Australia East & New South Wales
Susanne Gervay —Regional Advisor, Australia East
Susanne is inspired by the incredible creativity of the children’s writers and illustrator community. She’s proud to have been awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her books by the International Literacy Association, nominated for the Astrid Ingrid Memorial Award 2020 and received an Order of Australia. She writes fiction from picture books, middle grade to YA novels and engages in complex issues from multiculturalism, disability 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. Butterflies is recognised as outstanding YA literature on disability. Susanne’s picture books are defining as they ‘demonstrate with great power that we can teach our children profound truths and timeless values.’ Professor of English, D.R. Pattanaik, Banaras Hindu University. She is privileged to work with outstanding illustrators, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Anna Pignataro and Serena Geddes. Her latest picture books reach into peace and identity, Elephants Have Wings and The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses. She is a patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, ambassador for Room to Read and other organizations. She’s won awards and her works are endorsed by many organisations.
Deborah Abela, Dip Teach, BA (Comm) —Co-Regional Advisor, Australia East
Deborah trained as a teacher before becoming writer/producer of a national children’s TV show at Network TEN. She then went to Africa where she was harassed by monkeys, was caught in a desert sandstorm and thrown in jail twice. Since then, she’s become an internationally published and awarded author of 28 books including her climate change trilogy, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery were inspired by her grade 4 teacher. Her latest books are the CBCA Notable picture book, Bear in Space illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, and The Book of Wondrous Possibilities, which is her love letter to booksellers and librarians and how they save us when we feel lost. Deb’s won awards for her work but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters.
Marjorie Crosby-Fairall —Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Australia East
Marjorie has illustrated over twenty children’s books and has been published internationally. 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 The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses with Susanne Gervay, Brothers from a Different Mother with Phillip Gwynne, One Christmas Eve with Corinne Fenton, and The Croc and the Platypus with Jacking Hosking. Her recent picture books include Dinosaur Dads with Lesley Gibbes and Bear in Space, a collaboration with Deborah Abela.
Margaret Roc —Assistant Regional Advisor, New South Wales
Margaret is an author, co-author and editor of over 50 books for children and teachers including fiction, non-fiction and picture books. She was born in Scotland and lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, John. She is a mother of two and has worked as a teacher, special needs teacher and teacher-librarian. Her picture book Jellybean Goes to School and non-fiction titles Australia’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals and Plants and Australia’s Critically Endangered Animals are on the NSW Premier’s Reading List.
Amanda Lieber —New Member and Social Media Coordinator, Australia East
Amanda’s favourite career so far has been an actress performing children’s theatre and theatresports in various countries. As a drama teacher she loved writing poetry for her students to perform at eisteddfods. Her wild imagination, love of stories and dedication to educating children has amalgamated her passions into writing picture books and short stories for children of all ages. Amanda’s first picture book, My Giant Seashell, will be published in 2022 with Little Pink Dog Books. A dream come true. She has many manuscripts ready to launch into the world and cannot wait for them to become real books.
Jemima Parker —Editor of the SCBWI Australia East Newsletter
Jemima is a visual arts and law graduate working as communications professional at the Australian National University. She grew up on Australia’s far-south coast in a house with no television, and spent her childhood reading books, writing stories and exploring the creek with her dog.
Before pursuing her dream to write picture books, Jemima has spent almost twenty years honing her writing and communication skills – writing legal contracts, teaching printmaking, presenting about her art practice, and creating content for websites and social media.
An aspiring author, Jemima is currently working on several picture book manuscripts. In November 2021, she was runner up for the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Branch Aspiring Writer’s Mentorship Program. She was shortlisted for this program again in October 2022.
Jemima lives in Canberra with her husband and two much-loved dogs. When she isn’t writing, reading, or making art, you can find her drinking coffee, or testing out stories on her five nieces.
Jacinta Lou —New Books and Awards, Australia East
Jacinta Lou is a writer living in southern Tasmania, with her black pug, Bellatrix, four alpacas, lots of chooks and one very grand rooster.
Jacinta has been a soldier, a Police Officer, a private investigator, a Community Development officer and the inside of a Tasmanian Devil. She has performed in music halls, called herself an artist and was once a cheerleader.
