The Centre for Children’s Literature

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Romancing the Stars – Brisbane 2017


Date: Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Starts 6.30pm.

Venue: Nudgee College, D J Hanly Learning Centre Forecourt, 2199 Sandgate Rd.,
Boondall, Qld 4034

Cost: $25 Book Links members, $35 non-members

On Thursday evening 23 February discover what books our local authors and illustrators have been creating for children and young adults.Find out how to play Story Sports with Brian Falkner.

Speed date 20 Brisbane and Sunshine Coast stars and meet others informally. Great food and drinks. View and buy books and illustrations. Raffle and quiz competition. MC: Josie Montano

Bookings taken up to one week prior to event via Trybooking.

Meet our stars:

Amanda Francey

Amanda grew up on the leafy edges of Brisbane, the daughter of a comic strip artist / screen printer. Her scribbles were often found on reams of t-shirt card, in school books and occasionally appeared mischievously on classroom blackboards. Amanda went on to study at Queensland College of Art.

After more than a decade working in graphic design and art direction, Amanda’s passion for illustration was reignited by the imaginations of her own children. Her illustrations have appeared on cards, stationery and packaging, as well as gracing the walls of children’s rooms all over the world.

Amanda soon turned her attention to her childhood dream of illustrating children’s books and has since illustrated, Jonathan! written by Peter Carnavas (Feb 2014), Onesie Mumsie written by Alice Rex (April 2015) and Take Ted Instead written by Cassandra Webb (April 2016).

More recently, Amanda moved back to the leafy edges of Brisbane, where she lives among the gum trees with her husband, three children and a very bouncy dog.


Amanda Francey illustrated– Take Ted Instead for New Frontier in April 2016 and Onesie Mumsie paperback edition with New Frontier is due out in March.

Ann-marie Finn

Finn Ann-Marie Finn is an illustrator specialising in prints and greeting cards. She has over 10 years design experience on two continents, including designing for Hallmark Cards and illustrating children’s books.


Ann-marie Finn illustrated – A Trip to the Moon and Captain Kieron for Dragon Tales in 2014 but is starting a new publishing venture called Yellow Brick Books.

Ben Long

Ben says: “I was heading north of the city on my regular trip to work as a research scientist in information security (where I practised the art of keeping secrets – a bit like a magician, but at a desk and with no audience to wow). On previous occasions I sat in the train carriage in silence, or listened to music, or struck up a conversation with one of my work colleagues, but on this particular morning I found myself with a pencil and notepad in hand, playing around with various words and phrases.

“In 2012, I published Tickle Me Zoo (reprinted due to popular demand) and in 2014, I published Higgledee Giggledee. Both books have been well received by the little ones.

“In 2015, I signed with Ford Street Publishing for my next picture book – Ready, Steady, Hatch! – which will be illustrated by none other than David Cornish. (We have been hoping to work on a project together for years. So happy it’s really happening!)”


Ben Long wrote – Ready, Steady Hatch! Illustrated by David Cornish for Ford Street due out March 2017

Brian Falkner

Brian Falkner was born and raised in Auckland but is currently living on the Gold Coast.  He has worked as a radio journalist, advertising copywriter, computer consultant and as a graphic designer.

He is the author of several novels for children and young adults including, The Flea Thing, The Real Thing, The Super Freak and The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack.

His most recent books have been his Recon Team Angel series about humanity losing a war against alien invaders with a team of teenagers risking everything to overcome the odds and finally a new Rampage at Waterloo, the first of the new Battlesaurus series – an alternative history re-imagines the 1815 Battle of Waterloo as a victory for the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte, when he unleashes a terrible secret weapon – giant carnivorous survivors from pre-history – on his unsuspecting British and Prussian adversaries.

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Brian Falkner wrote – Battlesaurus: Clash of Empires in Aug 2016 and Shooting Stars for Scholastic in February 2017

Cori Brooke

Cori says: “I have a double degree in Law and Creative Industries (Media and Communication) from the Queensland University of Technology, which says a lot about my personality. I have a very analytical side and a very creative side. I also have a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (also from QUT) and I was admitted as a lawyer in 2009.

