The Centre for Children’s Literature

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Romancing the Stars – Brisbane 2024

Romancing the Stars – Brisbane
Date: Wednesday 20 March 2024
Venue: Good News Lutheran School, 49 Horizon Dr, Middle Park QLD 4074
Time: 6:00 – 9:30pm
Cost: $25 for Book Links members and College staff | $35 for non-members

(Have your 2024 membership discount code ready to  apply at the end of the booking process)

Bookings close Wednesday 13th March at noon.

Discover the books our local authors and illustrators have been creating for children and young adults.

Each creator will give a short introduction to their latest publication in a small intimate circle, before rotating on to the next group.

You have a chance to get inside information about the creation of the books and make contact with potential presenters for your school or library.

Speed date 21 stars

Guest presenter for this event will be Steven Herrick.

Buy the latest books from the pop-up bookshop

Enjoy great food and drinks. View and buy books.
Enter raffle and win books in the quiz competition.

PD certificates provided after the event.



Author/Illustrator and MC: Yvonne Mes

Picture Books Authors/Illustrators: Alison McLennan, Ali Rutstein, Andy Geppert, Brent Wilson,
Brooke Graham, Kristen Willis, Lucia Masciullo, Megan Daley, Niña Nill, Rory Mather, Trent Jamieson, Zewlan Moor

Authors Younger Readers, YA and non-fiction: Annaleise Byrd, Anton Clifford-Motopi, Charlotte Barkla, Dave Lowe,
Rebecca Timmis, Richard Yaxley, Steven Herrick, Tanya Hunter, Victoria Carless












Yvonne Mes is an author and illustrator who writes stories for children and young people with curious minds.
As an early childhood professional with a Bachelor of Children’s Services with many years’ experience, she loves sharing books, stories and art with children in places big and small, of diverse cultures and abilities and of all ages.
Her books are published in Australia, China and New Zealand.
Yvonne is a frequent speaker at schools, literary festivals and events. She is the coordinator of Write Links, the Brisbane based group for children’s authors and illustrators. She buys more books than she can read, comes up with more ideas than she can write or illustrate and has more children than she can manage. But she does try very hard, and best of all, she is NEVER bored.

Her most recent books are The Missing Colour written by Charmaine Clancy and Yarn written by Christine Titheridge.

Find out more about Yvonne Mes.











Alison McLennan is an Australian children’s author, professional voiceover artist, singer, actor and mother of two. She is a member of SCBWI and Writelinks, and a proud ambassador of Australia Reads.

Alison’s debut picture book, Hotel For Bees was published by the State Library of Queensland in 2020. Her follow up, Growing Pains, was released by EK Books in 2021. Great and Small, was released by Storytorch Press in 2022 and Birdie Lights Up The World was released by EK Books, June 2023. Alison’s first junior fiction series, Calamity Jones, is coming late 2023 from Five Mile Press.

Alison’s graphic novel, A Flood In The Village, was published by Library For All in 2020 as part of their natural disaster education series. Alison’s short stories have appeared in The School Magazine and the Spooktacular Stories Anthology. Her story, “Light Up The World” was shortlisted in the 2021 Bee Ethicool international author competition, and her picture book, Great and Small,  was shortlisted in the 2023 Forevability Awards.

You can follow Alison on Facebook at alisonmclennanchildrensauthor  or on Instagram at  ally_mclennan












Ali Rutstein moved to Brisbane from the UK over twenty years ago and is happily settled here with her partner, three young boys and an assortment of feathered, furry and scaly pets. She works as a cardiac genetic counsellor by day and writes picture books and junior fiction by night (well, usually early morning). She loves writing humorous stories inspired by the everyday happenings in her family life.

Her debut picture book, Ladybirds do not go to Daycare, came out in November 2023 with Hardie Grant, and three more books in the Pre-school Problem series, will be released in 2024 and 2025. She also has a picture book coming out with Allen & Unwin at the end of 2024.

In May 2023 she won first place in the 2023 Story Links Short Story Competition for her story The Loophole, which is published on the Story Links website.












Author Illustrator Andy Geppert creates picture books full of heart.  Andy Geppert is an award-winning picture book author and artist who weaves insightful charm and irreverent humour into every story he tells. His witty take on the everyday, painted in delicate and gentle colours will draw you into worlds and stories you won’t want to leave. His work has been awarded the prestigious Crichton Award for new Australian illustrators. The Children’s Book Council of Australia selected MEEP as a Notable Book.  Australian Backyard Birdies was recently recognised by the Australian Book Design Awards and made Australia’s Better Reading Top 50 Kids book list. His most recent books are Australian Backyard Buddies and The Balloon Blow Up!

Andy Geppert website











Brent Wilson is an Australian illustrator whose work puts a playful new spin on the classic mid-century cartoon aesthetic. Filled with block colours and loose lines, his work inspires nostalgia for the children’s books and advertising campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s.

His quirky characters regularly appear in the pages of major national publications, and he also illustrates children’s books.

Brent most recently illustrated the children’s book Mr Impoppable — written by Trent Jamieson and published by Larrikin House — which has found an enthusiastic audience in kids and adults alike.

