Farewell and Thank You NZ ARA, Frances Plumpton and welcome Gillian Torckler

Outgoing ARA NZ, Frances Plumpton

Outgoing ARA NZ, Frances Plumpton

Ten years and more, it’s time to hand over my position as ARA responsible for NZ, and time for reflection. There’s so much to be grateful for, especially the local and international collegiality and sense of family. I’ve always thought of SCBWI as supporting and extending the skills of local writers and illustrators, published or not, looking out at publishing possibilities in the wider international children’s publishing community with SCBWI resources helping immeasurably.

I hope too, in reverse, that internationally there’s more of a sense of NZ publishing now.


Perhaps I should break into a chorus of ‘I’ve been everywhere . . .. ! I’ve participated in a SCBWI conference preceding the Bologna Book Fair, presented books on behalf of NZ members on the SCBWI stand at the Bologna Book Fair on at least 2 occasions, attended a Europolitan SCBWI conference following Bologna, have attended the annual SCBWI conference in Los Angeles 3 times and taken the opportunity of attending a New York Metro SCBWI event. I’ve also been fortunate in attending the Asian Festival of Children’s content in Singapore, which is partnered by SCBWI, and meeting other international members of the Regional teams there, and learning of the challenges that they face. And of course participating in our local Australian East/NZ ! What wonderful opportunities these have been to wave the flag for the splendid NZ children’s books.

It’s been an honour to meet our international advisors, Kathleen Ahrens and Angela Cerrito, at several of these events.

Dear to my heart has been the support and enthusiasm of the Australia East/NZ Regional team members over these years, so many long time friends. How fortunate I’ve been to see the publishing careers of so many members move from tentative beginnings to well-regarded authors and illustrators.

And above all I have been so grateful for the mentorship of our vibrant, generous, big-hearted leader Susanne Gervay.

Gillian Torkler Author and ARA New Zealand

Gillian Torkler Author and ARA New Zealand

I know that I have personally gained immensely from all these experiences, and thank you all, for you are all part of the wonderful SCBWI family.

I am passing my role on to Gillian Torckler confident that she will be able to grow NZ membership and participation throughout the country. I would  so much like to add my support for Gillian who will be amazing. Gillian is an author and science writer, health scientist and echocardiographer, knitting and crochet designer and scuba diver. Welcome Gillian, it is truly wonderful to have you on the team! You can find out much more about Gillian here.