Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astrophysicist with a talent for making the secrets of the universe accessible to all. She has spent 15 years conducting astrophysics research at universities and research institutes across the world. She was recently appointed to the advisory group to the Australian Space Agency. In 2018, Lisa was appointed as a Professor of Practice at UNSW Sydney and the inaugural Australian Government Women in STEM Ambassador. The Ambassador’s role is to increase the participation of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies and careers by building visibility and driving change towards gender equity in STEM.
Keynote - Lee Constable
Lee Constable is the host of Scope, Network Ten's science and tech show for kids aged 7-13. Lee's background is a mixed bag with a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science Communication Outreach. During her Masters, Lee toured remote and regional Australia as a Questacon Science Circus presenter and founded, produced and hosted youth-run social justice and sustainability radio show and podcast, SoapBox. Lee is the founder of Co-Lab: Science Meets Street Art where collaborations between scientists and street artists result in science-inspired murals that evolve live for the public. In 2018 Lee was part of the largest ever all-female expedition to Antarctica with 80 international women in STEMM as part of the Homeward Bound leadership program.
From spending evenings as an Education Ranger with a spotlight in hand showing school groups the plants and animals of the Australian National Botanic Gardens to spending days showing kids around ACT's landfill and recycling sorting facility, there's no environment too hot, cold, dark or smelly to warrant some youth-friendly scientific communication.
Keynote - Claire Saxby
Claire Saxby lives in Melbourne, Australia and loves her city. She is the bestselling and award-winning author of many books. There Was an Old Sailor (illustrated by Cassandra Allen) won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. Previous Nature Storybooks Big Red Kangaroo, Emu (both illustrated by Graham Byrne) and Koala (illustrated by Julie Vivas) have won numerous awards including the Whitley Award, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, and Children’s Book Council of Australia Crichton Award. Koala was a CBCA Honour book. Dingo (illustrated by Tannya Harricks) won the Whitley Award and co-won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award.
Keynote - Pauline Fitzgerald
Pauline Fitzgerald is the Acting Manager of Learning Services at the State Library of New South Wales. Ms Fitzgerald is a qualified Primary teacher with many years’ teaching experience in Australia, New Zealand and England. At the State Library of New South Wales Ms Fitzgerald has contributed to the establishment and development of the Learning Services branch. Learning Services offer programs for K-12 students and teachers onsite, online and on tour around NSW. The focus of Ms Fitzgerald’s work in cultural organisations has the design and development of engaging learning experiences for young people. She is a passionate educator with a particular interest in facilitating the inclusion of student voice into cultural organisations.
Keynote - Sue Lawson
Bio coming soon.
Keynote - Aunty Fay Muir
Bio coming soon.
Keynote - Maryann Ballantyne
aryann Ballantyne is an editor with Wild Dog. Although still extremely young, her career spans more than 25 years in the industry. Maryann is passionate about bringing Australian stories to young readers.
She lives in Melbourne with her husband, three children, a dog called Louie who is not black and a cat called Fluffy who is.
Keynote - Donna Rawlins
Bio coming soon.
Publisher Perspective - Louise Park
Louise Park is an acknowledged literacy expert and widely published author for children, and has been involved in education and publishing for over 30 years. As an education consultant, she scopes, reviews and assesses education content, and is also an active ambassador for Indigenous children, English as a second language students, and children at risk. She has written over 250 books for children aged 2-12, and is regularly invited to speak at education conferences, reading symposiums and literature festivals. She is in schools on a regular basis as an author and educator working with staff, parents and students. As one half of the Mac Park writing duo, Louise co-authored Allen & Unwin's successful D-Bot Squad series of early readers. Today, she continues to combine her knowledge of English, literacy and reading acquisition with children's publishing.
Publisher Perspective - Jan Latta
Jan Latta is an author, wildlife photographer and publisher of a series of True to Life Books.
To create her books, she follows animals in the wild in Sri Lanka, Borneo, Uganda, China, Costa Rica, India, and eleven times to Africa, to tell the animals' stories with photographs and educational videos.
Publisher Perspective - Sami Bayly
I am a 23-year-old author and illustrator from Newcastle NSW, who is obsessed with all things weird and wonderful. I moved to Newcastle from Port Macquarie to start my university degree at the University of Newcastle, a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours) which is the only one available in the southern Hemisphere.
I love to paint using watercolour and white gouache, in order to create realistic flora and fauna that can be described as strange or downright ugly in order to show others that there is in fact, beauty in ugliness.
