Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference Program 2019


Build your own program by combining options to create your ideal conference!


Sunday 24 February 2019
Pre-Conference Social Events 


1.30pm (optional)
Celebrating Books: A trip to The Children’s Bookshop
Meet from 1.00pm in the Novotel Lobby and head to Central Station for the train trip to The Children’s Bookshop. (Train travel at your own expense)


3.00pm (optional and free)
Three minute book pitches hosted by Paul MacDonald at The Children’s Bookshop. Join us as we celebrate the book babies of Dimity Powell, Aura Parker, Caz Goodwin, Amelia McInerney, Shelly Unwin, Meredith Costain, Christina Booth and Aleesah Darlison.


6.30pm (optional)
The social and drinks at the Novotel – meet your SCBWI team. (Drinks at your own expense Cash only bar)



Monday 25 February 2019
One Day Conference
Novotel Hotel Sydney Central


Concurrent events:


Illustrator Showcase (in Port Jackson Room, First Floor)
9.00am to 5.00pm—Open to industry professionals only
5.00pm to 6.00pm—Open to delegates for viewing and for illustrators to pick up portfolios


Manuscript & Portfolio Critiques (in Watson Bay Room, Ground Floor)
Times and assessors as scheduled at time of booking.


One Day Conference* (in Ballroom, First Floor)

(in first floor lobby)


8.45am—Conference Opening
Acknowledgment of Country and Welcome by Susanne Gervay


9.00am to 9:50am—How to make yourself more marketable as a writer – and sell more books!
Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo reveal the steps you can take to build your platform as a children’s author.

MC: Kelly Hibbert


10.00am to 10.50am—The craft and passion of inspirational books
From Gecko—NZ Best Publisher of the Year & Bologna Best Children’s Publisher—Julia Marshall.
MC: Sarah Davis


11.00am to 11.30am—Morning tea (in First Floor Lobby)


11.45am to 12.30pm—Keynote: The Craft and Business of Getting and Staying Published (For Authors and Illustrators)
presented by US editor and art director Mira Reisberg.
MC: Sheryl Gwyther


12.30pm to 2.30 pm—Session A or B and Lunch (Hotel Restaurant)
Lunch is a smorgasbord with option of an illustrator or author break out session that must be selected at time of booking.

Session A (for authors)
12.30pm to 1.20pm Break out session for authors followed by lunch from 1.30pm to 2.30pm
Let’s talk vision! Are your story elements all working together?
Linsay Knight, Heather Curdie, Mary Verney and Eve Tonelli
MC: Katrina McKelvey

OR alternate session

Session B (for illustrators)
12.30pm to 1.30pm lunch followed by 1.30pm to 2.20pm Break out session for illustrators
What is an Art Director really looking for, from portfolio, title covers to illustrations?
Sarah Davis, Art Director Walker Books
MC: Liz Anelli


2.30pm to 3:30pm—Pitch Perfect: Pitch to Publishers
A panel of industry experts reveal what they want in written and verbal pitching. Christina Booth pitched at the last SCBWI Conference and was offered a contract by Black Dog Books. How did a pitch become a published book? Hear winning pitches made to Lisa Berryman, Claire Halifax, Tara Wynne, Maryann Ballantyne and Brian Cook.
MC: Tracey Hawkins and Nicole Godwin


3.30pm to 4.30pm—Afternoon Tea and Book Sales (in First Floor Lobby)


4.30pm to 5.15 pm— Success in Book Publishing
Vivian Kirkfield, acclaimed US blogger and Perfect Picture Book Reviewer, international interviewer, host of #50PreciousWords challenge, picture book and non fiction author, gives insights into what creates success in book publishing.
MC: Susanne Gervay


5.15pm to 5.45pm—Fun and Games with James Foley and Sarah Davis
Illustrator duel and charity auction for Room to Read



BREAK – end of daytime conference.



7.00pm to 11.30pm—Dinner Dance Party (Optional extra for delegates)
Novotel Ballroom, First Floor


Keynote speakers:
The inspiration of Finn’s Feather and that special relationship with US agent Essie White and Australian author Rachel Noble
MC: Susanne Gervay


Announcement of the HarperCollins Illustrator Showcase Award and the Penguin Random House Illustrator Showcase Award introduced by Paul and Beth Macdonald.


Dance the night away to the rock’n’roll stylings with James Foley, Scott Chambers, Meredith Costain, Wolfgang (Wolf) Kloger, Slim Sommerville and Karen Collum.



Tuesday 26 February 2019
Masterclasses* (optional extra for Monday delegates)
Held at State Library of NSW


Six masterclasses of 2 hours each. Max 30 delegates. Two rooms – 1 and 2 – in parallel sessions.


9.30am to 11.30am

Session A
Julia Marshall
How do you keep your storytelling engaging, surprising, satisfying?  Delegates are invited to bring their storylines to the workshop. (Picture Books)


Session B
James Foley
Picture Book Illustration 101: Bringing My Dead Bunny to Life
Join author/illustrator James Foley for a hands-on session about picture book illustration, using his CBCA-shortlisted book ‘My Dead Bunny’ as an example. Learn how character design, choice of media, colour, line, typography, image boundaries and composition all affect the visual narrative, and how you can control these variables in your own work. Bring your favourite drawing materials, your favourite colouring materials (e.g. coloured pencils, watercolour, markers) and a sketchbook. 
(Picture Books)


11.45am to 1.45pm

Session C
Zoe Walton
Writing great dialogue. Taking your dialogue to the next level. (Middle Grade and YA)    


Session D
Essie White
Picture books are written with as many words as necessary – and as few as possible. How do you keep your storytelling pithy  and your illustrations more than just pictures? How do you chop when it doesn’t seem possible? What can you leave to an illustrator and how can you write directions that don’t constrain them? Prepare to tighten your writing and expand your illustrations to become your own ruthless editor. Delegates are invited to bring along a picture book text to work on in class, but be prepared to get ruthless! (Picture Books)


2.00pm to 4.00pm

Session E
Mira Reisberg
How To Hook and Keep Your Reader With Humour (Picture Books and Middle Grade)


Session F
Diane Evans
Dianne Evans of BigSky Publishing takes you through crafting a story. (Middle Grade)





Manuscript & Portfolio Critiques
There will be a limited number of Manuscript or Portfolio Critiques available throughout the day at the State Library of NSW.



Join us afterwards for a special free event at Dymocks.

Guest Speakers
Matt Cosgrove | Author Illustrator
Joy Lawn | Reviewer and PM Literary Awards Judge

February 26, 2019
Dymocks 424 George St, Sydney

Please click here to find out more and book.


* Draft Programs and subject to change




Terms and Conditions

SCBWI is a not-for-profit volunteer run organisation and all proceeds from these tickets are committed to Event expenses. Unfortunately we are unable to provide refunds, but we will allow transfer of Conference ticket to another eligible SCBWI member.

 Illustrator Showcase and Critique tickets are non-transferable.