SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference Faculty 2019

 

Presenters, Critique Assessors and SCBWI Conference Committee

 

 

 

Essie WhiteLiterary Agent, Storm Literary Agency USA
Essie White is a partner in the US Storm Literary Agency. She several years developing and creating literature based curricula for elementary level programs, after she earned her MA in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education. She addressed emergent literacy in children ages birth to age eight, prior to opening Young Child Academy, an early childhood program. During her tenure as Director at Young Child Academy, she authored several books both with other educators, as well as with children. Essie White considers Storm Literary Agency an extension of what she loves most: Literature and Children. She represents illustrators and writers independently and illustrator-writers, with a special interest in picture books and middle grade fiction. Her clients include Australian author, Rachel Noble.

 


Vivian KirkfieldAuthor, International Blogger and Reviewer
Vivian’s career path is paved with picture books: from shelving them in a children’s library to reading them with her kindergarteners, to writing them for children around the globe, to blogging Perfect Picture Book reviews and regular author/illustrator interviews. In March, she hosts the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge which has resulted in publication for some of the contest winners. She is the author of many upcoming picture books including: Pippa’s Passover Plate (Holiday House, February 2019); Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book (Pomegranate Press, March 2019); Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books, May 2019); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee, Spring 2020); and From Here to There: Inventions that Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2020). Her parent-teacher guide, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (MoneyPenny Press, 2010) is a valuable resource. Vivian lives in the quaint New England village of Amherst, New Hampshire where the old stone library is her favourite hangout. Website: Picture Books Help Kids Soar  

 


Dr. Mira Reisberg—Editor and Art Director at Clearfork Publishing/Spork Books. Director of the Children’s Book Academy
Over the past 30 years, Mira has worn just about every hat in the children’s book industry including award-winning illustrator, author, editor, art director, and children’s literary agent. Mira holds a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on Children’s Literature. She taught university undergraduate and graduate level children’s book courses before starting her own international online school – the Children’s Book Academy. Mira’s students have published well over 200 books and won just about every North American children’s book award. Her edited and art-directed acquisitions are available at Clearfork Publishing/Spork Books, including, Jurassic Rat; The Real Farmer in the Dell; Little Bat; Rock and Roll Woods; Scarlet’s Magic Brush; Crow Spirit; Ready Set, GOrilla; and I’ve Got A Cow Called Maureen, along with her own recent picture book, You Can….  Websites: www.childrensbookacademy.com and www.sporkbooks.com

 


Linsay Knight—Publisher, Walker Books Australia
Linsay Knight has an esteemed career in children’s publishing literature and has taken the position as publisher at Walker Books Australia.  She was the former head of children’s books at Random House for 7 years. In UK in 2003, she was Managing Editor at BBC Children’s Books until 2004. Linsay is also passionate about poetry and in 2012 she and her husband, John Knight, launched the dynamic poetry imprint Pitt Street Poetry.

 

 

 


Eve TonelliSenior Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books
In her 15 year career in publishing, Eve Tonelli has been an editor for Thomson and Blake Publishing, before working as a Senior Editor at Scholastic. Since 2015, she has been Senior Editor at HarperCollins with outstanding authors and illustrators including SCBWI’s Tania McCartney and Sheryl Gwyther.

 


Tara WynneLiterary Agent at Curtis Brown Australia
Tara Wynne joined Curtis Brown UK in 1998, and moved to Curtis Brown Australia as a Literary Agent in January 2002. She represents a broad range of writers from commercial (romance, thrillers, crime, fantasy) literary fiction and non-fiction (travel, memoir, history, self-help) to young adult fiction and children’s illustrators. In her spare time she loves reading ‘real’ books on the road to great places!

 

 


Julia MarshallPublisher, Gecko Press
Julia Marshall is the founder and publisher of Gecko Press, international publishers of curiously good children’s books from around the world since 2004. Gecko Press books are sold in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the USA. Gecko Press won New Zealand Publisher of the Year in 2017. Julia is on the Board of the New Zealand Book Council. She also translates children’s books from Swedish to English.