We must take care of all our creatures, regardless of whether we find them visually appealing or not, as they are all extremely important to our ecosystem.
I hope to continue illustrating and writing for children, exploring the world and all the unusual things hidden within it.
Publisher Perspective - Lucy Bell
Lucy Bell is a book editor and music teacher on a journey to live a more ethical, sustainable and mindful life.
After getting her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney with majors in English and Ancient History, Lucy studied a Master of Publishing. Now she works for a social-purpose publishing house making big differences and helping fund not-for-profits and charities to close the literacy gap.
Lucy grew up on the NSW Central Coast surrounded by four siblings, a cat, two dogs, two sheep, a lizard, lots of guinea pigs and thirteen chickens. She now lives in Sydney and while watering her balcony garden, dreams of one day owning her own country farmhouse.
Short List Panel - Younger Reader - Tristan Bancks
Tristan Bancks tells stories for the page and screen. His books for kids and teens include Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention and the Tom Weekly series. Two Wolves won Honour Book in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. The Fall was a CBCA Notable Book and shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.
Tristan’s books have also been recognised in multiple children’s choice awards. Tristan is a writer-ambassador for literacy charity Room to Read. He is currently working with producers to develop several of his books for the screen. He’s excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create. You can find out more about Tristan’s books, play games, watch videos, chat to the author and help him try to change the world at
Short List Panel - Picture Books - Margaret Hamilton
Margaret Hamilton has had many years’ experience in children’s books - as a children’s librarian (Parramatta City Library), bookseller, publisher and a parent. She left her position as a director at Hodder & Stoughton Australia to begin Margaret Hamilton Books with her husband Max. The company built up a reputation for high quality children’s books and was dedicated to the philosophy ‘that children have a right to the best of everything, especially books’. Margaret Hamilton Books won many awards and had considerable success on the world market. It became a Division of Scholastic Australia in 1996, where the imprint remains. Margaret’s passion for picture books, her enthusiasm for the world of Australian illustrators, and her recognition of the need for wider promotion of picture books, have led her to Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage at Blackheath, the only centre for children’s books in NSW. She has been involved with the Children’s Book Council of Australia for many years and is former Deputy Chair of the National Board. Her Order of Australia was received in 2008 – ‘for service to the arts through the promotion of children’s literature and literacy and through support for authors and illustrators’. Her first picture book B is for Bedtime was published in 2014 and was chosen as a CBCA Notable Book.
Short List Panel - Eve Pownall - Olivia O'Flynn
Olivia O’Flynn started her career as a performer in theatre and television, but very quickly realised that kids’ literature was her true passion (not least because of the fart jokes). She holds a Bachelor of Performance from AADA, a Graduate Diploma of Publishing from The University of Sydney, and currently works as a children's bookseller and the Better Read Kids events coordinator at Better Read Than Dead. She is also the host of Talking Words, a podcast for adults about reading, writing and everything in-between.
Short List Panel - Older Reader - Luke McMaster
Luke McMaster is Acting Team Leader of Waverley Library's Children's & Young Adult Services team. He is a storyteller and artist who aims to inspire and engage the young people of Waverley's local community. You'll find him singing loudly on any given day at storytimes.
Short List Panel - Early Children - Rachel McIntosh
Rachel McIntosh is a passionate primary teacher, with 13 years’ experience in the profession. She has taught across all grades including in the library in schools throughout Western and South-West Sydney and the Wollondilly area.
Rachel is the Past-President of the Western- Sydney Sub-branch of the CBCA and is a member of the Illawarra sub-branch. She is also an aspiring writer of both picture books and middle grade books. In 2014 she was the short-listed candidate for the Charlotte Waring Barton Award, for her middle grade manuscript, In His Footsteps.
As a kindergarten teacher and a mother of a 3 year old, Rachel understands the importance of rich, meaningful and engaging picture books in promoting a love of literacy and reading for young children.
Book Signing - Peter Macinnis
Peter Macinnis writes books, magazine articles and occasional radio talks. He usually writes about science, or history or both. His books on poisons have been translated into six other languages (including American!). His hobbies include having temporary obsessions, which often become books; bush walking swiftly, pausing only to bother plants, insects, venomous animals and other wild things; rocks and volcanoes; science and technology as they existed in the 19th century; chatting to telephone scammers in Latin; reading; creative computing; recreational mathematics; being a grandfather — and keeping leeches. Once a bureaucrat, often a teacher, he holds all of the papers needed to prove that he is retired, but he refuses to stop.