Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference Faculty 2016





Ana Vivas— Publisher of Scholastic Press and Co-publisher Omnibus picture books, Scholastic Australia
Ana is a children’s book publisher with over twelve years experience. She is the Publisher of Scholastic Press and co-publisher of Omnibus picture books, Scholastic Australia.  Ana wrote her own picture book, Let's Eat under the pseudonym Ana Zamorano that won an honour award from the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 1997. She is also the Publisher and Producer for a children’s picture book app company Snappyant.


Alan EdwardsEditor, School Magazine
Alan Edwards is Editor of The School Magazine, the premier children’s literary magazine in Australia which has its centenary in 2016. Contributors include renowned Australian authors and illustrators including Sarah Davis, Stephen Axelson, Tobhy Riddle. 


Anouska Jones—Publisher, EK Books
Anouska Jones is the Publisher at EK Books, the children's picture book imprint of Exisle Publishing. Launched in 2013, this boutique imprint is already home to some award-winning titles and best-selling books. Anouska has over 20 years’ experience in book publishing and in that time has worked in every genre from self-help to military history, from cookery to travel. Children’s books have always been a particular passion, however, so working with EK’s authors and illustrators is pretty much her dream job. Anouska is also Senior Editor of the children's literature website Kids' Book Review; and, adding author to her résumé, her first picture book will be launched in October 2016.


Belinda Bolliger—Managing Editor, Australian Standing Orders
Belinda began her publishing career as an editor on magazines for teachers and children, before moving to Harcourt Brace as an acquisitions editor for Primary school publications. She then worked at Hodder Headline (Hachette Australia), where she was children's publisher for eleven years, publishing authors and illustrators such as Alison Lester, Garry Disher, Gary Crew, Libby Hathorn, Geoffrey McSkimming and Colin Thompson. She left Hachette and set up My First Bookshelf, an online bookshop for parents of young children. Then accepted a position at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as children's publisher for ABC Books. She managed the licensed list (Play School, The Wiggles and various ABC television tie-ins) and extended the ABC's trade children's list, publishing award-winning titles including Perry Angel's Suitcase by Glenda Millard, Parsley Rabbit's Book about Books by Frances Watts and David Legge, and Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King before becoming Manager Editor of ASO Scholastic.


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!


Chren Byng—Publisher ABC Books, HarperCollins Australia 
Chren Byng is the publisher for ABC Children’s Books at HarperCollins Publishers Australia. After discovering a love of linguistics at university, Chren realised that publishing was the perfect industry for her and she has now worked with books for over a decade. During that time, she has edited and published award-winning and bestselling children's books from many of Australia's most-loved authors and illustrators.


Cristina CappellutoPublishing Director, HarperCollinsChildren's Books, Australia
A strategic planner, Cristina has a long history with HarperCollins. She has been the Children’s PublishingDirector for four years, following nearly five years as the Head of Children’s Publishing, responsible for the overall management, profitability and growth of the children's business unit, encompassing HarperCollins publishing from Australia and rest of world, as well as third-party agencies. She spent eight years as the Marketing Manager and two years as Product Manager. Highlights include the hugely successful launch of Donna Hay's first cookbook, Off the Shelf and the long-term brand management of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.


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.  


Donna RawlinsArt Director Designer/Illustrator, Walker Books Australia
Donna Rawlins is an illustrator, book designer and teacher and in 2003 was the recipient of the prestigious Lady Cutler Award, presented by the Children’s Book Council of New South Wales, for her outstanding contribution to the children’s book industry.


Frances PlumptonLiterary Agent, 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. She is President of the IBBY Congress New Zealand.


Heather CurdieSenior Commissioning Editor, Penguin Young Readers
Heather is a very experienced senior editor with extensive experience in the children’s publishing industry. She has been commissioning editor at Penguin for more than seven years. Prior to that she was senior editor at RandomHouse for ten years and editor at Transworld Publishers for 5 years.


