SCBWI Queensland's Regional Meeting - Cairns, April 2013

Queensland’s geographical area can mean SCBWI members from the regions and the outback miss the contacts, networking and other opportunities those of us in the south-east corner and Brisbane city enjoy.

So with the help of  SCBWI Head Office's (Kathleen Ahrens, Regional Advisor for Internationals) generous contribution of $350 for airfares. SCBWI ARA for Qld, Sheryl Gwyther attended a regional SCBWI meeting at Cairns in far north Queensland.

This year, Mena Creek member, illustrator and author, Jacque Duffy couldn’t make the journey to Cairns so she and Sheryl spent a productive afternoon together at Paronella Park, south of Cairns. Jacque is very active in a writing group in the Innisfail/Mission Beach area, and is involved in regional arts. She has excellent connections with local government, the Qld Writers Centre and local media – a great ambassador for SCBWI. And in June, she'll also run the ASA's One Word One Day illustrators event in Cairns.

In Cairns, members, Trudie Trewin, Diane Findlay and Celia Berrell attended, along with past-member, Kay Crabbe, and Michelle and Mark I’Anson. An apology from illustrator, Ann Harth who was away.

It’s clear that, even though the tyranny of distance is real, all are enthusiastic and committed writers and/or illustrators of picture books, fiction, non-fiction, poetry or self-published e-books. At this meeting, members shared their latest WIPs and latest publications, and group critiques all proved useful and appreciated. And congratulations to Trudie Trewin on her forthcoming new PB with Windy Hollow Books.

In response to the noticeable lack of writing/critique groups for children’s/YA writers in Queensland, Book Links/SCBWI Qld jointly set up a new Writing/Critique Group for children’s writers. With its online section in the pipeline, northern members can join it as well. Write Links – Creating Kids’ Books is now on Facebook

While the 2012 Cairns regional visit wasn’t a membership drive, one attendee did subsequently join SCBWI. Celia Berrell is an enthusiastic and valuable contact in the educational-book publishing area and in science writing for children.

The northern members expressed their hope that regional visits will continue and I’m sure SCBWI can be a conduit for them to maintain contact amongst themselves as well.

2013 will also see a regional visit to Gold Coast/Tweed region and the Maleny/Sunshine Coast. Keep an eye open for news on our Facebook site or email for up-to-date information.

Please join in the conversation on our SCBWI Qld blog and Facebook sites - they're there for you.