Category Archives: Friends of Book Links Qld

Bruce Pascoe delivers the 2019 Narelle Oliver Lecture

With both auditorium 1 and 2 of the State Library of Queensland filled, this was the most well-attended Lecture of Children’s Literature, featuring Australian Aboriginal author, Bruce Pascoe who is an accomplished writer, editor, publisher and anthologist. He has Bunurong and Tasmanian family and is a Yuin man.

This was the 5th Lecture in Children’s Literature organized by Book Links. The lecture was renamed in 2017 to the ‘Narelle Oliver Lecture of Children’s Literature’ in memory of the Book Links’ co-founder, children’s author and illustrator.

This year saw a successful partnership between Book Links and the State Library of Queensland as part of their Talking Ideas series. The lecture was live-streamed from Auditorium 1 into Auditorium 2 and is now available on YouTube.

The lecture coincided with the release of Bruce Pascoe’s book for younger readers, Young Dark Emu adapted from his book for adults Dark Emu, published by Magabala Books.

Kelsey Iris who entertained guests before the lecture began, also sang about inland rivers in her language which saw a fitting opening to the lecture. Acknowledgement of country by Des Crump was followed by the announcement by Mia Macrossan of the winner of the Story Links short story writing competition, Genevieve Young.

Vicki McDonald, State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer introduced Bruce Pascoe.

The focal point of Bruce Pascoe’s talk was the importance of telling children the truth and the value of kindness and the intellectual gift of doubt.

Bruce Pascoe shared stories from his upbringing and the love of reading as a child and young adult.

Enjoying the experience of a different view of the world that books offer, most of his reading as a child and young adult had been Eurocentric. As a teacher he introduced children to classics such as, ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck.

His schooling and Eurocentric understanding of the world had shaped his views and it was his Aunty and his Aboriginal family who gently guided him to another truth; the truth that had always been apparent to his Aboriginal peers who had not been exposed to the school system of the time.

After his Aboriginal reeducation, while researching colonists’ diaries looking for notations of massacres of Aboriginal peoples, he came across many agricultural notations which culminated in Dark Emu.

Bruce shared how he wept about had to be left out of the book, due to its increasing size, because of the numerous examples and prolific evidence of a sustained agricultural society before the European invasion.

He talked about the current loss of fishing and birds and wants children to grow up to query a society that lets this happen.

However, Bruce sees a shift  in today’s farming, based on the practices of the First Nations people and their management of the land, before the land was ruined by the grazing and compacting of the earth by introduced animals and before ‘the war for land was lost by smallpox’.

These changing farming practices, Bruce believes, will lead to an agricultural revolution. Bruce calls on Australians to remember where this knowledge came from and for this to be recognised economically.

Bruce highlighted the importance of children re-adopting Aboriginal Law and is proud that kids can now be proud of their culture.

Knowledge is where good decisions come from and Bruce lamented the lack of truth in education and recognition of the evidence of agriculture by the First Nations people that was ignored by many, including professors, who read and had access to these manuscripts before Bruce. The inclusion of Dark Emu and Young Dark Emu will support those in education in teaching the truth and Bruce highlighted the importance of libraries and education for the relief of ignorance. His hope is that through Young Dark Emu, children will learn the history of their country.

There needs to be better conversations between indigenous and non-indigenous people and though he believes, ‘these conversations will be bruising, it is the young people that are going to change things.’

Dark Emu is Bruce’s monument to doubt and with Young Dark Emu he is teaching children to doubt as well as to be honest and fair.

‘Doubt is beautiful; we have to teach our children to be curious and enquiring.’

Written by Yvonne Mes

Romancing the Stars – Gold Coast

Romancing the Stars - Gold Coast-1

We have a fabulous line-up for this Gold Coast event on Friday 17 June. Don’t miss out. Book Now!

Book Links and Somerset Storyfest invite you to join us on Friday evening 14 June to discover what books our local authors and illustrators have been creating recently for children and young adults.

Speed date 16 local stars and meet others informally. Book Launch of Tristan Bancks new book Detention. Great food and drinks. View and buy books from the QBD pop-up bookshop.  Raffle and quiz competition.