Holly FrendoPublicity Manager, HarperCollins
Holly Frendo is the Publicity Manager at HarperCollins Children’s books. Within her role Holly is dedicated to promoting HarperCollins’ children’s and YA authors by securing a variety of media and profile opportunities. Prior to joining HarperCollins Holly was a public relations consultant at the award winning Red Agency where she utilised her in-depth knowledge of Australia’s media landscape to secure fantastic results for her clients. Holly holds a Bachelor of Business in Public Relations from APM College of Business and Communications.


Holly TooheyPublishing Executive, Penguin Random House
Holly Toohey is a Publishing Executive at Penguin Random House who specialises in middle-grade commercial fiction. She creates and acquires new series, with a focus on brand partnerships. She has the pleasure of working with wonderfully talented authors such as Jacqueline Harvey, R. A. Spratt and George Ivanoff, and is proud to have published two Australian books in James Patterson’s international bestselling Middle School series. Despite not being overly ‘sporty’, she has also found a bit of a niche in publishing sport-related books for children.


Josemalene RuayaGraphic Designer, The School Magazine
Josemalene Ruaya has been the Graphic Designer of The School Magazine since September 2013, designing 40 magazines a year, including Countdown, Blast off, Orbit and Touchdown. She oversees a range of design projects, liaising with the magazine team and with the versatile and talented illustrators.


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.


Louise ParkPublisher, Packager, Author, Sydney
Louise Park draws from a strong background of more than 25 years in Education, Publishing and literacy to produce her blockbuster bestsellers that include Zac Power, Boy vs Beast and Harriet Clare. She has taught primary school children of all ages, trained teachers in literacy education, developed and published successful reading resources to help children crack the reading code, and written books that have ignited a love of reading in children. Louise was a publisher and general manager at a large publishing house before going out on her own with her packaging and publishing company, Paddlepop Press. This year she launched Stories Inc with business partner Susannah McFarlane—a publishing service focussing on creating children’s book series for publishing houses. And when she’s not churning through the work of these two companies she’s writing books for children! Louise writes under her own name as well as the hugely successful pseudonyms: H. I. Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose. 


Laurine CroasdaleAustralian Society of Authors, Professional Development Manager
Laurine has been writing fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults for over 20 years and has been published by Penguin, Pan Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Doubleday and ABC Books. She reviewed books for ABC Radio in Sydney, Hobart and Canberra for ten years and also wrote reviews for the Primary English Teachers’ Association. Laurine won a Literature Board Scholarship to study scriptwriting at AFTRS and went on to write scripts for Hi5. Laurine has also worked as a journalist, editor, packager and publisher, and produced audio books for ABC Audio and Vision Australia. As a member of Literature Live!, Laurine presents creative writing workshops to schools via video conference in Australia and New Zealand as well as live workshops in primary and high schools. She became Writer-in-Residence at Birrong High School through the Authors in Schools project run by the ASA and is the Professional Development Program Manager.


Maryann BallantynePublisher, Black Dog Books an imprint of Walker Books Australia
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, Walker Books Australia
Mary Verney, editor at Walker Books Australia, works on a broad range of children’s books. She began her career managing a book department for Myer in Brisbane. After completing a Diploma of Editing and Publishing, she was an editorial assistant for Pan Macmillan. She has been at Walker Books for over six years, first as a junior editor and now as an editor.


Sharon EvansMarketing and PR Director, Big Sky Publishing
Sharon Evans is the Marketing and PR Director for Big Sky Publishing and is responsible for all aspects of promotion and marketing strategy as well as project managing key titles and authors.  She has an extensive background in PR and Marketing and develops customised strategies for Big Sky's authors and corporate clients to successfully promote their work through various national print, radio and television channels. Sharon has project-managed accounts from inception through to sales and arranged publicity, book launches, sponsorship and distribution channels. Sharon has also been responsible to helping to guide Big Sky's corporate direction into new genre's and publishing opportunities.  


