Meet our Members
Craig Cormick is an award-winning Canberra author and science communicator. He has published over 30 books of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and YA books across several genres. His children and YA books include Valdur the Viking (Ford Street), Time Vandals (Omnibus), Benji the Buccaneer (New Frontier) and Pimplemania (Macmillan). His writing awards include a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and the ACT Book of the Year Award. He has been a writer in residence at the University of Science in Malaysia and an Antarctic Arts Fellow travelling to Antarctica. He is currently working on a series of alternative Australian history, or What if books, for younger readers.
Pauline Deeves has been a teacher for more than 30 years with experience from kindergarten to college, including 15 years as a teacher librarian. She has contributed to many educational and children’s publications and reviewed manuscripts for educational publishers. She is a regular visitor to schools, presenting writing workshops for both students and teachers and can design presentations to meet particular needs. Pauline’s book Midnight Burial was ACT children’s Book of the Year in 2015. Her latest book Socks, Sandbags and Leeches deals with childhood in WW1. Both are published by the NLA.
Nicole is an award-winning author who shines a light on environmental and animal rights issues through captivating picture books that engage readers and help to create a generation of thoughtful, committed and compassionate individuals. The subject matter of her books includes a jellyfish falling in love with a plastic bag (Jelly-Boy), a dolphin discovering ocean pollution, driftnets and much more (Billie), and elephants being used to entertain tourists (Ella). Nicole is a regular presenter at schools throughout Canberra and beyond, offering engaging, interactive and thought-provoking sessions with strong links to conservation and animal rights. She also has a dedicated supporter base and close connections with sanctuaries and conservation groups throughout the world.
Tracey is an award-winning children’s author. Her books have been published nationally and internationally. Her latest picture book, Leaping Lola, was a Notable in the CBCA BOTY: Early Childhood 2020, and was awarded Highly Commended in the ACT Writers Centre Book Awards 2020. Tracey’s popular works include Max Meets a Monster (Cbeebies TV series) and Nancy Bentley The First Australian Female Sailor (Short-listed Speech Pathology Australia Awards 2012 and winner of ACT Writers Centre Book Awards 2012). Tracey has published fiction and non-fiction for early childhood through to older readers. Tracey provides author visits and workshops to schools, writing venues and literature festivals and conferences around the country. Tracey is an Ambassador for the ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge. Her work beyond writing includes teaching writing courses at CIT, editing and she moonlights as an International Forensic guest speaker on international cruise ships.
Tania McCartney is an award-winning author, illustrator, designer, editor and book obsessive. The founder of Kids’ Book Review and The Happy Book podcast, she has over 60 books in print, published in more than a dozen countries. Tania has over 35 years’ experience in writing, editing, proofreading, layout, design and typesetting. Her illustration skills include watercolour, printing, digital and finishing art, and she has produced several illustrated maps, jigsaw puzzles, and greeting cards, as well as a library of books—specialising in non-fiction, junior fiction and picture books. Awards include the SCBWI Crystal Kite and the CBCA Laurie Copping Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature. A juvenile literacy champion and ambassador for the ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge, Tania has lived in France, England and China, and currently lives in Canberra with her family, a forest of artwork and a mountain of books. Photo by Maree Azzopardi.
Internationally published Australian children’s author Amelia McInerney has lived in four different countries and four States of Australia and has finally come to a stop in Canberra, where she spends her days writing kids' books, staring out the window thinking about kids' books, and occasionally just plain staring out the window. When she's not writing, thinking or staring, Amelia likes helping mankind while simultaneously playing with slime, which made her old job doing ultrasounds perfect for her. But since being overcome by her picture book obsession, Amelia now writes full-time and enjoys more normal things like yoga and snorkelling, although not at the same time because that's really hard. Amelia is thrilled that her first picture book was a CBCA Notable Book and her second book was published in France. Her third picture book has just been released and she has several more on the way. She also has three kids, two hermit crabs and a husband.
Dr Gina M Newton
Dr Gina M Newton trained as a marine biologist, zoologist and science communicator and is a multi-award-winning children’s book author, including the CBCA’s 2017 Eve Pownall Award for children’s information books. Her first picture book, published in 2006, has sold close to 150,000 copies. A graduate of Master Classes with the late, great Bryce Courtney and with Fiona McIntosh, she lives in Canberra with her two young adult children and many pets. Gina is passionate about conservation of Australia’s wildlife and environment and loves to write about them in her fiction and non-fiction children’s books, across a range of genres. More books due in 2021.
