Book An Author
Inspire reading and imagination in your
students by booking a Lamont Author visit.
Inspire reading and imagination in your
students by booking a Lamont Author visit.
Gavin Aung Than is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job to follow his true passion: drawing comics. His work includes Zen Pencils, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories and was named one of PCMag’s best 100 websites of 2013, the middle grade graphic novel series Super Sidekicks and the new picture book series Baa Baa Black Belt. He lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and two daughters.
Dr Sarah Pye is an author, educator and puppeteer. She is passionate about using narratives, hands-on activities and discussion to connect all ages to the natural world and help them tell their own stories. Sarah’s presentations and workshops for primary school revolve around her Wildlife Wong series for ages 8-12, which was shortlisted for an Australian Educational Publishing Award in 2022. Wildlife Wong and the Sun Bear was also an award-winning finalist in the Children's Non-Fiction category of the 2021 International Book Awards. Each book is divided into nonfiction adventure narratives, cool animal facts and amazing experiments which align with English, HASS and Science curriculums and offer endless touchpoints. Sometimes the real-life hero of Sarah’s stories, Dr Wong, answers questions all the way from Borneo via the big screen! Sarah is also an inspirational keynote speaker for high school students launching into adulthood at graduation. Her life reads like an adventure novel: from a ‘boat schooled’ teen sailing the world, to restaurant manager in Hawaii, commercial boat captain in the Whitsundays and single mum on the Sunshine Coast. Sarah’s multimedia presentations explore resilience, tenacity and some of the most important environmental themes of our time.
James Phelan is the Melbourne-based award-winning author of 30 books for adults and children, which have sold over 5 million copies. His work includes thrillers, a Young Adult post-apocalyptic trilogy, Middle Grade adventures, and non-fiction. He is noted for a fast-paced writing style that appeals as much to boys as girls. James is a highly entertaining and engaging speaker who has delivered keynotes and presentations all around the world and divides his time between Australia and the USA. As a teenager James discovered a love of thrillers, of being entertained and informed along the way. James developed the idea of his first book while still in high school, and after studying Architecture at RMIT and working on the Federation Square design team, he started following his dream of becoming a novelist. James spent six years as a staff writer at The Age newspaper, while undertaking postgraduate study. James has a passion for promoting literacy in Australia. He holds a Master of Arts in Writing, and a PhD in YA Literature. James is involved in many creative writing groups and regularly talks at literary events, festivals, schools and universities. He has been a full-time novelist since the age of 26, and his novels have won numerous kids-choice awards, such as the YABBA, KOALA, COOL, CROC, YALSA and ABIA awards.
Adam Wallace is New York Times, USA Today and Amazon Bestselling author of the How to Catch series! As well as the Jackson Payne, Fartboy, Cowboy and Birdbrain and many more books. Adam's passion is to bring excitement, energy, humor and joy to children (of all ages!) through his books and school presentations. He spends his non-writing time thinking about writing and going to as many live music shows as he can. Adam's interactive and fun talks are best suited to talks in primary schools. He inspires children of all levels to easily create not only stories, but also their own cartoon characters with the assistance of the How to Draw series.
Jane Godwin is a highly acclaimed author of over thirty books for children and young people. Jane’s picture books include Go Go and the Silver Shoes, Tilly, Don’t Forget and Sing Me the Summer. Her upper middle-grade novels include Falling from Grave, As Happy as Here, When Rain Turns to Snow and A Walk in the Dark. Jane’s work is published internationally and she has received many commendations, including shortlistings for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the Australian Book Industry Awards and the YABBA awards.
Jacqueline Harvey worked in schools for many years but has had a passion for storytelling since she was a child. She is the author of the popular Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series, which have sold over one million copies in Australia alone. Her books have received numerous short-listings and awards while her picture book, The Sound of the Sea, was a CBCA Honour Book. Jacqueline speaks to thousands of young people at schools and festivals around the world, and says the characters in her books are often made up of the best bits of children she’s met over the years. While she is not a twin, like Kensy and Max she does have excellent powers of observation and has always thought she’d make a great spy.
George Ivanoff has written over 100 books for kids and teens. He is best known for the interactive You Choose books and the non-fiction Survival Guides. His latest book is the middle-grade novel Monster Island. He’s also written the Gamers trilogy, the RFDS Adventures, the OTHER WORLDS series and the picture book Meet… The Flying Doctors; as well as a ton of school readers and educational books. George’s books and stories have been shortlisted for numerous awards and he’s even managed to win a few of them — most notably a YABBA award for You Choose: The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove. George drinks too much coffee, eats too much chocolate and watches too much Doctor Who. He has one wife, two kids and an uncontrollable imagination.
Belinda Murrell worked as a travel writer and journalist before becoming the award-winning author of more than 35 books, ranging from junior fiction to adult non-fiction. Her presentations and writing workshops are energetic and dynamic, inspiring students from kindergarten to year 12. Belinda’s books include Meet Zoe and Zac, popular series The Sun Sword, Lulu Bell and Pippa’s Island, historical novels The Ivory Rose, The Forgotten Pearl and The Lost Sapphire, and fantasy timeslips The Golden Tower and The Silver Sea. Accolades include Honour Book KOALAS, shortlisted nine times for YABBA (Young Australians Best Book Award), CBCA Notable 2012 and 2017 and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards. Belinda was the 2023 winner of the Society of Women Writers Di Yerbury Award, a three month residency in the UK. Her latest junior fiction series is The Daredevil Princess will be released in 2024.
Will is an award-winning author for young adults and younger readers. His first novel was released when he was only nineteen and his second novel, The First Third won the 2014 Inky Awards, and was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers and the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His third YA novel The Sidekicks was released in 2016, and was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers. Will is also the author of Stuff Happens: Sean for younger readers, and has a short story featured in Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology.
Nicky Johnston is an award-winning author and illustrator of over thirty books for children including 2023 Shortlisted book Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination, 2022 Honor book Amira’s Suitcase and 2022 Speech Pathology book of the Year The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Batholomew Crisp. Nicky’s illustration style is often described as whimsical, playful, narrative, emotive and colourful. She loves to work in watercolour, ink, pencils, pastel, and printing techniques. Her illustration workshops are fun, engaging and give students hands on success at all levels. She shares her love of visual storytelling and inspires the students to stretch themselves. She is passionate about working with young children, encouraging them to use their imagination and develop their own ideas.
Michael Wagner is the best-selling author of 90 books for children including the Maxx Rumble series, Why I Love Footy and the CBCA Honour Book Dirt by Sea. He’s been speaking to, and working with, primary school children of all ages for twenty years. As one of Victoria’s most popular school speakers, Michael can tailor his sessions to any sized groups, from single classrooms to whole school assemblies. His humorous but informative talks include a story time session for Foundations to Grade 3s and talks about where ideas come from and how to work with them for middle and upper primary students. His workshops for upper primary students range from a step-by-step guide to making picture books, to the keys to writing great description, to Michael’s popular Instant Plot Machine session (for Grades 5 and 6) which explains how to quickly plot a story from any starting point (including a NAPLAN prompt) to a satisfying conclusion. Prior to becoming a children’s author, Michael worked as a radio broadcaster with the ABC for ten years, wrote and produced animation for television, wrote comedy for ABC Radio National, grew up in a housing commission flat, and played in a band that almost became famous. He’s the father of two adult children and is married to fellow children’s author Jane Godwin.