Sue WhitingEditor at Large/Author, Walker Books Australia
Sue Whiting is a children’s book editor and award-winning author. She was Publishing Manager at Walker Books overseeing highly successful titles by Frane Lessac, James Foley and Dianne Wolfer. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, illustrated by Donna Rawlins. 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. Sue lives and works in a sleepy coastal village south of Sydney. Her latest book is Platypus, illustrated by Mark Jackson.


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.


Tara WeikumVice President, HarperCollins USA
Tara Weikum is a Vice President, Editorial Director at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her list is a diverse mixture of middle-grade and teen fiction that features New York Times bestsellers, Newbery Honor Winners, and National Book Award Winners. Her authors include Joyce Carol Oates, Louise Erdrich, Katherine Applegate, Bennett Madison, James Frey, Pittacus Lore, Tahereh Mafi, Cammie McGovern, Carolyn Mackler, Donna Freitas, Michael Perry, Thanhha Lai, and Danielle Paige. Before joining HarperCollins more than 15 years ago, she worked at Hyperion Books for Children.


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. 


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.



Conference Skype Sessions


Mallory KassSenior Editor, Scholastic Press
Mallory edits middle grade and young adult fiction with a focus on magical realism, fantasy, and contemporary with a twist. Her titles include the New York Times bestseller A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd, Horses of the Dawn by bestselling author Kathryn Lasky, Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel (Indie Next Pick), Rootless by Chris Howard (PW Flying Start), and The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (Edgar Award Nominee). She loves rich world-building, magic in unexpected places, gothic touches, and heart-expanding emotion.


Suzanne MurphyPresident & Publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books USA
Suzanne Murphy is President & Publisher HarperCollins Children's Books USA and sits on the global executive committee and reports to Brian Murray HarperCollins CEO. Suzanne was formally Vice President, Publisher, Disney Book Group/Disney Publishing Worldwide. With more than 20 years in publishing, Murphy has overseen the campaigns of many best-selling and beloved books for children and young adults, including Mo Willems's The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keepers series, and Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds trilogy.  She oversaw the expansion of the Disney franchise publishing programs to include Marvel Press, Disney-Lucasfilm Press, and Kingswell/ABC.  Prior to joining Disney, Murphy was Vice President, Group Publisher, Scholastic Trade Publishing, where she led the publishing and promotion campaigns for major best-sellers, including the final books in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and the multi-platform series The 39 Clues. Prior to her time at Scholastic, Murphy held positions in children's publishing at Simon & Schuster and Random House.  


Paul O. ZelinskyCaldecott award winning US illustrator
Paul is the illustrator of Anne Isaac's Dust Devil and creator of the now-classic interactive book called The Wheels on the Bus. His retelling of Rapunzel was awarded the 1998 Caldecott Medal. Rumpelstitlskin, Hansel and Gretel and Swamp Angel with different authors have received a Caldecott Honor. His on the SCBWI board of Regional Advisors and one of America’s most respected illustrators.


Andrea PinkneyVice President, Scholastic USA—Writers Award
Andrea Davis Pinkney, Vice President and Editor-at-Large of Trade Books, Scholastic USA,  children’s book publisher and editor. She has acquired and published a mix of titles, including that have been awarded  the Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. She is the multi award winning, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, works of historical fiction and nonfiction.  Andrea was named one of the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is among “The 25 Most Influential People in Our Children’s Lives” cited by Children’s Health Magazine. She lives in New York City with her husband, award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney, and their two children.  





Aleesah Darlison—Author, Queensland
Aleesah Darlison is an award-winning Australian children’s author who writes picture books, chapter books and novels. Aleesah’s books often feature animals and environmental themes. In 2015, she won the Environment Award for Children’s Literature (Non-Fiction) for her picture book, Our Class Tiger.  Since commencing her writing journey six years ago, Aleesah has written over thirty-five books including Stripes in the Forest: The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine, Awesome Animal Stories for Kids, the Netball Gems Series, the Unicorn Riders Series, the Totally Twins Series, Ash Rover: Keeper of the Phoenix, Little Good Wolf, Puggle’s Problem, Catching Clouds, Little Meerkat, Spidery Iggy and Mama & Hug. When Aleesah isn’t creating entertaining and enchanting stories, she’s usually looking after her four energetic children.


