Australia East & New Zealand plus New South Wales
Susanne Gervay —Regional Advisor, Australia East & New Zealand
Susanne is inspired by the incredible creativity of the children’s writers and illustrator community. She’s proud to have been awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her books by the International Literacy Association, nominated for the Astrid Ingrid Memorial Award 2020 and received an Order of Australia. She writes fiction from picture books, middle grade to YA novels and engages in complex issues from multiculturalism, disability 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. Butterflies is recognised as outstanding YA literature on disability. Susanne’s picture books are defining as they ‘demonstrate with great power that we can teach our children profound truths and timeless values.’ Professor of English, D.R. Pattanaik, Banaras Hindu University. She is privileged to work with outstanding illustrators, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Anna Pignataro and Serena Geddes. Her latest picture books reach into peace and identity, Elephants Have Wings and The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses. She is a patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, ambassador for Room to Read and other organizations. She’s won awards and her works are endorsed by many organisations.
Deborah Abela —Assistant Regional Advisor, New South Wales
After producing and writing children’s TV for Network Ten, Deborah has written over 25 novels about spies, soccer legends and characters who battle sea monsters and evil harbour lords. Her books include the Max Remy and Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery. Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm were inspired by her crankiness about inaction to climate change and her historical fiction novel, Teresa A New Australian, was sparked by her family’s survival during WW2 and migration to Australia. Her first picture book is Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero and will be joined by Bear in Space in August 2020. Deb has won awards for her books but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters. She is a proud ambassador for Room to Read and Books In Homes.
Marjorie Crosby-Fairall —Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Australia East & New Zealand
Marjorie has illustrated over twenty children’s books and has been published internationally. 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 The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses with Susanne Gervay, Brothers from a Different Mother with Phillip Gwynne, One Christmas Eve with Corinne Fenton, and The Croc and the Platypus with Jacking Hosking. She has several new picture books to be released in 2020, including Say Cheese with Frances Watts, Dinosaur Dads with Lesley Gibbes and Bear in Space, a collaboration with Deborah Abela.
Margaret Roc —Critique Coordinator, Australia East & New Zealand
Margaret is an author, co-author and editor of over 50 books for children and teachers including fiction, non-fiction and picture books. She was born in Scotland and lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, John. She is a mother of two and has worked as a teacher, special needs teacher and teacher-librarian. Her picture book Jellybean Goes to School and non-fiction titles Australia’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals and Plants and Australia’s Critically Endangered Animals are on the NSW Premier’s Reading List.
Sue Whiting —Committee, Australia East & New Zealand
Sue Whiting is a children’s and young adult author and editor. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters and Missing, the award-winning A Swim in the Sea and the CBCA Notable Books, Get a Grip Cooper Jones, Platypus and Beware the Deep Dark Forest. Sue was Publishing Manager and Senior Commissioning Editor at Walker Books Australia for many years, before leaving in 2016 to concentrate on her writing and to work from her home as a freelance editor, writing coach and mentor. A former primary school teacher with a special interest in literacy education and children’s literature, Sue is a highly experienced speaker who loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages.
Sarah Davis —Committee, Australia East & New Zealand
Sarah Davis is a multiple award-winning illustrator, and associate art director for Walker Books Australia. She won the CBCA Crichton Illustration Award for her first picture book, Mending Lucille, in 2009, and since then has gone on to illustrate more than 40 titles, in a range of styles and genres. She has an Honours degree in literature, and her love of language and narrative underpins her illustration work. With each project she experiments with new ways to construct visual narratives, working across a range of media. Sarah has collaborated with many major publishing houses and commercial clients across Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the UK. An experienced presenter with a teaching background, she regularly speaks at schools, festivals and universities throughout Australia and internationally. Sarah is also proud to be an ambassador for Room to Read. She is represented by the Gallt Zacker Agency in the USA.
