The Centre for Children’s Literature

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Romancing the Stars – Brisbane 2019

Romancing the Stars – Brisbane
Date: Friday 15 March 2019
Venue: D J Hanly Learning Centre Forecourt, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, 2199 Sandgate Road, Boondall 4034
Time: 6:00 – 9:30pm
Cost: $25 for Book Links members | $35 for non-members
RSVP: Friday 8 March
Book here:
Starring: David Cox, David Lowe, Dimity Powell, Giuseppe and Katie Poli, Helene Magisson, Jo Sandhu, Josie Montano, Karen Foxlee, Katherine Battersby, Martii Maclean, Natalie Jane Prior, Richard Newsome, Richard Yaxley, Samantha Wheeler, Sheryl Gwyther, Sona Babajanyan, Sophie Beer, Tania Cox

See what fun we had in Brisbane in 2018 at Romancing the Stars!
You Tube Video courtesy of Peter Allert.

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Dave Lowe is the author of eleven novels for children, including the Stinky & Jinks series about a genius hamster and his not-so-smart owner. The first book in the series, My Hamster is a Genius was highly commended at the prestigious Sheffield Book Awards (second only to Tom Gates) and the series has been translated into seven languages so far. His latest series, The Incredible Dadventure, won the Teach Primary Book Award in 2018 and has been nominated for the Lancashire Fantastic Book Award in the UK. Dave’s stage adaptation of Andy Griffiths’ The Day My Bum Went Psycho is premiering in Brisbane in early 2019.

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David Cox was brought up in inland Australia and, as a young man, worked as a jackaroo on sheep and cattle stations in the far west of Queensland. He later studied at St Martins School of Art. His main aim at that time was to be a painter; but he realised that he was more suited to story telling through words and drawing. In 1978, David won the Walkley Award for newspaper illustration and has since won awards for book illustration in Australia and in the USA  He has written children’s books, which he has illustrated,  and has also illustrated numerous books by other authors.

  • The most recent book to be illustrated by David is The House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe, published by Allen and Unwin, 2019.

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Dimity Powell loves filling every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews exclusively for children and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Dimity has published over 28 stories but believes picture books are food for the soul, consuming them regularly and relishes creating her own including The Fix-It Man, (2017), At the End of Holyrood Lane, (2018) both with illustrator, Nicky Johnston and, Pippa, due July 2019. Dimity shares the Gold Coast with Bat Man but not his love of black.

  • Most recent titles:
    At The End of Holyrood Lane Dimity Powell, illustrated by Nicky Johnston (EK Books, 2018)
  • Pippa Dimity Powell, illustrated by Andrew Plant (Ford Street Publishing, 2019)

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Giuseppe Poli is a Brisbane based Children’s Picture Book Author Illustrator, and after four years in the children’s literature scene, is currently illustrating his tenth picture book. In 2018 his Author Illustrator debut, Young MacDonald, was published by Yellow Brick Books and with his wife, Katie Poli, they released their debut as a children’s picture book team, Marvellous Mummy, published by New Frontier Publishing in Australia and the UK. His eighth book, Invisible Jerry, written by Adam Wallace and published by EK Books came out November 2018 in Australia and will be released into the CAN, NZ, UK and the US.

  • Young MacDonald, by Giuseppe Poli (Yellow Brick Books, 2018)
  • Marvellous Mummy, by Katie Poli, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli (New Frontier Publishing, 2018)
  • Johnas, The International Soccer Star, by Ada Nicodemou, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli (, 2018)
  • Invisible Jerry, by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli (EK Books, 2018)


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Katie Poli is a former Early Years teacher with a passion for both children’s literature and the Arts. She has taught piano for 25 years and currently works as a university lecturer in Education. Katie lives in Brisbane with her three hilarious children, her author/illustrator-husband, and four chickens.