 

 


Cathie Tasker
Once a publisher/editor, Cathie Tasker has edited and commissioned nearly 800 books. She’s passionate about books, reading and online learning. Cathie has worked with Australia’s leading trade and children’s book publishers — HarperCollinsPublishers, Scholastic Australia and Koala Books — and worked on popular and award-winning titles, many of which are still in print.

Cathie sees her most important skill as teaching writing and working as a structural or developmental editor to help authors shape and develop their work. She is a member of FEN (Freelance Editors Network) and now works as a creative writing teacher, mentor, manuscript assessor and speaker.  Cathie has developed two very successful writing courses for the Australian Writers Centre — Writing Picture Books andShort Story Essentials. She also works as an online tutor in creative writing for AWC.

She loves reading across many genres and loves judging literary awards. Cathie is a regularjudge and convenor for the Aurealis Awards, has completed three years judging for the CBCA, and is currently judging the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

 


Clare HallifaxPublishing Manager, Scholastic Australia
Clare Hallifax over 25 years’ experiencing in publishing, and since 2010 has been at Scholastic Australia. She is currently the publisher of Omnibus Books fiction list and co-Publisher, with Ana Vivas, of Omnibus’ picture book list. Publishing wasn’t a surprising career choice, having spent her childhood with her nose in books, reading every last letter of acknowledgments and imprint pages, fascinated by the whole process. Clare’s first job in the industry was editing primary science texts, and “fact-checking” by standing on one foot, or messing about with rubber bands. Clare has had the distinct privilege and pleasure or working with some of the esteemed names of Australian children’s publishing but is equally excited by discovering new voices, new talent. There is nothing quite like the magical feeling of that immediate immersion in a story – and the world slipping away. It’s the joy of being a children’s publisher, and a reader!

 


Diane EvansPublishing Director, Big Sky Publishing
Diane Evans is the Publishing Director for Big Sky Publishing and is responsible for manuscript submissions and selection, editorial management and production planning and management across all of Big Sky’s titles. Diane uses her strong business background and project management skills to work closely with authors, editors and key members of the sales and production team to ensure that each book is a collaborative effort that produces an outstanding product – print and digital.

 


Allison Marlow Paterson is the author of the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, the children’s version of the adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars. Both are based on a collection of over 500 letters sent from the Western Front by her grandfather and his four brothers.Her children’s picture books Granny’s Place and Shearing Time are inspired by childhood memories of her grandparents and life on the farm.

Allison was a teacher-librarian for over twenty years and has reviewed children’s literature for Magpies Magazine for 15 years. Allison now works full-time as a writer and presenter in schools. She was a recipient of a 2017 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship. The resulting young adult manuscript Follow After Me will be published in 2019. Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials is the first in a series with the next Customs and Traditions of The Australian Defence Force to be released in 2019.

 


Heather CurdieSenior Commissioning Editor, Penguin Young Readers
Heather is a Commissioning Editor for Penguin Random House Young Readers. She works on a wide range of children’s books from picture books and middle fiction through to young adult. She has been fortunate to work with many talented writers and illustrators, including Morris Gleitzman, Oliver Phommavanh, Robert Newton, Andrew Daddo, Jane Godwin, Anna Walker, Ursula Dubosarsky, Andrew Joyner, Tohby Riddle and Aaron Blabey. She has nurtured successful new talent such as Lucy Estela, author of the CBCA shortlisted picture book, Suri’s Wall, and Kylie Fornasier, author of the YA novel, The Things I Didn’t Say.

 


Kimberley BennettCommissioning Editor, Penguin Random House
Kimberley Bennett is a commissioning editor for Penguin Random House Children’s Books with a successful publishing history. She publishes picture books, children’s non-fiction and illustrated books.

