South West author pens his own life script

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
Ferguson Valley children’s author Josh Langley is a great example of someone taking a risk to fulfil a dream.
Camera IconFerguson Valley children’s author Josh Langley is a great example of someone taking a risk to fulfil a dream. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

After failing high school “dismally”, being on the dole for two years and working in various radio stations, Ferguson Valley resident Josh Langley is living example of a risk paying off.

Growing up in Perth in a dysfunctional family, Josh never quite knew where he fitted in.

“I had a bit of a dysfunctional upbringing, which, as a kid, made you feel like whatever you were doing wasn’t good enough and that eventually inspired me to write kids’ books,” he said.

“I couldn’t pay attention at school, especially considering the way the education system was in those days, I just couldn’t get my head around it.

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“I had a year off, repeated Year 12 and still didn’t get the marks I needed to get into university to study media.

“I had no qualifications or skills and was on the dole for two years and it was honestly so depressing.”

Eventually, Josh got a part-time job through a government program.

“They ended up paying someone to employ me full-time at a hi-fi shop, which I worked at for about two years before I saw an ad for a radio course that was coming up,” he said.

“I thought ‘radio sounds like a good idea’, I always wanted to get into media.”

From there, Josh applied, got in, and within a week of finishing the course, had his first job in radio.

“I was 23 and working as a breakfast announcer in Merredin. It was crazy how everything lined up at that time,” he said. “A few years later, I moved to Perth where I worked at 6PR. I then ran my own business writing ads for two years before moving down to Bunbury to work as a radio copywriter.

“One of my favourite memories in my radio career was meeting Bryce Courtney. I have a one-of-a-kind book of his essays and was in absolute awe meeting him.”

Josh’s book-writing career kicked off when he went part-time at the radio station.

“I had spare time to fill and, I hate to say it, but I got bored and started doodling on the computer and coming up with different ideas,” he said.

“I started drawing stick figures, putting captions to them and posting them on Facebook and people seemed to like them and I arrogantly thought, this could make a good book.

“So I printed them all off, stapled them together and sent them off to about five publishers.

“The first four rejected me before the fifth publisher came back and told me this was exactly what they were looking for and it all kicked off from there.”

Leaving his radio career was Josh’s proudest moment.

“I’d been there for a long time and one day decided to go out on my own, throw it all to the wind and trust the universe that everything will be fine and that was the best thing I ever did,” he said.

“You’ve got to be afraid and scared and push yourself to go to places that are uncomfortable to get the rewards.”

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