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Poetry: exploring inner worlds


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In Love Again: Poetry

2021 AAA PD - LIBBY Hathorn

Libby Hathorn is an award-winning author, poet and librettist. She has written more than seventy books for children and young people. Many of these books are written in verse. Translated into several languages and adapted for stage and screen, her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland. She is winner of many awards including CBCA Awards, the Centenary Medal, and The Alice Award, 2014 for ‘a distinguished and long-term contribution to Australian literature.’ In 2017 she won the Asher Literary Award (a story with the theme of peace) and more recently The Lady Cutler Award, 2020. She has lectured and helped develop poetry curricula in Nepal and India and is working on a wide-ranging World Poetry collection.


Libby has devoted much of her teaching life to inspiring teachers and children about writing, particularly poetry writing, including her creativity program Power Poetry (for Powerhouse Museum and schools); her art and poetry program 100 Views in Australia schools and in Nepal;  Youtube film by Mila Productions,100 Views Kathmandu.  She has developed short videos for the State Library of NSW Libby Hathorn Presents Australian Poets available on their website.

Of her picture storybooks she wrote the text for Way Home which won the Kate Greenaway Award, UK, with illustrations by Gregory Rogers; Grandma’s Shoes was performed as an opera by Opera Australia and Theatre of Image and Libby won an AWGIE for the libretto; Sky Sash so Blue was performed as an opera in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. An early picture book with artist Julie Vivas The Tram to Bondi Beach has enjoyed its 40th year new edition, 2021. Libby is currently working on a verse novel as well as the libretto based on her picture book Outside.

Her latest picture books are Miss Franklin (Winner of the SWW Biennial Award, 2020) and No Never, a cautionary tale, Hachette, 2019, written with her daughter, Lisa ; while Best Cat, Est Cat with artist Rosie Handley will be released in 2021 and We Children and the Narrow Road to the Deep North with artist Sadami Konchi (IP Kidz) also released 2021, will be presented for the first time at the AAA PD Conference in a special session, The Making of a Picture Book. Visit Libby's website here.

2021 AAA - Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning international writer of poetry, plays and picture books. She is a teacher, cultural consultant and artist. In 2020, Kirli was named the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year. 

Kirli created Poetry in First Languages, delivered by Red Room Poetry. Her debut picture book The Incredible Freedom Machines was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and CBCA notables. Her poetry collection, Kindred was shortlisted for the ABIA 2020 Book Awards. Her verse novel, Bindi (Magabala Books) was the inaugural winner of the WA Premiers, Daisy Utemorrah Award and will be released in October. 

Kirli has four forthcoming titles and her poetry features in anthologies published by Magabala Books, UQP and Penguin. Kirli is the winner of the University of Canberra ATSI Poetry prize (2019). Kirli has been shortlisted for the Nakata Brophy prize in 2018 and 2020. She is an esteemed judge for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and QPF Val Vallis Award.

Kirli’s was a finalist in the Contemporary NOW prize, and her artworks works have been commissioned for Wollongong Gallery, Shoalhaven Gallery and Curio Gallery. With the support of Australia Council for the Arts, she will hold her first solo poetic arts exhibition Returning in 2021.

As a playwright, Kirli is co-creating Dead Horse Gap with Merrigong Theatre and South East Arts. Her first Solo play, Going Home has been supported by Playwriting Australia, and will take the stage in 2022.

2021 AAA PD - Sadami Konchi

Libby Hathorn and I are creating a picture book on the haiku poet Basho, funded by Australia Council Grant 2019 with my postgraduate level Japanese. BA, (linguistics, sociology) at Sydney University.

Discovered by Donna Rawlins and Wayne Harris, I became a professional, emerging myself. 2022 May Gibbs Fellow and twice Doug Moran semi-finalist. 2020  Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize finalist, Tokyo ParaART, Winner, Arts Access Australia finalist twice and in World Watercolour Competition etc. Honoured to work at 2019 The conference artist of Humboldt Symposium with the world leading sociolinguists group, Language On the Move.Joining ASA to connect the acclaimed and to find mentors, Ann James, Helen Chamberlin and Australia legends such as Margaret Hamilton by becoming the WestWords, Pinerolo Illustrators in Residency first recipient. The success of two trade picturebooks and first solo show funded by AANSW gives confidence. The publications include the picture books Moon written by Matt Zurbo and My Dog Socks written by Robyn Osbourn, and sociolinguistics book covers, Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice and Intercultural Communication written by Ingrid Piller. I

've produced quality publications for advocacy and education with academics, AANSW, Wesley Mission, WestWords and so on. 