Jacinta has qualifications in Law and a Master of Counselling. She has spent most of the last two years completing courses on writing for children. When she isn’t writing, she is reading the books she claims are for her grandchildren.
Jacinta is new to children’s literature and is excited to be supporting other writers in her role in SCBWI.
Caz Goodwin —Assistant Regional Adviser, Victoria
Caz Goodwin is a Melbourne-based, award-winning author who writes picture books, short stories and junior fiction. Her work has been published internationally and illustrated by Gus Gordon, Shaney Hyde and Kerry Millard (Australia), Ashley King (UK), Low Joo Hong (Singapore) and others. She is best known for her popular rhyming picture books featuring Daisy the Koala (Lazy Daisy and Daisy Runs Wild) and Little Matilda the kitten (Little Matilda and Little Matilda goes to Hospital). Her books have been produced in Braille and featured on Sarah Ferguson’s Fergie and Friends show, CBCA Storytime, podcasts, newspapers, and radio. Caz is on the Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) council and is an Australia Reads ambassador.
Kaye Baillie —Assistant Coordinator, Victoria
Kaye Baillie lives in a coastal town on the Surfcoast. She writes fiction and non-fiction picture books, short stories for children and chapter books. Many of Kaye’s short stories have appeared in the NSW School Magazine. Her picture books have been shortlisted in various awards such as the NSW Premier’s History Awards, WAYRBA (Western Australian Young Readers Book Awards), Speech Pathology Australia Book Awards and the Children’s Peace Literature Award. She is published both in Australia and internationally She also has books published in the educational market. Kaye has a passion for bringing stories about remarkable people to our young readers as well as enjoying writing humorous stories.
Jess Racklyeft —Illustrator Coordinator, Victoria
Jess Racklyeft is an illustrator and more recently author/illustrator, who has worked on twenty-five picture books plus several board books over the past decade for many Australian publishers including Windy Hollow, Affirm Press, Allen and Unwin and Penguin Random House. She also creates a variety of illustrated products for various clients and her own online shop including pins, cards, prints and other goodies. Awards include two CBCA Notables and a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, which sits proudly in her very messy studio.
Amy Adeney —Membership Coordinator & Newsletter Editor, Victoria
Amy is a Melbourne-based author who draws on her background in primary teaching and gifted education to write picture books and junior fiction. She reviews children’s books for My Child Magazine, and hosts Storytime at local independent bookshop The Leaf. In between reading, writing and raising kids, Amy is currently completing an Associate Degree in Professional Writing at Editing at RMIT.
Alison Stegert —Assistant Regional Advisor, Queensland
SCBWI QLD ARA and Sunshine Coast Coordinator Ali Stegert is a determined children’s author and a gushing fangirl of whimsical illustrators. Debuting in 2023 is Ali’s first MG novel, HER MAJESTY’S LEAGUE OF REMARKABLE YOUNG LADIES, an historical fiction/espionage adventure that won the 2021 Chicken House | IET150 Prize (UK). She is repped by Lucy Irvine of PFD Agency, London. Alison is a big believer in the power and joy of creative community.
Jacqui Halpin — Brisbane Coordinator
Jacqui Halpin is a former registered nurse, tuckshop convenor, and children’s author.
Her passion for children’s books came while reading bedtime stories to her children. She completed a Diploma of Professional Children’s Writing and now has the joy of reading her own picture books to her grandchildren. Her picture book, Where’s Lucky?, illustrated by Sandra Severgnini, was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2019. Her latest book, Wartime Nurses – Care and Compassion, is the sixth book in the popular Australia Remembers by Big Sky Publishing.
Jacqui lives in Brisbane where she bakes too many cakes, eats too much chocolate, and drinks far too much tea.
Diane Finlay — Far North Coordinator
Diane left the chilly winds of northeast England in 1995 to make Cairns her home. She’s proud to have been part of the pioneering team which brought the 2008 inaugural festival to the readers and writers of the Far North region. Her efforts continue with the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival. She is author, illustrator and publisher of The Duck with no Quack. The School Magazine has published a number of Diane’s children’s short stories and poems. She has recently finished her first YA novel and is brainstorming a sequel. Diane was a founding member of the Cairns SCBWI Chapter.
