2015 Presenters

Presenters for the StoryArts Festival 2015

Alan Edwards, Editor School Magazine

Andrew King, author

Andrew Plant, author and illustrator

Andy Griffiths, author

Ann Haddon, Book Illustrated

Ann James, illustrator and Book Illustrated

Archie Fusillo, author

Barry Jonsberg, author

Chris Bongers, author

Damon Young, author and philosopher

Danny Parker, author

Geoffrey McSkimming, author

Gregg Dreise, author and illustrator

James Foley, author and illustrator

James Moloney, author

Janeen Brian, author and poet

Jill Griffiths, editor and Andy’s wife

Josie Montano, author

Kathryn Apel, author

Lachlan Creagh, illustrator

Lesley Reece, Founder/Director The Literature Centre

Lucia Masciullo, illustrator

Marc McBride, illustrator

Mark Greenwood, author

Matt Ottley, author, artist, musician

Michael Bauer, author

Michael Salmon, author and illustrator

Nadia Wheatley, author

Nina Rycroft, illustrator

Oliver Phommavanh, author

Pamela Rushby, author

Peter Carnavas, author and illustrator

Peter Taylor, author

Rebecca Johnson, author

Richard Tulloch, author and playwright

Sally Heinrich, author & illustrator

Simone Calderwood, author, Editor Cengage Learning

Sophie Masson, author, Publisher

Sue-Anne Webster, magician

Suzy Zail, author

Terry Denton, illustrator

Tony Flowers, illustrator

Tony Palmer, author, designer

Valanga Khoza, author, storyteller, musician

Kathryn Apel


Kathryn Apel is a born-and-bred farm girl who’s scared of cows. She lives with her husband and two sons, amongst the gum trees, cattle and kangaroos, on a Queensland grazing property. There are also guinea pigs – and a Jack Russell that dotes on all the cute.

On Track, published in 2015, is Kat’s fourth book and second verse novel, following the release of Bully on the Bus in 2014. Her picture book This is the Mud! was published in 2009 and is featured on ABC PlaySchool. Kat paints pictures with words, because much as she’d love to, Kat can’t draw. Her goal is to find the perfect word for every situation. Sometimes that’s a lot harder than you think!

My Life as a Book You never know where you’ll find your next story idea – or how many family secrets you’ll give away in the process. A look at what inspired Kat’s books – and a sneaky-peek into the publishing process.

Michael Gerard Bauer


Michael Gerard Bauer was born and grew up in Brisbane where he dreamed of being a samurai, a ninja or a famous singer-songwriter, but became a teacher instead. In 2000 he resigned from full-time teaching to chase his new dream of becoming an author.

In 2005 Michael’s first novel The Running Man was named the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. His second novel Don’t Call Me Ishmael! was a CBCA short-listed book and the winner of the Children’s Peace Literature Award. Ishmael and the Return of the Dugongs and Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel completed the very funny and popular Ishmael trilogy.

Michael’s other novels include Just a Dog, a CBCA Honour Book and a Queensland Premier’s Award winner, and Dinosaur Knights a fast-paced action adventure novel.

His most recent publications for younger readers, Eric Vale – Epic Fail; Eric Vale – Super Male and Eric Vale – Off the Rails, as well as the three spin-off stories featuring Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale are fully illustrated by Michael’s young, film-maker son, Joe Bauer. Joe is also responsible for the hilarious animated trailers for both series.

These days Michael is a full-time writer and is in high demand for talks and workshops at schools and Festivals around Australia. His books, which are often set as school texts, will soon be available in over 40 countries and translated into 12 languages.


Michael’s sessions will focus on the Eric Vale and Derek Dale Series and Just a Dog.

~ Where the ideas for the stories came from.

~ Characters and storylines – featuring reading/acting out

~ Words and pictures – working with an illustrator

~ How Joe’s drawings developed

~ How to write funny stories

Chris Bongers

Chris Bongers

Christine Bongers grew up with six brothers on a farm outside Biloela, Central Queensland. She left to attend University – and liked Brisbane so much, she stayed. After studying journalism, she became besotted with radio, tripped and fell into television, moved into public relations, and ending up writing for a living for most of her adult life. Christine has worked as a broadcast journalist on the ABC, and in commercial TV and radio, in Brisbane and London. She has also written and produced two environmental television documentaries, and run her own media consultancy.  She completed a Master of Arts (Research) in youth writing in 2008 and these days, is happiest writing fiction.

Christine’s novels for young people include Dust (a CBCA Notable Book) and Henry Hoey Hobson (shortlisted for numerous awards including CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers). Her chapter book Drongoes is part of Scholastic’s Mates Series of Great Australian Yarns. Christine’s latest teen novel Intruder was shortlisted for the 2015 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers.

Christine shares her life in Brisbane with her husband, kids and a fat beaglier called Huggy who likes to eat underpants and hide socks in secret stashes around the house.

‘Bouncing off real life into the world of fiction’ – Award-winning author Christine Bongers talks about the real life inspiration for her books and shares tips on how to use real experiences to create compelling fiction.

Janeen Brian

Janeen B

Janeen Brian is an award-winning, full-time author of 90 children’s books as well as a well-published poet, whose work appears in over 16 anthologies. She writes picture books, fiction and non-fiction and has over 200 poems, articles, plays and stories published in anthologies and national and overseas magazines for children.