“I have always loved writing and I am passionate about picture books and their ability to drive and encourage the imagination and creativity of both children and adults. I also spend a lot of time at the beach, I love cooking and I collect antiques. Max and George was my debut book. My second book, Fearless with Dad, was released in July 2015. My third book, titled All I Want for Christmas is Rain was released 1 November 2016. I am very proud of this book – it looks so beautiful and I hope it resonates with Australians.

“Originally from Canada, I married an Australian and we now live in Brisbane with our son, silly labradoodle and ginger cat.”


Cori Brooke wrote – All I want for Christmas is Rain illustrated by Megan Forward for New Frontier in Dec 2016

Dave Lowe

Dave always wanted to write and started writing little stories when he was 7 or 8. He wrote The Stinky and Jinks series in 2014 (six books) and the Squirrel Boy series in 2015 (three books). 2017 sees the release of his new series. The first two books, The Incredible Dadventure and The Mumbelievable Challenge will be out in June, illustrated by ‘The Boy Fitz Hammond.’


Dave Lowe wrote – The Incredible Dadventure and The Mumbelievable Challenge are due out in June

Glen Singleton

Glen Singleton has been creating amazing artworks from his studio in Brisbane for more than 20 years. Using a mix of both hand illustrated and digital art, Glen’s work can be seen on everything from children’s books to calendars, greeting cards to advertising art and theme park maps.


Glen Singleton illustrated – Australians let us barbecue! written by Colin Buchanan and Greg Champion for Scholastic in Nov 2015

Johnathan Bentley

Brisbane-based Jonathan Bentley worked for eight years as a freelance illustrator in England and Australia before joining the Courier-Mail in 1997 as an editorial illustrator. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines. He has illustrated many children’s books including for Margaret Wild, The Wiggles and Andrew Daddo.

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Jonathan Bentley wrote and illustrated – Where is Bear? For Little Hare in Feb 2016 and illustrated Blue Sky ,Yellow Kite written by Janet A Holmes for Little Hare in 2016 and When I grow up written by Andrew Daddo for ABC Books in Dec 2016. Little Hare/jonathan-bentley 

Karen Collum

Karen Collum is an internationally published children’s author living on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. She has four picture books to her name and can’t wait to add more to her collection.


Her latest book, SMALL AND BIG, was named a 2016 CBCA Notable Book for Early Readers.

Karen Collum wrote Blow me a Kiss illustrated by Serena Geddes for Scholastic in April 2015

Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee grew up in Mount Isa and still frequently dreams she is walking barefoot along the dry Leichhardt River there. She has worked as an underground cable mapper, pool kiosk attendant, library assistant and hotel laundry hand and eventually became a registered nurse. All the while she never gave up her secret dream of becoming a writer.

Her first novel The Anatomy of Wings won numerous awards including, the Dobbie Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. Her second novel about the disappearance of a girl in tropical north Queensland, The Midnight Dress, won the Sisters in Crime Best YA Debut Crime Novel in 2014.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, Karen’s first novel for children was published internationally in 2014 to much acclaim.


Karen Foxlee wrote – A Most Magical Girl for Bonnier in Sept 2016

Kathleen Jennings

Kathleen Jennings is an illustrator in Brisbane, Australia. Her first cover illustration was for Greer Gilman’s Tiptree Award-winning novel Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales (from Small Beer Press). She has created illustrations and cover art for many authors, including Kelly Link, Catherynne M. Valente, Karen Joy Fowler, Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannet, and for publishers such as, Small Beer Press, Subterranean Press, Candlewick Press, FableCroft Press and Ticonderoga Publications.

She has earned an international reputation as an illustrator, with three nominations for the World Fantasy Award, and several Ditmar Awards to her name.