Kate and Jol are internationally awarded children’s authors of over 25 books for kids. Their books range from middle grade to the smash hit picture book Bin Chicken series (Nominated for ABIA Picture Book of the Year) and the backwards-forwards Room on Our Rock, which won the Charlotte Huck Award for outstanding fiction with the potential to transform children’s lives. They also write the best-selling graphic novel series The Underdogs. Kate writes the middle grade fiction series, The Dangerous Business of Being Trilby Moffat, which is listed as part of the PRC.
R.A. Spratt was born in the UK and lived in Dursley, Gloucestershire – a town immortalised by Harry Potter’s deeply unpleasant relatives – until she was two years old. Then, like many ambitious English people cursed with regional accents so strong no other British person can take them seriously, her family moved to Australia. The tedium of growing up in the western suburbs of Sydney was fertiliser to the growth of R.A.’s imagination. The only thing for a kid to do was get on a bicycle and go to the library, so R.A. Spratt did just that. Once there, she read everything, devouring the books of Arthur Ransome, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Robin Klein and Judy Blume, and audiotapes of Shakespeare productions and Sherlock Holmes dramatisations. And so, her young mind was formed, and set on the path of becoming the extraordinary author she is today. Now based in Bowral NSW, she's the bestselling writer of dozens of absurd and witty books including Friday Barnes, The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, Hamlet is Not OK, The Peski Kids and the Shockingly and Astonishingly Good Stories collections. Her podcast, Bedtime Stories with R.A. Spratt, has had over 2 million downloads and connects R.A. with story-lovers across the globe.
Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based writer and kidlit podcast host (One More Page) whose debut novel 'Secrets Of A Schoolyard Millionaire' came out in 2019. It had great success as both Dymocks and QBD's 'Kids Book Of The Month', becoming Australia's #1 bestselling debut Aussie children’s fiction in 2019 and has now sold into the UK, US, Italy, China, Estonia and Romania. Her second book 'The Power Of Positive Pranking' was released in 2020, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Readings Children’s Book Prize, REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards and Environment Award for Children’s Literature. 'The Right Way To Rock' just came out in June 2021 with another book set for early 2022.
Mark Wilson is a multiple award-winning author/illustrator with 24 children’s books in print worldwide, in 14 languages. Mark grew up with a love of comics, drawing, rock music, Australian history and endangered species - exploring most of these themes through his writing, illustrating, paintings and workshops. He has won many Awards for children’s literature, including ten CBCA Awards, four Wilderness Society Awards, the 3rd C.J. Picture Book International Award, the 2011 Dromkeen Medal for Services to Children’s Literature. He also won a 2023 CBCA award for Votes for Women! The Story of Nellie, Rose and Mary. He hopes his books and workshops encourage students to study not only their own family history, but also Australian history, as well as native species and conservation.
Coral is an award-winning children’s author, presenter, editor and reviewer. She has a background in Media, and this year marks her 20th published children’s book. Her books include Sorry Day 2018 (Speech Pathology Awards Book of the Year and 2019 CBCA Book of the Year - Eve Pownall Award), Grandma’s Treasured Shoes (2021 Caleb Book of the Year), and Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination (2023 CBCA Notable and shortlisted for 2023 Speech Pathology Book of the Year). Coral’s books have appeared on ABCTV’s Playschool as well as on StoryBox Library. Coral is an ambassador for Reading Out of Poverty and is passionate about children’s literacy and giving all children equal opportunity to learn. As well as writing, Coral loves to visit schools, kindergartens and libraries. She shares her passion for children’s picture books with storytelling and writing workshops that ignite imagination and help children create their very own stories. Coral runs a variety of different sessions tailored to your school's curriculum and teaching objectives, from Kindergarten through to Yr 10. The workshops cover topics such as: Advance Writing Techniques, Poetry, Character Development, Story Themes and Motifs, The Importance of Reading, Writing for Children, Opening Sentences, Self-Editing and Where Do Ideas Come From.
Tim Harris is the bestselling author of several laugh-out-loud series for kids, including Toffle Towers, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables and Exploding Endings. A former primary school teacher of 15 years, his stories are filled with quirky scenarios, loveable characters and plenty of imagination. Tim’s ‘humour with heart’ writing style has seen his books receive multiple awards, including five KOALA Honour Books (2017, 2019 and 2 x 2020, 2021) and a CBCA Notable (2018). His books have been published in Australia and the USA, and have been translated into numerous languages. An advocate for creativity and short stories, Tim’s presentations and workshops are dynamic and entertaining. He is a sought-after presenter, having worked in hundreds of schools across Australia. Tim lives in Sydney with his wife and four young children.
Caz Goodwin is an Australian award-winning author who writes picture books, short stories and junior fiction. She is best known for her popular rhyming picture books, which have been published internationally. Her stories have been produced in braille for sight-impaired readers. They have also featured on Sarah Ferguson’s Fergie and Friends show, CBCA Storytime, podcasts, newspapers and radio. Caz is an animal lover and features Australian native animals in her stories. She includes fun facts about koalas, wombats and other creatures in her presentations for children and is accompanied by animal puppets and a giant Lazy Daisy koala or big Little Matilda kitten. Her entertaining talks can be tailored to suit the curriculum and different age groups. Caz heads the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in Victoria and is on the Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) council. She is also an Australia Reads ambassador.
Zeno Sworder is the winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year for My Strange Shrinking Parents. His previous book, This Small Blue Dot, also won multiple awards. Zeno is a Melbourne based writer and artist who is passionate about literacy, creativity and diversity. He was born into a mixed (Chinese and English) multicultural family in regional Victoria and has worked as a dish washer, a journalist, an English language teacher, a volunteer for Lifeline, a consular officer and a tribunal advocate for migrants and refugees. But he has always felt most himself sitting at a table drawing pictures and making up stories. Zeno’s lively presentations are interactive and fun. They include drawing demonstrations and group activities that are designed to equip students for their own adventures in writing and drawing.
Kirsty Murray is a multi-award winning author of 25 books for children and young adults. Every year, Kirsty visits dozens of schools and works with students in every year level from Prep to Year 12. Kirsty’s talks and workshops are vibrant and interactive. Whether celebrating the joy of puppies, puddles and picture books or delving into dark and complex narratives from the past, present and the future, Kirsty’s sessions engage readers of all ages. Her picture books Puddle Hunters, Shadow Catchers, and When Billy was a Dog are perfect springboards for playful story activities. Her historical fiction spans the much-loved Children of the Wind series, The Year it All Ended, and India Dark. Speculative fiction works such as Vulture's Gate and the ground-breaking anthology Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean lend themselves to in-depth philosophical discussions. Kirsty’s non-fiction engages young readers with societal issues from Strangers on Country, co-authored with Dave Hartley and illustrated by Dub Leffler, to Kids Who Did – Real Kids who Ruled, Rebelled, Survived and Thrived.