Nina Rycroft —Illustrator Committee, Australia East & New Zealand
Nina Rycroft has been illustrating picture books since her first picture book was awarded the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notable Book in 2000. Since then, she’s had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, including award-winning picture book and stage production ‘Boom Bah!’ (Phil Cummings), ‘No More Kisses’ (Margaret Wild), ‘Good Dog Hank’ (Jackie French) and ‘Pooka’ (Carol Chattaway, YABBA Award Winner, 2013). Nina has taught more than 50,000 students worldwide in her character design series on Skillshare and her 8-week Picture Book Illustration e-Course. To stay connected, you can sign up for Nina’s news or follow her on Instagram
Liz Anelli —Illustrator Committee, Australia East & New Zealand
Liz is an English born illustrator with over 20 published titles and a handful of awards. She illustrates picture books and junior fiction and now – after a gap of too many years – is writing them too. She draws all the time and it makes her very happy. Liz also loves exploring on her bicycle and creates huge illustrated maps for her hometown of Newcastle’s Tourism Industry. Liz’s recent publications are Maddie’s First Day, Ten Pound Pom, One Photo, Grace and Katie, Desert Lake, Howzat! With Dry to Dry, and The Biscuit Maker, up-coming this spring. CLICK HERE for more about Liz.
Sue Murray —Member New Books & Awards, Australia East & New Zealand
Sue is a playwright, author and educator who explores many ways to share a world of words with young readers, combining her creativity with her commitment to education. After many years on the editorial team of The School Magazine, Sue has returned to freelancing. Her recent projects include writing four picture books in a new series for MultiLit, which are due for publication soon. Sue also project-managed and edited a suite of online learning resources for the NSW Department of Education that mark the 250th anniversary of the day the Gweagal people saw the first European vessel enter Kamay – Botany Bay. Sue presents workshops on writing scripts for students and teachers and she’s working on a memoir inspired by her solo motorbike ride across the Nullarbor.
Amanda Lieber —New Member Coordinator, Australia East & New Zealand
Amanda’s favourite career so far has been an actress performing children’s theatre and theatresports in various countries. As a drama teacher she loved writing poetry for her students to perform at eisteddfods. Her wild imagination, love of stories and dedication to educating children has amalgamated her passions into writing picture books and short stories for children of all ages. Amanda’s first picture book, My Giant Seashell, will be published in 2022 with Little Pink Dog Books. A dream come true. She has many manuscripts ready to launch into the world and cannot wait for them to become real books.
Caz Goodwin —Assistant Regional Adviser, Victoria
Caz Goodwin is a Melbourne-based author who writes picture books, short stories, junior fiction and poetry for children. Her work has been published internationally and illustrated by Gus Gordon, Ashley King, Kerry Millard, Loo Joo Hong and others. 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’s latest picture book is Lazy Daisy. The sequel, Daisy Runs Wild, will be released in 2020.
Kaye Baillie —Assistant Coordinator, Victoria
Kaye Baillie has a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing which she began while working as an Executive Assistant in Melbourne. Following her passion for picture books and storytelling, Kaye continued to study creative writing to achieve her goal of becoming a full-time children’s author. One of her recent titles, Message In A Sock (MidnightSun Publishing) was shortlisted (2019) in the Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards and the NSW Premier’s History Awards. It also won a history award in the Northern Lights Book Awards (USA). Kaye has been published with Wombat Books, The School Magazine and Cengage Learning. She has a passion for telling stories about remarkable people. Kaye has five forthcoming picture books with both Australian and American publishers and met her US agent, Essie White of Storm Literary Agency at the 2019 Sydney SCBWI conference. Kaye lives in a Victorian coastal town with her family and high maintenance pets.
Jess Racklyeft —Illustrator Coordinator, Victoria
Jess Racklyeft is an illustrator and more recently author/illustrator, who has worked on almost twenty picture books over the past seven years for many Australian publishers including Windy Hollow, Affirm Press, Allen and Unwin and Penguin Random House. She also creates a variety of products for various clients and her own online shop including pins, cards, prints and other goodies. Awards include two CBCA Notables and a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, which sits proudly in her very messy studio.