Many of her illustrations and incidental drawings appear on her blog and she tweets @tanaudel

An interview is at Australian SF Snapshot Project


Kathleen Jennings illustrated – Flight with Angela Slatter for Tiny Owl Press coming out in 2017

Lynette Noni

Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive, but she consoled herself by looking inside every wardrobe she could find, and she’s still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with characters she meets along the way.

Her young adult fantasy series, The Medoran Chronicles so far has the books, Akarnae (2015) and Raelia (2016) available, with the third book, Draekora coming soon.


Lynette Noni wrote – Draekora due out April 2017 for Pantera Press/Bloomsbury

Megan Forward

Megan says: “I am an Australian illustrator, author, painter and printmaker. My children’s picture book A Patch from Scratch was published in March 2016, and I run workshops for children around ideas about living sustainably in an urban setting. These include drawing, painting and planting seeds as well as reading from the book. I also run lino printing workshops for children and adults.

“In 1995 I completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, and I have a graduate diploma in Education specialising in Visual Art and English. I have worked in many mediums and have exhibited in galleries around Brisbane as well as completing commissioned work. For the three years from 2009–2011, I studied printmaking at Studio West End in Brisbane under Vim De Voss. These days I work out of my studio in Manly, Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia.”


Megan Forward wrote and illustrated – A Patch from Scratch for Penguin in March 2016 and illustrated All I want for Christmas is Rain written by Cori Brooke for New Frontier in Dec 2016

Michael Gerard Bauer

Michael Gerard Bauer was born and lives in Brisbane Australia. In 2000 he resigned from his full-time position as an English/Economics teacher to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.

His first YA novel The Running Man was published to great acclaim. In 2007 his second novel, a ‘laugh out loud’ comedy entitled Don’t Call Me Ishmael! won a number of awards. Its sequels also did well. Michael’s books for younger readers include, Dinosaur Knights, You Turkeys!, and Just a Dog.

Recently Michael has written a series of three humorous books for younger readers starting with Eric Vale Epic Fail. They all won more awards and are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe. A spin off series about Derek Dale, are also out. Michael’s latest book published in May 2016 is the YA comedy The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me. In 2017 Michael’s first picture book will be released.

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Michael Gerard Bauer wrote – The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and Me for Omnibus/Scholastic May 2016

Muza Ulasowski

Muza Ulasowski established Muza Designs Studio in 2007, working from her home studio set in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

In 2010, she was invited to illustrate her first children’s picture book and enjoyed it so much, she has been collaborating ever since with Australian and international authors. To date she has illustrated over 10 published children’s picture books and is currently illustrating several more which will be published in 2017.

Whilst primarily concentrating on creating digital images for children’s picture books, Muza also specializes in graphic design, designing book covers and book layouts to print ready stage. She also designs badges, brochures, logos, DL cards, stationery, business cards, booklets, programmes, catalogues, special ‘one-off’ cards for special events etc.

In her spare time she enjoys creating pencil and charcoal illustrations, acrylic painting, and photographing wildlife.


Muza Ulasowski illustrated – Getting Home written by J R Poulter for Word Wings for Kids in Oct 2016

Pamela Rushby

Pamela Rushby was born in Queensland and has worked in advertising; as a pre-school teacher; and as a writer and producer of educational television, audio and multimedia.

Pam has written children’s books and television scripts; hundreds of radio and TV commercials; multi award-winning documentaries on Queensland dinosaurs, Australian ecosystems, bilbies, the Crown of Thorns starfish and buried Chinese terracotta warriors; short stories; and freelance journalism. She has won several awards, including a Literature Board of the Australia Council grant to work on archaeological excavations in Egypt and Jordan; a Churchill Fellowship to study educational television in Canada; the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards; three Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards; and a bag of gold coins at a film festival in Iran.

Her historical novels include When the Hipchicks Went to War (Hachette 2009), The Horses Didn’t Come Home (HarperCollins 2012), Flora’s War (Ford Street Publishing 2013), The Rat-catcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins 2014) and Sing a Rebel Song (Omnibus Books 2015).