CBCA Quality Literature: Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds

2021 AAA PD - Ursula Dubosarsky
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Better Read Kids is a wonderful venture in children’s literature. We are passionate about providing a creative space for children and young adults to grow and develop their own love of literature. As part of this endeavour, we host regular school holiday workshops in writing and illustrating, host events with children’s authors, run creative writing competitions for children and we visit local schools and community spaces. We do all this with the aim of inspiring a child’s love of books and sparking a child’s creativity.

Ursula Dubosarsky was born and lives in Sydney wanted to be a writer from the age of six. She is now the author of over 60 books and has won several national prizes, and been nominated internationally for the Hans Andersen and Astrid Lindgren awards. She was appointed the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2020-2021 at a ceremony at the National Library of Australia. Her latest books are “Pierre’s Not There” and “The March of the Ants”. 

Victoria Roberts is the teacher librarian at The Lucy Hill Library, the early childhood library at Redlands, a large co-educational, independent school in Sydney. The well-stocked library caters for students from three to eight years old, their teachers and their parents. She has worked in education for forty years and has enjoyed teaching primary, secondary and tertiary students. Her passions include children’s literature, the acquisition of reading skills, reading for pleasure, matching readers to texts and ensuring everyone she knows has access to wonderful books.

Julie Swane has over 30 years’ experience working in libraries with children and youth. Training as a Teacher Librarian at Melbourne State College during the ‘golden age’, she worked at two High Schools in rural Victoria before moving to Newcastle in the late 1980’s. Over the next 10 years Julie taught at a number of K-12 schools and established three school libraries. She likes to think one of her greatest achievements at this time was seeing a 30% increase in reading by her Year 7 & 8 students over a 4 year period. Keen to pursue her passion to promote the value of recreational reading and purposeful parenting, Julie took on the role of Coordinator of Children’s & Youth Services at Newcastle Libraries in 2006. With ten service points, the library sees over 35,000 children attend their programs annually. A trained History teacher, Julie has also completed a Grad Dip in Ed Stud (Applied & Local History)  and preCovid could be found regularly dancing at Jane Austen and Medieval Festivals. She has also completed a Masters in Ed Studies at Newcastle Uni, specialising in connecting schools and communities.

Jasmine Seymour is a Darug woman and descendant of Maria Lock, who was the daughter of Yarramundi, the Burubirunggal elder who met Governor Phillip on the banks of the Hawkesbury River in 1791.


Jasmine is the author illustrator of Baby Business, which won the CBCA best new illustrator award in 2020. She also won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Children’s Literary Award for her co-created book , Cooee Mittigar. It is Jasmine’s wish that through her books, everyone will know that the Darug mob are still here, still strong.


Jasmine is a primary school teacher in NSW, who teaches Dharug language and geography.

Sarah Foster‘s career in children’s books spans 35 years in the UK and here. She founded Walker Books in Australia and NZ, built the business for 20 years including setting up the local publishing list in which she had a particular interest in poetry, narrative non fiction and picture books. She has been a member of the CBCA since first arriving here, has sat on the board of the National Centre for Children's Literature, worked as a bookseller and now is living the dream of studying and reading for pleasure. 

Reem Galal taught in primary schools in Australia and overseas for 10 years. She is now at Better Read Kids, working with teacher librarians in supporting and providing them with the access they require for building their school libraries. 

Kate Colley is the manager of Bloomin' Books, a new addition to Better Read Kids. She's been providing schools and teachers with best opportunity to access the world of literature for 30 years, as well providing support and professional development for teachers, librarians and parents.

As a public relations, advertising and graphic design graduate from the University of New South Wales, Anabelle Keaney is a proud member of Better Read Kids sharing her love and passion for children's literature as part of the kids marketing department. This passion also stems from her love of picture book illustration, working as a freelance digital illustrator and graphic designer on the side.

Lyrical Language - The Power Oral & Written Language

AAA 2021 - Lyrical Language

Kathryn Thorburn has over 20 years experience in both education and health settings. She holds speech pathology, teaching and special education qualifications with current NESA proficient teacher accreditation and certification as a practicing speech pathologist with Speech Pathology Australia. With K-12 experience across all education sectors in NSW and paediatric rehabilitation experience in NSW Health, Kathryn is able to translate research into practice in a manner that is highly practical and easily implemented in a whole class setting. 


Kathryn is a Consultant Teacher with Learning Difficulties Australia, Tutor for SPELDNSW and provides regular clinical supervision and guest lecturing to the Speech Pathology program at both Newcastle and Sydney University. Since oral language is a foundational skill for the creative expression through poetry, she is delighted to be sharing with this conference to support the participation and enjoyment for all students.


Kathryn is currently Director of Learning Engagement [Prep-12] at Medowie Christian School and runs a small Speech Pathology private practice - ‘Language and Learning’. She can be found on Facebook at Language and Learning, on Twitter at @Lang_LearnSP and you are most welcome to join her Facebook group at Language and Learning: Leaders in Literacy.