  • Marvellous Mummy, by Katie Poli, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli (New Frontier Publishing, 2018)

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Helene Magisson started her artistic career as a painting restorer in Paris, where she was also trained in the art of medieval illumination.
Helene has lived in countries all over the world, including Africa, France, and India. She now lives in Queensland, and it was when she settled in Australia with her family, that she began a new career illustrating children’s books.
Since then, she has illustrated more than ten books including classics like The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco and more contemporary stories like Slowly! Slowly! by T.M. Clark, CBCA 2018 notable picture book of the year.

  • Lily’s Balloon written by Katrina Roe , Published by Wombat Books (July 2018)
  • Jacaranda Snow written by Catherine Greer, Published by Wombat Books (October 2018)

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Jo Sandhu is an award-winning author who writes adventure novels for upper middle grade. Her trilogy, Tarin of the Mammoths, is published by Penguin Random House. Book One, The Exile, won the Readings Children’s Book Prize in 2018 and is a CBCA Notable book. It was also a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for Best Children’s Book and is on the NSW and Qld Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Other books in the trilogy are Clan of Wolves (2017) and Cave Bear Mountain (2018)

She can be found at

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From age nine Josie Montano‘s dream was to be an author and at age 13 she received her first rejection letter from Golden Books. Decades later, she now has over 60 books published. Josie, also writes under the pseudonym of Santomauro on the topic of Autism. Her latest picture book Engelberta Finds Her Feet is about a little girl who can’t dance…or can she? Josie has also collaborated with Kathy Hoopmann for Wombat Books on a book titled The Secret Science Society’s Spectacular Experiment to be released later this year. She’s always holding a pencil and writing down ideas. Josie wants to write until she’s a really, really, really, old lady in a nursing home full of other

  • Engelberta Finds Her Feet, by Josie Montano, illustrated by Andrea Peixoto Emmerick (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, 2018)

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Karen Foxlee spent most of her adult life working as a registered nurse while pursuing her secret dream of becoming a writer. Her young adult novels The Anatomy of Wings and The Midnight Dress have been published internationally to much acclaim.  Her award-winning books for younger readers include Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, A Most Magical Girl and Lenny’s Book of Everything.  Apart from writing her passions are her daughter, day-dreaming and swimming in the sea. She lives and writes in Queensland, Australia.

  • Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin 2018)

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Katherine Battersby is the critically acclaimed children’s author and illustrator of ten picture books, including the Squish Rabbit series and Little Wing, which have been published around the world. Her books have received glowing reviews in The New York Times, been shortlisted for the Crichton Award and been named notable books in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. In another life Katherine worked for many years as a paediatric occupational therapist, specialising as a children’s counsellor, and she has also studied graphic design. She grew up by the beach in North Queensland and currently lives in Canada. Visit her at:

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Martii Maclean is an award winning author who writes fantastical, adventurous tales for children and teens, and sometimes adults. Her work as an educator and librarian, has allowed her to share her love of stories and of story-telling with many young people. This has inspired her to create thought-filled stories that explore the wonderful world of ‘what if’. Martii has had the awesome fun and privilege of creating five books for young people and launching them into the reader-verse via her independent publishing venture, Kooky Cat Books. She has also contributed short stories to two adult anthologies.

  • The Adventures of Isabelle Necessary – A gutsy girl, a cool beach town, awesome friends and oodles of adventures. (Kooky Cat Books, 2018)
  • Un-real Time – Time-loop traps, mutant marsupials and cyber-teen renegades, the future will never be the same again. (Kooky Cat Books, 2019)

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Natalie Jane Prior has been writing and editing books for children since the early 1990s. Her work includes the classic picture book The Paw and its sequels, illustrated by Terry Denton and still in print 25 years after its first publication; and the internationally successful fantasy series Lily Quench, which has sold more than half a million copies worldwide. Recent books with longtime collaborator, Sydney illustrator Cheryl Orsini, include Natalie’s “love song to libraries”, Lucy’s Book (2017), and story collections The Tales of Mrs Mancini, The Fairy Dancers, and The Magic Bookshop.

In 2018, Natalie published A Boat of Stars, a wonderful collection of 60 brand new poems and artwork by some of Australia’s favourite authors and illustrators, co-edited with Margaret Connolly. Natalie’s next title will be the magical picture book,Wandering Star,  illustrated by Stephen Michael King. It will  be published by Scholastic in May 2019.