Brent’s first children’s book was the acclaimed Koalas Like To … written by Shae Millward and published by the State Library QLD as part of a series of 12 books created especially for children aged 0–5 as part of the First 5 Forever initiative. Koalas Like To … was a finalist in the 2021 ABDA Awards for Best Designed Children’s Illustrated Book.

Brent Wilson website









Brooke Graham loves to write heartfelt stories that help children cope with life’s ups and downs. She is a primary school teacher and has recently established her own tutoring business, Shining Stars – Tutoring and Educational Support Ipswich. Brooke is passionate about children’s mental health and runs Wellbeing and Creative Workshops at her property in Karrabin, which is fifteen minutes out of Ipswich. She is available for school and kindy author incursions. Brooke lives with her teenage daughter and three dogs in a cute cottage on 12 acres. Nova’s Missing Masterpiece was publsihed in January 2024 by E K Books.

Brooke Grahan website




Kristen Willis is a seasoned creative about to publish her debut picture book, Peek-a-Boo Lottie! with Five Mile Books alongside Perth-based debut author Laura Holloway. Kristen may be cannoli-sized, but she’s piped with enormous narrative storytelling ideas and passionately injects herself into every pigment stroke.

Kristen’s unique fast-track introduction to the kid-lit landscape led to her mentorship with Annabel Barker Agency in 2022. That same year, she was awarded second place as a CYA Emerging Illustrator for her piece ‘Bacalah’s Christmas Surprise’, judged by UQP.

In 2023, Kristen landed two picture book contracts—the first with Five Mile Books (March 2024) and the second with EK Books and author Brooke Graham (Late 2025). And be sure to pop your prosecco on ice because there will be plenty more surprises to follow.

Explore Kristen’s portfolio and follow her kid-lit journey on Instagram at @tondocreative












Lucia Masciullo is an award-winning illustrator who loves to create whimsical characters and colouring with traditional techniques, mixing watercolour, pencil and
collage. Born and bred in Livorno, Italy, she moved to Australia in 2007 and since then she has illustrated more than thirty books.
Lucia currently lives on the Gold Coast and when not at work she likes running, watching anime and eating home made pizza. Her most recent books are Eat My Dust!, Walker Books, 2023, An A to Z of Dreaming Differently, Penguin Random House, 2023 and  Ayla’s Christmas Wish, National Library of Australia, 2023

Lucia Masciullo website











Megan Daley is the author of the bestselling book ‘Raising Readers’ (UQP, 2019) as well as ‘Teacher, Teacher’ (Affirm Press, 2023) and ‘The Beehive’ (Walker Books, 2024).  Megan is a Teacher Librarian and early years educator and has been awarded the Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year and the Queensland Teacher Librarian of the Year, as well as the national Dromkeen Librarian’s Award.  A former national vice-president of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Megan is also a regular literary judge, curator of 2023 Brisbane Writers Festival Word Play program, a workshop presenter, the creator of the popular website Children’s Books Daily and co-creator of the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast.

Megan Daley website











Niña Nill is a children’s book illustrator/author based in Australia where she lives with her husband, two adorable kids, and a growing number of houseplants.  She loves illustrating stories for children from the magical and whimsical to the quiet and ordinary.

She has been illustrating for over 10 years but last year she wandered into the wonderful world of writing and released her debut author/illustrator picture book titled “We’re Moving Away” published by Bright Light (Hardie Grant). She recently illustrated “Ladybirds Do Not Go To Day Care”, the first book in a series of books called Preschool Problems written by Ali Rutstein and published by Bright Light (Hardie Grant).

When she’s not painting, she enjoys traveling, doing some gardening, and having picnics and adventures with her two kids.

Niña Nill website




Rory Mather is a picture book and rhyme enthusiast. He loves potatoes, dogs and sticky date pudding, and he adores his wife and daughter. When Rory was a kid, he lived on a sailboat with his family. They sailed around the world, and while Rory never saw mermaids or pirates, he can confirm that whales have bad breath. Rory now lives in South East-Queensland with his family and an ever-growing collection of picture books













Trent Jamieson is the award-winning author of the novels The Stone Road, and Day Boy, as well as the Death Works Trilogy, and Roil Duology. His children’s book The Giant and the Sea, illustrated by Rovina Cai, won the 2021 Environment Award for Children’s Literature Picture Fiction. His latest book is Mr Impoppable, illustrated by Brent Wilson. Trent and Brent are currently working on two books to be published in 2025 by Puffin.

Trent Jamieson website












Zewlan Moor is an author, GP and bibliotherapist who writes playful books for today’s savvy kids. Nothing Alike (illustrated by Peter Cheong, Bright Light imprint of Hardie Grant, 16 August) and The Bill Dup (illustrated by Simon O’Carrigan, Windy Hollow, 1 September) are both releasing in 2023.

Now living on the land of the Yugambeh people at the Gold Coast with her husband and two children, Zewlan loves to read, practise medicine and combine the two through her private practice, Byron Bibliotherapy. Her books are sometimes multi-layered, with a quirky sense of humour and light touch that belies their serious intent. Other times they’re just fun. In her reading and writing, Zewlan is preoccupied with themes of identity, language, power and social justice. Which sounds very dry, but isn’t. Especially when wrapped in a picture book/cozy mystery/dark academia/romcom package. She is very grateful to the teachers and mentors who have helped her along the way, and for her boring childhood which made her into a reader!