Her early career was in Primary and Junior Primary teaching, and although she began writing in her thirties, she never really considered becoming a writer. Since then the following books have been awarded Honour Books in the CBCA Awards: Where does Thursday go?; Pilawuk –When I was young; Hoosh! Camels in Australia; and I’m a dirty dinosaur. The latter also won The Speech Pathology Award, 2014. Ten other books have received Notable Awards.

Themes arising in Janeen’s books include creative problem solving, resilience, humour, nature and environment and Australian history. Three picture books will be published in 2015, I’m a hungry dinosaur: Silly Squid! and Where’s Jessie? Her latest historical novel, Walking for gold  is with Walker Books and she has several other books due for publication. Janeen enjoys reading, creating mosaics from recycled materials, walking, growing flowers and vegetables, attending the cinema and theatre and enjoying time with her family and friends.

Janeen’s sessions will include involvement with poetry, rhythm, rhyme and picture books; particularly, I’m a dirty dinosaur and its sequel, I’m a hungry dinosaur; Silly Squid!; a picture-poetry book about Australian sea-creatures and a sequel to Silly Galah!, and Meet Ned Kelly. Janeen will discuss her writing process.

Simone Calderwood

Simone C

Simone Calderwood has been working in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years. She has worked as an editor for most of the major educational publishers in Australia with the exception of a brief stint at Lonely Planet. Simone has specialised in the area of primary editing and publishing. She currently holds the position of Senior Publisher – Primary at Cengage Learning Australia, and takes great pleasure in liaising and commissioning manuscripts from both trade and educational authors.

Peter Carnavas


Peter Carnavas  grew up as the youngest of four kids with two parents who somehow allowed and encouraged him to pursue his interests without him realising.  He learnt the violin and guitar and was pretty certain he would one day become one of the world’s greatest songwriters, sitting somewhere alongside Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Brian Wilson. This didn’t happen, so it was lucky he could draw little pictures of people.

Peter has always written stories and scribbled pictures.  Every birthday and Christmas present included pencils and sketchbooks.  After making little books for family and then teaching for a few years, Peter began immersing himself in picture books.  He immediately fell in love with the work of the great picture book creators.

Peter completed a picture book course and put together a dummy version of his book, Jessica’s Box.  A little while later, New Frontier accepted the book.  His tale of a little girl’s attempt to find friendship entered the world in April 2008 and was shortlisted for the CBCA Crichton Award for Emerging Illustrators and the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.

Many books have followed, including Last Tree in the CityThe Children Who Loved BooksMy Totally Awesome Story (written by Pat Flynn) and The Boy on the Page. He has recently collaborated with Kat Chadwick to create What’s in My Lunchbox?, and has illustrated Damon Young’s picture books, My Nanna is a Ninja and My Pop is a Pirate.

Peter lives on the Sunshine Coast with his wife, two daughters and a scruffy dog that occasionally escapes.

My Pop is a Pirate!

All pops are different. But what if your pop was really different.  What if your pop was a … pirate?

All aboard with Damon Young and Peter Carnavas as they take you on a swashbuckling adventure, showing you how write with rhythm, scribble with style and have a rollicking good time inbetween!

Terry Denton

Terry D

Terry Denton has been illustrating and writing children’s books for over 30 years. Readers are familiar with his Gasp! Books and the animated Gasp! TV series.

Andy Griffiths and Terry have enjoyed a particularly productive and hilarious partnership, with their Treehouse Books being loved by children worldwide.

Terry has also illustrated for most of Australia’s top authors and won more than 40 children’s choice awards throughout Australia.

He has been shortlisted many times in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards. His Felix and Alexander won Picture Book of the Year in 1986.

Terry grew up with 4 brothers in inner Melbourne and spent a happy childhood playing around the Yarra River environs. He loved sport and maths and science at school, but had a secret passion for drawing. He always dreamed of becoming an animator but somehow he fell into illustration and writing.

He lives by the sea in Melbourne.

Gregg Dreise


Gregg Dreise is the author and illustrator of Silly Birds, and Crazy Kookaburra. Both of these stories are about teaching morals. Silly Birds is based on the saying, “It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys”. Kookoo Kookaburra is based on the saying, “Kindness is like a boomerang – if you throw it often, it comes back often. If you never take the chance to throw it, it never comes back”.

A descendant of the Kamilaroi tribe, from south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales, Gregg was born and raised in St George, Queensland and moved to Noosa during high school. He is the youngest of eight in a family that loved sport, music and poetry (one of those families where everyone sings, and passes guitars around at get-togethers). Gregg’s mother (Lyla Dreise-Knox) has always inspired him to write. Her poetry has entertained the family (as well as the odd magazine and newspaper readers) for many decades. Gregg is currently a teacher in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. He has currently written two more picture books waiting their turn for publishing; and is also working on a chapter book for upper primary. His most exciting part of writing, is going to schools and libraries with his didgeridoo and guitar, with the aim to educate to an audience filled with smiles. He was very excited to take his books to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy this year.

Sally Heinrich

Sally has illustrated more than twenty books as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books, non-fiction information and activity books and novels. Besides publishers, her clients include advertising and environmental agencies, design studios and Government departments. Her commissioned artwork ranges in scale from wine labels to a mural for the Singapore Zoo, to one-off pieces for celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. She also regularly runs workshops in creative writing and illustration for both children and adults.