A self-confessed chocoholic, pluviophile and lover of all things kid lit, Mary writes books that she hopes will engage, inspire and empower little people on their journey to becoming big people. With 30 years of design experience, Mary’s role in publishing has included Head Creative for indie publisher, Larrikin House and more recently, Managing Editor / Marketing Manager at Five Mile Books. She is responsible for the design and creation of more than 200 titles including ‘My Shadow is Pink’, ‘Keeping up with the Dachshunds’, ‘My ExtraOrdinary Mum’ and ‘Heartbeat of the Land’. Mary works exclusively with authors and illustrators to create books that (she hopes) will one day become classics. Author or the much loved 'I want to be...' series, Mary’s 'I want to be a Sports Star' was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Book of the Year awards in 2022. 'Jimmy Bottoms', 'Julius Squeezer' and 'The Art of Making Friends' released in 2023 and, with more titles set for release: 'Tilly’s New Broom', ‘Zoomies’, ‘Disco Duck’, ‘Angus McGrew and the Unicorn Crew’ Mary is set to continue making her own kid lit dreams come true.
Wendy Orr grew up in France, Canada and the USA, going to eleven schools between pre-school and Year 12. Although she first learned to read and write in French, it was learning to read in her home language of English that made her decide to be a writer. She started immediately: the story that became a first draft of Nim’s Island was written when she was eight. On finishing school, however, Wendy studied occupational therapy in England, married an Australian farmer and moved to Australia. They had a son and daughter and now live on five acres of bush in Red Hill – close to the sea but surrounded by trees. Wendy’s first book, Amanda’s Dinosaur, was published in 1988. Since then, she has written over 40 books for children, teenagers and adults, been published in 29 languages, and garnered a string of awards and accolades, within Australia and internationally, including the CBCA Book of the Year, the Prime Minister’s Award and Adelaide Festival Award for Children’s Literature. Her books include Nim’s Island, the first Australian children’s book to become a Hollywood feature film, the much-loved YA novel Peeling the Onion, and the highly awarded hybrid-verse novel Dragonfly Song. Books + Publishing called her latest book, Honey and the Valley of Horses, a ‘magical story that reads like a classic in all the best ways.’ Wendy believes that every child deserves to find their own spark of creativity to tell the stories they need to tell.
Zanni Louise has been writing stories since she was little, growing up in country NSW. She now lives with her family of four (and two bunnies) in the Byron Bay hinterland. Internationally published author of over thirty-five kids’ books, Zanni writes picture books, chapter books and books for 10-12 year-olds. Her first middle grade, Queenie In Seven Moves was published by Walker Books 2023/Candlewick 2024. Her new middle grade, Cora Seen and Heard is released May 2024. Zanni writes teen fiction under her alias, Zanni L. Arnot. She visits schools across Australia to inspire kids to write and read. She also teaches writing to grownups. Zanni is a proud Room to Read ambassador, supporting gender equality and literacy worldwide.
Award winning children's author, Dimity Powell writes and reviews exclusively for children with over 30 published stories and digital narratives and is the Managing Editor for Kids' Book Review. She believes picture books are life essentials, like ice cream; to be enjoyed at least once a day. Her own include: Pippa and The Troublesome Twins (2023), This is My Dad (2022), Oswald Messweather (2021), Pippa (2019), the SCBWI Crystal Kite award-winning At the End of Holyrood Lane (2018) and the critically acclaimed, The Fix-It Man (2017), with more on the way! Several of her titles have been published in simplified Chinese, Polish, Spanish and Slovenian. Dimity’s experience in creating children’s content for a variety of multi-media story telling platforms (and its relationship to core curricula) ensures that she can adapt and tailor workshops and presentations to suit tech savvy Gen Z and Alpha youngsters helping them to flex their writing muscles and unleash their imaginations either in-person or virtually. She is known for her powerful and emotive writing style, tackling sensitive subject matter hitherto deemed too tough for young children to handle but which she believes becomes easier for them to assimilate the more authentically and openly they are told. This and the significance of the art of storytelling lie at the heart of all of her presentations. Dimity is a Books in Homes Australia Volunteer Role Model, Hook Into Books Ambassador, Story City Community Mentor and G.A.T.EWAYS online and onsite presenter who can’t surf despite living on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Ingrid Laguna is a multi award-winning novelist and educator. She has published a memoir and numerous books for children. Her work has been published internationally, featured by Reading Australia and given Notable recognition by the CBCA. Ingrid’s writing has featured in various publications, including The Monthly, The Age, Teacher Magazine and The AEU Magazine. She regularly presents to teachers and students at schools, libraries, festivals and conferences.
Robert Vescio is an internationally published award-winning author of children’s picture books, based in Sydney. Many of his picture books have been translated into other languages such as German, Italian, Polish, Chinese and Korean. His picture book The Voyage was selected for the 2020 Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Finn and Puss and Eric Finds A Way were both shortlisted for the 2018 CBCA Bilby Awards and Window of Hopewas the 2nd Prize Winner in the 2021 Forevability Book Awards Picture Book Category. Finding You was selected on the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature list of picture books for older readers 2023. The Polish edition of Under the Same Sky was the Main Prize Winner in the 20th Edition of the Child-Friendly World Competition 2022, in Poland. Robert’s books are included on the NSW, VIC and QLD Premier’s Reading Challenges, and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Australia. Recently, his picture book Under the Same Sky was read on the hugely popular UK children’s show CBeebies as a bedtime story by award winning actor, Tom Hardy. And, Into the Wild, The Art of Words and Seal Child were read by the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, on her YouTube channel Storytime with Fergie and Friends. Robert is an Australia Reads ambassador and a Books in Homes role model. His aim is to enthuse and inspire children to read and write and leave them bursting with imaginative ideas.
Nean McKenzie is a children’s writer and optometrist from Western Melbourne. Her first two middle-grade books, Cryptosight and Xenoflight, are adventure stories about Australian cryptozoology. Her third novel Timefire is a time travel story about bushfires in Australia’s history. All books are set in country Australia. Nean was awarded a Maurice Saxby mentorship in 2016. She has a diploma of Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT. In 2023 she was selected for a two-week fellowship at the KSP Writers Centre in Perth. Nean is a fan of coffee, cats, running and, of course, reading as much as she can.
Deborah is a writer of books, billboards, and the words on the back of cereal boxes, which to date is probably her most widely read work (and certainly the most crunchy). Her picture books include the award-winning Naturopolis (2022) and The Sydney Harbour Fairy (2023), as well as forthcoming 2024 titles The Truck Cat and 100 School Days. She's based on Bunurong land, in Melbourne’s Inner West, but spends most of the time hanging out in her imagination.
Dianne is a bookworm, and author of 25 books, including the acclaimed ‘Light’ series. Recent titles include Scout and the Rescue Dogs, a heartfelt trucker story set against the Black Summer bushfires, as well as The Last Light Horse, the final story in her award-winning ‘Light series’. It joins CBCA Notable In the Lamplight as well as WA Young Readers’ Book Award Winner Lighthouse Girl and CBCA Honour Book Light Horse Boy. The series is adapted for CineStage by Theatre 180 and currently performing across Perth and regional WA. Another recent title, Mia: Through my Eyes – Australian Disaster Zones, is a cyclone-based adventure story in Allen and Unwin’s award-winning series. Skye Blackburn-Lang: Eating bugs for the planet; a second title in the Aussie STEM Stars series celebrates edible insects and sustainability. The Dog with Seven Names, winner of the 2019 Speech Pathology Award, written anthropomorphically, is also published in Chinese. Dianne writes across genres. Her fantasy quest novel, The Shark Caller was sparked by the ancient practice of calling sharks and is optioned for film. Dianne has a teaching background and loves working with pre and emerging readers. Nanna’s Button Tin a gentle picture book story is about searching for a special button, and the beloved CBCA short-listed Granny Grommet and Me will be rereleased Feb ’24 for another generation of beach lovers. Dianne completed PhD research into anthropomorphism and loves talking about Animal Characters in Children’s Literature. She has a second website exploring this interest at www.animalswhotalk.com.
