Festival info and speakers




Full festival program

Everything you need to know about the festival can be found in the program. 


Visitor sessions

Plan your visit by viewing the following sessions and their location on each day of the festival. 

  • Student/child cost: $10 per student, per session.  
  • Adult cost: $15 per session
  • Accompanying teacher with at least 10 students: free (additional staff need to purchase an adult ticket)


  Book tickets to all sessions here


Adult workshops and events


An evening with Stan Grant
7 pm
$70 per adult $55 per concession
Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and special advisor to the Prime Minister on Indigenous constitutional recognition. A multi-award winning current affairs host and author, Stan Grant's Aboriginal heritage has shaped his dynamic, resilient personality. He has written The Tears of Strangers, Talking To My Country, and, his latest book, The Urgency of Now. Stan has won many major awards including an Australian TV Logie, a Columbia University Du-Pont Award (the broadcast equivalent of the Pullitzer Prize), and the prestigious US Peabody Award.

Book now 



Writing historical fiction with Darcy-Lee Tindale
9 am - 12 noon
Betty Archdale Library, Senior School
$40 per person
Let the irrepressible Darcy-Lee Tindale help you discover your writing skills in a workshop designed to ignite your passion for writing historical fiction.

Book now


The Importance of reading for pleasure with Anna Feinberg
12 noon
Lower Everett Space, Junior School
$20 per person

Anna is an award winning author, her books include the 17 titles in the Tashi series and the Minton Goes series. 
She will present a talk for parents on the importance of reading for pleasure. 
Find out, from an author’s perspective, the advantages of promoting reading with students of all ages.  

Book now 

Speaker profiles



Deborah Abela

 Deborah Abela, an Australian author of children's books, specialises in a range of genres. She is an outstanding achiever and has won a number of awards. Her notable books include the Max Remy Super Spy series and Jasper Zammit Soccer Legend series.  Deborah has most recently published the picture book, Wolfie: An Unlikely Hero.


Abdi Aden

Abdi Aden has penned an inspirational and uplifting memoir. Abdi's world fell apart when he was only thirteen and his home was destroyed in Somalia's vicious civil war. Effectively an orphan, he fled Mogadishu. His book reveals his journey of struggle, hardship and survival against all odds and his unwavering optimism.

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Liz Anelli

 Liz Anelli is a professional illustrator and children's author who previously worked in Britain and moved to Australia  in 2012. She won an Australian Council grant to visit and research Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. She has also been awarded ASA and NAVA grants and a May Gibbs Fellowship. Her most recent book is Grace & Katie. 


Sonia Audoly

Sonia Audoly is a teacher, journalist and architect too. Born in Italy and now living in Australia, Sonia believes in love, happiness, simplicity and slow living. In her first book The Magic Mail Fairy she shares her family tradition of writing letters, but in a magical way. Sonia would love everyone to rediscover the extraordinary power of words, the pleasure of writing by hand and the excitement of receiving a letter.


Tristan Bancks

Tristan Bancks has a history of acting and filmmaking as well as being an award-winning children’s author . His books include the My Life series, Mac Slater and Two Wolves. Tristan's new books are My Life & Other Weaponised Muffins and The Fall. Tristan is a writer-ambassador for literacy charity Room to Read.


JC Burke

JC (Jane Catherine) Burke was born and raised in Sydney. Her debut novel White Lies was a CBCA Notable Book and she has written many popular books including White, The Story of Tom Brennan which won the CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers and is currently on the NSW HSC English Syllabus and Pig Boy which won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. She released The Things We Promise in 2017.


Michael Camilleri

Michael Camilleri creates books, comics and visual theatre. Michael’s illustration work can be seen in One Minute’s Silence by David Metzenthen. He also illustrated The Devil You Know by Leonie Norrington and the album art and accompanying picture book for Martin Martini’s Vienna 1913.


Peter Carnavas

Peter has been writing and illustrating books since 2008 when he created Jessica’s Box, Last Tree in the City, The Children Who Loved Books and Blue Whale Blues.  He has collaborated with other authors and illustrators and had books made into a musical and a puppet show. He released his first novel The Elephant in 2017.


Eileen Chong

Eileen Chong is an award-winning Sydney poet. She holds a Masters of Letters (Creative Writing) from Sydney University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Linguistics and Literature) from the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and a Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education in Singapore. In 2010, she won the Poets Union Youth Fellowship and was the Australian Poetry Fellow for 2011-2012. Her books are Burning Rice (2012), Peony (2014), and Painting Red Orchids (2016). 


Matt Cosgrove

Matt Cosgrove is an author and illustrator of children’s books.  He has illustrated many picture books, collaborating with industry legends such as Jackie French and Glenda Millard. Matt Cosgrove is the author and illustrator of the exciting new book series Epic Fail Tales published by Scholastic. These totally disgusting, yet completely awesome, retellings of classic fairy tales with a twist include Snow Man and the Seven Ninjas, Attack of the Giant Robot Zombie Mermaid and, coming soon, Little Stunt Riding Hood.