Belinda LandsberryAuthor and Illustrator, regional NSW
Author-illustrator, Belinda Landsberry, wrote and illustrated children’s picture books for over three decades before winning the prestigious Kids’ Book Review Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2013. Shortly after, Belinda was offered her first publishing contract with EK Books (an imprint of Exisle Publishing) and in 2014 her best-selling debut picture book: Anzac Ted was released. Belinda is honoured to see Anzac Ted shortlisted this year for the 2016 W.A. Young Reader’s Book Awards.  Belinda wrote her first picture book in Grade 3: How To Become A Nurse, and keen to follow her own advice, some ten years later she became a student nurse at Hornsby Hospital. She then became a teacher, graphic designer and professional artist before succumbing to the irresistible magnetism of full-time writing and illustrating. Belinda is currently working on two picture books and a YA novel. Her wonderful husband, four incredible children and four adorable grandchildren keep her perpetually busy, grounded and young.


Belinda MurrellAuthor, Sydney
At about the age of eight, Belinda Murrell began writing stirring tales of adventure, mystery and magic in hand illustrated exercise books. Now Belinda is a bestselling, internationally published children’s and YA author with a legion of loyal fans and a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. Her 27 books include The Sun Sword fantasy trilogy as well as the popular Lulu Bell series for younger readers, inspired by her childhood growing up living in a vet hospital. Belinda is also known for her collection of historical timeslip books including The River Charm, The Locket of Dreams, The Forgotten Pearl, and The Ivory Rose, which have been recognised by various awards. Her latest book The Lost Sapphire is set in Melbourne in the 1920s about growing up, fighting for what you believe in and family secrets.


Carolyn GoodwinAuthor, Melbourne
Carolyn is a Melbourne-based writer of picture books, short stories and novels for children, some of which have won awards and been published internationally.


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. 


Deborah AbelaAuthor, Sydney
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 The Stupendously 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.


Dianne WolferAuthor, Western Australia
Dianne Wolfer lives on the south coast of Western Australia, the setting for Granny Grommet & Me, a picture book about surfing grannies. Her just-published title, The Shark Caller was inspired by the traditional practice of shark-calling. This novel combines underwater fantasy with real world challenges such as coral bleaching and logging. Dianne loves to write across genres. Historical title, Light Horse Boy, was a CBCA Honour Book and won the WA Premier’s Award. It’s a partner for Lighthouse Girl, a novel celebrating the wartime communication between a young woman and troops gathered in Albany’s King George Sound. Lighthouse Girl, a CBCA Notable Book also inspired the ‘Little Girl Giant’ character who walked through Perth streets in 2015 during the International Arts Festival. Dianne is a Room to Read Ambassador.


Emma AllenAuthor, Canberra
Emma worked as a paediatric speech and language therapist for many years. However, a lifelong love of literature and the arts led Emma to return to university where she completed a BA (Hons) in film and literary studies. Emma completed a Masters of Creative Writing (2013) and is currently working towards a PhD on an APA scholarship. Emma’s debut picture book The Terrible Suitcase (illust. Freya Blackwood) won the CBCA Book of the Year (Early Childhood, 2013). In 2013 Emma was also a shortlisted author for the Western Australia Premier’s Literary Awards. In 2015 Grandma, the baby and me (illust. Hannah Sommerville) was chosen for the ABC Playschool curriculum. My Friend Ernest (illust. Hannah Sommerville) released earlier this year has recently been shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia awards. Emma lives in Canberra with her husband Richard and three young children. She loves making small crafty things, writing poetry and telling stories.