Meet: Brian Falkner, Candice Lemon-Scott, Gwyneth Jane Page, Jo Sandhu,  Lachlan Creagh, Lucas Proudfoot, Lucia Masciullo, Nette Hilton, Remy Lai, Stephen Axelsen, Tamsin Ainslie, Tristan Bancks, Zanni Louise, Megan Daley, Samantha Wheeler, Giuseppe Poli. MC: Yvonne Mes.

Are some of these names new to you? To find out more about the stars, check our website.

See some video clips of past events.

$25 Book Links members, $35 non-members Starts 6.00pm.

RSVP by 1pm Friday 7 June.

Venue: Somerset College, Somerset Drive, Mudgeeraba,
Queensland 4213

Book Links Mentorship

Book Links is offering a mentorship open to Book Links members. Applicants are invited to submit a synopsis and the first two chapters or first 6000 words, of a work of fiction for either junior or YA readers, or 2 picture book manuscripts. 

The mentorship will provide the winner with the opportunity to develop their early draft manuscript to a publishable standard with a professional mentor. Applications will be assessed on literary and artistic merit and developmental potential.

  • The mentorship is valued at $1000.
  • The mentor is Robyn Sheahan Bright. 


  • You must have a completed manuscript which is not under consideration by any publishers.
  • Open to current financial members of Book Links Qld Inc.  If you are not a member and would like to join, click here.
  • Applications from emerging writers who have not yet published in book form, or who have published no more than two manuscripts via traditional publication, will be accepted. 

How to apply

  • Pay the $10 application fee via Trybooking (+ $1 booking fee) by clicking here
  • Submit your work via email

How to submit

Please submit the following in a single pdf or Word document, via email to with the Subject line MENTORSHIP2019

A synopsis and the first two chapters or first 6000 words, of a work of fiction for either junior or YA readers, or 2 picture book manuscripts. 

Include a cover page with Full name, address, phone number, email address, Trybooking ID (Found on the booking confirmation page)

Applications must be received by 9pm, 31 July

A longlist will be forwarded to the mentor who will make the final selection.

After the winner is announced Saturday 19 October, the mentor Robyn Sheahan Bright will then read the entire work (s) written by the successful applicant, and write an appraisal. She will engage with the applicant by phone, email or face-to-face for approximately 12 hours in order to offer advice regarding the development of the manuscript. She will offer advice not only on the manuscript but also on publishing prospects and avenues.

The Mentor

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright has operated Justified Text Writing and Publishing Consultancy Services since 1997, and is widely published in children’s literature, Australian fiction and publishing history. She has judged literary awards, mentored and offered editorial advice to writers, lectured in writing and publishing courses, and regularly assesses post-graduate creative writing theses for several universities.

Robyn writes both teachers’ notes and reading group notes for major publishers. She was inaugural director of and is a Life Member of the Queensland Writers’ Centre, and was co-founder of Jam Roll Press. Her publications include Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia (1946–2005) (2006) co-edited with Craig Munro. She has been Program Manager of the APA’s biennial Residential Editorial Program since 1999. She is President of the IBBY Australia Committee, and a member of the Board of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance. She was recipient of the CBCA’s Nan Chauncy Award in 2012, and of the QWC’s Johnno Award in 2014.

Kat Apel Workshop


With Kathryn Apel

Learn how writing in verse develops writing muscle and sparks creativity.

If you’re interested in poetry – or intimidated – this workshop will equip you with a variety of simple techniques to build writing muscle and spark creativity, across all genres.

This workshop is delivered through Queensland Writers Centre’s partnership with Book Links QLD Inc. Special prices apply for members of both organisations.

About Kathryn Apel:

Kathryn Apel is a born-and-bred farm girl who’s scared of cows. She lives among the gum trees, kangaroos and cattle on a Queensland grazing property. Kat loves pumping poetry because she can flex her muscles across other genres, to bend (and break) writing rules. A trained teacher and literacy consultant, Kat shares her passion for words at schools and festivals. She has written a number of verse novels for young readers: Bully on the Bus, On Track and Too Many Friends. More about Kat.

Date: Sunday 16 June 2019
Venue: Room 1b, State Library of Qld
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Workshop Cost: $20 Book Links and QWC members | General admission $35

Book Here: on Eventbrite

Caroline Magerl to Run Workshop

Caroline Magerl workshopAuthor and illustrator Caroline Magerl will be running the next Write Links workshop on Saturday 4 May from 12:30 – 2:00 pm at State Library of Queensland before the Write Links people meet to network and critique.

