2019 Sydney Conference - How it All Adds Up - Fun Facts

The SCBWI banners might be re-furled and the band packed away but one thing remains: the verve of another successful gathering of local and international professionals in an enthusiastic exchange of knowledge, art and creative joie de vire; like the scent of summer blooms lingering on a balmy summer’s night.

Spread over three days of book launches, conference sessions and master classes, this year’s Australian NZ Conference drew attention from around the world with keynote speakers from the US, international critique sessions, and featured a spectacular Illustrators Showcase not to mention, the non-stop networking!

Ably organised and run by SCBWI RA, Susanne Gervay and her committee of never-say-never volunteers, the conference went off without a hitch. If you want to relive every glorious moment and sift through the sessions again or couldn’t make it this time around and are curious to see what all the fuss was about, visit our Conference Blog, compiled by yours truly and made possible by the tireless efforts of our SCBWI Roving Reporters team.

Meantime here’s how it all added up:

  • 120 packed into The Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft to see 9 authors launch their latest and greatest works

  • 260 delegates converged in the Novotel Central for the One Day Conference

  • 60 publishers, agents, editors, art directors, designers visited the Illustrators Showcase

  • 50 + portfolios were featured in the Showcase

  • 135 delegates feasted together at the Dinner Dance - a few less actually danced the Nutbush

  • 6 members of The Beatnickers Band played until just before midnight, which was just as well

  • 13 Roving Reporters snapped, interviewed, scribbled and recorded every detail of the event

  • 22 + posts have been generated for the Conference Blog

  • 180 attended 6 Master Classes

  • 100 + teachers, librarians, TLS and educators attended the Creating Creative Writers PD Day

  • 6 committee members survived to see another conference

  • 3 Showcase illustrators were awarded prizes from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins

  • countless numbers of volunteers jumped in to help, distribute, guide, time check, moderator and cheer

  • more than two glasses of wine were consumed (by this Reporter alone) to celebrate

Here’s the result of feeding hundreds of hungering creatives information for three days and some very tasty salmon! Entertainment a la SCBWI Band, The Beatnickers.

Now you see me…watch the video below for a round up of our colourful creatives attending the conference. Apologies if your face did not quite make it on the video. We could still feel your vibe in the room!

Thank you to all who came, conquered, presented, reported, shared, cried, laughed and danced. It’s been a conference rich in colour and creativity.

Stick around for some speed interviews and insights from our delegates and presenters, coming soon. Till then,

Rove ya later,

Dimity (aka Head Gardener)



with thanks to Liz Anelli for supplying the illustrated images

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Faculty Margaret Roc

When it comes to landscaping with success, a team of energetic, enthusiastic but unsupervised gardeners is likely to result in some questionable companion planting and mismatched colour schemes. So who coordinators this vi de spiritu? Why the remarkable, Margaret Roc of course.

Margaret is an author, co-author and editor of over 50 books for children and teachers including fiction, non-fiction and picture books. She was born in Scotland and lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, John. She is a mother of two and has worked as a teacher, special needs teacher and teacher-librarian.

So raise your iced-teas to Margaret and get to know this quiet achiever better...

Welcome, Margaret!

Margaret Roc.jpg

Briefly state your conference role and conference responsibilities

Coordinating all the face to face and International critiques.

Coordinating volunteers.

Describe your most notable achievement or proudest moment in Kids’ Lit to date

Apart from my books, I am pleased and proud to have been instrumental, under Susanne’s vision and encouragement, in establishing the SCBWI Online Critique groups.

There are now 24 Online Critique groups with about 120 participants. Many members with wonderful success stories have acknowledged the important contribution their critique group has been to their publishing deals.

Jellybean goes to school.jpg

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

I get the thrill each conference when I hear that some of our members have received contracts through their Critique submissions. I feel somehow that in a teeny weeny way I have helped in their success and that gives me a great deal of pleasure.

Name one thing you can’t live without

So difficult to answer - there are so many things I couldn’t live without: my family, friends, yoga, books and perhaps coffee and ….. chocolate!!!!!!

Provide at least one Fun Fact from a SCBWI Conference you’ve attended or organised

After all the amazing input from speakers, master classes, critiques and pitches it is fun to watch the illustrators duel and then relax, eating, chatting and dancing the night away at the Dinner Dance Party.

Discover all of Margaret’s beautiful work at www.margaretroc.com

The fun is only just starting so strap on your gardening aprons or best dress and visit again before the 2019 Sydney SCBWI Conference shoots into life. Till then,

Rove ya’ later!

Dimity (Head Gardener)