SCBWI Success Story Aura Parker

Path to Publication: My first picture book contract - words & pictures

Aura Parker pic.jpg

In early 2015 I was offered my first picture book contract as writer and illustrator. The idea grew out my 4 year old son’s obsession with insects. Last year, we went on meandering bush walks together, searching for stick insects and inspecting spider webs. Seeing the insect world through a child’s eyes helped my idea for a bug book and sprouted a lot of noisy characters that couldn’t be ignored. Once I started drawing them I couldn’t stop!

I signed up for the Illustrator Portfolio Showcase at the SCBWI Conference in Sydney in July 2014. I never knew such a thing existed or I would have done it sooner, as it’s a great way to have work seen by the industry. They have a room set up with illustrators' portfolios on tables and invite publishers and art directors to view. The illustrators don’t go in while all this happens. I was new to the industry and things opened up to me dramatically around the time of the conference. I’d been making a lot of new work and joined in with the 52 Week Illustration Challenge and shared lots of work online too. Along the way, I discovered that writing a book is like pouring a whole lot of time into some uncertain cup in the sky, really exciting and really hard. 

At the SCBWI conference I took up the opportunity to book a portfolio critique with crazy talented Bruce Whatley. Showing my pictures to an illustrator who has worked on so many books was most inspiring and a piece of advice that sticks in my mind is, “Make it how you want it and not how you think it should be”. It’s really valuable when you’ve moved away from client-led design work to your own creative projects. Bruce suggested I get in touch with Scholastic and recommended I find Rebecca Young. She’s a picture book author and has written some beautiful books. She didn’t attend the Illustrator showcase but asked Andrew Berkhut, Head of Publishing at Scholastic to scout anyone she might like and he came back with a postcard of one of my illustrations. I got in touch via email and my little postcard paved the way. Go little postcard!

My first picture book, with lots and lots of bugs, will be published in July 2016 with Scholastic Press and it’s wonderful news that it’ll make it into the hands of little readers. So, keep up the drawing and word wrangling because you never know what opportunity might be around the corner. Since then, I’m working on the illustrations for another picture book too, out next year with New Frontier. 


New Member Winter Meet-up, Sydney

Dear new SCBWI Australia East & NZ members,

There will be a Winter meet-up on Sunday 27th September at 2pm at The Hughenden Boutique Hotel. If you would like to catch up over coffee and meet other new members please RSVP to Ramona Davey via email:

If you have spare time why not take advantage of the great event Writers In The Park, that is taking place across the road at the Centennial Park.

We look forward to seeing you!

SCBWI VICTORIA September Meeting

Date(s) - 05/Sep/2015
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Di Mattina's Restaurant
306 Lygon St - Carlton, Victoria

Join us for an inspirational afternoon where author/teacher/creativity expert Simmone Howell will explore various creative techniques including journaling and mapping to generate story ideas and stretch creativity boundaries (suitable for both writers and illustrators).

Simmone specialises in leading creativity workshops, finding the intersections between art, everyday life and writing.

Discover new approaches to tackle creative blocks and ignite your imagination, creativity and innovative thinking.

Bring along your preferred creative utensils and get ready for a special event.

Simmone Howell is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and screenwriting. She also teaches Young Adult (YA) writing at RMIT as part of their Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing.

Notes from the Teenage Underground won the Victorian Premier's Prize for YA literature and the inaugural Gold Inky Award. It was also a CBCA notable. Everything Beautiful was a finalist in the Melbourne Prize for Best Writing and shortlisted in the Inky Awards. Girl Defective was shortlisted in the Inky Awards and the Prime Ministers Literary Award. It was also a Kirkus best YA book of 2014 and selected on the best YA lists for LA Public Library and Toronto Public Library.

Simmone specialises in literature for young readers and her YA fiction has been published in Australia, USA, UK, Germany and Amsterdam.

Show and Tell   
As usual, we will have a brief ‘Show and Tell’ segment, so if you have a recent publication to show us or news of a recent success to share (such as an award or grant) we’d love to hear from you. 

Meeting Details

Date: Saturday 05 September, 2015
Place: DiMattina's Restaurant (upstairs room), 306 Lygon St, Carlton
Time: 2pm—5pm (all are welcome to stay on afterwards to chat and drink downstairs)
Cost: $25 members, $30 non-members (includes afternoon tea)

Payment Details

To reserve your place, payment must be received by Wednesday 2 September. You can pay in one of the following ways:

1. Direct Deposit to: 
            National Australia Bank
            Account Name: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
            BSB: 082 187
            Account Number: 82 863 8450

Please be sure your name appears with the deposit amount on your payment statement. Please also send a follow-up email to Caz Goodwin ( advising when payment was made. 


2.   Cheque made out to SCBWI and posted to:
             Caz Goodwin,
             37 Auburn Road,
             Hawthorn East Vic 3123.

Victorian SCBWI Committee Members
Caz Goodwin - Assistant Regional Adviser
Chris Bell - Assistant Coordinator and CBCA Liaison
Serena Geddes - Illustrator Coordinator
Betty Sargeant - Technology and Social Media
Jo Burnell - Membership Coordinator, Newsletter Editor

Gatherings for 2015
Our remaining two meeting dates this year will be on:
    5 September 
    21 November