Her work has been recognised through fellowships from the Asialink Foundation, The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, Varuna-the Writer’s Centre and Arts SA, and her original artwork and lino-prints have been exhibited in Australia and Asia.

Having previously lived in Darwin, Sydney, Singapore and Malaysia, Sally is currently based in Adelaide.

Find out more Sally Heinrich’s website!

James Foley


James Foley is a children’s author and illustrator. His books include In The Lion (Walker Books, 2012), The Amity Kids Adventures (2013), The Last Viking (Fremantle Press, 2011) and The Last Viking Returns (Fremantle Press, 2014).

In The Lion was selected for the International Youth Library’s White Raven list in 2013. The Last Viking won the 2012 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Crystal Kite Award, the 2012 WA Young Readers’ Hoffman Award, and a 2012 Children’s Book Council of Australia Junior Judges Award. It was shortlisted for a further four awards.

James is an ambassador for Books In Homes and Room To Read Australia, and is the current Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Australia West. His interests include comics, film, psychology, science, history (anything nerdy really), as well as yoga and social justice.

He has far too many books in his bedside reading pile.

All of James’ picture books feature villains, whether it’s a gang of bullies, a ravenous lion, a destructive dragon or a zombie rabbit. His heroes are always courageous kids. Join James to find out how he creates his heroes and villains.

Archie Fusillo


Archie has been published internationally, most recently in the USA, and has been awarded an International Literature Fellowship which took him to Europe to present his work and conduct research. His latest novels are Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night-Ford Street Publishing-and Veiled Secrets-with Josie Montano. He is currently writing stories based on his Fellowship interviews and preparing several exhibitions due in 2016. www.archimedefusillo.com

Mark Greenwood

Mark G

Mark Greenwood is an author with a passion for history. His books, The Legend of Moondyne Joe and The Legend of Lasseter’s Reef have won the West Australian Premier’s Award for children’s books. Ned Kelly & The Green Sash won the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award and Simpson and His Donkey was a CBCA Honour Book.   Mark often teams with his wife, illustrator Frané Lessac, to produce books that promote an understanding of multicultural issues, such as Drummer Boy of John John, Magic Boomerang, Outback Adventure, and Our Big Island.
Jandamarra, illustrated by Terry Denton, was shortlisted for a number of awards including the 2014 CBCA Eve Pownall Award, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature, and the West Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards.
Mark’s other books include The Mayflower, The Greatest Liar on Earth, Fortuyn’s Ghost and Midnight – the story of a light horse, a 2015 CBCA Notable Book.


Unravel the clues to one of the world’s greatest lost treasures. Discover the story of Ned Kelly’s most treasured possession. Sail back in time on an ill-fated ghost ship. Walk in the footsteps of Anzac legends. Come on an adventure to find the story of Jandamarra.

History is full of adventures and curious, larger-than-life characters. It is a vibrant and rich vein of material for creative writing. Mark will discuss the origins and inspirations for his award winning books, the process of research and the ‘journeys of discovery’ that help balance creative interpretation with historical authenticity.

Adult Writing Workshop: Using artefacts, curiosities and strange objects as a spark for creative writing

Andy Griffiths

Andy G

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He has written more than 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the last 17 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.

Andy is best known as the author of the much-loved Just! series and The Day My Bum Went Psycho. In 2008 he became the first Australian author to win six children’s choice awards in one year for Just Shocking!, smashing his previous record of four awards for The Bad Book in 2005.

In 2008 Andy and his wife Jill collaborated with The Bell Shakespeare Company on the popular and critically acclaimed theatrical production Just Macbeth!, which was nominated for two Helpmann Awards. In July 2010 Just Macbeth! had a return sold-out season at the Sydney Opera House before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received rave reviews. The book of the play was shortlisted in the children’s section of the 2010 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Andy has had a long-standing collaboration with the multi-talented illustrator Terry Denton. Together they have produced the Just! Series, the wildly popular The Bad Book and its follow-up The Very Bad Book, two ridiculous illustrated guides What Bumosaur is That? and What Body Part is That? as well as the Seussian-inspired early readers The Cat on the Mat is Flat and The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow!

In 2011 Andy and Terry started a new series, The 13-Storey Treehouse, which has already become a firm favourite across Australian bookshelves and won the Book of the Year for Older Children Award at the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2012. The Sydney Opera House will be hosting the stage production of The 13-Storey Treehouse in September 2013.

And the treehouse series continues to grow with The 26-Storey Treehouse in  2012, The 39-Storey Treehouse in 2013, The 52-Stoery Treehouse in 2014, and get ready for the 65-Storey Treehouse in August 2015.

Readers who want to sneak behind-the-scenes to see Andy and Terry’s creative partnership will be excited by the 2013 publication of Once Upon A Slime. This activity-based book aims to ignite the writer inside by offering story ideas and zany activities.

Andy is passionate about inspiring a love of books and reading, and this passion drives his work as an ambassador with The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an initiative of the Australian Publishing Industry, to provide books and literacy resources to remote Indigenous communities around Australia. Andy regularly participates in field trips to remote areas of New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to run writing workshops with Indigenous children and to help facilitate the Foundation’s work.

Thirteen illustrated stories from these workshops were published in The Naked Boy and The Crocodile in 2011, with all proceeds going to the ILF. For more details visit www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au.

Andy is also an ambassador of the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge (www.education.vic.gov.au/prc) and the Pyjama Foundation, which provides literacy-based mentoring programs to children in foster care (www.thepyjamafoundation.com).