Zewlan Moor Website











Annaleise Byrd grew up on a farm in Queensland, ignoring most farm-related pursuits in favour of reading books. She then spent nine years in England and Canada, neglecting a variety of jobs in favour of reading books. Eventually, she realised the best way to get away with this was to become an author.

Annaleise now writes funny books for kids and lives in Brisbane with her husband, two young sons and rescue greyhound. She is particularly fond of lamingtons. Annaleise’s debut middle grade novel, Losing the Plot, will be published by Walker Books Australia in March 2024.

Annaleise Byrd website





Anton Clifford-Motopi enjoys writing stories that make children laugh. His stories explore themes of self-identity, family relationships and friendship, drawing from his experiences of being mixed race, growing up in a large family and raising four children. His debut middle grade novel To and Fro will be published by Allen & Unwin in March 2024. At the moment, Anton’s other job is a health researcher at a university. The job involves a lot of thinking, reading and writing, but his passion is writing funny and thought-provoking stories for children.

Anton’s Website












Charlotte Barkla is a Brisbane-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering her love for children’s literature. She writes picture books, early middle-grade fiction and feature articles.

Charlotte’s books include 11 Ruby Road, All Bodies are Good Bodies, the Edie’s Experiments series and From My Head to My Toes, I Say What Goes. She has five books due to be published in the next few years, including a fiction series with Walker Books Australia, a picture book with Hachette, and a junior fiction series with Scholastic.

Charlotte’s books have been translated in multiple languages and short-listed for awards, including the Wilderness Society’s Environment Award for Children’s Literature and the Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards. As well as writing for children, Charlotte writes feature articles for publications including the CSIRO’s Double Helix, Beanz magazine and Youkie magazine. She regularly visits schools, libraries and festivals for creative writing workshops, sharing her passion for creativity and stories with children of all ages.

Charlotte Barkla website












Dave Lowe is the author of 13 books, published in seven translations around the world, including his ‘Stinky and Jinks’ series about a boy and his genius hamster, and the award-winning ‘Incredible Dadventure’ series. Dave’s latest two books are Rocket, about a 12-year-old girl who dreams of playing for the Matildas, and Pixies vs Fairies, the first in a new series with Welbeck, aimed at younger readers. Dave has written four plays, and is also a writer for the TV series ‘Bluey’.












Rebecca Timmis is an award-winning author-illustrator from the sunny Gold Coast. She is the creator of the MerTales and Jawsome series. Rebecca loves to write magical and adventurous stories that make kids giggle. In 2023 she won a Golden Taco for the first Jawsome book in the Laugh Out Loud category. She’s had lots of real-life adventures like almost falling off the Great Wall of China, hiding from grizzly bears in Canada and being chased by wild pigs in outback Queensland. Her other jobs include coding websites, writing for the video game industry, and raising three (mostly) lovely boys.












Richard Yaxley’s novels include The Rose Leopard (UQP 2003), Joyous and Moonbeam (Scholastic 2013) and This Is My Song (winner of the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Literature; winner of the 2019 ACU Book of the Year Award; finalist in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards). The Happiness Quest was published by Scholastic in 2018 and listed as a 2019 CBCA Notable for Older Readers. Recent novels include A New Kind Of Everything (Scholastic 2020) and Harmony (Scholastic 2021), which was longlisted for the Children’s and Young Adult section of the ARA Historical Novel Prize.
Richard is also a past winner of the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Drink the Air, 2010), the Walter Stone Life-writing Award (2016) and a Fellowship from the May Gibbs Literature Trust (2016).
He has written or co-written over twenty-five textbooks for classrooms across Australia, as well as plays and poetry. In 2011, he was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM).

Richard Yaxley website












Steven Herrick is widely recognised as a pioneer of the verse-novel for young people. His books have twice won the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards on ten occasions. In 2019, his verse-novel ‘by the river’ won the Katholischer Jugendbuchpreis, and the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in Germany. His latest book is ‘In times of Bushfires and Billy Buttons.’

Steven Herrick website











Tanya Hunter’s love of adventure stories began as a child living in Nottingham, England, when she regularly explored the same countryside as the fabled Robin Hood. A former primary school teacher, Tanya has been a police officer for nearly twenty-five years. She is also a proud ambassador for Multiple Sclerosis QLD and has a passion for disability advocacy. Tanya’s debut novel is The Quest for the Galleon of Time.

Tanya Hunter Facebook












Victoria Carless writes works of fiction and for theatre. Her novel for young adults, The Dream Walker, was nominated for the Queensland Literary Awards and was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable book for older readers.
Her first book for middle grade readers, Gus and The Starlight, was published in 2022, and was shortlisted for best children’s fiction in the Aurealis Awards.
Lani and the Universe is her latest book. It celebrates the magic in nature, science and in our every day.
Victoria lives in Brisbane with her family and a very silly cat.


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