Jo Burnell —Membership Coordinator, Victoria
Jo Burnell has loved children’s literature ever since she could read. When she’s not sharing an imagination with children in her role as a Speech Pathologist or embroiled between the pages of yet another wonderful children’s story, she’s busy writing up a storm.
Alison Stegert —Assistant Regional Advisor, Queensland
SCBWI QLD ARA and Sunshine Coast Coordinator Ali Stegert is an emerging children’s author, a content creator, and a former school counsellor. Her articles have appeared in print and digital magazines such as Screen Education and Adolescent Success. Ali’s manuscript The Temple of Lost Time was chosen for the 2017 Australian Society of Authors Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program. In 2019, Ali was an artist-in-residence at the Crows Nest Creative Residency on the Sunshine Coast, a recipient of a RADF grant to work with author Dee White, and long-listed in the CBCA-NSW Mentorship Program for her latest contemporary action-adventure MG Saving Arcadia.
Jacqui Halpin — Coordinator Brisbane and assistant to Ali Stegert
Jacqui Halpin is a former registered nurse and tuckshop convenor with a passion for children’s books. She writes middle grade, junior fiction, picture books, and short stories for adults and children. Jacqui has two picture books published by Little Pink Dog Books, Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse and Where’s Lucky?, which was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2019. Her short stories appear in The School Magazine and in anthologies by Stringybark Publishing and Creative Kids’ Tales. She finds great joy in sharing her passion for storytelling with children. While writing and editing Jacqui loves to sip tea from fine china and eat copious amounts of chocolate.
Ann Harth — Coordinator Far North Queensland sub-branch
Ann Harth is a children’s author, structural editor and writing mentor. After earning a BA (psychology) and working with children for a decade, she’d gathered enough stories and giggles to begin creating her own. She has written roomfuls of fiction and non-fiction for children, and some of this has even been published in the trade and educational markets in Australia and overseas. Her favourite age group is the one she happens to be writing for at any given moment.
Angela Sunde — Coordinator Gold Coast sub-branch
SCBWI Qld – Gold Coast Coordinator Angela Sunde is the author/illustrator of Snap Magic, author of Pond Magic (Aussie Chomps), and illustrator of The Coral Sea Monster – national winner, Write-a-Book-in-a-Day Award 2011. Her short story, A Summer to Die For, won the Gold Coast City Gallery and Writers Activation writing competition in 2015. Awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship in 2013, and an Illustrator Residency at Pinerolo Children’s Book Cottage in 2014, Angela is an award-winning language and literacy teacher with a broad range of experience in primary, secondary and tertiary education. In her engaging presentations and inspiring workshops for children and adults, she enjoys sharing the secrets to finding humour and magic in daily life.
Elaine Ouston — Coordinator Central Queensland sub-branch
Elaine Ouston has a Master of Letters in Creative Writing. She is an author, publisher, mentor and has organised literary festivals for Australian Literary Festivals and Book Fairs. Her books include chapter books, Lost in a Strange Land, the Bush Tails series, The Bunyip in the Billabong, A Close Call, Jake to the Rescue, The Mystery of Nide Valley, picture book The Lost Shoes and educational titles. Elaine runs writing workshops for adults and children and visits schools promoting reading and writing and is passionate about the environment.
Kelly Hibbert – Assistant Regional Advisor
Kelly considers her 20 plus years of teaching experience to be the best apprenticeship a creator could undertake. She adores everything about the SCBWI community and overflows with infectious energy for her role. Although she’s known to wear many hats at once, Kelly’s writing hat is by far the most comfortable one. She’s rummaged around and found it a few times since the publication of her second picture book, Sebastian and the Special Stack of Stories, by HarperCollins in 2018. Kelly speaks in rhyme all the time (well, that’s what her two sons say anyway) and writes on the fly while walking her pup or during the occasional yoga class.
Simon Andrews – Member Coordinator
Simon is a child psychologist with 23 years of experience. He draws upon his experiences in the consulting room, as well as those of his own life. To date, Simon has written junior and middle school resilience programs, as well as contributing to the Port Adelaide Football Club Community Department programs over the past decade. Most recently he consulted to a playwright with the Slingsby Theatre Company regarding an upcoming play focussing on child anxiety issues. Simon has been a SCBWI member for three years, is an active committee member and attends events regularly. He has also attended KidLitVic for the past three years in a row.
