Author Archives: Sam Sochacka

2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Social Media & StoryArts – please get involved!

Blogging, and Social Media, at StoryArts Festival 101

Social Media Accounts:

StoryArts Festival is moving with the times, and we now have an active presence on Social Media.  And we would love for you to join in.  The more the merrier as they say.


Twitter – @StoryArtsFest

Instagram – @StoryArtsFestivalIpswich


***to the StoryArts Blogging Team, please read all the way to the bottom of this post.  And if you are not on the team, feel free to read the instructions and submit as per instructions***


Please use the following StoryArts hashtags and tags.  Please also feel free to also hashtag and tag your favourite author, illustrator, presenter, or book.

You can also tag us on Social Media, as well as your favourite author, illustrator, or presenter.  Just search for them on the Social Media Platforms that you use.

















No photos are to be taken of children, unless it is of their heads, from behind a large group, with no identifiable children in the picture.  Pictures of authors and/or illustrators with their books are the ultimate pictures.  However, pictures of presenters working their magic are also great.



Feel free to do a ‘write up’ of any session you attend or present.  Technical edits will be done on your submissions.


Send to:

Please send all blog submissions to:

And if you can, please let Sam S know about it.



There is no guarantee that your submission will be published as there are editorial guidelines that must be adhered to.  However, we welcome submissions aplenty.

Introducing the StoryArts 2015 Illustrator Battles!

Introducing #SAFIillustratorbattles15

Where Children’s illustrators and authors congregate, craziness reigns!

Yesterday, there was an illustrative attack on Terry Denton.  See images below.

So at dinner, the Illustrator Battle Campaign was born.

So watch out for Illustrator Battles, they could happen anywhere, and anytime.

Bring it on!  And please use the hashtag: #SAFIillustratorbattles15


Richard Tulloch Playwriting Workshop

We bring you this brilliant report from Yvonne Mes, author of soon to be released, Meet Sidney Nolan, published by Random House Australia.

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In this session, Richard gave a fascinating insight into an extensive career as a playwright for television and theatre.

After a false start in law, Richard turned to education and soon created drama exercises for young children which later evolved to longer, more structured plays for older children. Later he worked in television including writing over a 100 episodes for Bananas in Pyjamas and his many adaptations from novels to plays such as Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein, The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer and various Treehouse Storey books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

Richard talked about the Cricket Bat Speech by Tom Stoppart in the play The Real Thing as an example that shows that no matter how good the story, it is all about the craft.

The process from workshopping to finished play can take a year and involve many rewrites, sometimes changing up to 25% of the original draft. Sometimes authors are involved in the playwriting process as with Andy Griffiths and other times there is no contact with the author such as with Dutch writer Guus Kuijer until much later. Richard talked about his successful collaborations with Kim Carpenter’s Theatre of Image.

There were many questions from the workshop participants which led to discussion around choice of story, how technology is changing the dynamics of theatre and possible implications for writing plays and which books are good choices to adapt for the stage;

  • has to be about people and involve good drama
  • has a good sense of place
  • have opportunity for dialogue (avoid books where there is a lot of internal dialogue)

At the end of the extended workshop Richard signed the squidgy chest of either B1 or B2 of Bananas in Pyjamas fame which had snuck into one of the participants’ bag.

RICHARD TULLOCH has written over sixty children’s books and numerous scripts for children’s TV series, including Playschool, Hoopla Doopla! and the famous Bananas in Pyjamas. He’s also written many plays for young audiences, among them Year 9 Are Animals and stage adaptations of Robin Klein’s Hating Alison Ashley, Guus Kuijer’s The Book of Everything and Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s The 13-Storey Treehouse series. Richard lives with his wife in Sydney and spends part of each year based in his home town of Amsterdam.

Yvonne Mes, Author of Meet Sidney Nolan and Oliver’s Grumbles


Tony Flowers Illustration Workshop

We bring you this brilliant report from Yvonne Mes, author of soon to be released, Meet Sidney Nolan, published by Random House Australia.

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Tony had the children in stitches showing them how to draw hilarious characters. The children quickly got involved coming up with some crazy suggestions.

How about a hummingbird-monster with 10 eyes and razor sharp teeth? How about a Berry Bot (with bottom) designed and illustrated by Tony and the children?

But that was not all, anything can become a character! A balloon? No problem, here is Balloon-Man! A banana? Add a cape, draw on a mask and here is Super Banana Bee! Super Banana Bee became an instant celebrity, had his photo taken, flew across the room and was finally destroyed by Tony’s ferocious appetite and his dastardly teeth.

Tony slipped in some great tips on illustrating, from how to go from sketch to final drawing and what to call it when you draw a fast flapping wing – motion lines.

After the session it was the children’s turn. They created their own characters, superheroes and evil villains from Super Sushi and the evil Wasabi to Killer Lady Bugs.

The children were very lucky to have their books signed with an original Tony illustration, drawn on the spot.


Tony is a passionate illustrator with a love of the absurd and the silly. Tony and author Nick Falk are responsible for the ‘Saurus Street’ and the ‘Billy is a Dragon’ series, which have received positive reviews from Speech Pathology Australia and educators of early and reluctant readers. The highly illustrated and engaging illustrations help children to continue to turn pages and continue to read. Tony has filled pages with vegetable smashing tyrannosauruses; time travelling triceratops and kung-fu fighting worms. Not content with these creations, he has created armies of chickens, adventurous dragons, sneaky werewolves and dogs of all shapes and sizes. Falk and Flowers have been locked in their respective studios working on an exciting new early reader series ‘Samurai vs Ninja’, and this series will appeal to Japan-o-philes and children alike.

Yvonne Mes, Author of Meet Sidney Nolan and Oliver’s Grumbles

Bookings are now open for StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2015!

SAFI logo

Bookings are now open for StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2015!

To book, click HERE.

For all the information that you’ll need, check out the documents below:

Schools Programs

Information for Schools

programs – city selections

programs – Woodlands and Esk selections

High school program IGGS

High school program at WestMAC – Monday 14 September

Family Program

SAFI_Family_program 2015

Adults’ Program

SAFI_Adult program 2015

REMEMBER, to book, click HERE!

And many thanks to all our Sponsors and Partners:

StoryArts Festival Ipswich 2015 – partial program release, & bookings opening soon!


We are pleased to announce the release of some of the Program details for this year’s StoryArts Festival Ipswich!

Bookings will open soon for the 2015 Festival, being held from 6-16 September 2015.

There will be a number of programs this year: Schools, Families, and Adults.

You can check out the Families’ Program HERE!

And for all teachers, teacher-librarians, aspiring and emerging authors and illustrators, and even parents, check out the Adults’ Program HERE!

The Children’s Program is so absolutely jam-packed with awesomeness, that you will have wait just a little bit longer before you see all the marvellous things that we have in store for the children at the 2015 StoryArts Festival Ipswich.

Watch this space!  And make sure you subscribe to our blog to receive all the news hot off the press!  (You can subscribe in the top left corner, just below the Festival banner).

Yours in Children’s Literature,

The StoryArts Festival Team