 


Lisa BerrymanAssociate Publisher, HarperCollins
Lisa has been the children’s publisher at HarperCollins Publishers Australia for sixteen years and in her long publishing career she has worked for a number of different publishing houses including Reed Books Australia where she was children’s publisher. Lisa has also worked in children’s television at the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and taught Editing and Publishing at RMIT in Melbourne. Lisa commissions the HarperCollins children’s list, which is comprised of titles ranging from picture books to young adult. Lisa publishes a number of best-selling Australian authors and illustrators including Alexandra Adornetto, Duncan Ball, Rod Clement, Jackie French, Susanne Gervay, Alison Goodman, Nette Hilton, Pamela Rushby, Fiona McIntosh, James Moloney and Bruce Whatley, plus UK author, Anna Perera and US authors Claudia Gray and Michael Spradlin and Canadian author, Arthur Slade.

 


Maryann Ballantyne
Maryann Ballantyne is passionate about bringing Australian stories to young readers. She was recently alarmed to find she had been working in publishing for 30 years. In 2000 Maryann and her partner Andrew Kelly started the award-winning imprint Black Dog Books which publishes some of Australia’s finest authors and illustrators.

 


Mary VerneyEditor, Penguin Random House
Mary has been working in publishing for fifteen years. She left her job as a bookseller in Queensland to move to Sydney and work with Pan Macmillan and then Walker Books. During that time she has worked on a range of board and picture books, fiction, illustrated fiction and YA including standalone titles and several series. She currently works at Penguin Random House in the Young Readers department. Her favourite books from childhood are The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr and People Might Hear You by Robin Klein.

 


Suzanne O’SullivanPublisher, Hachette 
Suzanne worked in the book industry for over 15 years, focusing on children’s books for most of that time. At Lothian, she publishes books for all ages, with a particular focus on picture books and middle-grade fiction. She is particularly keen to find new illustrators and authors with a distinctive style and a firm grasp on what appeals to kids. She says the best moments in her job are when she reads a manuscript or sees an illustration that transports her as vividly as the books she loved growing up used to do. Recently she made an incredible round-the-world journey in A.L. Tait’s The Mapmaker Chronicles, discovered the secret world of shape-shifters in The Turners by Mick Elliott, explored the farmyard with Phil Cummings and Sarah Davis’s adorable picture book Be Brave, Pink Piglet, and remembered World War One with A Soldier, a Dog and a Boy by Libby Hathorn and Phil Lesnie.

 


Zoe WaltonPublisher, Children’s and Young Adult, Random House Australia
Zoe is the publisher and editor of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, which has now sold over seven million books worldwide and has been on the New York Times bestseller charts for more than 60 weeks. She is proud to publish Australia’s best authors for children and teens, including Michael Pryor, Belinda Murrell, Deborah Abela, Colin Thompson, Sophie Masson, Tristan Bancks, Michelle Cooper, J.C. Burke, Serena Geddes and many more. Zoe likes to work with debut authors and has recently launched new authors including Skye Melki-Wegner, Nicole Hayes, Samantha-Ellen Bound and Allyse Near.

 


Nancy ConescuExecutive Commissioning Editor of Walker Books Australia
Nancy was previously an Executive Editor at Penguin New York; Executive Editor at Dial, Young Readers and she has worked at Hachette New York; Senior Editor at Little Brown, Young Readers. Nancy brings a wealth of editorial experience, and enormous energy to the role of Executive Commissioning Editor of Walker Books Australia.

 

 


Victoria Stone—Editor (Young Readers), Penguin Random House
Victoria joined Penguin Random House in 2014 after completing her Masters in Publishing at the University of Sydney. She has worked as a children’s book editor for three years with authors including Tim Harris and Fleur Ferris. Victoria is looking for compelling, unputdownable and authentic new voices for young readers, with a focus on diversity.

 


Brian CookLiterary Agent
For over four decades, Brian Cook has worked closely with writers and illustrators, helping them develop their ideas from nascence to publication, and promoting and representing the work of Australian authors to publishers locally and around the world. Brian has held senior publishing industry positions in adult and children’s publishing, fiction and non-fiction. Since the mid-1990s, he has managed his own manuscript assessment and literary agency businesses. Brian brings a profound understanding of both the traditional world of international commercial book publishing and the new world of fast-multiplying digital media opportunities. A boutique literary agency with a focused, selective portfolio of clients, Brian represents many children’s authors and illustrators including Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Christina Booth, Jules Faber, Sheryl Clark, Cathy Wilcox.