You can follow Andy Griffiths on twitter, befriend him on Facebook and check out his website www.andygriffiths.com.au for regular updates and tour information.

Ann Haddon

Ann J

Ann Haddon was a teacher librarian in primary schools for 18 years, setting up the Junior School Library at Yarra Valley Grammar School in Victoria, before collaborating with Ann James to establish Books Illustrated in 1988.

She is actively involved in children’s literature, for many years being an executive member and President of the Victorian branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and Vice President of the National CBCA Executive in 2007 and 2008. Her Books Illustrated work has seen her curate and manage many promotions and national touring exhibitions – including Are we there Yet? for the National Year of Reading, Jeannie Baker’s Mirror Exhibition, and most recently, A Bird in the Hand, Bob Graham, A Retrospective with the Lu Rees Archives. Ann is actively involved with many organisations promoting children’s books and reading – including the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the Australian Children’s Laureate.

Books Illustrated, a children’s literature centre in Melbourne, was established in 1988 by Ann Haddon and Ann James. So, for over 25 years Books Illustrated has promoted Australian picture books and their creators, raising the profile of illustration as both a literary visual language and a unique art form.

Books Illustrated focuses on curating exhibitions of book illustration that tour throughout Australia and internationally, particularly in Asia and Italy, collaborating with many organisations.

Programs include workshops for primary, secondary and tertiary students, as well as professional development events for educators. It also provides a consultation service for picture book projects, folio appraisals and industry advice.

Since 2009, Books Illustrated has partnered with the Australian Publishers Association to curate the annual exhibition, Hello! From Australia. promoting Australian picture books and illustrators at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair  in Italy, supported by the Copyright Agency.

Books Illustrated has a particular interest in Asia and has collaborated with many organisations to promote Australian children’s literature and participated in book and literature-related events, particularly in South Korea and China.

Ann and Ann have a unique view of the picture book industry, seen from many angles – librarian, bookseller, gallery director, writer and illustrator. In 2001 they were awarded the Leila St John Award for services to Children’s Literature in Victoria and the Pixie O’Harris award for services to Children’s Literature in Australia in 2000.

Ann James

Ann J

Ann James was an art teacher and moved into designing and illustrating education publications while establishing herself as a children’s book illustrator. Her first book, A Pet for Mrs Arbuckle, was published in 1980.

She is a director on the Board of The Australian Society of Authors  (ASA) since 1996 and manages http://www.thestylefile.com – an online showcase of Australian book illustrators. Ann is a founding director on the Board of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance (ACLA) whose primary initiative is the Australian Children’s Laureate. In 2002 Ann was awarded the Dromkeen Medal for services to Children’s Literature.

The books Ann has illustrated include The Penny Pollard series; the Hannah series; The Midnight Gang; Shutting the Chooks In; Little Humpty; The Way I Love You; Lucy Goosey; Sadie & Ratz, Chester & Gil, the Audrey of the Outback series and, most recently I’m a Dirty Dinosaur and I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, written by Janeen Brian, published by Penguin Books, and Bird & Bear, published by Five Mile Press.

Rebecca Johnson


Rebecca Johnson is an Australian author and award-winning science teacher.

Published by Penguin and illustrated by Kyla May, her latest series, Juliet – Nearly a Vet has received a large number of excellent reviews as well as individual books in the series winning the 2014 Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children’s Literature, being twice nominated for the CBCA younger readers category (2014 and 2015), and nominated for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature (2014). This series is published in Norwegian, Czech, Slovak and Portuguese.

Her best-selling Steve Parish Story Book series featuring Australian wildlife, has sold more than 3 million copies. Each book is also beautifully accompanied by full-colour photographs by award-winning photographer Steve Parish.

Rebecca also has an Insect Series published by Pascal Press with strong links to the Australian Curriculum, presenting facts and scientific knowledge in a fiction format with stunning photographs. This series won the 2014 Whitley Award for Best Educational Series.

Rebecca received the 2010 Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Science Teaching for 2015.

Session information

Rebecca’s session will focus on Juliet Nearly a Vet series.  To prepare for this session it would be helpful if the children had read ‘The Great Pet Plan’. ‘Juliet – Nearly a Vet’ has been adapted by classroom teachers to be used as an alternative text for a year two narrative writing assessment task that fits perfectly within the Australian Curriculum and C2C.

Barry Jonsberg


Barry is the author of seventeen books for Young Adults and children. He has won numerous awards in Australia and overseas, particularly for My Life As An Alphabet which has become a best-seller. His works have been published in fourteen countries and translated into eight languages. His latest book, Pandora Jones: Reckoning, the final book in his dystopian Pandora Jones series, has just been released to critical acclaim. Barry lives in Darwin with his wife and a slightly crazed dog. Barry’s session witll cover: Where do stories come from? How to find them and what to do with them.

Andrew King


Dr Andrew King is a Brisbane based consulting engineer with qualifications in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. He is passionate about the integral role of engineering in environmental management and sustainability and is a Climate Reality Leader.

Children are very interested in the things that engineers do yet there are very few engineers in children’s literature. Consequently, Engibear and his friends Engilina and the Bearbot were created as a “friendly faces” of engineering – a way to introduce engineering to young children.

