Get Up Mum is Go!

Meet my new boyhood memoir! 12-year-old Justin is keen to meet ya (but a bit shy.) Signed copies with basketball card bookmark available HERE.

Justin Heazlewood - Get Up Mum

Yessum possums, Get Up Mum is out and about. I’ve spent the past two weeks getting amongst it; speaking publicly about the thorn in my side and the chip on my shoulder and the monkey on my back. I suppose this is my ‘coming out’ as a heartbroken person. A determined artist with a good book, I might add.

It was a tad surreal sitting alone at my own TV news desk at 8am on a Sunday morning. I was doing a live cross for Sky News. We teamed up with ‘Schizophrenia Awareness Week’ and I had an earpiece in one ear and was talking to a big black lens. It was 1984 meets 1993.

That said, I felt centred, like I was in the right place at the right time. It’s not often I can say that. The interview before me was the Greens’ Adam Bandt saying how the royal wedding hadn’t really ‘turned him on.’

There has been an overwhelmingly positive reaction so far (to my book, not the wedding), especially from social media. It’s not everyday you get tweets like: “Young carers really need more of a spotlight. There’s a twisted and persistent sense of guilt that comes with being a carer (and lingers long afterward) that isn’t well-understood. It’s like a side of mental health that hasn’t really been defined, but it desperately needs to be.”

Thanks Stevie A.

Anyhoo, it’s also a ‘cracking good read’ according to ABC Hobart presenter Melanie Tait.

There’s been a splendrous response from media. I’ve been hitting the circuit, check out the smorgasboard of links below:

  • I make my Guardian debut in this classic interview from fellow only child Elizabeth Flux.
  • A tender and compelling chateroo with Myf Warhurt.
  • Pseudo counselling session with excellent psychologists on Triple R’s Radiotherapy.
  • Lifestyles of the poor and infamous, or eloquent expose by one of Australia’s hardest working artists? You decide as I bare my artistic soul for Kill Your Darlings.
  • Rigorous pow-wow about schizophrenia on RNs Life Matters. Plus more radio action with ABC Adelaide & ABC Sydney.
  • Sunday afternoon driving home with Mum (excerpt on Soundcloud.)
  • Watch the trailer on YouTube.


‘Unfortunately, this beautifully written, evocative memoir will only appeal to anyone who has had a childhood.’ Judith Lucy.

‘A young’uns tentative forage through a thorny scrub of filial love, written as postcards from the nestling.’ Tim Rogers.

“I’m halfway through this book and it’s GODDAMN WONDERFUL and heartbreaking. Justin’s writing voice is so phenomenal, such a perfect combination of funny and whole-hearted without being syrupy, woe-is-me and sentimental. I have a feeling a lot of people will find “oh my god that was me” relief in this book, especially if they grew up with parents who were dealing with any kind of mental illness.” Amanda Palmer.

… [Heazlewood] does evoke what it is like to live in a loving, if flawed, family. In particular, his nan and pop – the latter the closest he has to a father – jump off the page as beacons of stability. Ultimately, if Get Up Mum is about youth, it is also about growing up too fast. Told to be a man while still a boy, Heazlewood feels responsible for his mother. Maybe, then, this is his way of finally letting go.” The Saturday Paper.

“The lows in this tale are always complemented by affectionate highs. Heazlewood displays wonder at the world and its possibilities for delight – in his grandmother’s garden, in salty fish and chips, in swims in the sea. Littered throughout the novel are lines of poetry that almost startle, asking to be read and re-read…Get Up Mum is a warm, humorous memoir about coming of age, and the deep love between two individuals who need each other equally.” Readings Monthly.

“Superbly written… perceptive account of what it’s like to grow up with someone who has [a mental illness]….written with no judgement – it’s just a simple recounting of his life and their lives but done in such a beautiful and perceptive way.” Book of the week, Burnie 7BU. 

Burnie postcard 80s

Get Up Mum: Turning 13

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of becoming a teenager, here is a special birthday excerpt. (Childhood memoir Get Up Mum is out now in stores and online. Signed copies HERE).

Justin birthday card

I wake up cosy in my bedroom in Burnie. We’re all back from camping and it’s still school holidays.
I look at my watch.


The two famous people born on June 12 are the Australian fast bowler Terry Alderman and the bloke from Roxette, Per Gessle.
I was born at 7.33am.
‘Like the records that you play at thirty three and a third speed,’ as Mum says.
My tradition is to count down the final moments.
There’s four more minutes of being twelve.
Four more minutes of being a kid.
This is big. Soon I’ll be a teenager.


Each year it’s a chance to do nothing but watch time for a whole minute. My watch is on the exact time because yesterday I rang up 1194 and the man said ‘On the third stroke it will be…’ This is my way of celebrating – a quiet time to reflect, just
for me – before I open the door and Mum greets me and the celebration begins.

I think about my childhood and the past. I used to go to the phone box around the corner on Mace Street and press any buttons and pretend I was talking to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Once I dialled the operator by accident and a woman’s
voice answered and I dropped the phone and ran home, thinking I was in trouble.


Orange, green and blue. Those are the colours I remember from when I used to help Pop work in Cosi Cartie’s garden. The orange of carrots he’d pull from the ground. The green of the lawn. The blue of the sky. Pop and I exploring someone else’s
garden. White moths and rainbow mist, grabbing handfuls of freshly cut grass.

Seeing the tall ships with Mum in Hobart. Some teenagers had a skill tester where you had to move a small metal ring around coils of wire. If the ring touched the wire it buzzed. I had three goes. My hand wobbled and I buzzed. I tried going faster, which made it shake less, but I wasn’t good enough. I remember how the boy and girl smiled and were kind to me.


At the Civic Centre in Burnie we saw a play of Snow White. The characters were gathered down at Kmart. One of the dwarves took a step backwards and trod on my foot. His heel was so hard. It surprised me so I cried. He turned around and apologised.

I feel a tingling. A force field.
I will remember these moments.
The events of my life.
The blue of the sky and the grey of the footpath as Mum pushed me to Burnie Park in my pram. My first ever memory.
I’ll be wide awake and ready the second I turn …
My eyes go fuzzy. I’m ready.
The dots blink on and off.
On           off
On           offJustin 13th birthday card
On           off


I’m thirteen!
The hairs on my neck prickle.
Twelve is over.
I’m no longer a little kid. I might miss the days of Play Doh and fairy bread and ‘Duck Duck Goose’. Rubber spiders and pink scented note paper that smelled like girls.
That’s okay. I’ll make more memories and have new adventures inside the grown-up world.


Get Up Mum is out now

The Get Up Mum Melbourne launch is today at 4pm.
All welcome.
Men bring a plate.

Details HERE.

Meet my new boyhood memoir. 12-year-old Justin is keen to meet ya (but a bit shy).

Justin Heazlewood - Get Up Mum

Signed copies available from the author HERE.

Hear a conversation on RNs Life Matters.

Read an interview in The Guardian.

Hear an excerpt on Soundcloud.

Watch the trailer on YouTube.

There’s never a good time to have a baby or quit smoking or write your childhood memoir…you just have to do it.

ps I was a child carer of a parent with schizophrenia. It was very hard. I haven’t told many people. I mean, who do you tell? Who wants to know? Dunno. Maybe you? Now, through this book? Hopefully. It’s a good book. It’s an important story. It needed to come out and so do I. ❤️💧