Katrin Dreiling — Queensland Illustrator Coordinator
Katrin is a German-born language teacher who moved to Australia with her husband and three children and became an illustrator. She creates quirky illustrations that feature different media. Her first picture book The World’s Worst Pirate by Michelle Worthington was named Notable Book 2018 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
Katrin was awarded the Harper Collins Illustrators Showcase Award 2019 at the SCBWI ANZ conference. She is represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. In 2021 her first authored and illustrated picture book A Perfect Pig published by Scholastic Australia was released and quickly followed by If You Ever Meet a Skeleton written by Rebecca Evans and published by Page Street Kids.
Lauren Mullinder – Assistant Regional Advisor, South Australia
Illustrator, margin scribbler and front page pattern maker; Lauren is inspired by nature and whimsical stories and has illustrated four published books since 2016. She is passionate about literacy, the environment and the arts and is currently involved across SCBWI and CBCA state committees while also being actively involved in workshops and education programs. Lauren has been drawing for as long as she can remember, changed the layout in her studio five times (desks are very heavy) and is currently drawing dinosaurs, swamps and intergalactic space races.
Kristin Martin – Treasurer and Assistant Event Coordinator
Kristin’s poems can be found in her books, including To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme (Glimmer Press, 2019), The School Magazine, anthologies, websites and art exhibitions. She applies her fondness for patterns and numbers to not only her rhyming poetry, but also in her position as treasurer of SCBWI SA. There’s nothing Kristin adores more than hanging out in her garden, walking by the beach or admiring the clouds – all of which inspire her poetry.
Mandy Foot — Illustrator Coordinator
Since 2007 Mandy has illustrated over 20 books and in 2019 added her first title as both author and illustrator, Joey and Riley (Hachette Australia). Bragging points, um – in 2013 Old MacDonald Had a Farm was Hachette Australia’s no. 1 best-selling children’s book and no.4 in Australia and this year Hush Say the Stars by Margaret Spurling (Little Book Press) was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Award. Mandy coordinates the annual SCBWI SA Winter Gathering and always entices the inner illustrator out of every member – no excuses. Her firm belief is that everyone can draw, it’s just the style that differs. Even with so many books currently on the go, she always says yes (except maybe to sleep – that’s a luxury). Amongst book commitments, school visits, mentoring new illustrators to the industry and meeting the high demands of her two attention-starved border collies, she is also a Role Model for Books in Homes and an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia, which she thoroughly enjoys. Ok doggies I’m done… oh yes, I love you too.
Beverley McWilliams – Assistant Event Coordinator
After working in corporate tax and accountancy, Beverley decided life was too short for facts and figures so she ditched the rat-race (and the money) to follow her dream job as a writer. Beverley’s debut picture book Born to Fly was published in 2019 by MidnightSun. She has also published articles and poetry in children’s magazines and has a particular passion for non-fiction, spending her days in the depths of research. Beverley has just finished writing her first novel and is currently working on two picture book biographies. Beverley lives by the beach in South Australia with her family and menagerie of pets which provide endless inspiration.
Alys Jackson — Member Coordinator
Alys is a picture book, short story and poetry writer who lives in Adelaide. Her work appears in magazines, including The School Magazine, (Australia), Aquila (UK) and The Caterpillar (Ireland) and on WellRead, an online reading platform supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and BBC Children in Need. In 2017, Alys received the Harold Goodwin Short Story Award and Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Award for Poetry and Prose. When not writing, she is the Business Development Manager at Children’s University, the University of Adelaide. Alys also runs a local Adelaide Hills Food Swap and can often be seen enjoying a glass of wine in her garden.
Adam Cece is an award-winning best-selling author of children’s books, including Wesley Booth Super Sleuth, Twin Spin and the hilarious Huggabie Falls series, which has been published worldwide. He is passionate about inspiring people, young and old, to read and write. He is an SA Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador, mentor, workshop facilitator and manuscript assessor, and visits schools and libraries around Australia delivering fun, interactive talks focused on being an author, the craft of writing, getting published, solving mysteries, and how to write a cracking shopping list.
You can follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram @ceceadam on Facebook @adamceceauthor or find him online at www.adamcece.com.