Andrew considers himself to be very lucky because Benjamin Johnston, a Sydney based Architect, liked the Engibear concept and agreed to illustrate the first Engibear book Engibear’s Dream. Things worked out well and Engibear’s Dream was awarded the President’s Prize at the 2012 Australian Engineering Excellence Awards. Andrew and Ben have now completed their second book Engibear’s Bridge and are working on a third book Engibear’s Trains.

During the sessions Andrew will deliver presentations about creating the Engibear books and engineering and facilitate short technical activities to introduce students to engineering.

Presentation topics include:

  • The process of creating the Engibear books. A journey of about 20 years from an early family story through to publication.
  • The importance of engineering in our daily lives; including interesting engineering examples from the past and present and some future engineering opportunities.
  • Bridges – a short history and overview (they truly are fascinating).

Technical activities (typically only one per session) may include:

  • Technical drawing – students create their own robot-like characters complete with technical specifications.
  • Paper bridge building – students create simple bridge components with paper and test their strength. A bridge drawing exercise is also available for younger students.
  • Paper plane making – students design and make paper planes which must be flown to safely land at a model of Munnagong airport.

Andrew also brings various models of the characters (Engibear, Engilina and the Bearbot) and the Munnasaurus Bridge and explains how these models were made.

Sophie Masson

Sophie Masson

Born in Indonesia of French parents, Sophie Masson came to Australia with her family as a small child and spent much of her childhood shuttling between France and Australia, an experience which greatly influenced her writing. Sophie is the author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults, published in Australia and internationally. She has won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Young Adult category in the Aurealis Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy, several of her books have been listed as Notable Books in the CBCA Awards, including very recently The Crystal Heart (Random House Australia),while Moonlight and Ashes was also shortlisted in the Davitt Awards for mystery novels, the only YA novel to be shortlisted that year. Her most recent books are YA fantasy Hunter’s Moon (RHA 2015); Trinity: The Koldun Code (adult thriller, Momentum, 2014); The Crystal Heart (YA fantasy, RHA 2014); children’s historical novel, 1914 (Scholastic Australia 2014); children’s contemporary novel, Emilio (Allen and Unwin, 2014) and the non-fiction adult title,The Adaptable Author: Coping with Change in the Digital Age.

Sophie is also a founding member and director of small children’s publisher, Christmas Press. She is on the Board of the Australian Society of Authors, and the Board of the New England Writers’ Centre.

The Adaptable Author—coping with change in the digital age—how authorship is changing in the new publishing climate. Sunday: Establishing the small publishing house, Christmas Press—how do you go about setting a small press, and what are the challenges and opportunities?

High School sessions

‘Other Worlds, Other Eyes’—writing stories and characters from a range of backgrounds and settings, ranging from fantasy to contemporary to historical. How do you get into the skin of characters who are very different to you, and how do you bring their world to life?

Marc McBride


Marc McBride is the illustrator of Emily Rodda’s best selling  Deltora Quest series, which has sold over seventeen million copies. He has illustrated more than one hundred and fifty book covers, ten picture books, countless magazines and has had work exhibited with the New York Society of Illustrators. In 2001, along with Emily Rodda, he won the Aurealis Award for Deltora Quest series and The Deltora Book of Monsters (2001). In 2007 he wrote and illustrated World of Monsters, which also won the Aurealis award. Marc’s other work includes The Kraken  (2001), Old Ridley (2002) and Journey From the Centre of the Earth (2003). His Deltora Quest picture books are Tales of Deltora, 2005, The Deltora Journal 2001 and Secrets of Deltora in 2009. He has produced five How to Draw books. His current book will have taken five years to write and illustrate when it is finally released in 2016.

During Marc’s presentation he explains the process of creating artwork. Beginning with imagination and where ideas come from he uses nature as inspiration to paint a dragon. He shows how to use the language of art through colour, light, shape, line and texture. Using simple shapes he encourages children 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!

Is this what Marc really looks like?  you’ll have to come to his session to find out!

Geoffrey McSkimming

Geoffrey & Sue

Geoffrey McSkimming is the author of the bestselling 19 volume Cairo Jim chronicles and now the new Phyllis Wong mysteries, featuring the brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, Phyllis Wong.

Phyllis Wong and the Forgotten Secrets of Mr Okyto, Phyllis Wong and the Return of the Conjuror and the newest story, Phyllis Wong and the Waking of the Wizard, are published by Allen & Unwin. Geoffrey is delighted to be returning to present the Phyllis Wong mysteries at SAFI with his favourite magician, Sue-Anne Webster. Not only is Sue-Anne one of the world’s leading magicians, she is also the inspiration behind Phyllis Wong!

Magician Sue-Anne Webster has performed in theatres around the world, lectured on magic throughout the USA, Europe, UK, Asia and South Africa and judged major magic competitions at international conferences.

She has been profiled in encyclopaedias of magic alongside Orson Welles, Houdini and Copperfield. Together with Geoffrey McSkimming, Sue-Anne Webster brings magic from the Phyllis Wong mysteries to life on stage in a fun, lively and dazzling performance.

Don’t miss The Phyllis Wong mysteries with Sue-Anne Webster and Geoffrey McSkimming. Discover the world of that brilliant young magician and sleuth, Phyllis Wong, as she sets out to solve amazing mysteries, with Geoffrey McSkimming presenting the stories and Australia’s leading lady of magic Sue-Anne Webster performing some of the astounding magic to be found in the tales!