Andrew Cranna

Andrew Cranna is an artist educator and author who is currently based in Sydney. The bloodhound boys: The great blood bank robber is Andrew’s first graphic novel published by Walker Books. Andrew’s cartoons and illustrations are loved by young people across the country and appear regularly in The School Magazine.


Cath Crowley

Cath Crowley is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her novels include Words in Deep Blue, Graffiti Moon, Chasing Charlie Duskin (A Little Wanting Song) and the Gracie Faltrain trilogy and Rosie Staples' Magical Misunderstanding, as well as the newly released Take Three Girls. 


Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis began illustrating picture books in 2008. She has an honours degree in literature, and her love of language and narrative underpins her illustration work.  Sarah has illustrated more than 37 books and been short-listed for 30 major awards in Australia and New Zealand. 


Tara Eglington

Tara Eglington grew up in Byron Bay, Australia, and now lives in Sydney. Tara is the author of How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You,  How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You,  My Best Friend is a Goddess and The Long Distance Playlist. Her books have been published in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.


Mick Elliott

Mick Elliott is a children's television producer, scriptwriter and animator. Since 2001 he has worked at Nickelodeon Australia, overseeing award-winning series for kids of all ages. His book trilogy, The Turners is fun and entertaining and hugely popular with an ever-increasing audience of young readers. 


Jules Faber

Jules Faber is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, renowned for his caricature art and realistic drawing and his work as an animator on the Disney Program. He has worked with the author, Anh Do, on the WeirDo series. He has been nominated for an ABDA award for the best-designed series, working on Kaboom Kid, Helix, and Leo da Vinci. 


Fleur Ferris

Fleur’s colourful and diverse background has given her a unique insight into today’s society and influenced her writing. She grew up on a farm and has been a police officer and a paramedic. The darker side of life can be seen in her edgy YA novels including Risk, Black and Wreck.


Anna Fienberg

Anna Fienburg is an award-winning and popular Australian author of young adult fiction novels, children's literature and picture books. Her best selling books include the Tashi and the Minton series.


Lesley Gibbes

 Lesley Gibbes is an Australian children's author and primary school teacher. She is the author of CBCA Early Childhood Book Of The Year Honour Book Scary Night and the hilarious chapter book series Fizz, both illustrated by Stephen Michael King. Lesley's most recent book is Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys.  


Libby Gleeson

Books were hugely important to Libby Gleeson as a child, and have remained the focus of her adult life. Libby’s fiction and picture books have won multiple awards, including CBCA short-listings and wins, State Premier’s Literary Awards, the Bologna Ragazzi Award, and the Prime Minister’s Award. Her most recent book is Clare's Goodbye.

Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman is a fantasy writer. Her most recent novel is The Dark Days Pact, the second book in the Lady Helen trilogy of supernatural Regency adventures, and winner of the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best YA Novel. The first book in the series, The Dark Days Club, is a 2017 CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers. Alison is also the author of EON (aka The Two Pearls of Wisdom) and EONA (aka The Necklace of the Gods), and Singing the Dogstar Blues.


Erin Gough

Erin Gough is a fiction writer, whose award-winning short stories have been published in a number of journals and anthologies. The Flywheel, published in 2015 and written for young adults, was shortlisted for numerous awards and subsequently won the Ampersand Prize. Her most recent novel is Get it Together, Delilah!


Stan Grant

Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and special advisor to the Prime Minister on Indigenous constitutional recognition. A multi-award winning current affairs host and author, Stan Grant's Aboriginal heritage has shaped his dynamic, resilient personality. Stan has written The Tears of Strangers, Talking To My Country, and, his latest book: The Urgency of Now. Stan has won many major awards including an Australian T.V Logie, a Columbia University Du-Pont Award (the broadcast equivalent of the Pullitzer Prize), and the prestigious U.S Peabody Award. 


Jacqueline Harvey

Jacqueline Harvey knew she wanted to be an author at a young age. In 2012, the first book in her best-selling Alice-Miranda series was awarded a YABBA, and since then, she has had an Alice-Miranda title on the REAL Awards shortlist every year. Jacqueline continues to write further stories for the hugely popular Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series and these books continue to feature on bestseller and awards shortlists.In March this year, Jacqueline launched Kensy and Max, an action-packed spy-adventure series for boys and girls. 


Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults and a journalist. As a high school student, Will won The Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories. His debut novel, Loathing Lola was released when he was just 19 and met with critical acclaim while his second novel, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award.


John Larkin

John Larkin has a BA in English Literature and a MA in Creative Writing from Macquarie University. John is the author of over 23 books for children teens and adults. The Shadow Girl received the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Writing for Young Adults. His YA novel , The Pause, was nominated for the Prime Ministers’ Literary Awards 2015 and won the Queensland Literary Awards.


Glenda Millard

Glenda Millard is the author of multi award-winning children's literature such as Isabella's Garden, The Naming of Tishkin Silk and A Small Free Kiss in the Dark. Her latest novel for young adult readers is called The Stars at Oktober Bend. Glenda's most recent publication is the picture book Pea Pod Lullaby.


