Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Creating Creative Writers—a PD Conference for Teachers and Teacher Librarians

Date(s) - 26/Feb/2019
8:30 am - 4:00 pm

State Library NSW
Corner of Macquarie Street and Shakespeare Place - Sydney, NSW 2000

A unique educational experience
with some of Australia’s finest children’s book creators


Tuesday 26th February 2019 at the State Library NSW


Creating Creative Writers brings together teachers, librarians and some of Australia’s finest children’s authors and illustrators in a one-day professional development conference that focuses on encouraging creativity and developing enthusiastic, confident young writers. Attendees will leave with renewed enthusiasm for how to teach writing and illustration, and a barrel load of fun, practical activities and best practice ideas that can be implemented immediately in their classrooms.

SCBWI is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher. 


For Proficient Teachers
Completing Creating Creative Writers will contribute 5 hours and 0 minutes of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.







All presentations in the Metcalfe Room
Books are available from the State Library bookshop for purchase.


Registration and Coffee


Acknowledgement of Country by Susanne Gervay, Regional Advisor, SCBWI. Megan Perry, the State Library’s Manager of Learning Services introduces the services of the State Library NSW.


Session 1: Creating Super Storytellers

Deb Abela (participating chair)
Sandy Fussell
Yvette Poshoglian
Tim Harris

With related readings by Katrina McKelvey and Candice Lemon-Scott

Deborah Abela will lead discussion with a panel of authors on how to inspire, motivate and develop super storytellers in the classroom. The focus for this session will be narrative writing and authors will share individual practices in the process of creating their own narratives and also their experiences with workshopping with students in schools. Aspects of narrative writing that will be explored include: narrative structure and plotting, creating strong and believable characters, effective genre writing, vocabulary and word choice, the use of online visual resources to inspire and the importance of the editing process.


Morning tea (30 minutes) in the Macquarie Room


Session 2: Creating Fascinating Factual Texts

Sue Whiting (participating chair)
Stephanie Owen Reeder
Gina Newton
Claire Saxby
Corinne Fenton

With related readings by Corinne Fenton and Claire Saxby

Sue Whiting will lead a discussion with a panel of children’s authors, experts in the area of creative nonfiction, on the challenges of researching and writing engaging informative texts.The panel will explore the notion of how “creative” one can be when writing nonfiction or informative texts, i.e. where does creativity come into the process? And also how students can make facts/research their own, the importance of using multiple sources, and the use of “perspective” and “borrowed voice”. Panellists will provide teachers with ideas for research techniques and activities that will motivate teachers and students alike and enable teachers to facilitate quality student research and guide students through the process of creating fascinating and original informative texts.


LUNCH (60 minutes) in the Macquarie Room


Session 3: Creating Passionate Poets

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove (participating chair)
Sally Murphy
Libby Hathorn
Meredith Costain
Lesley Gibbes

With related readings by Alexa Moses from the poetry anthology A Boat of Stars

Jodie Wells-Slowgrove will lead a panel of four children’s poets in a discussion about the trials and tribulations of trying to enthuse kids to read, write and enjoy poetry. The panel will debate whether poetry should be analysed, the importance of reading poetry aloud and how to encourage students to dig deep and write poetry with emotional truth. The panel will draw on their vast experience with writing, performing and work-shopping poetry with students to provide teachers with a myriad of practical ideas for infecting students with the poetry bug and for the development of specific skills, such as using rhythm, alliteration, simile, cadence, metaphor and word play.


Afternoon tea (20 minutes) in the Macquarie Room


Session 4:  Creating Vibrant Visual Narratives

James Foley (participating chair)
Sarah Davis
Liz Anelli
Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

With related readings by Sue Whiting and Dimity Powell

James Foley will lead four award-winning illustrators in a discussion about the process of children’s book illustration, focusing on visual literacy and the construction of visual narratives. The panellists will discuss their differing processes, tied by a common language – but rather than using words and sentences, their language uses the visual elements of colour, line, shape, body language, facial expression, typography, light and shadow, scale, and composition. Attendees will learn how these different elements contribute to all visual narratives, and take home four practical activities related to these elements.


Closing remarks and evaluation



Join us afterwards for a special free event at Dymocks.

Guest Speakers
Matt Cosgrove | Author Illustrator
Joy Lawn | Reviewer and PM Literary Awards Judge

February 26, 2019
Dymocks 424 George St, Sydney

Please click here to find out more and book.




$250 per person includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea.

CLICK HERE to Book at Trybooking

Please contact the event organisers via the Trybooking system if you need to organise an alternative form of payment.