YouTube Film

James Moloney

James M

James Moloney has been writing for Australia’s children and young adults for 30 years, with close to fifty books to his credit, among them ‘The Book of Lies’ and the Silvermay series and YA novel such as ‘A Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’ and ‘Dougy’. His latest book is ‘Bridget: A New Australia’ which is first in a new series by Omnibus focussing on the migrant experience of so many diverse Australians. It was released in February 2015. He also wrote ‘1844 Do You Dare? The Last Horse Race’ part of another new series about Australian history.

Once a teacher and a librarian, his  books – ranging in audience from seven to seventeen year-olds – have made him one of Australia’s most respected authors. James’ award-winning books have been translated into French, Korean, Lithuanian and Flemish/Dutch.

James’ Aussie Chomps titles – The Mobile Phone Detective, Trolley Boys, 68 Teeth and Grommet Saves the World – continue to be popular titles.

Website is :  www.jamesmoloney.com.au

Josie Montano


Josie Montano is an award-winning author of more than 50 resources. From age nine Josie shelved homemade books in the school library and received her first rejection letter from Golden Books at age thirteen. Decades later, Josie has seventeen published fiction books on those shelves, including Veiled Secrets, Wogaluccis, Chickenpox Yuck, Pop Starlets, Snot Funny, The Bubble, and CBC short listed Little Penguin. She has been internationally published not only in Australia but the UK, USA and Italy. Josie writes fiction under the name of Montano and non-fiction resources on Autism/Asperger Syndrome under the pseudonym of Santomauro.

Josie grew up with coal dust and drizzly days in country Victoria. Although famous for her salami, eggplant and stinky cheese sandwiches at school, they didn’t particularly make her a social hit! Josie draws on her varied life experiences to help with her writing, interesting experiences such as being involved in a bank robbery, working within the primary school environment, surviving cancer, growing up within an Italian community, winning the major prize on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and her role as a volunteer member of the State Emergency Services.


Matt Ottley

Matt Ottley

Matt Ottley was born in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where he spent the first twelve years of his life. His various occupations have included stockman on remote cattle stations, builder’s labourer, landscape gardener, flamenco guitarist, equestrian artist, writer, illustrator and composer. He has lived all over Australia and the UK and has travelled widely all over the planet.

Matt Ottley, author, artist and composer, is the creator of such highly acclaimed works such as What Faust saw, Mrs Millie’s Painting and the award winning collaboration with Nadia Wheatley, Luke’s Way of Looking. His book for adults and young adults, Requiem for a Beast, combines all of his talents, including a CD of music for chamber orchestra. He has had 28 picture books published and his paintings appear in over 30 non-fiction books. His latest books include Teacup, a collaboration with author Rebecca Young and Suri’s Wall, written by Lucy Estela. As a composer Matt Ottley is currently engaged with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra on a number of projects.

Matt has illustrated books by Danny Parker the frist being No Kind of Superman.  Their second picture book, Tree, was launched with much fanfare by Shaun Tan in 2012.  The launch also included a live musical piece composed by Matt Ottley which accompanied images from the picture book as Danny narrated the story. Danny and Matt collaborated on another picture book Parachute which was shorltisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards in 2014.

Tony Palmer

DCF 1.0

After graduating from Monash University in 1985 with an honours degree in Graphic Communication Tony Palmer has worked full-time as a book designer for various publishers. He has also been a part-time typography teacher and is currently undertaking a PhD in Art and Design at Monash University focusing on the aesthetics of typesetting in Mandarin. As a long-time enthusiast of Australian History Tony wrote his first novel for teenagers, Break of Day which was published in 2007. Following this he wrote The Valley of Blood and Gold, published in 2011. His most recent publication is The Soldier’s Gift.

1 Typography for non-designers This will overview the five key elements of using type for publications, covering typeface choice, type sizes and leading, kerning and spacing and finally placing text in to publication layouts.

2 Self publishing for the ipad and kindle This presentation will unlock the mystery of what an epub is, and then demonstrate on how they can be created. It will cover topics such as: flowable and fixed-layout epubs, source documents, creating text and images for epubs as well as how to publish files through itunes.

Danny Parker


Danny is based in Perth where he teaches Drama and writing at a large independent boys school called Hale. His first book, No Kind of Superman, was illustrated by Matt Ottley.  The two met while Danny was creating a musical from Matt’s multi-modal work, Requiem for a Beast.    Their second picture book, Tree, was launched with much fanfare by Shaun Tan in 2012.  The launch also included a live musical piece composed by Matt Ottley which accompanied images from the picture book as Danny narrated the story. Danny and Matt collaborated on another picture book Parachute which was shorltisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards in 2014.

2015 is a very busy year with the releae of the first four books in a new series for young readers – Lola’s Toybox – and the release of his fourth Picture book Perfect – illustrated by the wonderful Freya Blackwood. More books are to follow quickly, with the next two Lola’s in the pipeline, and a further two Picture books expected in 2016.

Oliver Phommavanh


Oliver Phommavanh loves to make people laugh, whether it’s on the page writing humour for kids or on stage as a stand-up comedian. He also shares his passion for writing with the kids he teaches at a primary school in Western Sydney. As a comedian, Oliver has appeared on stage, and on national TV and radio. He has also appeared in numerous anthologies such as Growing Up Asian in Australia. He’s a die-hard Nintendo fan and cheers for the Wests Tigers in the NRL! He’s appeared in many writers, arts and comedy festivals across Australia and overseas. Oliver’s books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines, Thai-no-mite and his latest book is Stuff Happens:Ethan. Check out his website at http://www.oliverwriter.com

Oliver will talk about writing humour in Thai-no-mite and Stuff Happens: Ethan.

