The Centre for Children’s Literature

Image Alt



Amie Kaufman – Author

Author Amie Kaufman sits at a desk. She wears a blue shirt and a scarf. She is looking up at the right corner. Amie Kaufman is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. Her multi-award winning work has been translated into nearly thirty languages, and is in development for film and TV.

Raised in Australia and occasionally Ireland, Amie has degrees in history, literature, law and conflict resolution, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing. She’s the host of podcasts Amie Kaufman on Writing, and Pub Dates.

Amie writes a monthly newsletter that keeps readers up to date on what she’s working on, any new releases, giveaways or events near them. You can sign up at

Amie lives by the sea in Melbourne, Australia, with her family and an extremely large personal library. Her latest book is the fantasy adventure The Isles of the Gods.

Amie will be appearing on panels and in a session on Saturday and running a writing workshop on Sunday.

Website: Amie Kaufman



Briony Stewart – Illustrator and Author

Briony Stewart is the author and illustrator of several award-winning books for children, including the ‘Kumiko and the Dragon’ series and ‘We Love You Magoo’ which was a CBCA Early Childhood Honour Book for 2020. Her new book ‘Gymnatisca Fantastica’ has been shortlisted for the 2024 CBCA Book of the Year Awards.

Briony lectures on children’s literature at university and conducts talks and workshops with children across Australia. She loves live drawing challenges, day dreaming and discussing dragons, bunnies and how to tame lions.

Briony will be appearing on panels and in a session on Saturday and running an picture book workshop on Sunday.

Website: Briony Stewart


Peter Carnavas – Author/Illustrator

A man smiles for the camera. He has a beard and is wearing a flat cap.

Peter Carnavas writes and illustrates books for children. His books have been published widely across the world and have won many awards, including a Queensland Literary Award and the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. His new book is a novel called Leo and Ralph, about a boy who can’t let go of his imaginary alien friend. Peter also works as a teacher librarian, and he lives on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, with his wife, two daughters, a dog and a cat.

Peter will be appearing on panels and in a session on Saturday.

Website: Peter Carnavas


Katrin Dreiling – Illustrator

Illustrator Katrin Dreiling is smiling.
Katrin Dreiling is a German-born language teacher but moved to Australia with her husband and three children and became an illustrator.

Katrin creates quirky illustrations that feature different media. Her first picture book “The World’s Worst Pirate” by Michelle Worthington has been awarded Notable Book 2018 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and she also delivered illustrations for a highly successful video animation production on YouTube.

Katrin was awarded the Harper Collins Illustrators Showcase Award 2019 at the biannual SCBWI conference in Sydney. In 2021 her first authored and illustrated picture book “A Perfect Pig” published by Scholastic Australia was released and quickly followed by “If You Ever Meet A Skeleton” written by Rebecca Evans and published by Page Street Kids.

Katrin also conducts illustration workshops for both adults and children. She currently works on two picture book projects with Scholastic Australia and Walker books Australia. In her free time Katrin loves to spend time with her family, writing quirky stories and walking her two Golden Retrievers.

Katrin will be appearing on panels and in a session on Saturday.

Website: Katrin Dreiling


Robyn Sheahan Bright

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright – Chair

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. She 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 IBBY Australia Inc, and Deputy-Chair of the Board of the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation. She was recipient of the CBCA (Qld)’s Dame Annabelle Rankin Award in 2010, CBCA’s Nan Chauncy Award in 2012, and of the QWC’s Johnno Award in 2014. In 2021, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

Robyn will be chairing panels and announcing the winner of the Book Links Mentorship.



Mia Macrossan – Chair

Mia Macrossan is a former CBCA children’s book of the year judge, an Aurealis judge and a Queensland Literary awards judge.  She is the current chair of the judging panel for the Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction and coordinator of the StoryLinks website where she publishes reviews, interviews and resource lists.

Mia has worked in publishing for Scholastic UK where they published original titles and bought paperback and book club rights all over the world, including Dutch and German language titles, and American and Australian works. It was here that she met and worked with authors and illustrators of children’s books who ignited a lifelong passion for youth literature.  Mia has worked as publicist, copy editor, editor, rights manager, managing editor, writer, reviewer, teacher and teacher librarian.

She founded the Last Tuesday Children’s Book Club for adults who love to read and discuss children’s books and reviews for Magpies, 4MBS Radio and of course, StoryLinks.

Mia Macrossan will be chairing panels, interviewing guests and hosting the First Page Pitches session.

Website: StoryLinks


Dr Lara Cain Gray – Chair

A woman with blonde hair holds picture books. She is standing in a bookshop and smiling.