 


Laura SievekingSenior Editor, Scholastic Australia
Laura has been in the publishing industry for over 15 years. She has worked in legal publishing, corporate publishing, educational publishing and children’s publishing. She is currently Senior Editor at Scholastic Australia and works primarily on picture books and junior fiction. Laura is also a children’s author with two fiction series published by Penguin Random House.

 

 


Kate WenbanSenior Editor, Scholastic Australia
Kate Wenban is a Senior Editor at Scholastic Australia and has been working in children’s publishing for more than ten years. In that time she’s edited Australian picture books, middle grade fiction and junior fiction. She’s also had extensive experience writing and editing books for major licensors such as Disney, Marvel and DC Comics. Kate’s also worked in marketing and legal publishing and has taught English in Japanese schools.

 

 


Valerie KhooFounder of Australian Writers’ Centre
Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers’ Centre, which is Australia’s leading centre for writing courses. Over 30,000 students have learnt at the centre and it has campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth – as well as a huge online learning community enrolling from all over the world. She is also a journalist and author of Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business. She is passionate about using social media to build creative communities and is an avid podcaster – she co-hosts the popular podcasts So you want to be a writer and So you want to be a photographer.

 


Allison Tait—Author and co-host of the top-rating podcast So You Want To Be A Writer
A.L. Tait is the internationally published bestselling author of two epic adventure series for kids: The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher. She is also co-founder of the Your Kids’ Next Read Facebook community, co-host of the top-rating podcast So You Want To Be A Writer, and a teacher of creative writing for kids and adults. Find out more at allisontait.com.

 

 

 


Rachel Noble—Children’s Author, QLD
Rachel Noble is the author of Finn’s Feather (Enchanted Lion, US/May 2018), inspired by her late son Hamish. Rachel attracted attention after she won a National writing competition, the My Child Short Story Competition in 2012 for a piece called Honoring Hamish. She was long-listed for the Hunter Writers Centre Grief writing competition and her piece is published in the 2013 Anthology. Rachel was short-listed for the 2016 CYA Picture Book Competition for her manuscript, My Granny Loves to Dance. Rachel is represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. Rachel recently returned from the US, promoting her picture book Finn’s Feather at Ci6, ALA Annual Conference and at bookstores in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama. Rachel is an ex-ABC/BBC Radio Producer/Presenter. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her family.  

 


James FoleyWriter and Illustrator, WA
James Foley makes picture books and comics for kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016) and Dungzilla (2017) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The third in the series, Gastronauts, will be published in late 2018.  James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015)  In The Lion(2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014)  have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. James is an an ambassador for Books In Homes and Room To Read. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.

 


Meredith Costain—Author and Consultant Editor, Ford Street, Melbourne
Meredith was an editor for the Victorian Education Department’s school magazines for over 20 years, the managing editor for several literacy series, and is currently a consultant editor for Ford Street Publishing.  She taught writing for children in the Professional Writing and Editing course at RMIT and at the Victorian Writers Centre. Meredith is also a versatile and award winning writer, with books ranging from picture books and poetry to series fiction and non-fiction. Her books include her two best selling series The Ella Diaries and Olivia’s Secret Scribbles, A Year in Girl Hell, novelisations of ABC TV’s Dance Academy, CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing,  and a series of narrative non-fiction picture books for Animal Planet and many more. www.meredithcostain.com

 


Christina BoothPicture book Author and illustrator, Tasmania
Christina Booth is an award winning author/illustrator working from her bush studio in Tasmania. Starting her career illustrating for Australian greats such as Max Fatchen, Colin Thiele and Christobel Mattingly, Christina made her debut as an author with her picture book Purinina, A Devil’s Tale, (Lothian/Hachette) in 2006. Two of her picture books have since been highly awarded: Kip, (Windy Hollow), the story of a city rooster finding his crow winning a CBCA Honour Book award and Welcome Home, (Ford Street), the tale of a story telling whale returning after a brutal history of whaling, winning the Environmental Award for Children’s Literature. Many other books have been listed as CBCA Notable Books. Christina’s latest book, Too Many Sheep (Scholastic Australia) is her debut into digital illustration and is the story of what could happen if you try to count sheep to help you sleep.