Lesley Reece


Lesley Reece had a vision to create a Centre to nurture quality Australian literature for children and young adults, and promote talented authors and illustrators.  In 1992, she raised nearly $2 million to establish the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre, now The Literature Centre.  A unique resource recognised nationally and internationally as an essential part of Australian children’s literature.

Lesley’s interest in quality children’s literature began in 1987, when she lived in Ireland for three years.  Upon co- founding the Irish Children’s Book Trust, Lesley prepared the first ‘Guide to Irish Children’s Books’.

Returning to Fremantle in 1990, Lesley was determined to create an organisation showcasing Australian children’s literature and the craft of writing and illustrating.  She applied for tenancy in the de-commissioned Fremantle Prison and the Centre opened its doors in March 1993, comprising three galleries, bookshop, archives, and two-bedroom residence for authors and illustrators.

The Centre is unique in its aims, methods, achievements and its reputation for quality student workshops and professional learning for teachers.   Lesley’s ethos of ‘nurturing the creators’ saw the provision of an Author/Illustrator In-Residence Programme.

In 1994, the Centre’s activities expanded into rural and regional schools.   In 1996, the Centre’s contribution was recognized by substantial funding from the WA Department of Education, which is ongoing.

In 2010, the Children’s Book Council of Australia awarded Lesley the ‘Nan Chauncy Award,’ in recognition of her services to Australian children’s literature.

Teaching is Lesley’s passion, and she continues to inspire and share her love of literature.  The Centre has a Principal Community Partnership with BHP Billiton, which funds Lesley’s quarterly visits to Pilbara schools, accompanied by Australian writers and illustrators.

Lesley envisaged and hosted the inaugural Celebrate Reading National Conference in 2012, offering outstanding programming, world-class Australian presenters and a supportive atmosphere for teachers, librarians, authors and illustrators.  This annual Conference has gained national status.

In 2014, in collaboration with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Lesley developed a unique multi-modal workshop, ‘The Sound of Picture Books’, which showcases the words, images and music of a book.  Also in 2014, Lesley was a Finalist in the Western Australian of the Year Awards for Arts and Culture.

Lesley’s passion and dedication has broken through the barrier of indifference to bring awareness and investment in the field of quality Australian children’s literature.   In establishing The Literature Centre, Lesley’s consummate vision has been realised and her legacy will continue.

Lesley’s sessions will focus on visual literacy using the original artwork of the picture book The Swap by Jan Ormerod and Andrew Joyner.

Pamela Rushby


Pamela Rushby was born in Queensland more years ago than she cares to divulge. She has worked in advertising; as a pre-school teacher; and as a writer and producer of educational television, audio and multimedia.

Pam has written children’s books and television scripts; hundreds of radio and TV commercials; multi award-winning documentaries on Queensland dinosaurs, Australian ecosystems, bilbies, the Crown of Thorns starfish and buried Chinese terracotta warriors; short stories; and freelance journalism. She has won several awards, including a Literature Board of the Australia Council grant to work on archaeological excavations in Egypt and Jordan; a Churchill Fellowship to study educational television in Canada; the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards; three Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards; and a bag of gold coins at a film festival in Iran.

Her historical novels include When the Hipchicks Went to War (Hachette 2009), The Horses Didn’t Come Home (HarperCollins 2012), Flora’s War (Ford Street Publishing 2013) and The Rat-catcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins 2014).

Pam lives in Brisbane with her husband, son and six visiting scrub turkeys. She has two children (plus son-in-law and two gorgeous grandchildren).

She is passionately interested in children’s books and television, ancient history and Middle Eastern food. Her website is www.pamelarushby.com

Nina Rycroft

Nina Rycroft

Nina Rycroft has been delighting children with her illustrations since 2000. She’s had the pleasure of working with the likes of Margaret Wild, Sheryl Clark and Jackie French. In 2013, Nina won the YABBA (Young Australian Best Book Award) for ‘Pooka’ (Carol Chattaway), and the launch of ‘Dinosaurs Love Cheese’ (Jackie French) was celebrated at the Canberra Showcase Festival of Australian Children’s Literature. Since then Nina has illustrated a number of books including, ‘Good Dog Hank’ (Jackie French, Harper Collins), ‘Possum’s Big Surprise’ (Colin Buchanan, Scholastic) ‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’ (Peter Taylor, The Five Mile Press) and ‘The Grasshoppers Dance’ (Juliette MacIver, Scholastic). In her spare time, Nina is codirector of the Illustration School , hosting e-courses in picture book illustration. For more information about Nina and her books, visit www.ninarycroft.com

Drawing Creepy Crocodiles for afternoon tea Description: Nina Rycroft will have you drawing your favourite Aussie critters from ‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’ (Peter Taylor, Five Mile Press). From the baby Brolga, echidna, koala to a very creepy crocodile, learn how to bring movement and animation to all creatures great and small.
How I illustrate Creepy Crocodiles for afternoon tea Description: Nina Rycroft will show you step-bystep how she illustrated the sing-a-long picture book ‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’ (Peter Taylor, Five Mile Press). Learn the art of picture sequencing and storyboarding, brainstorming ideas and developing character. Weather you are drawing a baby brolga or a very creepy crocodile, the same illustration technique applies. Nina will have your favourite Aussie critters running, jumping and dancing across the page!