Julie Anne Grasso is a part-time storyteller, singer and Ukulele player in public libraries in Melbourne. Her debut picture book, "Hooray, Hooray, It's Library Day," will be released in July 2024. She is looking forward to sharing about her little library book, who longs to be borrowed, finally going on an adventure!
Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, children’s author and, having performed for hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world, is one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring, performance POETS. He has published six different poetry books (including his poetry book for school-aged- Story Beats and Rhyme Drops), has seven poetry/music albums and in March 2024 releases his first Junior/MG graphic novel Series- Urban Legend Hunters (with Larrikin House). Of which Kate and Jol Temple say, “ Hilarious, creepy and Super spooky! You won't be able to put this fabulous mystery down.” Joel is extremely passionate about creative education and has taught more than 100 000 students throughout the world how to tap into their imagination and spill it out onto the page (and share it on the stage). Full-time in his creative career for the past fifteen years, he is currently the Director of The School for Creative Development, the Artist Ambassador for ‘Tearfund Australia, is on teaching staff at Story Studios Australia and is host of The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality Podcast. Joel was the third ever Australian representing at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships and since has toured the world over performing and speaking on stages alongside people like Linda Woolverton (writer of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King), Krista Monson (Cirque Du Soleil Creative Director) Ken Black (Nike Creative Director) and many more. Joel’s sessions can focus either on his slam poetry work, or on his story writing. Joel explodes onto the stage with his poetry, shaking up how students have perceived the medium in the past and then working through his own poetic process to equip students in writing their own. His STORY sessions stem out of his series Urban Legend Hunters and provide a simple framework (The StoryTree) to equip students in crafting their own stories, with optional specific focus on graphic novels or spooky stories.
Helen has a PhD in Psychology and a long background working in mental health. She writes stories that reduce stereotypes and increase understanding of diversity, including characters who live with chronic illness, mental illness, and/or who are neurodivergent. She is interested in writing stories that reflect our Australian environment, culture, and history. Helen grew up surrounded by books. She ‘published’ her first book at age 6, for which she won the Children’s Book Week prize at her school. Ever since, she has wanted to be an author. Helen has been blogging since 2001, after founding an award-winning online counselling service for people with diabetes, which she ran for 16 years. She has had type 1 diabetes herself since 1979. Over 90,000 people follow her across social media, where her platforms support the Australian literary community with book reviews, author features and other relevant bookish content, and inspire action for people and planet, with kindness and hope. Helen has won a number of awards, including being a South Australian State Finalist for Australian of the Year in 2016. She is a very experienced speaker and as well as speaking with schools, has presented talks and workshops locally and internationally. She is a member of Writers’ Vic, Writers’ SA, Women’s Society of Writers Victoria, ASA, CBCA and SCBWI. She is part of the Author Pen Pals initiative and is an Ambassador for Australia Reads. Helen is passionate about inspiring action for our beautiful, fragile planet and nature features in all of her books. She finds history fascinating and uncovers stories that may have been forgotten, or hidden, and brings them into the light. She believes that fantastical things can happen and sees magic in the everyday. Helen lives in Adelaide with her lovely family, two cats and a very active rescue kelpie! When not reading, writing or watching good stories, you’ll find her walking in nature, going on road trips to discover new story ideas, laughing a lot, and listening to music. If you're looking for a children's author who speaks from the heart, who laughs loud and loves deep, who is passionate about people and planet, and who understands we come in a glorious rainbow of human beings, Helen is your person.
Vaughan loves drawing pictures that make kids giggle. His first attempt at illustrating a children's picture book, The Ant Explorer, was shortlisted for the Lothian Centenary Children's Book Award. In 2020 he illustrated Big Beach BBQ, published by Larrikin House. Facing the Wave quickly followed in 2022. Without knowing it, kids throughout Australia have grown up with Vaughan's illustrations because he's illustrated over 300 textbooks and readers for educational publishers. Before he became mega-famous, he designed toys (so much fun) and kids' lunch boxes and backpacks. He has just released a non-fiction colouring book When I Grow Up encouraging girls to explore a range of exciting careers. Vaughan works with authors and publishers all over the world. He has just finished illustrating the first in a series of hilarious middle grade readers for award-winning US author Mike Knudson called. Banjo Pickin' Karate Kickin' Crime Fightin' Grandmas.
Fiona has been writing books, as well as writing and performing for television, film, and theatre, for over twenty years. She co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in the internationally award-winning comedy web series, The Drop Off, with her husband, Mike McLeish. Channel 9 screened a telemovie version of the show in 2021. She has written seventeen books, for both kids and adults in the past four years. In 2020, Fiona and Mike adapted The Drop Off into an adult fiction novel with Echo Publishing. It’s sequel, The Pick-up, was released in the following year in 2021. Other published works include No Apologies, co-written with Sharni Layton, five books for the junior fiction series, Sam Kerr - Kicking Goals, two books in Liz Watson’s junior fiction series, Diary of a Netball Star and two picture books with AFL star Marcus Bontompelli, Little Bont and the Big Secret. She also created and authored the children’s book series, The Super Moopers, and has written other book series based on Dreamworks’ Trolls franchise and the hugely successful animated TV series, Miraculous: Tales of Lady Bug and Cat Noir. A personal and professional highlight was working with 97-year-old holocaust survivor Abram Goldberg to write his memoir – The Strength of Hope. Her numerous television acting credits include roles in The Beautiful Lie, Upright, Tangle, Ex-PM, Mr & Mrs Murder, The Time of Our Lives, Offspring, Beaconsfield and The Librarians. She has also performed in, and written, numerous theatre productions, as well as many shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including the hit show, Plus One, with her husband, Mike McLeish.
Claire Thomson is an Australian children’s author and media professional based in Sydney. Driven by her background in journalism, she has a nose for sniffing out true stories to empower and inspire. Real children with extraordinary tales sit at the heart of Claire’s books. Claire’s debut picture book Lily The Inventor is the inspiring story of Lily Born, who created the Kangaroo Cup to help her grandpa. Claire’s second book, Croc Candy, is due for release in 2024 and features real-life croc star Angus Copelin-Walters, a young entrepreneur with a sweet tooth. Claire’s interactive school sessions focus on inspiring kids to believe in themselves and dream big. Claire is passionate about empowering kids to follow their dreams and be the hero of their own story!
Dean Rankine is a Ledger and Stanley Award winning comic book artist and writer best known for his work on Simpsons Comics. His other credits include; Futurama, Rick and Morty, Invader Zim, Underdog, Oggy and the Cockroaches, I Hate Fairyland and The Riverdale Diaries : Starring Veronica. He's the illustrator on the Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony series - written by Magda Szubanski. And the writer/illustrator on the book series - Death Metal Emo Elves. He likes watching cat videos.
