Leif Smart was born in Fiji, but moved to Melbourne with his mother at age two when his parents separated. Growing up with a single mother and an older sister, he learned at an early age how capable women were, laying the foundation for strong belief in gender equality. He spent most of his youth living in the various inner city suburbs, such as Carlton, Clifton Hill, St Kilda and Hawthorne, which is where he developed his deep love of the city and its art and culture.
A naturally gifted student, Leif gains a scholarship to a prestigious private school where he excelled at maths and technology subjects. Also an avid reader, he took English Literature as a subject, providing balance to his science based subjects and giving him a chance to explore his interest in writing.
Academics came easy to Leif, and with his aptitude for mathematics, he gained entrance to Melbourne University. Putting aside his writing ‘hobby’ he undertook a Bachelor of Engineering. After a few years of study, Leif’s entrepreneurial passions got the better of him and he left uni to start an IT business – sparking a long career in the tech industry.
Fast forward over a decade and Leif grew tired of the IT world and his passion for writing was reawakened. Seeing it a chance to complete the studies he’d abandoned, he returned to Melbourne University to study creative writing.
Four years later, Leif graduated with Honours and has embarked on several writing projects including a fantasy novel and a collection of short stories. He has also undertaken a project close to his heart, gender equality. Titled The Regender Project, Leif takes classic novels and rewrites them after regendering all the characters, which is swapping their genders from male to female and vice versa. Its goal is to illustrate how unbalanced the genders have been represented in narratives for far too long. Having long studied these classic works, Leif found it illuminating to reread them after the regendering process.