Just Right Words
After close to 45 years at school as a student and teacher, Kellie Nissen ‘graduated’ in 2020 to focus on the business she loves – editing and book coaching – and is privileged to be working with a wide range of authors of fiction, memoir and business stories. As an author, Kellie’s children’s and young adult short stories have published in several anthologies with her macabre and sometimes icky stories giving her the most satisfaction. In 2019, Kellie was the recipient of the Anne Edgeworth Fellowship through the ACT Writers Centre, allowing her to push forward with her ‘narrative nonfiction memoir thingy’ in four voices, based on her blog In My Aspergers World. Kellie’s all-time favourite quote comes from Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka: “So much time, so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.” When she finds the magic spell to produce an extra 24 hours in her day, she’ll be set.
Maura Pierlot is an author and playwright who writes with humour and hope for all ages. Maura’s debut picture book, The Trouble in Tune Town, won the 2018 ACT Writing and Publishing Award (Children’s category). Following its 2019 sellout season, her play, Fragments is being adapted for online platforms. In 2017 Maura was named winner of the CBCA Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program, and Charlotte Waring Barton Award, for her young adult manuscript, Freefalling. Maura’s essays and poetry appear in literary journals and anthologies. She has a doctorate in philosophy, specialising in ethics. When she’s not busy writing, Maura serves as a Sponsor and Role Model for Books in Homes and contributes reviews for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s online magazine, Reading Time.
Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder
Dr Stephanie Owen Reeder is an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. Her picture books include: I’ve Got a Feeling! (IBBY Outstanding Book 2011); Trouble in the Surf, illustrated by Briony Stewart (CBCA Notable Book 2020); and Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather, illustrated by Tania McCartney. Her Heritage Heroes series of historical novels include Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea (Winner, NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Prize 2012) and Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony (Winner, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2016). Lennie the Legend is currently being made into a feature film. Stephanie is passionate about Australian children’s literature. She created Story Time Stars: Favourite Characters from Australian Picture Books, and in 2019 she received the CBCA Laurie Copping Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature in the ACT. Stephanie is an Ambassador for the ACT Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge.
Krys Saclier believes children's literature has the power to shape the future. Her picture book, Vote 4 Me, uses a fun classroom election to explain preferential voting and the value of democracy. It is illustrated by renowned Australian political cartoonist, Cathy Wilcox, and is published through Wild Dog Books. Vote 4 Me won the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Children’s Literature, and every federal parliamentarian has a personal copy. Her first book, Super Nova, promotes male support of female empowerment – something much needed in this world. The gorgeous illustrations by Rebecca Timmis were nominated for an Aurealis award, and it was also nominated for an ACT Publishing Award. Super Nova is published by Ford Street. Krys is a qualified teacher and experienced educator. She has written for television, radio and press and is the creator of the Kids Only Podcast, which features original short audio stories for children.
Samantha Tidy has a Masters in Creative Writing (RMIT), and has published 4 children’s books (The Day We Built the Bridge, Our Bush Capital, The Blue Polar Bear, The Flying Dream) and 2 novels (The Happiness Jar, Cappuccino Diva), attracting multiple award-nominations and wins including Winner, ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Fiction; Runner Up, FAW Christina Stead Award and Runner UP TAG Hungerford Award. A popular workshop presenter at libraries, schools and festivals, she has several children's books due out in 2021/22. Sam is also Director of Canberra’s newest independent publisher – Storytorch Press which has three titles due out in 2022/2023.
Shelly Unwin is an internationally published children’s author, speaker and the Chapter Coordinator for SCBWI ACT. Shelly’s author talks and workshops are interactive, entertaining and inspiring. She helps children engage with books on a deeper level and uses them to inspire drama, art and literacy. Her books include the narrative non-fiction picture book Blast Off!, which fits in beautifully with this year’s space-themed National Simultaneous Storytime, and There’s a Baddie Running Through This Book!, a highly engaging picture book recognised by speech pathologists for its clever use of language, prepositions, strong visual literacy and the way it encourages children to be active participants in the story. Described as ‘effervescent’ and commended for leaving the students abuzz, Shelly has made her mark in the industry for sharing her contagious joy of books.“Shelly has a gift for reaching children through story and drama.” Lynne Scanes, TL Cowan PS
Cate Whittle is the author of magical books for young readers, full of fun and fantasy and gentle humour. Her first book, Trouble at Home, about a girl and her troublesome dragon, was published in 2016, and further books in the series included Trouble and The New Kid, a CBCA BOTYA Notable in 2018. It is not quite true that everything Cate writes is about dragons, though. Other books have included Wyrd, a story about an accidental witch, and Emergency Rescue Angel, rather unsurprisingly about an angel. Cate lives in a beautiful rural valley in New South Wales, just over the border from Canberra. Other than writing and sharing her passion for stories, she enjoys reading, going for walks in the rain, taking too many photographs, drawing pictures, and pottering in the garden when she has time.
Current members wishing to have their profile added to this page should contact us via email.