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Pamela Rushby wrote – Princes Parsley for Scholastic in July 2016 and Lizzie and Margaret Rose also for Scholastic in Oct 2016.

Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is an author, part-time primary school science teacher and mother of two.  She believes her love of telling stories actually began right back in high school, inspired by hearing, then repeating, a good joke. She went on to become a teacher and has now written over 100 books. Rebecca regularly visits schools in around Australia, presenting writing workshops to inspire children of all ages to read and write. (See Workshops)  Her past experience as a wildlife carer has given her an extra insight into the behaviour of our native animals, giving her fiction stories a taste of realism. Rebecca won 2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Teaching Science.

Rebecca began writing for Steve Parish in 2000 when she came up with an idea for a series of fiction books using his photos.  Rebecca also has an Insect Series published by Pascal Press with strong links to the Australian Curriculum, presenting facts and scientific knowledge in a fiction format with stunning photographs. This series won the 2014 Whitley Award for Best Educational Series.

Rebecca teaches science three days per week to primary school age children as a specialist science teacher, a job she loves and feels very passionate about. Together with the help of her teaching partner and the school’s ‘Green Team’, they have developed over two acres of gardens containing native, endangered and indigenous plant species and grow vegetables to sell each week. Rebecca received the 2010 Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.


Rebecca Johnson wrote – Rainforest Camp the latest book in her Juliet, Nearly a Vet series for Penguin in July 2016.

Richard Yaxley

Richard says: “I write for young people (Drink the Air, Spring Rain, Joyous and Moonbeam) and older people (The Rose Leopard, Bloodlines, The Musician and the Murderer). I also enjoy creating poetry, short stories, plays and reflections, and have an extensive history of educational publishing.

“I am grateful to have won the 2010 Queensland Premier’s Literary Young Adult Fiction Award for Drink The Air and to have been short-listed in the 2014 West Australian Premier’s Awards for Joyous and Moonbeam. I’ve also been the recipient of an Australia Council Literature Board Grant, whilst in 2015 I was lucky enough to be awarded a May Gibbs Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship. This led to the completion of my new novel, This Is My Song, to be published by Omnibus Books early in 2017. In 2016 I was the recipient of the FAW NSW Walter Stone Award for Life Writing for Homecoming, a memoir of my great-uncle who landed at Gallipoli on April 25th, 2015.

“I also write a feature column for Queensland’s truthiest news mag Queensland News Truth.”


Richard Yaxley wrote – This is my Song for Scholastic due out March 2017

Samantha Wheeler

Samantha Wheeler lives in Brisbane with her family and many animals. Her first story took shape during a writing course at the Queensland Writers Centre in 2009 and was accepted into the inaugural Allen and Unwin Children’s Manuscript Development Program in 2010. She went on to have a short story published in the One Book Many Brisbanes anthology and to write Smooch & Rose, her first children’s novel, inspired by a local strawberry farm and her concern for Queensland’s koalas.

Her second book, Spud & Charli is an action-packed adventure about horses, bats and getting carried away by your imagination while her most recent book Mr Cassowary is about, yes, you guessed it, a big bird and a big mystery. Can Flynn solve it?


Samantha Wheeler wrote – Mr Cassowary for UQP in Sept 2015 but her new book Wombat Warriors is due out April 2017.

Terry Whidborne

Terry Whidborne has worked in the advertising industry for many years, and is now recognised as one of Brisbane’s most senior award-winning Art Directors. But as Terry’s family grew, so did his interest in illustration. He began developing his style for clients such as Vogue, Virgin Blue and many of London’s top ad agencies, before deciding that what he really wanted to do was concentrate on books, film and animation. He lives in Brisbane with his wife and two kids.

Terry’s website of his artwork:

For an interview go to:


Terry Whidborne illustrated – Top Secret Files written by Nick Earls for UQP in Nov 2016

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