 


Katrina McKelveyAuthor, regional NSW
Katrina McKelvey is a children’s author, former primary school teacher and mother of two. Her first picture book,Dandelions, illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan and published by EK Books was released in 2015. Katrina is the President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Inc. Newcastle Sub-branch, is on the board of the Newcastle Writers Festival, is a Books In Homes Volunteer Role Model, and facilitates the Hunter Writers Centre Children’s Writing Group.  Katrina is an education advocate and is enthusiastic about school visits, and participating in conferences, festivals, and professional development days. She has over 10 years primary school teaching experience. As a reluctant reader, Katrina is passionate about helping children build love of reading and writing as early as possible and then maintain it. Katrina can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and her Website.

 


Susanne GervayAuthor and Regional Advisor, Australia East & New Zealand
Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her body of work by the International Literacy Association and an Order of Australia, Susanne Gervay is recognized for her youth literature for all ages on social justice. With a light touch, she engages young people in complex issues from multiculturalism to peace.   The I Am Jack books have become rite-of-passage on school bullying, adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, touring Australian and US theatres. Susanne’s books are endorsed by Room to Read bringing literacy to the developing world, Cancer Council, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Variety, Life Education. She is the Regonal Advisor SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand.

 


Deborah AbelaAuthor and Assistant Regional Advisor, New South Wales
Deborah has always been short and a bit of a coward, which is why she writes books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends and kids living in a flooded city with sea monsters and flying machines. Her 24 novels include Grimsdon, New City and Teresa A New Australian, which was inspired by her dad who lived through the devastation of WW2 before migrating to Australia. Her latest book is TheStupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee. Deb’s won awards for her books but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters. She is an ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge and Room to Read. www.deborahabela.com

 


Margaret Roc—Author and Critique Coordinator, Australia East & New Zealand
As a teacher and Teacher Librarian, Margaret especially enjoyed exciting children in reading and imparting the love of books. Margaret began writing when her own children were born and she has continued writing in her spare time ever since. She is now the author, co-author and editor of more than 50 books for children and teachers including picture books, early readers and non-fiction books. Most of her picture books are light-hearted and amusing but deal with important themes like loneliness, friendship, family and belonging. She loves writing about animals and many of her non-fiction books are about animals and the environment. Her latest books Jellybean Goes to School (PenguinRandomHouse), Australia’s Critically Endangered Animals and Australia’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals and Plants (Heinemann) are on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge.

 


Marjorie Crosby-Fairall—Illustrator and Assistant Regional Advisor, Australia East & New Zealand
When Marjorie was a little girl she often escaped to the library, spending hours devouring picture books and minutely examining their illustrations. Consequently it was a surprise to no onethat she decided to become an illustrator. Marjorie has illustrated several children’s books and her magazine work includes The School Magazine and Australian Geographic. Her books appear on the Premier’s Reading Challenge lists and have been shortlisted and won awards, including the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for her first picture book. Her picture books include Brothers from a Different Mother (Penguin Random House), One Christmas Eve (Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker), and The Croc and the Platypus (Walker Books). She is an assistant regional advisor for SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand and she can be found on Instagram and her Website.