Jaclyn Moriarty

Jaclyn Moriarty is the prize-winning, best-selling author of novels for young adults and adults including Feeling Sorry for Celia, The Year of Secret Assignments and the newly released Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlesome. Jaclyn grew up in Sydney, lived in England, the US, and Canada, and now lives in Sydney again.


Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell is a bestselling, internationally published children’s author with a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. She grew up in a book-mad household on the Sydney’s North Shore and her books include the Lulu Series,  The Sun Sword Series and many more. Her most recent publications are the Pippa's Island books.


Louise Park

Louise Park is a highly accomplished author with over three million books sold and her titles regularly feature on bestseller lists. She has created blockbuster bestsellers that include Harriet Clare, Zac Power Test Drives and Boy vs Beast. Louise writes under her own name as well as the very popular names: H. I. Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose.


James Phelan

Author of 25 books, James Phelan’s passion for writing was inspired by the geo-political thrillers he read as a teenager.   His bestselling and award-winning thrillers for young adults and children include The Hunter, Liquid Gold and Patriot Act.  His series The Last Thirteen with its cliffhangers, plot twists and conspiracy theories has become a popular choice for middle school readers. 


Boori Pryor

Boori Monty Pryor is an Indigenous Australian writer best known as a storyteller. He has co-written many books with Meme McDonald. Meme and Boori began their writing partnership with Maybe Tomorrow in 1998. In 2012 he was named the inaugural Australian Children's Laureate.


Tohby Riddle

 Tohby Riddle is an award-winning writer, illustrator, cartoonist, designer and sometime editor based in Sydney. He has written and illustrated numerous well-loved picture books; written a young adult novel; was the cartoonist for The Good Weekend for nearly 10 years; and is a former editor of The School Magazine, a literary magazine for children published by the NSW Department of Education. 


Judith Rossell

Judith Rossell is the multi-award-winning author-illustrator of the bestselling Stella Montgomery series, Withering-by-Sea and Wormwood Mire. Judith has written 13 books and illustrated more than 80, and her work has been published in the US, UK and translated into more than 20 languages. 

Shakespeare Interactive

Shakespeare Interactive

Performing parts of Romeo and Juliet in an interactive session designed to thrill and enthuse students with the power of Shakespeare’s work.


Matt Stanton

Matt Stanton is a bestselling children's author and illustrator. He is the co-creator of seven bestselling picture books, including the mega-hits, There is a Monster Under My Bed Who Farts and This is a Ball. His middle-grade series, Funny Kid has been published all around the world.


Craig Smith

Craig Smith's warm, quirky illustrations have amused kids for more than three decades. With more than 360 books and many awards to his credit, the humour and pathos of home and school life, and a fondness for unusual perspectives are features of his work. His best known titles include the classics Whistle Up the Chimney (winner of a NSW Premier's Literary Award), Dreadful David, Where's Mum? and Billy the Punk.

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Darcy-Lee Tindale

Darcy-Lee Tindale has written comedy for radio, stage, media personalities, comedians and theatre restaurants. She has been a long time contributor to The School Magazine. Her plays, short stories, poems and articles have also been widely published. Darcy’s work has been nominated and won many awards.  Darcy is a drama teacher, actor, theatresports player and director.


Toon Creations

Toon Creations, featuring cartoonist and director Adam Brisson, run cartooning workshops in Sydney and NSW for school students. Students learn simple cartooning techniques by drawing characters with a range of moods and expressions. They also learn how to create their own characters, by starting off with simple shapes and building the cartoon step by step. They cover shapes, character creation, expression, speech bubbles and actions.


Nova Weetman

Nova Weetman has written for various literary magazines, children's TV and short films. Nova has published young adult novels such as The Secrets We Keep, Everything Is Change. Her novel The Haunting of Lily Frost, was shortlisted in the 2014 Aurealis Awards for Best Young Adult Novel.


Philip Wilcox

Philip Wilcox is the current Australian Poetry Slam Champion and two time NSW Poetry Slam Champion. He has performed at the Sydney Opera House and literary festivals both nationally and internationally.


Mark Wilson

 Acclaimed author/illustrator Mark Wilson's picture books include the war-themed series, My Mother's Eyes: The Story of a Boy Soldier (2009), Angel of Kokoda (2010), Vietnam Diary (2013) and Digger, The Dog Who Went To War (2015). He has also written and illustrated Migaloo, The White Whale (2015), Beth: The Story of a Child Convict (2016).


Bronwyn Vaughan

Bronwyn Vaughan will present Turbans, Ties and Turkish Slippers. The show, based on stories from France, Turkey, India and Russia, explores the way we find individual and cultural expression through clothing, costume and dress.  The show also looks at how culture is passed down from one generation to another.  Bronwyn has worked as a performer, writer, musician and storyteller in the field of Theatre in Education, Children’s Theatre and Community Cultural Development for the past 28 years.

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