Andrea Rowe is an award-winning children’s author, copywriter and a respected talent in the Australian children’s literary community. Her picture Jetty Jumping (Hardie Grant, illustrated by Hannah Sommerville) won the 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia, Picture Book of the Year for Early childhood. This is Australia’s most prestigious literary award for writing for young people in Australia. Jetty Jumping has been shortlisted for the 2023 Australian Speech Pathology Book of the year for 5 – 8 ages category. Sunday Skating has been released in Australia, UK and Europe and the USA in 2024 and In the Rockpools is out in November 2023. Andrea’s follow-up books Amid the Sand Dunes is out in 2024 with she has 4 more picture books currently in production. Andrea writes books for children, and stories for grown-ups too. She combines her nostalgic celebration of culture and the environment in our everyday lives with the questions and reflections that draw us together. Andrea’s writing absorbs the themes and issues encouraging collective discussions and conversations, and stories that encourage movement, self-awareness and community. She believes in the power of stories and reading out loud and in secret. An award-winning short story writer, Andrea’s the winner of the 2020 Hal Porter Short Story Award, 2nd place in the Mulga Bill Writing Award 2023, and Highly Commended for the 2022 Newcastle Short Story Award and her writing features in the upcoming Teacher, Teacher anthology with Affirm Press. A passionate advocate for contemporary Australian literature, she’s the ‘author-in-conversation’ host with Sorrento’s Antipodes Books, the Founding President of Peninsula Writers’ Club, and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor’s Short Story Writing Award. She has also been awarded the prestigious May Gibbs Fellowship for 2024. Andrea lives on Bunurong Country, Victoria where she writes from her house in the sand dunes on a blustery beach track, fuelled by a secret stash of Cherry Ripes
Vicki Bennett is a bestselling author of 34 books for adults and young people. Most of her books are internationally successful and have been published in numerous languages. Her books include: Programme to Succeed, Mirrors - An Adventure into Ourselves, Take Me to My Garden, Mummy?, Making Dreams Come True, I've Read the Rules, Now How do I Play the Game, Life Smart, The Effective Leader, Signposts for Life, What Do Women Really Want?, The Book of Hope, The Little Stowaway, The Flying Angel, 100 Keys to Love, 100 Keys to Hope and The Promise. The Promise is her fourth children's ANZAC book about a Papua New Guinea nurse, Maiogaru Taulebona who hid a wounded Australian airman in a cave, deep in the jungle near Milne Bay in World War 2. With two words, I promise, she was bound to the task of saving his life.
Pierre-Jacques and Jules Ober are a French/Australian creative duo who tell stories with photos of miniature figurines. Their first two books, ‘The Good Son' and 'Jacqueline - a soldier's daughter' have won prizes in Australia and France for their totally original visual style and their ability to entertain and move audiences, young and old. Jules has made 2 other books using photography of miniatures: ‘Tarni’s Chance’ and ‘Rockpooling with Pup’ will also be included in the presentation. Our workshops are generally conducted in two parts and feature lots of pictures (projector required). Pierre-Jacques talks about his love of dressing up, film making, toy soldiers and the historical background of the stories. Jules then takes over with an insight into the process used for making the books and how drama and emotion can be drawn out of little plastic figures. Finally, the participants are invited to come and try toy photography of a miniature set that has been constructed especially for the day. They can experiment with taking pictures on a phone, digital camera or ipad.
Sarah Speedie is an internationally published children’s author based in Melbourne. She loves to write stories filled with humour and heart. Her debut picture book Mozzies Vs Flies was shortlisted in the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards 2022. Her second picture book, Meowster Chef, has been translated into Spanish and Italian. She has both fiction and non-fiction picture books due for release in 2024 and 2025 with HarperCollins, CSIRO, New Frontier and Larrikin House. Sarah is a Literacy Ambassador for the education charity, Ardoch as-well as an Australia Reads Ambassador. When she isn’t writing for children, Sarah loves sharing her passion for the magic of words in kindergartens and schools through storytelling sessions and writing workshops and is able to tailor sessions to particular curriculum requirements.
Damian Callinan is an acclaimed comedian, actor & writer. A three-time nominee for Most Outstanding Show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, TV & film audiences may recognise him for his roles in Skithouse, Spicks & Specks, The Newsreader, Rosehaven, The Emu War, Backyard Ashes & The Merger, the beloved film adaption of his award-winning solo show of the same name. The dual AACTA nominated film about a rural, Australian Rules football club who recruit refugees to make up the numbers, was awarded Best Film & Screenplay at the Ozflix Independent Film Awards and is now enjoying an acclaimed second life on Netflix. Callinan’s prolific output of theatrical live shows including The Lost WW1 Diary, Swing Man, Mayor for a Day & The Wine Bluffs, has seen him forge a reputation as ‘one of the best character comedians in the country’ (Herald Sun) His new solo show, Double Feature, based on his mother’s 1946 diary, is touring in 2023/24 and recently took out a Weekly Comedy Award at Perth Fringeworld. Callinan’s cult Bodgy Creek Community Podcast also recently received the Silver Medal at the Australian Podcast Awards. A former primary school teacher, Damian completed his Grad Dip in Performing Arts to become a drama teacher and, in the process accidentally became a full-time performer. Since that time, Damian has clocked up hundreds of flying hours performing to students, staff, faculties and was an ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge for 8 years. Antagonised by friend Andy Griffiths, who chided him for not having any books to sign at PRC events, Damian eventually got his act together and his debut children’s fiction book, Weird School, was published by Penguin Random. The book of short stories based at Wally Park Primary School, has received rave reviews and was recently shortlisted for the State Library of NSW Russell Prize – Humour Writing for Young People. Damian’s combined skills as an award-winning comedian, comedian and writer make him a triple threat certainty to enliven any school event. But be warned, he will brazenly co-opt the best coffee mug in the staff room at little lunch.
His latest graphic novel series is Secret Agent Mole. Book 1: Goldfish-Finger and Book 2: The Boar Identity are out now, and Book 3: Dr Nude is out in April 2024. James is the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot, Dungzilla, Gastronauts and Chickensaurus. He also illustrated the Toffle Towers series, and the CBCA-shortlisted (and cult favourite) My Dead Bunny. His earlier books In The Lion, The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, recognition 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 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.
In 2022 Crystal was shortlisted for an ABIA Award as a Rising Star of Australian Publishing for her work in the children’s publishing industry and dedication to student reading engagement. She is an Australia Reads Ambassador author and an advocate for diversity in children’s literature. Crystal’s sessions are dynamic and engaging; from igniting passion in your most disengaged students to the development of gifted writers, thought-provoking student led Q&A sessions – covering all areas of creative writing, publishing and media and more, your students will love it! Crystal brings a wealth of knowledge to your classroom with a bookish background that spans literacy education, library management and curation, in-house publishing experience and a career in journalism that spans television, radio and print-news. With sessions designed for all ages of students and care to align with curriculum and classroom goals, your enrichment visit with Crystal will be jam-packed with new tricks, tips and techniques to get creating!