Jen Storer—Author, Melbourne 
Jen Storer has written many acclaimed books for children, including the best-selling ‘Truly Tan’ series, illustrated by Claire Robertson. Book five, Truly Tan: Hoodwinked, April 2016. Jen is the author of the children’s fantasy novels, Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children, The Accidental Princess (illustrated by Lucia Masciullo) and most recently, The Fourteenth Summer of Angus Jack (illustrated by Lucinda Gifford). Her ‘Danny Best’ series (illustrated by Mitch Vane) began with Danny Best: Full On. Book two, Danny Best: Never Wrong, August 2016. Jen is also a picture book creator, whose titles include Clarrie’s Pig Day Out with illustrator Sue deGennaro, March 2016, and Blue, the Builder’s Dog with illustrator Andrew Joyner, September 2016. Jen is published by HarperCollins and Penguin/Random House, and represented by Curtis Brown. She lives in Melbourne.


John HeffernanAuthor
John has written over fifty books for all ages from early readers to young adults, both under his own name and as Charlie Carter. He is fascinated by the power of the story. “People are captured by stories. They live the characters, they enact the dramas, they feel the tension and the emotion. Stories are at the crux of what we are about.” John’s latest picture book takes one of the oldest stories ever written – the Epic of Gilgamesh – and brings it dramatically to life. With the addition of Kate Durack’s exquisite illustrations, this is a book for all readers. Two Tales of Brothers of Brothers from Ancient Mesopotamia is published by Christmas Press. 


Gwynneth JonesIllustrator, regional NSW
Gwynneth has been illustrating children’s picture books since 2014. Her first publication, Don't Think About Purple Elephants, was written by Susan Whelan and released in April 2015 with EK books. The Sugar and Spice Collection, a three book set by authors Susan Whelan, Anouska Jones and Penny Harrison, is due October 2016. Gwynneth is also working on another picture book with Deborah Kelly, called The Rainbow Bridge to be released in early 2017. Gwynneth has always been involved with art and has completed an Art Certificate at TAFE, a degree in Visual Art, majoring in Plant and Wildlife illustration at the University of Newcastle, as well as other typography, printing and desktop design courses over the years. Drawing is always a core interest, from characters and animals to life drawing. Gwynneth often exhibits and sells work through John Hunter and Westmead Hospitals’ Arts Programs, in cafes and markets and by commission.


Hazel Edwards OAM—Author
Hazel Edwards OAM has published 202 books including There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake currently touring as Hippo Hippo the MusicalHijabi Girl co-written with Muslim librarian Ozge Alkan about a feisty 8 year old who wants to start a girls’ footy team, is her latest junior book. A cultural risk-taker, Hazel co-wrote f2m; the boy within. A believer in participant-observation research, Hazel has been an Antarctic expeditioner. She mentors ‘Hazelnuts’ writers and is on the Australian Society of Authors board. Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author is her memoir based on anecdultery as a creative structure.


Katrina GermeinAuthor, South Australia
Katrina Germein writes heartfelt Australian picture books. She believes good stories are best shared and is not sure if she loves reading or writing picture books best. Katrina’s most recent publication, Thunderstorm Dancing, is just one of four of Katrina’s titles to have appeared on the children’s television show, Play School. Several of Katrina’s other books have received CBCA Notable Commendations, while further stories have been shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards. Katrina is probably best know for her popular titles My Dad Thinks He’s Funny and Big Rain Coming, both of which are Australian Best-sellers. Katrina holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education and continues to teach part time. She is a Books in Homes Role Model, a Raising Literacy Australia Ambassador and the South Australian Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  


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.


Kirrili LonerganIllustrator, regional NSW
Kirrili Lonergan is a children’s book illustrator and a mother of four. She has loved drawing and communicating visually from an early age. Her first EK picture book was Dandelions written by Katrina McKelvey and she has another picture book with EK coming up in 2017. She is the co-creator of the Lessons of a LAC early intervention program. Lessons of a LAC is a ‘resource tool’ picture book written by practicing psychologist, Lynn Jenkins. The second book in the series of five Brave will be released this year. She is thrilled to be an illustrator of children’s picture books as she has a great understanding of the needs of children through her many years working as a paediatric nurse. Kirrili is the Vice President of the CBCA Newcastle Sub-branch. Her dream is to continue to have the opportunity to illustrate children’s books and to have an impact on children with her art.