Susanne GervayRegional Advisor, Australia East & New Zealand
Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her body of work by the International Literacy Association and an Order of Australia, Susanne Gervay is recognized for her youth literature for all ages on social justice. With a light touch, she engages young people in complex issues from multiculturalism to peace.   The I Am Jack books have become rite-of-passage on school bullying, adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, touring Australian and US theatres. Susanne’s books are endorsed by Room to Read bringing literacy to the developing world, Cancer Council, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Variety, Life Education. She is the Regonal Advisor SCBWI Australia East & NZ.


Deborah Abela
Deb has always been short and a bit of a coward, which is why she has written over 25 books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends, flooded cities and surviving Hitler’s bombing raids during WW2. Her crankiness about climate change led to the novels Grimsdon and New City and Teresa A New Australian, which was inspired by her family’s survival in WW2 before migrating to Australia. Her latest book is The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery, the sequel to The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee. Deb’s won awards for her books but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters. She is an ambassador for the Premier’s Reading Challenge and Room to Read.


Sandy Fussell
Sandy Fussell is the author of fourteen books for children published in Australia, the UK, the US and Asia. Her Samurai Kids series won an IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with a Disability award and contains multiple CBCA Notables, her novel Polar Boy was shortlisted for CBCA Australian Younger Readers Book of the Year and her picture book Sad, the Dog was reviewed in the New York Times. She is an information technology consultant, children’s book reviewer for the Sunday Telegraph and one subject short of a Maths degree. Enthusiastic about school visits, diversity in literature and ICT in education, she’s often found in a school library waving her practice sword or teaching a Minecraft-based writing workshop. Having survived three life-threatening illnesses in the last eight years, she knows for certain the glass is always half–full. Website: www.sandyfussell.


Yvette Poshoglian
Yvette Poshoglian is the bestselling author of over 30 books for children and young readers. She writes the wildly popular Ella and Olivia series (23 books and counting!), the Frankie Fox Girl Spy books and has written historical fiction including My Australian Story: Escape from Cockatoo Island. Yvette has worked as an English teacher in south west Sydney and has strong experience in collaborating and consulting on educational projects. Yvette recently ran the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge for the NSW Department of Education and continues to work with the Department on a variety of projects, including the Invictus Games. She is proud to be an ambassador for the Books in Homes charity.


Tim Harris
Tim Harris is one of the most exciting children’s authors in Australia. His first series of books, Exploding Endings, will have primary-aged readers both captivated and laughing out loud. The first book in the series, Painted Dogs & Doom Cakes, was awarded Honour Book at the 2017 KOALAs. His second series, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables, contains his trademark quirkiness, mixed with a touch of poignancy. The lead book was awarded a CBCA Notable in 2018 and has been shortlisted for the 2018 REAL Awards (as voted by children in NSW, Victoria and NT). A former primary school teacher of 15 years, and advocate for creativity and short stories, Tim’s presentations and workshops are dynamic and entertaining. He is a sought-after presenter, having worked in over a hundred schools in 2016 and 2017 alone. Tim lives in Sydney with his wife and three young children.


Sue Whiting
Sue Whiting is an author and editor who lives and works in a small coastal village south of Sydney. Sue has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her latest books are Missing, a mystery novel for readers 10+ and Beware the Deep, Dark Forest, a picture book illustrated by Annie White. Sue loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages. Join her on her adventures in story at


Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder
Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder is an award-winning author and illustrator. All four books in her Heritage Heroes Series, including Lennie the Legend and Marvellous Miss May,have either won or been shortlisted for the Young People’s History Prize in the New South Wales Premier’s History Awards and/or the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books in the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year Awards. Her picture book I’ve Got a Feeling! was an IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with a Disability. Stephanie specialises in writing both novels and picture books that bring history to life by retelling the amazing true stories of young people from Australia’s past.


Dr Gina Newton
Dr Gina M Newton trained as a marine biologist, zoologist and science communicator. Raising awareness of Australia’s unique biodiversity is her purpose and passion. Gina’s third book goes a long way towards fulfilling that goal. Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks(2016, National Library of Australia), aimed at 8 – 12 y, won three prestigious awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Eve Pownall Information Book of the Year, in 2017. From childhood, Gina loved to write stories and poetry, and draw pictures. Her picture book, Blossom Possum the sky is falling down under(Scholastic Press, 2006) has sold over 135,000 copies, and her second picture book, Blossom Possum and the Christmas Quacker(Scholastic Press) was released in 2013. Inspired from Master Classes by Fiona McIntosh and the late Master himself, Bryce Courtney, Gina is working on Young Adult and Middle Grade novels. She’s also excited to be writing a wildlife conservation book with the NLA.