Amelia Mellor is the author of the award-winning Grandest Bookshop Trilogy, a fantasy series for children based on Melbourne history. The first book, The Grandest Bookshop in the World, has sold rights in territories around the world and has been optioned for film. Amelia started writing when she was eight years old, and holds postgraduate degrees in creative writing and teaching (primary and secondary). When she isn’t writing, surrounded by her collection of babushkas and tropical fish, she enjoys hiking, drawing, and spotting wildlife. Watch out for her next releases in 2024 and 2025.
Aleesah Darlison is one of Australia’s most popular, award-winning children’s authors. She has published over 65 books and is known for her stories that champion the cause of animals and the environment and for her stories that empower children. Aleesah has won or been shortlisted for many awards including the Book Excellence Awards, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, the CBCA Awards, and the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards. In 2021, she was awarded an Australia Day honour from the Sunshine Coast Council. Aleesah’s titles include the League of Llamas Series, the Super Sloth Series, the Space Kids Series, the Endangered Animal Tales Series, Puggle’s Problem, Warambi, The Dream Bird, Little Good Wolf, and Running from the Tiger.
Alison McLennan was a terrible creative writer as a child, but adored reading and volunteering in her school library. After prancing about on stages as an actor and singer for many years, she rediscovered her love of books and became a children’s author. Her picture books include Hotel For Bees, Growing Pains, Great and Small, and Birdie Lights Up The World. Her first junior fiction novel is titled Calamity Jones: A Flamingo for Christmas. Alison loves presenting to school kids and sharing her love of reading and writing good stories. Her author talks and writing workshops are fun and interactive, and can be adapted for any age group. Alison will share with your students how she became an author, where she gets ideas from, what inspired her books and what themes they contain, and how easy and fun writing a story can be.
Kelly has been a Primary School Educator & Literacy Specialist for 24 years. Her role has seen her teach all subject areas for students from Prep to Grade 6. Kelly has a passion for teaching & sharing her knowledge with others, which has been reflected in the variety of roles she has held during her career so far. Watching her students learn & grow in all aspects of their life - from academic skills, to life & socials skills - is one of her greatest rewards. During her varied career, Kelly has facilitated numerous workshops educating parents & teachers on the strategies, skills & values of literacy. She has also worked with Cardinia Shire Council in Victoria on various literacy projects. Kelly has also filmed literacy education videos for the Department of Education that have been distributed worldwide. She is currently a podcast presenter for ‘Between the Covers.’ Interviewing authors. Currently educating through her business Wings for Grace, Kelly has clients of all ages. She is now also a successful children’s and YA author. Kelly has two picture story books and a Young Adult novel titled Breathe Grace. Her new Young Adult novel is due for release in October 2022.
Ashleigh Barton is a bestselling children's author from Sydney, Australia. After completing a law degree, Ashleigh decided she preferred books and spent the next six years working in publishing where she ran marketing and publicity campaigns for internationally renowned authors and illustrators. Now she writes books of her own, in between looking after her three small children and freelance copywriting. Her books include middle grade series Solomon Macaroni and five multicultural picture books including CBCA shortlisted title, What Do You Call Your Grandma? and CBCA Notable titles, What Do You Call Your Grandpa? and How Do You Say I Love You?
Karen self-published ahead of the curve at the age of ten in her home town of Perth in Western Australia. Since A Horse Named Ginger was released, Karen has been variously employed as a freelance copywriter, a marketing director for Paramount Pictures in London, a grain weighbridge operator in rural WA, a swimming teacher, a life model, a deckhand in Chile and an English teacher in Japan. She is now an author for middle grade and young adult readers. Penguin Random House Australia published her debut novel, When Days Tilt, in July 2021 and will publish the sequel, When Souls Tear, in July 2022. These historical fantasy adventures, set in Victorian London and a parallel city, are part of the Time Catchers series. Karen attended an Invited Residency to Varuna Writers House in 2021 for When Souls Tear. She’s interested in looking at old stories in new ways and runs a workshop on using history or real life as a jumping off point for fantasy. She finds that the strange and tilted never seem to be far from the surface. When not writing, Karen runs a tour operator business with her husband, who she met in London. She lives in Melbourne with him, their two children and two cats.
Sue Whiting is an award-winning children’s and YA author, editor and former primary school teacher. Sue writes for many age groups, from picture books through to YA, including the bestselling Missing, the acclaimed The Book of Chance and several CBCA Notable Books. Sue’s latest books include the second book in her middle grade fiction series, Pearly and Pig and the Lost City of Mu Savan and The Wheelbarrow Express, illustrated by Cate James. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country. Sue is passionate about the power of story and is an advocate for reading and writing for pleasure.
KATRINA GERMEIN writes joyful books for children. She believes young readers deserve stories that inspire curiosity, imagination, and laughter. With over twenty published titles, Katrina has seen her highly acclaimed work sold around the world. Some of her recent titles include Before You Were Born, Bev and Kev and the nonfiction title, Wonderful Wasps. Katrina’s stories have been Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and received Notable Book Commendations from the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Thunderstorm Dancing was Katrina’s fourth title to feature on the children’s television program, Play School. Her very first book, Big Rain Coming, has remained continuously in print for over twenty years. New books in 2023 include One Little Duck and My Dad Thinks He’s a Scream, the fifth book in the best-selling My Dad Thinks He’s Funny series. Katrina writes picture books because they make her heart sing; her work has been described as ‘love-filled’, ‘goose-bumpling’ and ‘achingly beautiful’. Some stories take time to tame but Katrina doesn’t mind because she wants them to be perfect. Her stories are about family, Australian life and the natural environment. Katrina draws inspiration from those around her as well as the places she goes, the things she sees and the characters she meets along the way. She says she began writing by accident when a story in her head wouldn’t go away so she wrote it down to set it free. Katrina holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has three children and continues to teach part time. (Katrina has tried to leave teaching several times but it always calls her back.) Katrina is an experienced presenter, regularly delivering author presentations and workshops in schools and at festivals. When she’s not writing, teaching or parenting, Katrina enjoys reading fiction and drinking hot cups of tea; she also quite likes bushwalking, running (slowly) and going to the beach. Katrina has an energetic dog named Mango and summer is her favourite season.
Kate Foster is an internationally published, bestselling and award short-listed children's author writing about friends, family, and dogs. Originally from a small town in the southeast of England, she now lives on the stunning Gold Coast in Australia with her family and second-hand dogs. She is passionate about encouraging and teaching a wider understanding of autism and mental illness via a positive approach and representation in both her books as well as her presentations and talks. Kate is the co-creator of Author Pen Pals, an initiative pairing authors and illustrators with schools across the country to encourage a love of storytelling, inspire creative minds and raise literacy levels. She is also the creator of The Diversity in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Children’s Book Award, which celebrates and highlights diversity in children’s literature throughout Australia and New Zealand. As a speaker, Kate is authentic, passionate, and friendly in her approach. She talks sensitively but always positively and sincerely with children, with the help of an interactive PowerPoint, about autism and mental health, encouraging them to understand the internal, invisible struggles others may be having, to recognise behaviours, and how they can be a better friend to those around them, just like our canine buddies. She shares her own diagnoses with the children with the aim of smashing harmful stereotypes and misinformation, ending stigmas, and passing on her confidence and belief that every child she meets has an important story to tell and deserves to be heard. She provides some insight into the day-to-day life of one autistic person and is comfortable discussing mental health and wellbeing with children if requested. Kate has experience running workshops and speaking to children from Prep through to Year 12, both in-person and virtually, as well as adults, be that parents and carers, teachers and librarians, or other
Lian Tanner is the best-selling author of the Keepers trilogy, A Clue for Clara, Rita’s Revenge, and picture book Ella and the Ocean (illustrated by Jonathan Bentley). Her books have been translated into eleven languages, and have won two Aurealis Awards for Best Australian Children’s Fantasy, a NSW Premier’s Literary Award, a Tasmanian Literary Award, a Sisters-in-Crime Davitt Award for Best Children’s Crime Novel, and the Russell Prize for Humour Writing for Young People.
