Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

ACT SCBWI presents Excellence in Children’s Books—A professional development day

Date(s) - 27/Mar/2017
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

ALIA House
9-11 Napier Close - Deakin, ACT



Excellence in Children’s Books with National Library Publisher Susan Hall and NLA authors Tania McCartney and Gina Newton, along with visiting authors Susanne Gervay and Deborah Abela


$20 SCBWI members; $30 non-members. 


Thank you for the generous support of our Official Bookseller, Harry Hartog.





Register, greet and meet. Tea, coffee and light refreshments.


Opening welcome with Susanne Gervay, Regional Advisor, Australia East/NZ and Deborah Abela ARA.


5.40pm – 6.30pm
Susan Hall, Publisher, National Library Publishing, talks about NLP’s publishing criteria and process, submissions, and what they are publishing. Followed by Q & A.
MC: Tania McCartney


6.30pm – 7.00pm
Gina Newton presents on how to create successful non-fiction children’s books.
MC: Tracey Hawkins


7.00pm – 7.30pm
Tania McCartney talks illustration – working with text, creating your own style, mediums and more.
MC: Nicole Godwin


7.30pm – 8.00pm
Inside publication and creating a successful writing community with Susanne Gervay and Deborah Abela.






Susan HallPublisher, Author, Editor

Susan Hall studied English at Cambridge University and started her career in publishing in London. After 12 years in London working on illustrated non-fiction, she spent three years working for publishers in France before moving to Australia in 1996. Susan worked on contract for the National Gallery and National Museum of Australia, before taking on the role of Publisher at the National Library of Australia, where she has worked for the past 11 years. At the National Library of Australia, she started a children’s list and has moved the main list to a more commercial footing. She has written six non-fiction picture books and publishes her short stories in The School Magazine.


Tania McCartney Author, Illustrator, Editor

If she could, Tania McCartney would live inside a book. As an author, illustrator, editor and publisher—she kind of already does. An ambassador for the National Year of Reading (2012), the Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge (2016) and other literacy initiatives, she is mad for juvenile literacy, and regularly speaks at schools, libraries, festivals and organisations.

Tania has had three decades of experience as a book/magazine editor and features writer, and is the founder of Kids’ Book Review (the #1 kidlit site on the web) and the 52-Week Illustration Challenge. Both her books and unpublished works have won awards and shortlistings, including a CBCA Notable Book, and in November 2016, her first self-illustrated book, Australia Illustrated, was released. A National Library author, her newest title is This is Banjo Paterson.

Tania has lived in almost every Australian state and territory, as well as France, England and China. She currently lives in Canberra with her family and a Himalayan mountain of books.


Dr Gina NewtonAuthor, Scientist

Gina trained as a marine biologist, zoologist and science communicator. Raising awareness of Australia’s unique environment and biodiversity is a particular interest, passion and goal. Gina’s third book, the non-fiction Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks, aimed at children aged 8 to 12 years, was published in 2016 by the National Library of Australia goes a long way towards fulfilling that goal. From childhood, Gina loved to write stories and poetry, and draw pictures. Her best-selling first picture book, Blossom Possum the sky is falling down under (Scholastic Press, 2006; illustrator Kilmeny Niland) has sold over 135,000 copies, and her second picture book, Blossom Possum and the Christmas Quacker (Scholastic Press; illustrator Christina Booth) was released in 2013. Inspired from Master Classes by Fiona McIntosh and the late Master himself, Bryce Courtney, Gina is now working on Young Adult and Middle Reader novels.


Susanne GervayAuthor, Regional Advisor, SCBWI Australia East/NZ

Awarded an Order of Australia and the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award by the International Literacy Association, Susanne Gervay is recognised for her youth literature, for all ages, on social justice. 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 published internationally in the USA, UK, Turkey, Slovenia, Korea and others countries. She is an ambassador for Room to Read, bringing literacy to the developing world, and is Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (Australia East & New Zealand), and Reading Ambassador for a number of associations. Her books are endorsed by an array of organisations including the Cancer Council, The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, The Children’s Hospital (Westmead), Life Education, and Variety the children’s charity.


Deborah AbelaAuthor, ARA, SCBWI Australia East/NZ

Deborah trained as a teacher and completed a BA (Comm) before becoming writer/producer of a children’s TV show at Network TEN. After 7 years she left to write over 20 books for children, including the Max Remy Superspy and Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series and New City, the sequel to her bestselling, Grimsdon. Teresa A New Australian, was inspired by her dad, who, with a million other refugees, made the journey to Australia after the devastation of WW2 and her latest book is The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, which came about because of her year 4 teacher Ms Gray and her love of words. Deb’s won awards for her books, including an Outstanding International Book Award in the USA and the Maurice Saxby Award for services to Children's Literature. She is an ambassador for Room to Read and Books In Homes.


Tracey HawkinsAuthor 

Tracey is an award-winning author of children's books, and an author of adult non-fiction. She began her writing life as a crime writing advisor and consultant, based on her experience as a policewoman. Nancy Bentley The First Australian Female Sailor was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2012, and winner of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards in 2012. Her picture book Max Meets a Monster achieved success featuring on the BBC CBeebies television show.

Tracey is a trainer and assessor at Open Colleges, CIT and the ACT Writers Centre, an editor, presenter, specialist topic speaker with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and an ambassador for the ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge (2016).


Nicole GodwinAuthor  

As a writer and animal activist, the creation of Nicole’s debut picture book, Ella, was inevitable. Ella provides a glimpse into the lives of elephants in the tourism industry. 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 talking to school children about Ella and her time volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. Their insightful questions fill her with hope about the future for many animals.

Not content with just writing her books, Nicole established Tusk Books as a brand to continue giving a voice to those who yelp, swing, moo, oink and trumpet. Nicole has also established strong ties with international elephant sanctuaries who benefit from sales of Ella.