Stephen Orr has published eight novels, a book of short stories, as well as essays, columns and other scribblings. Thankfully, he has never written a poem, ever. He has taught Science and English in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia and, to be honest, has learnt more in schools than he’s taught (especially how to get pen refills to stick into ceiling tiles). He’s come second (or third or fourth) in many awards and competitions, so now believes that winning is overrated (although his vegetable soup did help the 1st Hillcrest Scouts win the 1979 Cohen Cup for best bush cooks!).
Matt Ottley is an award-winning multi-modal artist, working equally across the fields of literature, visual arts and music. Matt has had 37 picture books published and his work also appears in more than thirty nonfiction books.
His awards include the CBCA Picture Book of the Year and both the Queensland & NSW Premiers Awards for literature. His international awards include Ibby Honour Book for Australia and a White Ravens listing, Bologna. He has recorded his music with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir.
Lisa Tiffen is a children’s picture book author, illustrator and composer. She has previously published a family of four quirky books; Grumps, Lovlies, Sorrows and Frights.
A piano teacher for many years, Lisa has recently commenced writing orchestral music to accompany her books. Being able to combine her love of music, art and writing makes her heart sing.
Kera Bruton lives on the south coast of New South Wales with her husband, two sons and Italian water dog Alfonzo. From a young age art has always been a major part of Kera’s life. Her previous careers saw her working as a special-effects make-up artist and milliner.
Kera loves creating illustrations that allow the viewer to enter a new world away from their own, where dreams can come true and new friends can be found. Kera loves to experiment with all mediums and uses multiple creative techniques in her illustrations. The Plastic Throne is her first picture book.
Amani Uduman is a children’s author and primary school teacher from Melbourne. In addition to her teaching degree, Amani has graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, Health Promotion from Deakin University. She has numerous titles published by a non-profit organisation called Library for All, Australia, and her work has been included in many fundraising anthologies.
In her spare time, Amani enjoys reading, writing, walking and listening to R&B music. She also has a keen interest in metaphysics.
Irma Gold is an award-winning author and editor. She has previously published a short fiction collection, Two Steps Forward, and her short fiction has been widely published in anthologies and journals like Meanjin, Island, Westerly, Going Down Swinging and Review of Australian Fiction, among many others. She has also published three children’s books, with another two forthcoming in 2021. She is co-host of the Secrets from the Green Room writing podcast.
The Breaking is her debut novel. It won the NSW Writers’ Centre Varuna Fellowship Award and received development funding from artsACT and CAPO. Irma is Ambassador for Thailand’s Save Elephant Foundation and has worked with rescued elephants in Chiang Mai, Surin and Kanchanaburi. www.irmagold.com
Born in Indonesia of French parents, and brought up in France and Australia, Sophie Masson is the award-winning and internationally-published author of over 60 books for children, young adults and adults. A former chair of the Australian Society of Authors and current chair of the New England Writers’ Centre, in 2019 Sophie received an AM (Member, General Division) award in the Order of Australia.
Sophie’s novel The Ghost Squad will be published by MidnightSun in February 2021.
Mandy Foot’s obsession with drawing animals began when she was two, with chalk, on her grandparents’ pavement. Now as a best-selling children’s book illustrator and author of over 20 books, her canvas has evolved and her studio is shared with her joined-at-the-hip Border Collies. An Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia, Mandy shares her passion of literacy and drawing via workshops with thousands of school students every year.
Robert Moore lives in Adelaide and is a published author of several children’s books and fiction as well as numerous poems, articles and short stories. He won the inaugural Feast Short Story Competition and was awarded a special commendation by AsthmaSA for his play Breathe Easy which was written and workshopped in conjunction with children and staff from Para Hills Primary School.
Benjamin Johnston works as a mild-mannered architect by daytime but roams imaginary streets as a masked vigilante-illustrator by night. Add to this that he is also a husband and dad of two girls… and he is really looking forward to the day he might actually have enough time for everything he wants to get done. Drawing and illustrating for children have always been his passion. He is the illustrator and co-creator of the successful STEM-inspired Engibears series.
Steve Heron’s passion is to write quality kids books that will touch and tickle kids’ hearts and foster hope. Steve’s first series of picture books that focus on social issues were released in 2007. His first middle-grade novel Maximus was published by Serenity Press in 2018. Steve completed a Diploma of Children’s Writing and Publishing in 2015 and in 2016 received an Order of Australia Medal for contribution to the social and emotional wellbeing of children. Ling Li’s Lantern is Steve’s first stand-alone picture book.
Margaret Hickey is an award-winning author and playwright from North East Victoria.
Hickey’s work has been shortlisted and won prizes in many awards, including the AAWP/ASSF Short Story Award and the Grace Marion Award. Margaret holds a PhD in Creative writing and teaches English at La Trobe University.
Margaret’s short story collection, Rural Dreams, will be published by MidnightSun in October 2020.
For decades Marian Matta wrote whatever was called for, from medical articles and historical research to film scripts, but she began concentrating on the short story format in 2006 after being inspired by Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain.
Her stories have subsequently appeared in several anthologies, but Life, Bound is her first solo collection. A grandmother, history tragic, internet junkie and circus student, she lives in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges with her husband, and is pleased to call Heath Ledger her muse. Optimism is her watchword.
Marian’s collection of short stories, Life, Bound, will be published by MidnightSun in October 2020.
Hannah Sommerville creates enchanting watercolour, pen and pencil drawings in her studio on the South Coast of NSW. The daughter of a ceramicist, Hannah earned a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts and Graphic Design) at the University of Wollongong in 2006. Hannah began illustrating after the arrival of her young children from whom she draws inspiration. Hannah is a storyteller, who enjoys creating picture books that capture the imagination, tenderness and playfulness that surround children and family life. Her picture book Digby & Claude, written by Emma Allen, made the CBCA 2019 Notables list.
Mike Dumbleton is an award-winning picture book writer with nine ‘Notable Books’ selected by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. His book, Muddled-up Farm, was the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year, 2004, and Cat was a CBCA Honour Book, 2008. Mike has also received a Federal Minister’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Improving Literacy for his work as an educator and a writer over an extended period of time. In his spare time, Mike enjoys reading, travelling, trying to keep fit, listening to jazz and watching sport.