 


Sarah DavisArt Director, Walker Books and Author and Illustrator
Sarah Davis began illustrating picture books in 2008, and is now ruined for any other career. She has an honours degree in literature, and her love of language and narrative underpins her illustration work – as a self-taught artist, she is constantly experimenting with new ways to tell stories visually. She has illustrated 37 books with major publishers and been shortlisted for numerous awards in Australia and New Zealand. Sarah is an ambassador for Room to Read, and the Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia East/NZ)

 


Sue Whiting-Author and Editor
Sue Whiting is an  who lives and works in a small coastal village south of Sydney. Sue has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her latest books are Missing, a mystery novel for readers 10+ and Beware the Deep, Dark Forest, a picture book illustrated by Annie White. Sue loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages. Join her on her adventures in story at www.suewhiting.com.

 


Jodie Wells-Slowgrove Children’s Author and Teacher-Librarian
Jodie Wells-Slowgrove is passionate about encouraging children to enjoy reading and writing Jodie was a contributor to the Teachers 4 Teachers Reading Box and co-founder with fellow author Sandy Fussell, of The Story Crowd, a provider of quality Children’s Literature Festivals for Australian Primary schools. Her fantasy chapter book series, The Wilderness Fairies was first published in 2014 by Penguin Books Australia.

 

 


Carolyn GoodwinAuthor and Assistant Regional Advisor, Victoria
Caz Goodwin is an award-winning author who writes picture books, short stories, poetry and novels for children. She lives in Melbourne, but has also lived in Brisbane, Auckland and Singapore. Her work has been published internationally and illustrated by Gus Gordon, Kerry Millard, Loo Joo Hong and others. She runs SCBWI Victoria as an ARA for SCBWI Australia and New Zealand. At university, Caz studied psychology and worked for many years in business as a Human Resources Manager. However, writing has always been her passion. Caz has a series of picture books coming out with Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont. Illustrated by Ashley King, the first in the series is called Lazy Daisy and will be launched in February 2019.

 


Sheryl GwytherAuthor and Assistant Regional Advisor, Queensland

Sheryl Gwyther writes historical, adventure and fantasy novels for middle-grade readers, chapter books, short stories and school plays. Hailing from Brisbane, she loves being the SCBWI ARA for Queensland. Her new novel with HarperCollins Australia, Sweet Adversity, takes the reader back into the Great Depression, with a brave but vulnerable hero, Addie, a Shakespeare-quoting cockatiel called Macbeth, a tribe of lost children and a pair of dastardly villains to chill your bones. Sheryl’s awards include two ASA Mentorships and two May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowships. She was awarded a SCBWI Work-of- Outstanding-Progress Grant and a SCBWI RA Marketing Grant, both for Sweet Adversity.


Nicole Godwin—Author and Pitch to Publisher Coordinator
As a writer and animal activist, the creation of Nicole’s debut picture book, Ella, was inevitable.  Launched at the Canberra Writers Festival in 2016, Ella gives a voice to a baby elephant who was taken from her mum to entertain tourists. Nicole worked as a freelance writer in Canada, she has ticked off the blogger box and has spent time in the corporate world wearing a public affairs hat where she had to tone down her creativity a notch or twenty. Nicole loves visiting schools to talk about Ella and elephant conservation and is energized by the insightful and often entertaining observations and questions from children about the book and elephants. School visits leave Nicole with great hope for the future of the planet. Nicole has also established strong ties with international elephant sanctuaries who benefit from sales of Ella.

 


Tracey HawkinsAuthor and Pitch to Publisher Coordinator
Tracey Hawkins is the author of children’s picture books, novels, non-fiction, and adult non-fiction. Before she started writing for children, Tracey was a crime columnist and crime writing advisor and her work is part of the ACJ Crime Writing Course. Tracey’s picture book Max Meets a Monster was selected for Story time on the BBC Australia CBeebies Children’s Television program. Her Picture book Nancy Bentley the First Australian Female Sailor was shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards 2012, and Australian Capital Territory Writing and Publishing Awards 2012.

 


Frances Plumpton—Assistant Regional Advisor, New Zealand
Frances Plumpton has always been an ardent advocate for New Zealand’s children’s literature and has convened both New Zealand Post and LIANZA children’s book awards. After a long career as a children’s librarian she joined Richards Literary Agency, NZ. In 2012 she has established her own agency, Frances Plumpton Literary Agency. She is a trustee of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand and in 2006 was awarded their Betty Gilderdale Award for services to children’s literature.

