Meeting Margaret Roc - SCBWI Conference Volunteer

Merry Margaret

Merry Margaret

It takes great skill and patience to herd cats as they say, perhaps even more so to coordinate large groups of hitherto over-zealous creatives. It is a task no single person should attempt alone. Fortunately for our SCBWI Conference organisers, there is a woman in their midst who is up for the job, Margaret Roc.

Who is Margaret RocAuthor, co-author and editor of over fifty published fiction and non-fiction books for children and teachers, Margaret Roc is a forced to be reckoned with. Yet her demure manner and ever-smiling face belie not only her writing prowess but also her supreme ability to organise and coordinate, qualities required in galleon proportions when facilitating a conference as involved as the SCBWI Biennial Sydney Conference.

Her colleagues regard her as somewhat of a dynamo. Here’s what fellow Conference organiser and Assistant Regional Adviser, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has to say:

 ‘Margaret has done an amazing job of very patiently organising around 130 critiques. She has had a mammoth job to sort through the schedule, availability and match appropriate assessors and fulfil requests where possible…all while crosschecking that participants aren’t double booked as roving reporters, volunteers or participating in pitches or other panels. In addition, she has been organising all the volunteers for things like timekeeping and registration and all the little things that go unnoticed…unless they are not done.’

 Let’s meet Margaret

As a teacher and Teacher Librarian I especially enjoyed inspiring children in reading and imparting the love of books.

I began writing when my own children were born I have continued writing in my spare time ever since. Now I’m an author, co-author and editor of more than 50 books for children and teachers including picture books, early readers and non-fiction books.

Most of my picture books are light-hearted and amusing but deal with important themes like loneliness, friendship, family and belonging. I love writing about animals and many of my non-fiction books are about animals and the environment. My latest books Jellybean Goes to School (PenguinRandomHouse), Australia's Critically Endangered Animals and Australia's Deadly and Dangerous Animals and Plants (Heinemann) are on the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Is this your first SCWBI Conference? If not how many have you attended, where?   

I have only attended Sydney SCBWI conferences and I have been actively involved as the Critique Coordinator in 2014 and 2016 conferences

What is the most memorable (SCBWI) Conference experience you’ve had to date, or hope to have?

Most amusing and frustrating record: It took 27 emails before I was able to answers all the queries for one delegate

Greatest fun: dancing and singing along to our wonderful Conference Beatnickers band

Greatest pleasure: hearing about our authors and illustrators who have picked up publishing deals through the Conference

Greatest admiration: for those amazingly talented brave souls who pitch their MSs

One of the many most memorable Conference experiences at the 2014 Conference: Bruce Whatley’s amazing session and the wonderfully amusing illustrator’s dual with Bruce Whatley and Stephen Axelson

On behalf of all the Conference delegates this year and past, thank you Margaret!

Well, it’s almost Conference time. Stick around, we’re going to squeeze in a bit more fun before we sail into Sydney Harbour. I hope you’ve packed your dancing shoes…

Rove you Later!




SCBWI VIC June 13 Meeting

Jane Godwin, Publisher of Books for Younger Children at Penguin is our guest speaker for the upcoming June 13 SCBWI Victoria Meeting. Jane will reflect on things she's learnt as a children's writer and publisher. Award winning children's writer and illustrator Jude Rossell  will talk about collecting ideas and inspiration and the indefatigable Corinne Fenton will tell us about judging the Dorothea Mackellar awards.

Please register by 10 June if you would like to attend (registration details below). 

Speaker Details -

Things I've learnt so far: Reflections of a Children's Writer and Publisher

      Jane Godwin is a publisher of books for young readers at Penguin Books Australia. She is also a highly acclaimed author of over twenty books for children across all areas and ages. 


Jane Godwin is a publisher of books for young readers at Penguin Books Australia. She is also a highly acclaimed author of over twenty books for children across all areas and ages. 

Much of her time is spent encouraging and supporting authors with whom she works. Jane is the creator of the highly successful Our Australian Girl series whose quality historical fiction for middle readers is ground-breaking. 

Jane spends as much time as she can (while engaging in a busy full-time job!) working with young people in schools, running various literature and writing programs and encouraging students in their own creative ventures. Jane has worked with Alison Lester in Indigenous communities including Groote Eylandt, Mornington Island and Yakannara.