Michael Salmon

Michael Salmon

Since starting his career back in 1967 with solo exhibitions of his cartoons and paintings, Michael has been busy entertaining young Australians with 176 children’s books, toys, merchandise items, theatre and television work.

In 1978 the ABC took Michael’s character ‘Alexander Bunyip’ from his first book (‘The Monster that ate Canberra’ 1972) and made him into a national star on afternoon television for ten years.

In 2011 the ACT Government unveiled a bronze statue of Alexander celebrating the pink Bunyip’s role in helping children to read. The statue stands outside the new Gungahlin Library in our Federal Capital.

Michael spends most of his time these days visiting Primary Schools around Australia having fun, drawing his cartoons and encouraging students to develop their own creativity.

His latest book is ‘The Masked Echidna’ The Five Mile Press (2014)


What I do in a session:

I draw several cartoons as I go through the one hour session, illustrating & talking about creativity, showing how I get my ideas and then make up my books etc

In the last half hour of the hour show I caricature several of the audience members and ask another in turn to come up the front and draw.

Richard Tulloch


Richard Tulloch is the author of numerous books, plays and TV series, including 151 episodes of the phenomenon that is Bananas in Pyjamas. He has written stage adaptations of Hating Alison Ashley, The Book of Everything and three plays based on Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s 13-, 26- and 52-Storey Treehouse blockbusters, which are currently touring Australia.
He has won five Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE awards for his plays for young audiences, most recently for Snow on Mars.
His many children’s books include Stories from our House, Danny in the Toybox, Cocky Colin and the popular Weird Stuff novels.
He was nominated for a prestigious Hollywood Annie award for his script for the animated feature film FernGully II: The Magical Rescue and is currently writing a screen adaptation of Guus Kuijer’s The Book of Everything for Dutch production company Eyeworks.
He currently divides his time between Sydney and Amsterdam, where he rides his bike between the canals and the tulip fields and works as a freelance travel writer, regularly contributing to the Traveller section in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age.
His collections of short stories,Twisted Tales and Beastly Tales, illustrated by Terry Denton, have just been republished by Random House.

Nadia Wheatley

Nadia W

NADIA WHEATLEY is an Australian writer, whose work includes picture books, novels, biography and history. In 2014 she was admitted by the University of Sydney to the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa), in recognition of ‘her exceptional creative achievements in the field of children’s and adult literature, her work as an historian and her contribution to our understanding of Indigenous issues, cultural diversity, equity and social justice and the environment through story’.

While many of her books for children and young adults have been honoured in the annual awards of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Nadia has also been nominated by IBBY Australia for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing — the highest international recognition given to a living author whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. These works include the classic picture book My Place, illustrated by Donna Rawlins, and the historical novel The House that was Eureka. Over the last decade, Nadia has collaborated with artist Ken Searle to produce a set of ground-breaking non-fiction books that celebrate Indigenous principles of education — a way of learning that puts Country at the centre of knowledge. The most recent of these is Australians All, A History of Growing Up from the Ice Age to the Apology.

Never liking to work within the one genre for long, Nadia Wheatley has recently collaborated with internationally-acclaimed illustrator, Armin Greder, to create the picture book, Flight. In this extraordinary picture book, readers are taken on a journey that is a fable for our times.

Keynote: Australians All: Writing a New History for Young Australians of the 21st Century.

Over the last couple of decades, our national understanding of the historic relationship between Aboriginal people and the land has radically changed. The Apology of 2008 also marked a shift in the relationship between Non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians. Any contemporary history must reflect these new ways of thinking, but a history for young Australians also needs to show the way forward to a culturally diverse and environmentally sustainable future. Representing the author’s lifelong passion for history, Australians All helps us understand who we are, and how we belong to the land we all share. It also shows us who we might be.

Damon Young


Dr Damon Young is a philosopher and writer, who once played a Mafia thug in a Jackie Chan film.

Alongside his well-known nonfiction titles — Distraction, Philosophy in the Garden, and How to Think About Exercise — Damon is also the author of two hugely popular children’s books: My Nanna is a Ninja and My Pop is a Pirate.

Damon’s works have been published in Australia and overseas, and translated into various languages, including Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Turkish and Korean.

Damon lives in Melbourne with his wife, sociologist & author Ruth Quibell, and their two children.

Suzy Zail

Suzy Zail

Suzy Zail was born in Melbourne and worked as a solicitor before beginning her writing career penning features for magazines and newspapers. She is the author of award-winning children’s books published in Australia and overseas and has written a number of books for adults, including The Tattooed Flower, an account of how her father survived the Holocaust. The Wrong Boy, her first work of fiction for Young Adults, was short-listed for Book of the Year (Older Readers) at the 2013 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards and again at the Young Australians Best Book Awards 2015 (years 7-9). Her second novel, Alexander Altmann A10567 was also announced as a Notable Book at this year’s awards. Her novels have been published in the UK, U.S. Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Fictionalising the Holocaust –

Engage in an interactive forum with Suzy Zail, daughter of a Holocaust survivor and author of The Wrong boy and Alexander Altmann A10567, to discuss her books, the writing process and the controversy surrounding holocaust fiction.’