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Richard Newsome is the award-winning author of the six-part Billionaire series of Middle Grade action books. His latest series is Stella the Unstoppable, featuring the misadventures of possibly the world’s most over-confident 10-year-old, Stella McNaught. The three-part series is published by Affirm Press, with the first instalment, The Talent Show Fiasco, out in February 2019, to be followed later in the year by The Magic Underpants, and The Race for the Flag. Stella is suitable for 7-11 year-olds and is being described as Hating Alison Ashley meets Dork Diaries, with a dash of Matilda.

  • Stella the Unstoppable and The Talent Show Fiasco by Richard Newsome (Affirm Press, 2019)

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Richard Yaxley has written seven novels for adult and young adult audiences, including 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; finalist in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards).

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).

In 2011, he was awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM).

For further information, go to:

  • His latest young adult novel, The Happiness Quest, was published by Scholastic, 2018.

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Samantha Wheeler studied Agriculture, worked with dairy farmers, and taught science, before writing her first children’s book, inspired by koalas, in 2011. Her books, which include Smooch & Rose, Wombat Warriors, Mister Cassowary, and Turtle Trackers have been shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards, the Readings Book Prize, The Wilderness Society Environmental Award and the Royal Zoological Society, Whitley Commendation. Her most recent story, Everything I’ve Never Said, was inspired by her youngest daughter, who has Rett Syndrome and can’t talk. Samantha hopes her books will inspire everyone to speak up and make a difference.

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Sheryl Gwyther’s recently published historical Middle Grade novel, Sweet Adversity, takes readers into the heart of the Great Depression with the adventures of brave but vulnerable hero, Addie McAllister and her Shakespeare-quoting cockatiel, Macbeth; a tribe of lost children and a pair of dastardly villains to chill your bones.
Her other work includes short stories, chapter books, school plays and a junior fiction novel, Secrets of Eromanga, inspired by her fascination of Australia’s paleo-past and dinosaur fossils. Sheryl is the Queensland head of the KidLit organisation, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

  • Sweet Adversity, by Sheryl Gwyther (HarperCollins Children’s Books Australia 2018)

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Sona Babajanyan is an artist and illustrator from Armenia, where she has been working as a translator of literature, editor, and graphic designer. Although she was creating all her life and her artwork has been exhibited in different parts of the world, it was not until moving to Brisbane in 2008, that she decided to focus all her attention on art and illustration. This is a decision she has never regretted. Since that time she has illustrated a number of children’s picture books, and realised that she loves it – looking at the world with a child’s eyes again. She works in traditional as well as digital media, both in colour and black-and-white.

  • Filthy Fergal by Sigi Cohen (Yellow Brick Books, 2018)

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Sophie Beer is an illustrator/author from Brisbane. She studied law and literature at Queensland University of Technology, but her true calling was realised when she won the 2016 SCBWI Penguin Random House portfolio award. Since then, she has worked with Hardie Grant Egmont, Penguin Random House, Scholastic UK, Hachette and many others. Her debut author/illustrated picture book is out in May 2019 with Penguin Random House.

  • Love Makes a Family (Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018)
  • Amazing Australian Women (Hachette, 2018)

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Tania Cox is a children’s picture book author, who grew up in  North Queensland.
Two of her books, Snap! went Chester illustrated by David Miller and With Nan illustrated by Karen Blair,  were previously shortlisted for the CBCA Book Awards.  With Nan was named an Honour Book.    Tania’s  latest book  titled,  What’s at the End of this Piece of Rope?,  is illustrated by Jedda Robaard and published by Lothian Children’s  Books 2018.   The story   features a young character  who embarks on a  jungly adventure meeting animal friends along the way that help her pull! tug! humphff! and heave! to discover what is at the end of this piece of rope.  It celebrates co-operation,  problem solving and the power of a child’s imagination. More information Tania and her books can be found at

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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