Lauren Mullinder – Assistant Coordinator and Promotions
Illustrator, margin scribbler and front page pattern maker; Lauren is inspired by nature and whimsical stories and has illustrated four published books since 2016. She is passionate about literacy, the environment and the arts and is currently involved across SCBWI and CBCA state committees while also being actively involved in workshops and education programs. Lauren has been drawing for as long as she can remember, changed the layout in her studio five times (desks are very heavy) and is currently drawing dinosaurs, swamps and intergalactic space races.
Kristin Martin – Treasurer and Assistant Event Coordinator
Kristin’s poems can be found in her books, including To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme (Glimmer Press, 2019), The School Magazine, anthologies, websites and art exhibitions. She applies her fondness for patterns and numbers to not only her rhyming poetry, but also in her position as treasurer of SCBWI SA. There’s nothing Kristin adores more than hanging out in her garden, walking by the beach or admiring the clouds – all of which inspire her poetry.
Mandy Foot — Illustrator Coordinator
Since 2007 Mandy has illustrated over 20 books and in 2019 added her first title as both author and illustrator, Joey and Riley (Hachette Australia). Bragging points, um – in 2013 Old MacDonald Had a Farm was Hachette Australia’s no. 1 best-selling children’s book and no.4 in Australia and this year Hush Say the Stars by Margaret Spurling (Little Book Press) was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Award. Mandy coordinates the annual SCBWI SA Winter Gathering and always entices the inner illustrator out of every member – no excuses. Her firm belief is that everyone can draw, it’s just the style that differs. Even with so many books currently on the go, she always says yes (except maybe to sleep – that’s a luxury). Amongst book commitments, school visits, mentoring new illustrators to the industry and meeting the high demands of her two attention-starved border collies, she is also a Role Model for Books in Homes and an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia, which she thoroughly enjoys. Ok doggies I’m done… oh yes, I love you too.
Beverley McWilliams – Assistant Event Coordinator
After working in corporate tax and accountancy, Beverley decided life was too short for facts and figures so she ditched the rat-race (and the money) to follow her dream job as a writer. Beverley’s debut picture book Born to Fly was published in 2019 by MidnightSun. She has also published articles and poetry in children’s magazines and has a particular passion for non-fiction, spending her days in the depths of research. Beverley has just finished writing her first novel and is currently working on two picture book biographies. Beverley lives by the beach in South Australia with her family and menagerie of pets which provide endless inspiration.
Anne Morgan —Regional Co-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.
Christina Booth —Regional Co-coordinator, Tasmania
Christina is a teacher, landscape artist, children’s book illustrator and picture book writer. She started her publishing career as an illustrator to great writers such as Colin Thiele, Max Fatchen and Christobel Mattingley. In 2007 Christina’s first picture book, Purinina, A Devil’s Tale (Lothian Hachette) was published. Kip won an Honour Book Award in the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year Awards and Welcome Home (Ford Street Publishing) won the Environmental Award for Children’s Literature in 2014.
Alyssa Curtayne is an English teacher with more than 20 years experience across four states. She self-published her first picture book, Leprechaun’s Gold in 2009 and in the process learned an enormous amount about what NOT to do! She has recently arrived home to Tasmania after nine years in the NT and WA and is keen to start making Tasmanian stories more accessible for Tasmanian readers and connecting with other writers. She is studying Creative Writing through Griffith University and plans to complete her Masters before she is 50. Alyssa self-published a Mental Health Toolkit in 2020 and Chakra Cards in 2015 and is very interested in mental health and wellness and building connections. After coming from the SCWBI-West team where networking amongst writers was a treasured part of the writing community, she’s looking to be a part of something similar here. alyssacurtayne.com
Australian Capital Territory and surrounds
Shelly Unwin —Regional Coordinator, Australian Capital Territory
Shelly Unwin is an internationally published children’s author with a focus on Early Childhood. Shelly grew up in a tiny English village where she was surrounded by children, animals, and the occasional pixie fairy—a feast for her imagination. She studied teaching and biology at university before moving to Australia in 2002. Shelly is the author of five books in the You’re… series, illustrated by Katherine Battersby, and shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Early Childhood Book of the Year. She is also the author of Blast Off!, a narrative non-fiction space adventure, illustrated by Ben Wood and There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book, illustrated by Vivienne To. Shelly lives in Canberra with her husband and two children.