Robyn Bavati is an experienced presenter at schools, libraries, book clubs and writers’ festivals. Her informative and interactive school sessions are planned in consultation with teachers to ensure they are tailored to students’ needs. Robyn’s latest book, A Weekend With Oscar is by turns a heart-wrenching and heart-warming story about grief, friendship, first love, disability and family. She is also the award-winning author of YA/mid-grade novels Within these Walls, Dancing in the Dark and Pirouette. A longstanding member of Toastmasters International with a background in teaching movement and dance, Robyn enjoys public speaking and loves visiting schools. While Robyn’s books are best suited to students in Grade 6- Year 9, her workshops can be adapted to all students from Grade 5- Year 12, as well as adults and teachers. She is passionate about giving students the tools that empower them to write with confidence, both in the classroom and beyond.
Louise Park draws from a strong background in Education, literacy and publishing to produce her blockbuster bestsellers that include Zac Power Test Drives and Spy Recruit, and Boy vs Beast. She has taught primary school children of all ages, trained teachers in literacy education, and has been an Education publisher for an international publishing house. She writes books for children aged 2-12 including the Harriet Clare series, the D-Bot Squad series, the Star Girl series, the Bella Dancerella series and her latest time-slip series for older readers, Grace’s Secrets and Grace’s Escape. She also writes books for adults including the best-selling title for parents, 7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading. Louise writes under her own name as well as the hugely successful pseudonyms: H. I. Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose.
Maddy Tyers is a rising star of Australian stage and screen. As an actor, presenter, children’s entertainer, voice-over artist and writer, Maddy’s list of accomplishments continue to grow. Maddy has appeared in a host of Australian TV series’, short films and features including Border Protection Squad, Neighbours, Back In Very Small Business and City Homicide but is best known for her supporting lead role as Amanda Tucci in the hit kid’s TV series, The Elephant Princess. Broadcast in over 35 countries across the world (nationally on Network 10, The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon), The Elephant Princess is a hugely popular children fantasy program that won the 2009 AFI award for the Best Children's Television Drama. In 2019, Maddy and her husband Jimmy also hit the small screen as competitors in the AACTA award winning Channel Nine reality TV series, Lego Masters. Away from performing, Maddy is also a published author. Her first children’s picture story book, 'When Anna Came To Stay' explores the nature and emergence of eating disorders for a younger audience. This book gives young readers a glimpse into the family dynamics involved when a child experiences an eating disorder. It also highlights the need for family members to be sensitive to the signs of an eating disorder and prepared to provide support during the healing process.
After working in public relations for five years and for ten years as a primary teacher, Amy turned her attention to writing for children as a way of sharing her passion for all things bookish. Amy is the author of the six-book junior fiction series Tilda Teaches , and the picture book Turning Cartwheels. Her new junior fiction series Trick Shot Trevor is due for release in late 2023, and her next picture book will be published in 2024. When she’s not writing, teaching or reading, Amy can be found attempting (semi-successfully) to train her bichoodle Fred, trying (unsuccessfully) to find a recipe that both her children will like, and catching up on the latest goings-on in Summer Bay.
Anna is passionate about drafts, planning, research, writing and illustrating and her enthusiasm is contagious! Comments like “You are Annabella’s idol now. She said she wants to be an author like you when she grows up” are typical responses from parents or teachers to her lively, inspiring presentations. Anna is the winner of the 2021 Nance Donkin Literary Award and an Australia Reads Ambassador. Her latest book, A Message Through Time, came out in 2023. This is a standalone companion to The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, a best-selling adventure about a modern Australian boy transported to the time of the Roman Empire and taken for a slave. Anna has won several Notable Book awards as well as a grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. Her books have been listed for numerous awards, and are translated and published around the world.
Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award by the International Literacy Association, Order of Australia, nominee for Australia for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Susanne Gervay is recognized for her writing on social justice. Her award winning stories are published in literary journals and anthologies including the cross Sub-Continent- Australian anthology 'Fear Factor, Terror Incognito' on terrorism alongside the works of Sir Salman Rushdie and Thomas Keneally. She represented Australia in ‘Peace Story’ an IBBY, UNICEF anthology where 22 authors, 22 illustrators from 22 countries wrote for peace. She writes from picture books to young adult novels. Butterflies is recognised as Outstanding Youth Literature on Disability. Her award winning I Am Jack children’s books which have become rite-of-passage on school bullying adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre has toured theaters across Australia and USA. Her books are endorsed by The Cancer Council, Room to Read, bringing literacy to the children of the developing world, Children’s Hospital Westmead Sydney, Books in Homes reaching indigenous and disadvantaged schools, Life Education, many anti bullying and literacy organizations. An acclaimed national and international speaker, Susanne Gervay is head of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators SCBWI Australia East and New Zealand, Ambassador for many literacy, reading and equity campaigns.
Renee Treml is the author and illustrator of several best-selling picture books for very young readers, including Once I Heard a Little Wombat, Ten Little Owls, and Roo Knows Blue. She is the creator of the highly engaging and funny junior fiction graphic novels featuring Sherlock Bones (Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery, Sherlock Bones and the Sea-Creature Feature, and Sherlock Bones and the Art and Science Alliance) and the silly and sweet Super Adventures of Ollie and Bea (It’s Owl Good, Squeals on Wheels, Wise Quackers, and Bat’s What Friends Are For). Renee has a degree in environmental science and has a passionate love of natural history. All her school visits, both in person or virtual, are based around interactive workshops where children create illustrations or write their own stories.
Phil is an award winning author of 200 plus books including the TOOCOOL, Boyz Rule, Girlz Rock, Billy Kool, Marcy, Get Real, Our, I Can Be, and the Spike series. Phil is a popular and sort after school speaker, his presentations and workshops are sure to motivate and encourage even the most reluctant writers and readers.
Marc McBride is the illustrator of the New York Times best selling series Deltora Quest. He has illustrated more than two hundred book covers, ten picture books and countless magazines. His new book, The Glimme, is shortlisted for the 2020 CBCA Book of the Year for younger readers. During his school presentations Marc paints a character from one of his books explaining the process of creating artwork. Beginning with imagination, and where ideas come from, he will get ideas from the audience while explaining colour theory, light, shape, line and texture- the five elements of visual language. Using simple shapes he encourages the students to draw with him and to ‘not be afraid of making mistakes’- after-all it is often a mistake in a drawing that becomes the inspiration for something truly original! The school gets to keep the final painting.
Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based writer and literary agent with Jacinta di Mase Management. In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin, an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+). The Year the Maps Changed, Danielle’s bestselling middle-grade novel, was a 2021 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Notable Book, and released in North America in 2022 with Harper Collins. Her first solo YA novel The Monster of Her Age released in 2021, and won in the Young Adult category of the 2022 Indie Book Awards. In 2024 her new middle grade novel is Six Summers of Tash & Leopold, coming with Hachette in September. Danielle is also teaching Fiction & Young Adult Writing in the Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT University.
Charlotte Barkla is a Brisbane-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering her love for children’s literature. She now writes picture books, middle-grade fiction and feature articles. Charlotte’s debut picture book, All Bodies are Good Bodies was published in 2020. It has since been translated in Italian, Turkish, Slovenian and Romanian, as well as released in the UK. English-language rights have also been sold in China. The first two novels in Charlotte’s middle-grade series, Edie’s Experiments, were also published in 2020. The first book has been translated in Turkish, and the second book was shortlisted for the 2021 Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Charlotte’s fourth children’s book, From My Head to My Toes, I Say What Goes, was published in February 2022 and her fifth children’s book, another picture book, will be published in 2024. As a former teacher, Charlotte is an experienced speaker and workshop presenter. She loves sharing her passion for science, creativity and stories with children of all ages.
After completing a teaching degree, Deb went to Africa where she was caught in a desert sandstorm, harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail … twice! She produced and wrote a national kids’ TV show before leaving to write twenty-six books including the Max Remy Superspy series and Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm, about kids living in a climate-changed world. Teresa A New Australian was inspired by her dad who was born in a cave during one of the heaviest bombing raids of World War II. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and the sequel, The Most Marvelous International Bee, were inspired by her grade four teacher, Miss Gray. Her first picture book is Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero. She is a proud ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge, Room to Read and Books in Homes. Deb’s won awards for her books but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters.
Vikki is an award-winning author with multiple internationally published picture books. She is the winner of the 2023 CBCA Book of the Year (Where The Lyrebird Lives) and has Honour and Notable books including Amira’s Suitcase and Little Puggle’s Song. Her title, On The Way To School is shortlisted for the 2023 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year. Vikki’s books explore other worlds and themes including refugees, rainforest habitat, mindfulness and finding lost moustaches! Vikki has worked as a journalist, photographer and professional writer, with diverse communities in Africa, Asia and Australia, for over 20 years.
Katrina McKelvey is a children’s author, former primary school teacher and mother living in Newcastle, NSW. She’s highly involved in CBCA, SCBWI, Littlescribe, community events, literary conferences and festivals, and loves visiting schools. She’s written many children's picture books and educational readers including her new titles, My Heart (March, 2024) and three Healthy Harold big books for the newly released Life Education Australia Early Years program. Katrina’s left-handed, loves tea, scary movies and rollercoasters, and is addicted to mint chocolate. When she was little, a hot air balloon accidentally landed in her backyard.
Chris is an award-winning author and publisher of whacky, rhyming, Australian children’s books. He is also a presenter, bringing his funky author visits to festivals, schools, preschools, daycare centres, libraries and community events all over Australia. He incorporates puppetry, music, dance, costume dress-up and art activities into a range of workshop options, to suit any age from preschool to senior primary level. There are no age limits when it comes to fun and funkiness! His aim is to bring laughter, joy (and general funkiness) into children’s lives whoever and wherever they are! Chris has published four best-selling titles to date – Funky Chicken A Bushy Tale of Crocs and Chooks, A Bug Called Doug, Funky Chicken Chooks in Space and Funky Chicken Mission InCROCible!
Lisa Nicol is an internationally published, award-winning writer and documentary-maker. Her feature Wide Open Sky won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix. Her charming and funny middle-grade novel Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter was a 2018 CBCA Notable, Top Ten Children's Books of the Year 2021, Shenzhen Reading Month, and is currently being adapted for the screen as a musical. Her middle-grade novel Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth has drawn comparisons to Roald Dahl and Kate DiCamillo and been described as a modern classic. Her most recent book, The What on Earth Institute of Wonder released to critical acclaim, has just been shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award 2022.
Jess had two new books released in 2022. Time Out! is the first book in a new series, Who Dunnit, Eddie Woo? Eddie Woo Super Sleuth is ready for action and mystery. With a mind for maths and a nose for adventure, he is about to skateboard into ... danger. The Colourful World of Poppy Starr Olsen is a funny and fresh novel for young readers inspired by the life of Australian Olympic skateboarder and creative soul Poppy Starr Olsen. Jess has written the Pepper Creek Ponies series based on her adventures with horses as a child. The three books are beautifully illustrated by Serena Geddes. The Tales of Mr Walker series about a dog who comes to live in the fanciest hotel in town. Kitty is Not a Cat! series about a little girl who believes she can be anything she dreams - even a cat! Jess has also written the Little Paws series and the Keeper of the Crystals series; and is co-author of the hugely successful Bindi Wildlife Adventure series, the Kaboom Kid series and the Animal Tales series. Jess’s stories explore themes such as – animal welfare, conserving our natural environment, loyalty, resilience, kindness and friendship. She enjoys using humour and action in her stories. Jess lives in NSW with her husband, two daughters and their rescue dog, Pippi. Jess loves animals and having adventures, much like the ones in her books!
Catherine is a four-time winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for her books Eye to Eye, Pagan’s Vows, You'll Wake the Baby and A Very Unusual Pursuit. She has also won a Victorian Premier’s Literature award, the Adelaide Festival award for literature, the Ena Noel Award for Children’s Literature and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 she was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children’s Literature. Catherine's other titles include the picture book Barney, her adult thriller, Shepherd and the Theophilus Grey series. Apart from her talks and workshops on writing in general, Catherine can provide specialist historical fiction writing workshops, and has also paired up with Gretta Serov, a disabled writer with severe cerebral palsy who talks using an iPad and her nose, to present a talk on inclusive stories.
Dee has been a writer since she was seven and has now authored more than 25 books including the award winning Beyond Belief, inspired by the true story of Muslims at a Paris Mosque who saved Jewish Children in WW2, the hilarious Eddy Popcorn books and her biographical fiction about Professor Emma Johnston in the popular Aussie STEM Stars series. She loves travel and research and will do almost anything for a good story including jumping out of a plane (with a parachute) and touring the Paris sewers. Dee has presented in schools and at festivals around the world and loves doing author residencies, encouraging students to write like an author, and be as passionate about storytelling as she is.
Davina Bell is an award-winning author of over twenty books for readers from babies to teens. Her much-loved picture books include Under the Love Umbrella, All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors as well as All the Ways To Be Smart and What To Say When You’re Not Sure What To Say, both of which won the Australian Book Industry Awards Picture Book of the Year. She has written junior fiction, middle grade novels, and her Young Adult title, The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love, •won the Ethel Turner Prize at the NSW Premier's Literary awards and the Book of the Year for Older Readers, Children's Book Council of Australia in 2021, as well as being shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Davina was previously an editor at Penguin Books Australia and a children’s book publisher at Allen and Unwin. She lives in Melbourne and frequently shares her passion and knowledge of books and publishing with children’s and adults across the country.