Dr Lara Cain Gray is a writer, librarian and storytelling advocate based in Brisbane, Australia. She has proudly championed the creative industries as the Australia and New Zealand Curator at the British Library, Curator of Cultures and Histories at Queensland Museum, and in a range of research and teaching roles in Australia and the UK. She is currently Head of Acquisitions at nonprofit publisher Library For All, where she helps deliver cross-cultural children’s books to remote and low-income communities in Australia and internationally. Lara has reviewed children’s books for over 10 years in academic and popular publications, including her long running blog. Her latest book, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Picture Books, is out in 2024.
Lara will be chairing panels and interviewing guests.

Publishers and Agents

Annabel Barker (Agent)

A blonde woman in a red shirt smiles. There is a bookcase behind her. Annabel Barker is a Literary Agent focusing on books for children and young adults. Annabel has more than 20 years’ experience in children’s publishing. She started her publishing career selling Rights at Macmillan in London and has also worked for Hachette Children’s Books in London, Pan Macmillan Australia and at Hardie Grant in Melbourne, where she was managing director of the children’s division. Annabel now represents writers, illustrators, and comic makers, including some of Australia’s best loved and best-selling creators for young people.

Webstie: Annabel Barker


Marisa Pintado (Hardie Grant)

IMG_0686 - 230x307

Marisa Pintado is the Publishing Director for young readers at Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing in Melbourne. Over the last decade, she has edited and published a broad collection of best-selling and award-winning fiction and non-fiction such as Welcome to Your Period and Welcome to Consent by Dr. Melissa Kang and Yumi Stynes; the Frankie Fish series by Peter Helliar; Tim Flannery’s Explore Your World series, Sally Rippin’s series for young readers, including Billie B Brown and School of Monsters; and the Real Pigeons series by Andrew McDonald and Ben Wood, which has sold into twenty territories globally and is in development for film and TV with Nickelodeon.

In 2020 she established Bright Light Books, a new illustrated imprint at Hardie Grant that aims to facilitate tricky and important conversations for modern families with brilliant stories. She is also the founder of the Ampersand Prize for debut writers, which has launched the careers of numerous Australian MG and YA authors including Melissa Keil and Erin Gough.

Marisa is currently looking at pitches for commercial junior fiction series, with a particular interest in humour, mystery and magic. She is passionate about publishing middle-grade and YA, and hungry for contemporary own-voices stories and striking storytelling. She is also accepting pitches for high-concept and commercial children’s non-fiction, as well as illustrated titles that explore big ideas and contemporary issues for modern families, such as feminism, body positivity, environmentalism and antiracism

Website: Hardie Grant


Meg Whelan (Affirm Press)

A woman with brown hair and a red jumper is smiling.

Meg Whelan is a senior editor on the children’s book team at Affirm Press, where she spends her days working on books for young people of all ages, from babies through to teens. During her six years at Affirm Press, Meg has worked with award-winning and best-selling creators including Amelia Mellor, Nicki Greenberg, Jane Godwin and Lucinda Gifford. She has also nurtured emerging talent through the Affirm Press-Varuna mentorship program and via many kidlit conferences. Meg has been shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Rising Star Award and participated in Australian Publishing Association Residential Editorial Program. Prior to joining Affirm Press, she worked in bookshops and was the children’s book buyer at the Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne.   

Meg is excited to discover talent in all areas of children’s books. She is particularly passionate about picture books that feature gorgeous writing and innovative illustration styles, loves graphic novels for all ages and in all genres and is a gigantic nerd for fresh and exciting sci-fi/fantasy MG and YA. 

Website: Affirm Press


James Layton (Larrikin House)

James Layton is passionate about creating fun, edgy and unique books for young readers. His industry experience spans thirty years as both a bookseller to schools and in 2018 a children’s publisher. His first question to authors when assessing manuscripts is always ‘What’s the buy-in for the kid?’ As a young reluctant reader himself, James started creating humorous books to engage kids and make them laugh. His frank, no-nonsense approach is invaluable for anyone who wants a publishing deal.

James is looking for edgy pitches for Picture Books, JFIC, Middle Grade and Graphic Novels

Website: Larrikin House




Cathy Vallance (UQP)

A woman is smiling. She wears a red top. She is holding a book titled The Way Of Dog.

Cathy Vallance publishes the children’s and young adult lists at University of Queensland Press (UQP)

Cathy has over fifteen years’ experience in the publishing industry. She has worked at the University of Queensland Press since 2012 and was appointed to the role of Children’s Publisher in 2023. Cathy has worked with many wonderful authors, including Peter Carnavas, Nova Weetman, Ellen van Neerven and Zana Fraillon.

Website: UQP












What You Need to Know

News and Updates

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

Error: Contact form not found.

Free shipping
for orders over 50%