NZ Children’s Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

It's that time of year for the NZ Children’s Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Heather Haylock’s Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter, illustrated by Lael Chisholm (Penguin Random House NZ) is shortlisted for the Picture Book Award

Eileen Merriman’s Catch Me When You Fall (Penguin Random House NZ)  is shortlisted for the Young Adult Fiction category and Pieces of You (Penguin Random House NZ) for The Best First Book

Maria Gill’s Abel Tasman Mapping the Southern Seas, (Scholastic NZ), illustrated by Marco Ivancic is shortlisted for the Russell Clark Illustrator Award.

The Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington, August 8

Find out more here.

Writing NSW Kids & YA Festival

Saturday June 30, 2018 at Writing NSW, Rozelle

It was apt that this year’s Writing NSW Kids and YA Festival began with a panel discussing the benefits of joining a writers’ group. The fresh perspective, the camaraderie, the motivation to keep on keeping on – all that can come from a good writers’ group – and the same is true of a good writing festival. So what were the words of wisdom from the program packed with talented authors, illustrators and publishers? The key takeaway was that to succeed in the book industry, you need passion.

As bestselling author Jacqueline Harvey put it, while speaking with author and Festival Director Belinda Murrell, “writing is a marathon not a sprint – look at it as a long term proposition”. Harvey spoke of years of hard work and perseverance before really hitting her stride as an author. Finding the initial motivation to stop talking about wanting to write and actually start writing was the first hurdle – and the years since have taught her that there’s no substitute for hard work, and no greater joy than connecting with readers around the world.

What are the keys to success?

·       Read widely. Reading is the most essential tool to be equipped with for writing. – Garth Nix

·       Make the personal universal [in your writing - so that readers from all walks can find something that resonates with them in your work]. – Kirli Saunders

·       Write the thing that you want to read, and try not to think about publication [while you’re working on it]. – James Bradley

How do you write? / How does your writing day look?

·       Lots of authors and illustrators spoke of beginning their day with a walk, and walking being the best thing to clear the head, think through storylines, and nut out characters and ideas.

·       Jaclyn Moriarty explained that for most of her books she begins by putting together a very detailed plan of what’s going to take place.

·       Megan Jacobson uses music and Pintrest ‘mood boards’ to help her get into the headspace of certain characters.

·       Tamar Chnorhokian has revisited places from her past, such as her old school, to help bring back the feelings and memories of the place and time she’s now writing about.

Who has been influential in your career?

·       Jacqueline Harvey spoke of the good advice she’s received from fellow author, Markus Zusak including, when stuck with what should happen next in a story, to “just think about the obvious and do the opposite”!

·       James Bradley mentioned that, starting out, author Michael Ondaatje was an inspiration: “if he can write a book that says all these things, then maybe I can too”.

For a full festival program, including biographical information about the festival speakers, search the event archives at

TAS Professional Development Weekend, 27-28 October 2018

Under the godmotherly guidance (and occasional wand zapping) of Susanne Gervay, Regional Adviser extraordinaire, the SCBWI TAS team is hard at work organising a SCBWI Professional Weekend in Hobart.

When?     27-28 October 2018

Where?  Day 1: Performance/Screen studio, Moonah Arts Centre, 23-27 Albert Road, Moonah, TAS.

               Day 2:  Writing and illustration critiques to be held at the new Tasmanian Writers Centre premises, 24 Davey Street Hobart

Day 1 will include a keynote address from Maryanne Ballantyne, Publisher at Black Dog Books  (Publishing Today - What we are looking for from Tasmania?). Sessions on the crafts of writing and illustration will follow. A panel of Tasmanian talent will then speak about their journey to publication, then we will have a pitching session to industry professionals. The final session will be how SCBWI connects you to the industry.

Day 2 - individual writing and/or portfolio critiques, 20 minutes face to face with publishers or other industry professionals. Writers and illustrators who live out of Hobart may apply to have their critiques on Saturday 27 Oct at the Moonah Arts Centre or at the Writers Centre early on Sunday 28 October.

Cost:         Day One:  SCBWI members $100,  non members, $195.

                  Critiques (Day one or two):  $60

Only participants who have attended the Day One seminar will be eligible for critiques.

For more information, contact Anne Morgan, or Christina Booth,