Scott Jeanneret is the Principal of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School at Belmore. During his time as an educator, he has worked in a variety of roles as a classroom teacher, Literacy and Numeracy Coach, Assistant Principal and Principal. He has a practical approach to professional development ensuring teachers have the tools to teach effectively. His work as a coach brought acclaim in 2019 when the school he worked in was congratulated by ACARA for achieving high learning gain in the 2018 NAPLAN test.

Scott is passionate about children’s learning. He has gained his experience and expertise working both here and overseas. He has worked in schools in London, Brussels, and Helsinki.

Mirella Bohan has been an English, History and Drama teacher at a variety of state high schools since her first teaching appointment to Nyngan High School in 1980.


As an English teacher she has had extensive experience and gained much enjoyment from teaching and writing programs for Years 7-12  English and Years 9-12 Drama. She has specialised in teaching senior English, particularly Advanced and Extensions 1 and 2 English and Senior Drama, at Colo High School and Ryde Secondary College.


At both her last two schools, Mirella also enjoyed regularly coaching public speakers and debaters to participate in state-wide competitions.


She retired from full-time teaching as relieving Head Teacher of English at Ryde Secondary College in 2015. For the past 2 years she has been undertaking casual teaching at a variety of schools. She now works exclusively at Sydney Girls High School.


Mirella has always been passionate about language and literature and particularly the power that narrative and persuasive speech can have to enlighten and inspire us.

2021 AAA - Jackie French
2021 AAA - Meg Mckinlay

Jackie French AM is an Australian author, historian, ecologist and honourary wombat (part time); 2014–15 Australian Children' Laureate; and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year.

Jackie was born in Sydney grew up on the outskirts of Brisbane, and is still not dead. She has lived for more than 40 years at the top of the gorge in the Araluen Valley, where her ancestors lived too. Only one school she attended burned down. This was not her fault.

Some of Jackie’s books have sold millions of copies and won over 60 awards in Australia and internationally. Others were eaten by the wombats.  

Instead of hobbies she has: written over 200 books; built a house and power system; planted thousands of trees; eaten lunches with friends; read to her grandkids;  tried to find her glasses; eaten dark chocolates, whatever fruit is in season and the odd feral species (some are very odd). She coined the term ‘moral ominvore’ to describe her diet. There is a dispensation for dark chocolate.

Jackie has studied over 400 wombats and been the (almost) obedient slave to a dozen of them. She is an enthusiastic cook married to an enthusiastic eater. If you visit do not bring cake. It is the duty of a guest to eat. Lots. Then eat some more. If you are worried about calories hike up the mountain and look for endangered species. But you will find more on a bush mooch than a bush walk. Watch out for the eight species of snake. Don’t worry. They’ll also be watching out for you.

Jackie writes for adults, young adults, and even younger humans, on history, ecology, and her award-winning historical fiction for all ages, but... write just one picture book about a wombat and no one lets you forget it. Ever. Please do not mention Diary of a Wombat or the word ‘prolific’. Or the story of how her first book was accepted because a wombat had left its droppings on her typewriter as, after 25 years of repeating it, she is bored.

Meg McKinlay is the author of eighteen books ranging from picture books and young adult fiction through to poetry for adults. Raised in central Victoria, in a TV- and car-free household, Meg was a bookish kid, in love with words and excited by dictionaries. On the long and winding path to becoming a children’s writer, she has worked a variety of jobs including swim instructor, tour guide, translator and teacher. Meg is now a full-time writer and lives near the ocean in Fremantle, Western Australia, where she is always busy cooking up more books.

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Sophie Masson was born in Indonesia of French parents who are themselves of mixed ancestry—French, Spanish, Basque, Portuguese and French-Canadian–and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the acclaimed, internationally-published author of more than 60 books for children, young adults and adults. She has won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards (for The Hunt for Ned Kelly) and the Young Adult category in the Aurealis Awards(for The Hand of Glory). Her books have been frequently shortlisted for major awards, including, most recently, the 2018 Davitt Awards for her YA historical thriller Jack of Spades, her picture book, Two Rainbows, illustrated by Michael McMahon, as a Notable Book in the 2018 CBCA Awards, and another picture book, Once Upon An ABC (illustrated by Christopher Nielsen) was shortlisted in the 2018 Crichton Award(also CBCA).  Her most recent books(all 2019) are a historical novel for children, War and Resistance(Scholastic Australia) and three picture books, On My Way(illustrated by Simon Howe, Scholastic Australia), There’s a Tiger Out There(illustrated by Ruth Waters, Little Hare) and Join the Armidale Parade (illustrated by Kathy Creamer, Little Pink Dog Books). Forthcoming in 2020 are The Snowman’s Wish (illustrated by Ronak Taher, Dirt Lane Press); A House of Mud (illustrated by Katrina Fisher, Little Pink Dog Books) and a collection of French fairy tales, (title TBC) illustrated by Lorena Carrington and published by Serenity Press.

