Toni Brisland writes poetry and fiction for adults and children. She was born and educated in Wollongong NSW Australia and taught English and History at Figtree High, Kiama High and Merriwa Central before moving to Sydney to take up a teaching and counselling position at De La Salle Brothers Kingsgrove. After further study in management, accounting and law, Toni worked as a senior human resource manager in the public sector becoming Director, Personnel, for the NSW Police Service and then worked as a solicitor and HR Manager in the private sector.
Toni has always had a passion for literature and won a number of competitions for unpublished children's writers. Toni’s first published childrens' novel DemiChat and the Kent Street Mystery is a Sherlock Holmes spoof about a cat and dog detective team and was on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Lists for Years 5 – 6 and selected readers in Years 7 – 9, 2012 - 2013. It was also on the South Australian Premier’s Reading Challenge List for Years 5 – 6 at the same time. The sequel, DemiChat and the Lost Mummy, was launched February 2014 and the third and final book in the series was published July 2015, DemiChat and the CIty of Gold (all available on Amazon as eBooks with digital illustrations). Her Picture Books were published by Little Steps Publishing: What Now Baby Bears? (2013), about animals and humans living in harmony; and, The Tree House (2014) about a little disabled girl and her older sister who together dream big dreams. Also published by Little Steps Publishing, a chapter book Patrick White a non-fiction account for 8 - 12 year olds about the life and times of Patrick White, Australia's only Nobel Laureate for Literature, illustrated by Anastasia Popp.
From 2009 to 2014 Toni volunteered with The Children's Book Council of Australia Northern Sydney Sub-branch as Secretary and then CBCA NSW Inc. from 2010 to 2014 in various capacities: Sub-branches and Author and Illustrator Liaison Officer and then as a Director on the first CBCA National Board as the NSW Delegate and then Vice-President of CBCA NSW. Toni was also on the SCBWI NSW Committee from 2012 to 2014 (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). She is a Role Model for "Books in Homes" and was a long-standing judge of the Warringah Library Services Young Writers' Competition.
Concurrently Toni was writing poetry for adults. Her poems have been published in Anthologies by Poetica Christi Press since 2013 and in The Heroines Anthology by Neo-Perennial Press, 2018 and 2019. In July 2019 one of her poems won an Award in the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words Poetry Competition. In July 2020 one of her poems won the Poetica Christi Press Annual Competition and was published in their anthology "Joy in the Morning" in September 2020. Her first Anthology of Poems entitled "Attachments" will be published late 2021 under the name of Antonette Diorio by Poetica Christi Press with a Foreword by Poet, Essayist, Critic and Poetry Reviewer for Meanjin, Martin Langford, and blurbs by Leigh Hay, Poet, and Dr Beatriz Coppola, Writer and Psychologist. Cover Artwork by Anastasia Popp.
Toni loves animals. She has her Certificate II in Animal Studies and Certificate III in Captive Animals. She volunteers each week at Monika's Doggie Rescue, a no-kill rehabilitation shelter bringing back to health and re-homing abused domestic animals. From April 2020 she has been their Cats Adoption Officer and writes a monthly article on Cats for their magazine. From August 2019 to February 2020 she volunteered at Zambi, a similar facility for retired farm, circus and zoo animals.
She loves writing, reading, aqua aerobics and her Cat Fanciers' Association award-winning Siberian cats (Toni is a qualified Show Steward). She was Treasurer of the Ikebana Koryu Shoyo-kai School during 2018 and 2019 and enjoys her Japanese floral art. Toni also likes walking along Sydney Harbour with her husband and is devoted to her large, extended Italian family. Toni's only daughter, Deen, lives in Los Angeles with her husband Anthony and daughter Abbigail Rose. Deen is a Producer with CBS Television. Pre-Covid, Toni visited them often.