We are fortunate to have Caroline share some of her tips with us.  It doesn’t matter if you are an illustrator or not, this session will give you insights into the creative process.

Caroline Magerl is a Sunshine Coast based picture book author/illustrator. Her previous works have been awarded the 2001 Crichton for new illustrators (Aus) and A Bank Street College of Education 2017 “Best Children’s Books of the Year” (USA).

Maya and Cat cover image (1) 360X400Her latest book Maya and Cat was released by Walker Books Australia in Aug 2018 and Caroline was in London for the UK launch in Feb 2019.  Candlewick Press USA will release it in May 2019. The book is on the CBCA Notable list and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award shortlist for 2019.

Original illustrations from Maya and Cat were exhibited during an international launch at The Chris Beetles Gallery, St James, London where Caroline’s work is permanently represented.

Find out more about this book creator at her website.

The workshop is $15 for Book Links members and $25 for non-members. Bookings are essential as these workshops normally sell out. Book here.

The Workshop
Find out about Caroline Magerl’s process for illustrating.
There will be practical demonstrations.
View examples of roughs from Maya and Cat.

The session will cover:
How to go about initial sketches, to establish an overall style.
Designing spreads and considering options for page layout.
How to go from black and white concept drawings to colour.

Even if you are not an illustrator, you will have a chance to create and we will supply the materials.  However if you are an illustrator and prefer to bring your own equipment, we will be using watercolour paper, brush size 10 or bigger, a small selection of basic colours, such as blue, red, yellow and an HB pencil and eraser.

Young Writer and Illustrator Workshops

Book Links has been offering young writers and illustrators an opportunity to learn new skills through a series of workshops in 2019. Our first workshop had fifteen young illustrators working with Katrin Dreiling on Sunday 17 March.  They took away with them a small artist’s book that they had both written and illustrated. The young creators had a great time.

Katrin Dreiling workshop

The next workshop is Sunday 14 April with author Dave Lowe. Dave will look at the skills needed to be an author, including: Creating interesting characters; ‘Show not Tell’; Writing exciting dialogue; Keeping the pace high; Starting with a bang; Writing humour; and Editing. By the end of the session, writers will have started their own incredible stories. 1:00-3:00pm, $10 members, $15 non-members.  Book here

Make sure you spread the word about these workshops through your schools and social networks.

Talking Ideas: The Narelle Oliver Lecture

We are pleased to announce that guest speaker for the fourth Narelle Oliver Lecture – Book Links Annual Lecture in Children’s Literature will be indigenous writer Bruce Pascoe. This year it will be presented in partnership with Talking Ideas, a State Library of Queensland series of events.

The Lecture will be acknowledging the International Year of Indigenous Languages and Bruce Pascoe will be encouraging us to teach children the truth about Australia’s history. Pascoe is a long-time student and teacher of Wathaurong language and has worked extensively on the resurrection of the Yuin language understanding that culture is embedded in language.

What:  Talking Ideas: The Narelle Oliver Lecture
Time & date:  7.00pm, Friday 24 May 2019
Where:  State Library of Queensland
Price to attend: Members of Book Links $17, non-members $37



Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong, Yuin and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor.

In 2018, Bruce was the recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature and The Dreamtime Person of the Year Award. His book Fog a Dox won the Young Adult category of the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. His book is Dark Emu, won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year Award in 2016. Bangarra Dance Theatre presented a major new dance work inspired by the book Dark Emu in Brisbane in 2018. It explored the vital life force of flora and fauna in a series of dance stories.

His younger reader book Mrs Whitlam was shortlisted in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2017. His younger reader edition of Dark Emu is due for release in June 2019.

Find out more about Bruce Pascoe in this Guardian interview and watch his TEDx Talk here.

The Library Shop will have a selection of Bruce Pascoe’s books available for sale at the event and you are invited to meet him post-event to have your book signed.

Come along early and enjoy live music, hot snacks, cold beer and wine at the Library Café Bar.

Live events with the world’s best authors, thinkers and commentators.
Find out about other Talking Ideas events at

Taling ideas SL logo