Amazing Success of the SCBWI Australia and New Zealand Conference

The energy, launches, pitch sessions, publisher panels, critiques, keynotes with the brilliant illustrator Bruce Whatley and Prinz award winning author Melina Marchetta, the masterclasses ... with wonderful catering by celebrity chefs from Vincent at The Hughenden Hotel ... and the best dinner dance party ever with out own SCBWI band with authors Meredith Costain, Scott Chambers, Mark Greenwood and illustrator James Foley - the Beatnickers ROCK!!!!

And so much business was done with the Illustrator Showcase having the more than 50 publishers, art directors and editors in talks for books. The authors did brilliantly too - expect books and contracts!!!!

And there was craft and friendship and networking across Australia and New Zealand and even to the USA!!!!! 

Brilliant and thankyou for the amazing support of the Illustrator Showcase committee led by Sarah Davis, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Andrea Edmonds, Dale Newman and Jenny Hale.

Thankyou to the invaluable admin/website work of Assistant Illustrator Coordinator Marjorie Crosby-Fairall.

Thankyou to Margaret Roc for her amazing management of the critiques and manuscripts.

Thankyou to Deb Abela for her gifted curating of the 7 launches!!!!!!!  As well as other things.

Thankyou to Tracey Hawkins and Katrina Germein for their curating of the Pitch session - I expect contracts coming from that.

Thankyou to Sheryl Gwyther for being the ROVING REPORTER coordinator and blog master.

Thankyou to Betty Sargeant for the hash twitter management - loved your signs all over the Hughenden!

Thankyou to the brilliant band - what a night!!!!!

Thankyou to so many - Penny Morrison (delegate bags), Frances Plumpton (registration), the SCBWI leaders and committees who work throughout the year supporting the wonderful world of SCBWI DOWNUNDER - check them out on our front page of our Australia East & NZ website.

THANKYOU to the fabulous staff of The Hughenden Hotel - special mention to James RUBEN Executive Director and to Jered Front Office Manager.

Thankyou to Australia West for joining us - LOVE you guys so much - yeah to Frane Lessac RA and James Foley - who were the Australia West cheer leader team.



Susanne Gervay, RA Australia East & New Zealand

Meredith Costain and Opening Hooks

Roving Reporter: Caz Goodwin

Meredith Costain ran a wonderful workshop at the end of the SCBWI 2014 Conference. Her topic was Opening Hooks. Everyone knows how important the opening of a story is and that Meredith is a great (in her own words) ‘hooker’, but we were keen to know more.

Meredith had sought the views of agents, publishers and editors about the essential elements of hooking the reader:

  • I want to be swept into the voice or world of the book…
  • The opening needs to be immediately engaging…
  • Is it gripping?
  • Do I like the characters?
  • Do I want to know what happens next?
  • Is it well written?
  • Is it fresh?
  • Is the voice confident and distinctive?

 We discussed the various types of hooks:

  • Puzzle Hook (what is going to happen next)
  • Dialogue Hook (captivating dialogue)
  • Voice Hook (different, interesting voice)
  • Character Hook (introducing someone we like or support)
  • Action Hook (starting in the middle of the action)
  • Scenic Hook (starts with setting)
  • Philosophical Hook (starts with ideas, thoughts, opinions)

 We had fun coming up with our own opening lines and had a discussion about the importance of chapter endings.  We left with lots of information, ideas and helpful advice.

 Caz Goodwin

Dr Ernie Bond: Common Core – The Pleasures of Reading and the Publishing of Children’s Books

Roving Reporter: Caz Goodwin

Ernie Bond is Associate Professor of Education, Salisbury University, USA.  Ernie’s presentation covered the new Common Core Standards for English; these have been adopted by 45 states across the USA.

The key changes to the curriculum include:

  •  Focus on depth over breadth
  • Increased emphasis on non-fiction
  • Reading, writing and speaking as in evidenced in texts
  • Increasingly challenging readings and complex texts
  • Cross-disciplinary or trans-disciplinary learning

Implications for those in the book industry include:

  • Fewer books read in school
  • 50% of books in elementary (primary) may become non-fiction
  • 70% of books in high school may become non-fiction

Ernie’s students explained the 10 Anchor Standards for English

  • Ask and answer questions about key details
  • Retell stories/ideas using key detail
  • Identify literary elements including character, setting etc
  • Ask and answer questions about the words, and phrases in context
  • Recognise common types of text (formats, genres), and portions of text
  • Identify and define the roles the author and illustrator play and point of view
  • Describe the relationship between media in creating narrative, this includes visual literacy
  • Identify and critique the ideas/arguments in a book
  • Compare and contrast elements across books
  • Read and comprehend complex texts. This includes individuals and groups reading with purpose and understanding

Ernie’s informative and entertaining presentation left us agreeing with the National Literary Trust’s research that ‘we must see reading for pleasure as an activity that has real educational and social consequences.’

Caz Goodwin