer, director, designer, illustrator, architect, sculptor, lifeguard and copywriter. After this varied career, McLaren focused on writing and was among the first Aboriginal writers to pen novels in the thriller genre. His first novel, Sweet Water ... Stolen Land won the David Unaipon Award for Black Literature, became a national bestseller and has been translated into Japanese. Philip is also the author of There'll Be New Dreams (Magabala Books, 2001), which is no longer in print.