Jodie Wells-Slowgrove
Jodie Wells-Slowgrove is a children’s author and teacher-librarian. Passionate about encouraging children to enjoy reading and writing Jodie was a contributor to the Teachers 4 Teachers Reading Box and co-founder with fellow author Sandy Fussell, of The Story Crowd, a provider of quality Children’s Literature Festivals for Australian Primary schools. Her fantasy chapter book series, The Wilderness Fairies was first published in 2014 by Penguin Books Australia.



Sally Murphy
Sally Murphy lives in Western Australia with her family. She is an award winning author, poet, speaker and educator, with  a Doctorate in Creative writing. She has published more than 30 books and has been short-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, among others. Her acclaimed books include Toppling, The Floatingest Frog, Pemberthy Bear, and Snowy’s Christmas. Pearl Verses The World  was short-listed for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the CBCA Book of the Year Award, and won the children’s category in the Indie Awards.


Libby Hathorn
Libby Hathorn is an award-winning author and poet of more than  eighty books for children and young people. Translated into several languages and adapted for stage and screen, her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland. Libby was recipient of a Centenary Medal 2003 for her work in children’s literature. In 1994, her picture book Way Home was the winner of the Kate Greenaway Award, UK for illustrations by Greg Rogers. In 2012 she was a National Ambassador for Reading and travelled to many country towns to talk about Australian literature as she has done in her role as Australia Day Ambassador since 1994. In 2014 she was winner of The Alice Award, a national award for ‘a woman who has made a distinguished and long term contribution to Australian literature.’ In 2017 Libby was the winner of the Asher Literary Award for A Soldier, A Dog, A Boy. This award is for a woman writer on the theme of peace, the first time the text of a picture book was awarded the prize. Three of Libby’s picture books have been adapted as operas: Grandma’s Shoes, Sky Sash So Blue, and currently Outside.


Claire Saxby
Claire Saxby writes award-winning fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. Some of her books encompass all three. From big historical stories with strong curriculum links like ‘My Name is Lizzie Flynn’, ‘Meet the Anzacs’, ‘Meet Weary Dunlop’ and ‘Bird to Bird’, to iconic Australian animals including ‘Big Red Kangaroo’, ‘Emu’, ‘Koala’ and ‘Dingo’, her picture books aim to engage, entertain, inform and encourage curiosity. Claire’s work is published in Australia and internationally.



Corinne Fenton
Corinne Fenton is an acclaimed picture book author. Her classic picture books include Queenie One Elephant’s Story illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe, (an Honour Book in the 2007 CBCA Book of the Year Awards) and The Dog on the Tuckerbox, also illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe. Flame Stands Waiting illustrated by Sebastian Ciaffaglione was released in March, 2010 and was on the Queensland Premier’s Reading Challenge for 2011. In 2014 Corinne launched 5 picture books –  Chasing Shadows; Hey Mum, I Love You; Hey Dad, You’re Great; Hey Baby, It’s Christmas; and Little Dog and the Christmas Wish.  Little Dog and the Christmas Wish was the theme for the 2015 Myer Windows in both Melbourne and Brisbane. In  2016 Corinne, with illustrator Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, released One Christmas Eve to be featured again as the theme for the 2016 Myer Christmas windows in Melbourne and Brisbane.  Her latest release My Friend Tertius is a heart-warming picture book about a WWII code-breaker and his pet gibbon, created with Owen Swan.


Meredith Costain
Meredith Costain is a versatile writer from Melbourne, whose work ranges from picture books through to novels and non-fiction. Her books include CBCA Honour Book Doodledum Dancing (illustrated by Pamela Allen), Musical Harrietand her new series Olivia’s Secret Scribbles. Her poetry has appeared in many collections (both in Australia and internationally) and is a feature of her quirky best-selling series the Ella Diaries. She enjoys presenting poetry and writing workshops to children and adults around Australia and overseas.



Lesley Gibbes
Lesley Gibbes grew up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Wagga Wagga in country NSW. After completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Sydney she embarked on a successful sixteen-year teaching career in Primary Education specialising in dance, drama, debating and public speaking. She is now an awarded, internationally published author of thirteen books for children. In 2015 Lesley’s picture book Scary Night was awarded Early Childhood Book of the Year, Honour Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Her other picture books include Little Bear’s First Sleep (CBCA Notable Book, Early Childhood 2017), Bring A DuckQuick As A Wink Fairy PinkFluke (Whitley Certificate of Commendation 2018 & Wilderness Society Environment Award Shortlisted 2018), Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys, Three Little Mermaids and Cicadas. She is also the author of the internationally published chapter book series Fizz, illustrated by Stephen Michael King. The first book in the series, Fizz and the Police Dog Tryouts was awarded CBCA Notable Book for Younger Readers in 2017 and included in the Best Children’s Book of the Year list by Banks Street College, America 2018.