Lesley GibbesAuthor, Sydney 
Lesley has a background in primary education. She grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Wagga Wagga in country NSW. She is the author of CBCA Honour Book, Scary Night and the exciting new chapter book series Fizz the daring dog detective both illustrated by Stephen Michael King. Her latest picture books include Bring A Duck with Sue DeGennaro, Little Bear’s First Sleep with Lisa Stewart and Quick as a Wink Fairy Pink with Sara Acton. Today, Lesley spends her time reading, writing and mucking about with her family and her naughty Jack Russell terrier, Porsche. Find out more about Lesley and her future publications at


Lucinda GiffordIllustrator, Melbourne 
Lucinda Gifford has illustrated a number of children’s books, including Jen Storer’s The Fourteenth Summer of Angus Jack, Frankie and Finn by Mark and Klay Lamprell and – most recently – the Chook Doolan series by James Roy. She has also written and illustrated the picture books Space Alien at Planet Dad and Arthur and the Curiosity, both published earlier this year. Lucinda was brought up in Scotland and originally intended to become an architect. However, somehow, she went on to work in advertising and design instead. Many years later, Lucinda is now doing what she loves most – drawing and writing. She works out of a little studio in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and is represented by Curtis Brown Australia.


Margaret Hamilton AMPinerolo and author
Margaret Hamilton has had many years experience in children’s books — as a children’s librarian, bookseller, publisher and a parent. She left Hodder & Stoughton Australia to begin Margaret Hamilton Books with her husband Max. They were dedicated to the philosophy ‘that children have a right to the best of everything, especially books’ – also won many awards and had considerable success internationally. Margaret’s passion for picture books and her recognition of the need for wider promotion of picture books, led her to Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage at Blackheath. She has been involved with the CBCA for many years and is currently Deputy National Chair. Her Order of Australia Medal (2008) was ‘for service to the arts through the promotion of children’s literature and literacy and through support for authors and illustrators’. Her first picture book B is for Bedtime (2014) was a CBCA Notable Book and her second, Counting through the Day, was launched at the CBCA National Conference in May. 


Maria GillAuthor, New Zealand
Author Maria Gill has written 46 books including children’s non-fiction, picture books and educational books. Maria grew up in New Zealand, but attended High School in Queensland for several years, before returning to Auckland. She taught at Primary and Intermediate schools for ten years, as well as lecturing at Massey University, and co-writing the Commonwealth Education Trust ‘Writing for Young Readers’ online course. She has a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching and Graduate Diploma in Journalism Studies. Eight of her books have shortlisted for national children’s book awards, and six have been selected as Storylines Notable Books. ‘New Zealand Hall of Fame’ won the 2012 Children’s Choice (non-fiction category). Her latest book ‘Anzac Heroes’ is published in Australia and New Zealand.


Marjorie Crosby-FairallIllustrator, Sydney 
Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has worked across the gamut of illustration, including The School Magazine and Australian Geographic. A poster featuring Marjorie’s illustrations of Australia’s flora and fauna has been given for many years as a memento to every child who becomes a citizen. Marjorie was awarded the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for her first picture book, Killer Plants (Penguin). Her books appear on the Premier’s Reading Challenge lists and have been shortlisted or won awards, including My Little World (Omnibus), which was shortlisted for the 2012 Wilderness Society Environment Award, and The Croc and the Platypus (Walker Books), which was shortlisted for the 2015 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year. Her latest book is Mrs Dog (The Five Mile Press) by Janeen Brian which will be followed by picture book releases from Black Dog (an imprint of Walker Books) and Penguin Random House later this year.