 


Kelly Hibbert—Author and Regional Coordinator, South Australia
Kelly’s
debut picture book, Fancy Pants, was published by Little Book Press in 2016. Across South Australia, over 20000 preschool children received a Little Big Book Club pack this year. These packs included a copy of Fancy Pants which was recently shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Book of the Year awards. As a part time relief teacher, Kelly is keen to read books and talk about writing with students from many preschools and primary schools. Much of her inspiration comes from the extraordinary children she meets or the everyday events which happen in the home she shares in Adelaide with husband, Steve, and two terrific boys. Her next picture book is due for release in 2018 with HarperCollins.

 


Anne Morgan—Author and Regional Coordinator, Tasmania
Anne Morgan is a successful published children’s author, poet, playwright and winner of The Children’s Book Environmental Award for The Smallest Carbon Footprint 2014. She has a PhD in Writing, for which she won a university medal, and a Master of Education Degree. As the Festival Director of the inaugural Bruny Island Children’s Literature Festival 2015, she partnered with SCBWI to hold a professional publishing day.

 

 


Special Thank You to The Children’s Bookshop

 

Paul MacdonaldBookshop owner, Speaker’s agent
Paul Macdonald has a Master of Education and has worked almost 20 years as a teacher of Upper Primary and Secondary. He has won numerous awards such as a Quality Teacher Award, The Premier’s English Scholarship, the inaugural Maurice Saxby Award and awards for his co-ordination of Regional Shakespearean Festivals. His interests include the development of literacy with a particular interest in reading for gifted children, Boys’ Literacy and books for adolescents. Paul owns The Children’s Bookshop, established in 1971, which is the oldest specialist children’s bookshop in NSW Australia. He has established The Children Bookshop Speakers Agency.

 

 


The Beatnickers—the SCBWI Band

 

Meredith CostainWriter, on keyboard and vocals
Meredith Costain started writing when she was six and is hoping she’ll be able to stop soon as her arm is getting really tired. Her work ranges from picture books to poetry, novels and non-fiction. Her books include CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing, nature series My Life in the Wild and novelisations of ABC TV’s Dance Academy. Her best-selling series, the Ella Diaries, was shortlisted for both the REAL children’s choice awards and the Wilderness Society Environment awards, and has been published around the world. When not writing, Meredith enjoys playing blues piano and wrangling her many pets. www.meredithcostain.com

 

James FoleyWriter and Illustrator, vocal 
James Foley makes picture books and comics for kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016) and Dungzilla (2017) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The third in the series, Gastronauts, will be published in late 2018.  James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015)  In The Lion(2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014)  have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. James is an an ambassador for Books In Homes and Room To Read. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.

 

Scott ChambersWriter, on guitar
Scott Chambers is an Environmental Research Scientist and part-time musician who dreams of one day writing to make people happy, rather than filling gaps between the dusty covers of scientific journals that take up space in library basements. In 1997 Scott snuck away with a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from Flinders University, South Australia, and hopes no one ever notices that it’s missing. After testing the climates of California, Alaska, Siberia, Japan, Korea, Antarctica and numerous places in Europe, Scott has decided to settle south of Sydney and “work” (for want of a better word) at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation – home of novel and exciting research in a wide range of flavours – where he has found a comfortable office within staggering distance of a coffee machine.

 

Wolfgang (Wolf) Klogeron bass guitar

 

Andrew “Rusty” Ruston drums

 

 


Celebrating Books Presenters

 

Dimity Powell
To Read, Write and Inspire sum up Dimity’s main passions in life, along with sailing on the beam, eating ice cream and writing in her diary – although doing all three at once makes her nauseous. She’s a Kids’ Lit nut, living, breathing and reading it for huge chunks of her day. She weaves words into short story webs for anthologies, digital narratives, junior novels and most gratifyingly, into picture books. When she’s not wrangling words, she’s reviewing, managing an esteemed team of reviewers for Kids’ Book Review or sharing her love of story in front of crowds of very small people. It says so on her website, so it must be true: www.dimitypowell.com  Dimity lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although they rarely hang out much together.  Such are the lives of authors and superheroes.

