MasterChef's mum mistress of slow-cooked book

MasterCheF Julie Goodwin's mum Marlene Hunt wins silver in New York radio awards

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Dalmeny resident Marlene Hunt holds the original copy of The Bookcase Solves The Problem.

Dalmeny resident Marlene Hunt holds the original copy of The Bookcase Solves The Problem.


Masterchef Julie Goodwin's mother has a turn in the spotlight.


A RUSTY paperclip holds together Marlene Hunt's story she wrote for her children more than 35 years ago.

The story, Bookcase Solves The Problem, now claims a quirky amount of fame after winning silver at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

Ms Hunt, from Dalmeny on the NSW south coast, said it all came about after her daughter, Julie Goodwin (Australian MasterChef), spilled the beans about her story during a morning radio show on the state's Central Coast.

The popular "feel good" show Rabbit and Julie Goodwin host on Star 104.5FM began one morning with a question - what's on your bucket-list?

"Rabbit said he always wanted to narrate a children's book," Ms Hunt said.

"Then Julie said 'well that's funny, my mum wrote a children's book for us when we were kids'.

"It all happened from there," she said.

Within the same day, Ms Hunt was asked to send the original and only copy of her story to the radio station.

"I have moved house a couple of times and had to think of where I put it," she said.

She found it safely tucked away in a box of "Marlene's memorabilia", as she calls it.

I never expected to be in the limelight, ever. - Marlene Hunt

The radio station was flooded with calls from people wanting to audition for a voiceover roll.

Marlene Hunt wrote the story on a second-hand typewriter her parents bought her when she was 14.

Marlene Hunt wrote the story on a second-hand typewriter her parents bought her when she was 14.

"Everyone wanted to have a part, not even knowing what the story was about!" Ms Hunt laughed.

Rabbit took on the main role as narrator and pot plant character. He also added an extra touch to bring the story to life.

"They originally did it as an audio book and then added a cartoon as well," Ms Hunt said.

"It was fantastic, I never expected anything like this."

The finished product was submitted into the children's audio book category of the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

"It's like the Oscars for radio," Ms Hunt explained.

Thirty-five countries entered the awards. Ms Hunt was over the moon when her story was named a finalist in the top eight.

Last month, winners were announced and Bookcase Solves The Problem was awarded silver.

"A lot of friends knew this was happening and the radio station called me just after 9.30am to say it had won silver!" Ms Hunt said.

"I cried and screamed and couldn't believe it happened.

"I never expected to be in the limelight, ever."

A party was thrown to celebrate.

"Without everyone's input, this wouldn't have happened," she said.

"It's a huge win for the radio station and everyone involved."

The story behind the story

It was back in the 80s, when Marlene Hunt's inspiration sparked from her frustrations with a faulty black-and-white TV.

"It kept playing up; it would work for one moment and then cut out," she said.

When vacuuming the lounge room, Ms Hunt said she looked up at the dodgy TV and thought to herself, "the damn thing has a mind of its own".

"And that's when I thought I would write a story on the furniture coming to life," she said.

Ms Hunt said it was very common for families to wake up and go to bed with the television on.

"It became quite a distraction, kids were so absorbed watching cartoons in the morning, that when they got to school their minds were elsewhere," she said.

Her story shares a message which remains relevant decades later.

"It is much like what is happening now, the theme of the story can still be relevant, you just replace the TV with laptops, Ipads, and mobile phones," she said.

"There are so many other good things to do with your family.

"I wanted to share that in the story."

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