Neridah McMullinAuthor, Melbourne 
Neridah McMullin lives in the city, but is a country girl at heart. Her love of animals and nature shine in her writing. She loves Australian history, sports stories and true stories. An author of four picture books and two chapter books for children, Neridah is also an award winning short story writer and poet. Her latest book is an amazing true story set amidst the devastation of the Black Saturday Bushfires in 2009. It’s called Fabish: the horse that braved a Bushfire and is due for release in August 2016. Neridah loves family, footy, her cat Carlos and walking her dog, Finny. She likes sleeping in and reading in bed with the newspapers spread out everywhere. She also likes to lick the lid of her take-away coffee cup. Neridah aspires to write stories that matter, some are little known some are long forgotten.


Pamela RushbyAuthor, Brisbane
Pamela Rushby is a writer and a producer of educational television, audio and multimedia. She has written over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for educational and trade publishers. Her historical novel, When the Hipchicks Went to War, won the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier's Literature Awards 2010. The Horses Didn't Come Home was a CBCA Notable Book, and short-listed in the Queensland Literary Awards 2012. Flora's War was a CBCA Notable Book 2014, and The Ratcatcher’s Daughter short-listed in the Queensland Literary Awards 2015 and a CBCA Notable Book in 2015. Pam is passionately interested in children's books and television, ancient history and Middle Eastern food. Her website is


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.


Penny Morrison—Author, Sydney

Penny Morrison is the author of funny picture books with her successful Hey! Is that how God made … series and DynaMites Music series. Her new picture book Captain Sneer, the Buccaneer, is the story of a cowardly pirate who brags about how brave he is. It has been beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Evans and is due for release in September. It will be followed by The Mighty Mighty King Christmas Book in October. Penny grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and fell in love with picture books while studying early childhood education. She has taught in preschools, run playgroups, toddler music groups and other children’s programs. She now lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband and three kids, who desperately want her to pick them up from school dressed as a pirate.


Sandy FussellAuthor, Wollongong
Sandy Fussell is the author of fourteen books including the Samurai Kids series. She has been shortlisted for Children’s Book of the Year and her picture book Sad, the Dog was praised in a New York Times review. She is an ICT consultant, book reviewer, Literary Festival Co-ordinator with The Story Crowd and one subject short of a Maths degree. Enthusiastic about school visits, cultural diversity in literature and ICT in education, Sandy is often found in a school library wielding her bokken or teaching a Minecraft-based writing workshop. Her biggest claim to fame is a star in the main street of Grenfell along with legitimately famous literary people like Patrick White. Having recently survived two life-threatening illnesses, she knows the glass is always half–full. Visit or say hi on Twitter (@sandyfussell)


Sarah DavisIllustrator, Central Coast
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) 


Serena GeddesIllustrator, Melbourne 
Serena Geddes is the illustrator of the highly successful Lulu Bell series written by Belinda Murrell, published by Penguin Random (AUS). She has illustrated over 36 books ranging from board books to picture books to junior novels, and has just been offered a contract with Simon and Schuster (NY) for her first author illustrated picture book called Rosie and Rasmus. Prior to publishing, Serena spent six years working for Walt Disney Studios in Sydney, on sequels to The Lion King, Peter Pan, Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp and numerous other animated Disney series. She can now be found sipping coffee in the cafes of Melbourne madly scribbling and reading over manuscripts. 


Sheryl GwytherAuthor, Brisbane
Sheryl Gwyther is a widely-published children's author of short stories, novels, school plays, for both educational and trade markets. She’s a recipient of two ASA Mentorships; a May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Residential Fellowship; and an Arts Qld Individual Professional Development Grant. She was on the 2012 Board of Directors of the Australian Society of Authors; and ARA of SCBWI Queensland. Sheryl is also passionate about painting, printmaking and photography. 