James Foley
James Foley makes picture books and comics for kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016) and Dungzilla (2017) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The third in the series, Gastronauts, will be published in late 2018.  James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015)  In The Lion(2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014)  have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings 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 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.


Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis began illustrating picture books in 2008, and is now ruined for any other career. She has an honours degree in literature, and her love of language and narrative underpins her illustration work – as a self-taught artist, she is constantly experimenting with new ways to tell stories visually. She has illustrated 37 books with major publishers and been shortlisted for numerous awards in Australia and New Zealand. Sarah is an ambassador for Room to Read, and the Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Australia East/NZ)


Liz Anelli
Illustrator Liz Anelli previously lived and worked in England but now resides in Newcastle, NSW. She has a huge passion for drawing and keeps rows of sketchbooks in her studio. In 2017, her book Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (written by Pamela Freeman) was a CBCA Notable Book and was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, NSW Premier’s History Awards, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature and the Educational Publishing Awards. She has been extensively recognised for her illustrations with awards by CBCA, ASO, Illustrators Australia, Australian Society of Authors & May Gibbs Trust Fellowships. Desert Lake (Walker Books) shortlisted NSW Premiers Award 2017, One Photo (Penguin Random House) and Ten Pound Pom (Blackdog Books) shortlisted CBCA Picture Book of The Year in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Recent publications are Grace and Katie and Maddie’s First Day with Dry to Dry  and The Biscuit Maker out in 2019.


Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
When Marjorie was a little girl she often escaped to the library, spending hours devouring picture books and minutely examining their illustrations. Consequently it was a surprise to no one that she decided to become an illustrator. Marjorie has illustrated several children’s books and her magazine work includes The School Magazine and Australian Geographic. Her books appear on the Premier’s Reading Challenge lists and have been shortlisted and won awards, including the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for her first picture book. Her picture books include Brothers from a Different Mother (Penguin Random House), One Christmas Eve (Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker), and The Croc and the Platypus (Walker Books). She is an assistant regional advisor for SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand. She can be found on Instagram and her Website.


Alexa Moses
Alexa Moses graduated from a masters degree in screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio school in 2001 convinced she wanted to write books and television, but ended up a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald instead. Over her six years at the Herald, she worked as a features writer and entertainment reporter. A successful television screenwriter, she’s been working as a screenwriter for international children’s television. Her books include Slave Girl, Talk Like An Ancient Egyptian and an acclaimed poetry anthology, A Boat of Stars.



Candice Lemon-Scott
Candice is an Australian author, editor, freelance writer and workshop facilitator. Her latest titles include Jake in Space, a six book series of space adventure stories with New Frontier Publishing. Following a successful career in media, Candice now devotes her time to her writing. She also runs an editing and manuscript development service and is a Literacy Champion for the Literacy Villages program. She currently serves as a Role Model for the Books in Homes literacy program.



Katrina McKelvey
Katrina McKelvey is a children’s author, former primary school teacher and mother of two. Her first picture book,Dandelions, illustrated by Kirrili Lonergan and published by EK Books was released in 2015. Katrina is the President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Inc. Newcastle Sub-branch, is on the board of the Newcastle Writers Festival, is a Books In Homes Volunteer Role Model, and facilitates the Hunter Writers Centre Children’s Writing Group.  Katrina is an education advocate and is enthusiastic about school visits, and participating in conferences, festivals, and professional development days. She has over 10 years primary school teaching experience. As a reluctant reader, Katrina is passionate about helping children build love of reading and writing as early as possible and then maintain it. Katrina can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and her Website.


Dimity Powell
To Read, Write and Inspire sum up Dimity’s main passions in life, along with sailing on the beam, eating ice cream and writing in her diary – although doing all three at once makes her nauseous. She’s a Kids’ Lit nut, living, breathing and reading it for huge chunks of her day. She weaves words into short story webs for anthologies, digital narratives, junior novels and most gratifyingly, into picture books. When she’s not wrangling words, she’s reviewing, managing an esteemed team of reviewers for Kids’ Book Review or sharing her love of story in front of crowds of very small people. It says so on her website, so it must be true:  Dimity lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although they rarely hang out much together.  Such are the lives of authors and superheroes.






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