Anne Morgan —Regional Coordinator, Tasmania
Anne Morgan is a successful published children’s author, poet, playwright and winner of The Children’s Book Environmental Award for The Smallest Carbon Footprint 2014. She has a PhD in Writing, for which she won a university medal, and a Master of Education Degree. As the Festival Director of the inaugural Bruny Island Children’s Literature Festival 2015, she partnered with SCBWI to hold a professional publishing day.
Alyssa Curtayne is an English teacher with more than 20 years experience across four states. She self-published her first picture book, Leprechaun’s Gold in 2009 and in the process learned an enormous amount about what NOT to do! She has recently arrived home to Tasmania after nine years in the NT and WA and is keen to start making Tasmanian stories more accessible for Tasmanian readers and connecting with other writers. She is studying Creative Writing through Griffith University and plans to complete her Masters before she is 50. Alyssa self-published a Mental Health Toolkit in 2020 and Chakra Cards in 2015 and is very interested in mental health and wellness and building connections. After coming from the SCWBI-West team where networking amongst writers was a treasured part of the writing community, she’s looking to be a part of something similar here. alyssacurtayne.com
Fiona Levings is a Tasmanian-based mother, geologist, duck-wrangling, chicken-chasing, dog-walker who also writes and illustrates children’s picture books. Occasionally, she gets left alone for long enough to sneak off to her studio and work on a picture or two. Fiona works by hand using ink, brush and pen. fionalevings.blogspot.com.au
Australian Capital Territory and surrounds
Shelly Unwin —Assistant Regional Advisor, Australian Capital Territory
Shelly Unwin is an internationally published children’s author with a focus on Early Childhood. Shelly grew up in a tiny English village where she was surrounded by children, animals, and the occasional pixie fairy—a feast for her imagination. She studied teaching and biology at university before moving to Australia in 2002. Shelly is the author of five books in the You’re… series, illustrated by Katherine Battersby, and shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Early Childhood Book of the Year. She is also the author of Hello, Baby!, Blast Off!, and There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book. Her books can be found in Europe, North America and Australia and she is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary US. Shelly lives in Canberra with her husband, two children and crazy, cute Cavoodle – Biscuit.
Krys Saclier —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Krys Saclier believes children’s literature has the power to shape the future. Her picture books, Vote 4 Me and Camp Canberra, explain Australian democracy, history and culture through the adventures of a class of year 6 students. They are illustrated by renowned Australian political cartoonist, Cathy Wilcox, and published through Wild Dog Books. Vote 4 Me won the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Children’s Literature and the ACT Notable Award for Small Press Children’s Literature.
Her first book, Super Nova, illustrated by Rebecca Timmis and published by Ford Street, was nominated for an Aurealis and an ACT Publishing Award.
Krys is a qualified teacher and experienced educator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with experience across television, radio, and press. She is also the creator of the Kids Only Podcast, which features original short audio stories for children.
Find out more at kryssaclierstories.com
Catherine Meatherington —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Catherine Meatheringham spends her days writing picture books and drinking way too many cups of tea. She loves writing noisy picture books that are full of music and onomatopoeia to encourage children to join in with the story. Her picture books include; My Possum Plays the Drums, illustrated by Maxine Hamilton and All Dogs Bark illustrated by Deb Hudson. Catherine lives in Canberra with her husband, two children, dog and a noisy possum that keeps her awake at night.
Sarah Wallace —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Sarah Wallace works as an education policy manager and spends her spare time writing and enjoying time with her three children. She spent four years as a reviewer for Kids’ Book Review, publishing over 100 reviews, and was a roving reporter at the 2019 SCBWI Conference in Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Arts (English) and postgraduate qualifications in early childhood education. Sarah’s first picture book, Emma’s Freckles, will be published in 2022 by Little Pink Dog Books.
Susannah Crispe —Committee, Australian Capital Territory
Susannah Crispe is a children’s book author and illustrator. As a creator, collector and consumer of picture books, she loves being part of an industry that brings art, narrative and creativity to kids. She illustrated Where the Heart Is and Cookie which were both published by EK Books in 2021 with several other books scheduled for publication – some as illustrator, some as author-illustrator. Susannah studied zoology and art history at university, worked in bookstores for over a decade and has a passion for books, tea and travel.