Sophie MassonPublisher and Author, Armidale NSW
Award-winning author Sophie Masson is a founding partner and co-director of Christmas Press, a boutique children’s book publisher founded in 2013, which focusses on high-quality books, in three imprints: Christmas Press Picture Books (illustrated traditional tales retold by well-known authors, and a yearly Christmas title); Second Look (republications of out of print Australian children’s books) and Eagle Books (adventure novels for readers 11 and up). Our authors include Ursula Dubosarsky, Duncan Ball, Kate Forsyth, Susanne Gervay, Libby Hathorn, John Heffernan and Margrete Lamond,  and we have worked with several well-known illustrators too, including Lisa Stewart, Kim Gamble, and Stephen Axelsen. We have also worked with wonderful emerging illustrators such as Ingrid Kallick, Kate Durack and Toni Fay. As our foundation team includes two illustrators–David Allan and Fiona McDonald–the visual is very important to us and all our books, including novels, involve a strong illustrative element. 


Susanne GervayAuthor, Sydney
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.


Terry WhitebeachAuthor, Tasmania
Terry Whitebeach writes for both adults and children. Her children’s books include a collection of poetry for young adults, All the Shamans Work in Safeway, two young adult novels, Watersky and Bantam, the latter written with her son, Michael Brown, and two bilingual children’s picture books, When I was a Girl in Sudan and When I was a Boy in Sudan.  Her forthcoming novel, Trouble Tomorrow, tells the story of a  fifteen-year-old Ma’di boy, Obulejo, who is caught up in the Sudanese Civil War and forced to flee his country. Terry and her Sudanese colleague, Sarafino Enadio have collaborated on four writing Sudanese projects, and in 2012 they travelled to South Sudan together, where Sarafino was reunited with his mother after more than twenty years.


Tracey HawkinsAuthor, Canberra 
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.


Wendy FitzgeraldAuthor, Sydney
Wendy Fitzgerald is an author and teacher who enjoys writing about cross-cultural themes and encouraging kids to write their own stories. She has a graduate diploma in Primary music and an MA in children’s literature and literacy. She teaches creative writing for kids at Ku-ring-gai Art Centre in Roseville and she’s a tutor at the Sydney Story Factory in Redfern. Wendy is currently the proud president of the CBCA NSW Branch Inc. Northern Sydney Sub-branch. They are a lively group of teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators and parents who enjoy promoting reading and children’s books. They love to work closely with SCBWI. Wendy also writes book reviews for Buzz Words Magazine, CBCA Reading Time and she is a contributor to the School Magazine. Wendy has two fantastic grown-up kids and she lives in Sydney with a wonderful husband, a fluffy brown dog, a piano and lots of books.



The Beatnickers—the SCBWI Band


Meredith CostainWriter, Melbourne on keyboard and vocals
Meredith Costain is a series commissioning editor, publishing consultant and award winning writer whose work ranges from picture books through to novels and narrative non‐fiction. Her books include Bed Tails, Doodledum Dancing, novelisations of the TV show Dance Academy and the Year in Girl Hell series. She has been the commissioning editor of several series for young readers, including Legends in their Own Lunchbox. Meredith lives in inner city Melbourne with a menagerie of pets that frequently wrangle their way into her stories. Her latest books are Disaster Chef, and a ‘verse picture book’, My First Day at School. 


Scott ChambersWriter, on guitar
Scott Chambers was born in Adelaide, South Australia, in May 1969; and is still not dead. He would like to apologise for the inconvenience this continues to cause some people, but would struggle to sound sincere. He left the Flinders University of South Australia in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences, and a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry, but is resolved to return them as soon as somebody notices they are missing. Since then he has essentially served as a planetary dermatologist – looking (often with disdain, and from a fairly safe distance) at the various ailments of, or about, the skin of Mother Earth. His scientific pilgrimages have taken him from the Boreal forests of Alaska, to the icy plains of Antarctica, and—mainly to thaw out—4000 meters up an active volcano in the tropical Pacific Ocean. As a result, he has published over 20 scientific articles in peer reviewed international journals, and sampled coffee and chocolate from almost as many countries. If he didn’t waste so much time on Facebook he likes to think that his fictional writing accomplishments would amount to significantly more than two published poems—one of which being on a pillowcase—but there’s always tomorrow, right? Scott is part of the SCBWI band.