Rocking Rolling Riding - Sydney Conference Kicks Off

2019 Sydney Conference Superstar, Susanne Gervay described it as a BUZZ. Sydney Trains might remember it as something more chaotic but one thing is for certain, cram a bunch of excited children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers on a train bound for Beecroft and you’ve got a recipe for LOUD!

120 people: kids lit industry personnel, families and creators were drawn to Beecroft for this event

120 people: kids lit industry personnel, families and creators were drawn to Beecroft for this event

The Event: Celebrating Books with Paul McDonald at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft

The Creators:

  • Christina Booth

  • Amelia McInerney

  • Meredith Costain

  • Shelly Unwin

  • Aura Parker

  • Kelly Hibbert

  • Aleesha Darlinson

  • Caz Goodwin

  • Dimity Powell

The Brief:

A speed launch of their latest work of art, aka children’s book. The variety and scope of topics was incredible, illustrating to the crowd of 120 just how diverse and awesome picture books and junior novels really are.

The hilarious, moving and insightful presentations were delivered with humility and humor and from a personal point of view, were a tremendous way of sharing the love of story with so many in such a brief but brilliant time. I found this experience immensely fulfilling, and enjoyed every second of it. What a privilege to be in the same room with so much talent.

Here are some of the highlights from the raucous trip in; the presenters; and the crowd!

We could have stayed in that bookshop all afternoon but of course, there was a Conference to attend.

Come back soon for the next exciting installment of Sydney 2019!

Rove ya later!

Dimity (Head Rover)



Images courtesy of RRer, Maria Parenti-Baldey and various kid lit sharers.

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Faculty Sheryl Gwyther

Sheryl Gywther is the SCBWI Assistant Regional Adviser for Queensland, an impassioned advocate for all things kids’ lit and a writer for 7-13 year olds. Her short stories, chapter books and school plays are widely used in schools, and her novel, Secrets of Eromanga, an adventure set on an Australia’s dinosaur fossil dig is still popular in many schools.

She’s a recipient of two Australian Society of Authors Mentorships; two May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Residential Fellowship; and an Arts Qld Individual Professional Development Grant. In 2013, Sheryl was recently awarded a SCBWI Work-of-Outstanding-Progress Grant for her historical adventure w-i-p, Sweet Adversity.

When Sheryl occasionally has a spare day, she spends it on painting, printmaking and photography. She’s also a completely besotted grandmother who now has a small person of her own again to share wonderful children’s stories with. It’s hard not to admire her zeal and talent so slam your plant pots together for Sheryl Gywther!



Briefly state your conference role and conference responsibilities

I’m a SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor, in charge of a wonderful tribe of KidLit creators from Queensland. We also have three sub-branches in Queensland (we’re a pretty big state) - one in the Far North Qld, at the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

At the conference, I’m MCing a session, and various other duties (can one call ‘having fun’ a duty?)

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

The publication in July 2018 of my historical adventure set in the Great Depression, Sweet Adversity, (HarperCollins Australia).

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

A manuscript assessment with the wonderful HarperCollins publisher, Lisa Berryman … most memorable because Lisa told me she absolutely loved my manuscript submission, Sweet Adversity, and my protagonist, Addie McAllister, and also the way I write, and could I please send her the whole manuscript. I didn’t stop grinning for the rest of the conference.

My most memorable foreign SCBWI Conference was the 2018 Summer Conference in Los Angeles. OMG! It was totally amazing, brilliant, informative, massive … I’m still getting my head about the experience. I’m so glad I made the effort to go! Thank you, Susanne Gervay for encouraging me … may not have forced myself to fly so far just for a week otherwise.

Name one thing you can’t live without

My imagination. And my family … especially the little addition to our lives, Ava Harriet Gwyther … now 16 months old. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ’s the next scientist in our family.

Provide at least one Fun Fact from a SCBWI Conference you’ve attended or organised (anywhere in the world)

A FUN FACT from the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. There were over 1200 delegates to this conference held in a huge hotel in the city. Can you imagine 1200 people in a huge ballroom ALL talking at the same time about books, publishing, writing, illustrating KidLit? Yeah, the buzz almost lifted the roof! Check out the fabulous, informative conference blog, here.

Awesome, Sheryl! Just like the Sydney 2019 SCBWI Conference is shaping up to be. Can’t wait.

Uncover more of Sheryl’s writing and artwork at Or meet her in Sydney IRL along with all of our other fabulous SBCWI faculty. The fun begins on Sunday 24 February. Stick around for more info on that in our next post, soon! Till then,

Rove ya’ later!

Dimity (Head Gardener)