Mitch Frost —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Mitch Frost was born in the city, grew up in the country and couldn’t work out which was better, so he moved to Canberra. Mitch has always been interested in writing and telling stories that empower children to embrace their inner resilience and strength. He is also a bit surprised he’s bald given his above average level of Neanderthal DNA. Mitch’s debut picture book, The Ultimate Survival Guide to Monsters Under the Bed, was published by Affirm Press in May 2019.
Krys Saclier —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Krys Saclier believes children’s literature has the power to shape the future. Her first picture book, Super Nova, was written with assistance from an Australia Council grant. Krys has written for television, radio and press and also worked as a primary school teacher and electoral educator. She is the creator of the Kids Only podcast, which features original short audio stories for children. She coordinated the ACT Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Make Your Own Story Book competition for school students. Krys is also a founding member of the Canberra Children’s Writers’ Group.
Catherine Meatherington —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Catherine Meatheringham spends her days writing picture books and drinking way too many cups of tea. She loves writing noisy picture books that are full of music and onomatopoeia to encourage children to join in with the story. Her first picture book My Possum Plays the Drums is due out with Windy Hollow Books in early 2020 with a second planned for 2021. Catherine lives in Canberra with her husband, two children, dog and a noisy possum that keeps her awake at night.
Sarah Wallace —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Frances Plumpton —Assistant Regional Advisor, New Zealand
Frances was the Assistant Regional Advisor for Australia East/ New Zealand for more than ten years, co-ordinating the New Zealand members. She has a background as a children’s librarian, and after six years working for Richards Literary Agency established the Frances Plumpton Literary Agency. Frances is a trustee of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand and the recipient of their 2006 Betty Gilderdale award for services to children’s literature.
Sally Sutton —Committee, New Zealand
Sally Sutton is a top-selling, award-winning author best known for her Roadworks picture book series published by Walker Books and illustrated by Brian Lovelock, and her humorous Miniwings junior ficton series published by Scholastic NZ and illustrated by Kirsten Richards. She has an M.A. (Hons) in German and her love of language is clear in her boisterous, read-aloud rhymes and rhythms and playful, high-energy language. She also loves writing plays.
Diane Tullock —Committee, New Zealand
Writer and reviewer of Children’s stories, who loves to travel and meet new people. Diane is an active member of the New Zealand children’s book industry.
Jo Bone —Illustrator Coordinator, New Zealand
Jo Bone is an illustrator and artist in Dunedin, New Zealand. She loves to create playful characters who warm the heart and capture the world in her sketchbook. With a love of people and the planet, Jo studied languages, travelled the world and pursued a career in international education. Her childhood dream of being an illustrator was rekindled with Nina Rycroft’s Picture Book Illustration Course in 2017 and she is working towards publication.
Lisa Dunlop—Committee, New Zealand
Lisa Dunlop is a traveller writer and photographer who helps children expand their reading and write their own stories. She has worked for libraries, museums, and in the scuba diving industry—all places where adventure and exploration were a big part of a day’s work.
Heather Haylock—Committee, New Zealand
Heather is an author who also works with New Entrants in a New Zealand primary school. This gives her lots of material and willing testers for her picture books and educational readers. She is the author of Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter and Granny McFlitter: A Country Yarn (Penguin Random House NZ), as well as a number of fiction and non-fiction levelled reading books for Sunshine Books NZ. She has written, in the past, for Pearson Education Australia’s Comet, Explore and Challenge series.