 

Aura Parker
Aura Parker is a new voice in children’s picture books. Her work is whimsical and full of details to pore over. TWIG, Aura’s first picture book as writer and illustrator about a stick insect on her first day at Bug School is a 2017 CBCA Notable for Early Childhood. ‘This adorable debut by Parker teems with delicate details, many of them visual puzzles,’New York Times. Aura’s new book COCOON touches on solitude, independence and the wonder of life cycles, followed by a bunch of cheeky meerkats for MEERKAT SPLASH later in 2019. Aura illustrates her picture books in watercolour, gouache, pen and coloured pencil with digital enhancements. Aura has a background in illustration, graphic design and is co-founder of textiles label Studio Bonnie. She lives in Sydney with three kids and too many pets. Aura Parker is represented by Pippa Masson at Curtis Brown.

 

 Amelia McInerney
Amelia grew up in Melbourne, but now lives just outside Sydney in the Blue Mountains. She spends her days writing kids’ books, staring out the window thinking up stories for kids’ books, and occasionally just plain staring out the window. When she’s not writing, thinking or staring, Amelia likes to help people and also cover them with gel, which makes her other job (doing ultrasounds) perfect for her. Amelia also enjoys doing yoga and snorkelling, but not at the same time because that’s really hard. Amelia has three kids, two hermit crabs and a husband. And four other contracted picture books coming out in 2019/2020.

 

Aleesah Darlison
Aleesah Darlison is an internationally published, award-winning author. She writes picture books, chapter books, novels and series. Her stories feature themes of courage, understanding, teamwork and environmental issues. Aleesah is well-known for her fantasy adventure series, Unicorn Riders, and her many picture books that address environmental themes, including Emerald: The Green Turtle’s Tale (2018 Speech Pathology Book of the Year Shortlist), Our Class Tiger (2015 Environmental Award for Children’s Literature, Non-Fiction Winner) and Warambi (2012 CBCA Notable and Environment Award for Children’s Literature Shortlist). When Aleesah isn’t writing or reading, she’s usually hanging out with her four children and her dog, Lexie.

 

Shelly Unwin 
Shelly Unwin grew up in a tiny English village where she was surrounded by animals, the occasional pixie fairy, and her best friend Cracker, a feisty palomino pony. She studied teaching and biology at university before moving to Australia in 2002. Shelly is the author of the You’re… series, illustrated by Katherine Battersby and Blast Off!, illustrated by Ben Wood. Her latest release is There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book, illustrated by Vivienne To. Shelly lives in Canberra with her husband and two children.

 

 

Meredith Costain
Meredith Costain started writing when she was six and is hoping she’ll be able to stop soon as her arm is getting really tired. Her work ranges from picture books to poetry, novels and non-fiction. Her books include CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing, nature series My Life in the Wild and novelisations of ABC TV’s Dance Academy. Her best-selling series, the Ella Diaries, was shortlisted for both the REAL children’s choice awards and the Wilderness Society Environment awards, and has been published around the world. When not writing, Meredith enjoys playing blues piano and wrangling her many pets. www.meredithcostain.com

 

Caz Goodwin
Caz Goodwin is an award-winning author who writes picture books, short stories, poetry and novels for children. She lives in Melbourne, but has also lived in Brisbane, Auckland and Singapore. Her work has been published internationally and illustrated by Gus Gordon, Kerry Millard, Loo Joo Hong and others. She runs SCBWI Victoria as an ARA for SCBWI Australia and New Zealand. At university, Caz studied psychology and worked for many years in business as a Human Resources Manager. However, writing has always been her passion. Caz has a series of picture books coming out with Little Hare, an imprint of Hardie Grant Egmont. Illustrated by Ashley King, the first in the series is called Lazy Daisy and will be launched in February 2019.

 

 

 

 

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