Most of her waking hours are dedicated to pursuing quality and enriching reading and writing experiences for young people—whether it’s as a writer, a publisher or a speaker/facilitator in schools. Jane Godwin is published internationally. She has received many accolades, including the 2000 Queensland Premier's Award (Children's Books) for The Family Tree and the  2006 Aurealis Award for The True Story of Mary Who Wanted to Stand on Her Head.

She's had shortlistings in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the New South Wales State Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson Prize), the YABBA award and Speech Pathology Australia Awards. Each of Jane's publications have been made notable books in the CBCA Awards.  

Jane's most recent novel is Falling From Grace (Penguin, 2006). Her most recent picture book, How Big is Too Small?  is illustrated by Andrew Joyner and due for release in May 2015. 

Upcoming titles include What Do You Wish For? illustrated by Anna Walker, to be published in October 2015, and Bear Make Den co-written with Michael Wagner and illustrated by Andrew Joyner, due to hit bookshelves in early 2016.

Inside the Dorothea Mackellar Awards with Corinne Fenton

    Corinne’s award winning books include  Queenie One Elephant’s Story ,  The Dog on the Tuckerbox , and  Flame Stands Waiting  all published by Black Dog Books.


Corinne’s award winning books include Queenie One Elephant’s Story, The Dog on the Tuckerbox, and Flame Stands Waiting all published by Black Dog Books.

Hey Baby! a love letter to baby, was shortlisted in the SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards for 2013. This was followed last year with Hey Mum, I Love You, Hey Dad, You’re Great and Hey Baby, It’s Christmas.

Also released last year, were Chasing Shadows, published by Ford Street and Little Dog and the Christmas Wish published by Black Dog Books. Little Dog was shortlisted for the Crichton Award in this year's CBCA shortlists.

Moving on from her role in SCBWI, Corinne is the 2014/15 judge for the Primary School section, of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.

Judith Rossell On Collecting ideas and Inspiration

    Judith Rossell is a writer and illustrator. Her books include maze and puzzle books, picture books and novels, and have been published in more than ten languages. She has written 11 books and illustrated about 80.


Judith Rossell is a writer and illustrator. Her books include maze and puzzle books, picture books and novels, and have been published in more than ten languages. She has written 11 books and illustrated about 80.

Recent picture book titles include Oliver (published by Harper Collins US), To Get To Me, by Eleanor Kerr (published by Random House) and Bogtrotter, by Margaret Wild (published by Walker Books).

Her illustrated novel Withering-by-Sea, published by ABC Books, won the 2015 Indie Book Award for Children and YA, and is shortlisted for the 2015 CBCA Younger Readers Book of the Year. She teaches at RMIT and at the Australian Writers Centre, and has a cat the size of a walrus.

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 and Registration Details

Date: Saturday 13 June, 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: To reserve your place, payment must be received by Wednesday 10 June. 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.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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 three meeting dates this year will be on:
     13 June
    5 September 
    21 November

SCBWI Victorian Gathering 29 November 2014

Dear SCBWI VIC members
Our final gathering for 2014 will be on 29 November in Carlton (2-5pm).  Paul Collins will be our guest speaker and promises to offer up some of his best survival tips as both a publisher at Ford Street Publishing and as an author. Illustrator Kim Fleming will speak about Building a Career in Publishing and author Alison Lloyd will speak about Beginnings: How to get your story off to a good start.  Full details can be found in the attachment. I hope you can join us for this special get-together.  

Date: Saturday 29 November, 2014

Where: DiMattina’s Restaurant (upstairs room), 306 Lygon Street, Carlton

Time: 2pm – 5pm (then stay on for drinks afterwards)

Cost: $25 members, $30 non-members (includes afternoon tea)

Payment: To reserve your place, please pay by Wednesday 26 November in one of two ways:  

  1. Direct deposit to:

National Australia Bank

Account Name: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

BSB: 082-187            Account no: 82-863-8450

Would you please be sure your name appears with the deposit amount on the statement as well as sending a follow-up email to me, advising when payment was made, by Wednesday 26 November.

  1. Cheque made out to SCBWI and posted to Caz Goodwin, 37 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East, VIC 3123.  (Cheques must be received by Wednesday 26 November).

Christmas Drinks
As it will be our final gathering for the year, everyone is invited to stay on for Christmas drinks after our gathering on the 29th November. At 5pm, DiMattina’s will open the bar upstairs. I hope you can stay (or join us) for a drink and some Christmas cheer. (Drinks will be available for purchase at the upstairs bar).
I hope to see you all on 29th November, if not before.
Caz Goodwin