Sophie has also written four popular YA romantic thrillers under the name of Isabelle Merlin (all published by Random House Australia). Under the name of Jenna Austen, she has also published two romantic comedies for tweens and early teens(published by Harper Collins Australia).

She is a founding partner and co-director of Christmas Press, an acclaimed boutique children’s publishing house based in New England, New South Wales, specialising in beautiful illustrated books for children, from picture books and anthologies to fiction, plays and poetry, books featuring both established and emerging writers and illustrators.

She recently completed a successful PhD at the University of New England, comprising a YA speculative fiction novel and accompanying academic exegesis.

A former Chair of the Australian Society of Authors, Sophie is the current Chair of the New England Writers’ Centre and is also on the Board of the Small Press Network. As well, she has served on the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and on the Book Industry Collaborative Council. She is a member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (NSW branch) and of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(Australia East and New Zealand chapter).

In 2019, Sophie was awarded an AM(General Division) in the Order of Australia, announced in the Australia Day Honours List. Her citation reads: ‘For significant service to literature as an author, a publisher, and through roles in industry organisations.’

Emily Sun is a writer, poet and educator  who grew up  on Whadjuk Noongar Country/Perth Western Australia.  She has published in various anthologies and journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry Journal, Meanjin, Mascara Literary Review, and Westerly.

In 2018 and 2019, she was the recipient of fellowships at the Katharine Susannah Prichard  Writers Centre (First Editions/CALD) and the Centre for Stories. Emily was also  the runner-up in the national  Deborah Cass Writing Prize (2018).

Emily used to be a secondary-school English teacher, and has also taught in the tertiary sector. Emily holds a MA in English and Creative Arts and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia where she is working on a history and literature project.

Vociferate|詠  is her debut poetry collection and will be released by Fremantle Press in June 2021.  She is in the process of completing her second collection poetry collection. 

Poetry at the Heart of it: Verse Novel

The back story and process behind creating a verse novel.

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Pip Harry is an Australian author and journalist. Her young adult novels include I'll Tell You Mine, Head of the River and Because of You; shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards, Victorian Premier's Literary Award and Queensland Literary Awards. Her first middle grade novel, The Little Wave, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and won the 2020 CBCA Book of the Year award for Younger Readers and Speech Pathology Australia’s 2020 Book of the Year for readers aged 8-10. In 2021, Pip releases a new verse novel for children and teens, Are You There Buddha? Pip lives in Singapore but returns to Australia regularly.

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Sally Murphy grew up loving books, babies and beaches, and nothing much has changed. Now she is grown up (though she tries hard not to be), she thinks a perfect day is one which involves reading, writing, walking or swimming at the beach, time with her six (also grown up) children, her grandchildren, and long-suffering husband. When she isn’t doing these things, Sally is a university academic, teaching teachers how to teach.

As well as writing books, I am a poet. I love crafting poetry on all kinds of topics, and in a range of forms, both rhyming and unrhyming. In fact, I love poetry so much that I am a Doctor of Poetry (well, technically I am a PhD, Doctor of Philosophy – by my thesis was, in fact, about children’s poetry)

You can find some of my poetry here on my site, mostly in my Poetry Friday posts – you can see past posts here.

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Lorraine Marwood has published several children’s novels and collections of poetry, winning the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary Award for children’s fiction in 2010 for her novel Star Jumps. She has enjoyed three fellowships with the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust. Her 2018 verse novel, Leave Taking, was the joint winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature and was shortlisted for the 2019 CBCA Book of the Year, Younger Readers and the Queensland Literary Awards, Children’s Book Award. Her latest verse novel is Footprints on the Moon and is out now. She lives in regional Victoria.

2021 AAA - Wendy Orr

Wendy Orr, with a string of awards and accolades, including the Prime Minister’s Award for Children’s Literature, Wendy Orr has written over 40 books for children, teenagers and adults and been published in 29 languages. She has appeared on some of the biggest conference stages and was the first Australian author to have a children’s book adapted for a Hollywood feature film – Nim’s Island, starring Jodie Foster, who was passionate about the book because it had turned her son into a reader. The sequel was also made into an Australian movie starring Bindi Irwin. Wendy’s latest book is Swallow’s Dance, a Bronze Age novel in free verse and prose, which was recently named a USSBY Outstanding International Book. Wendy believes that every child deserves to find the books that fuel their passion for stories, encourage empathy and connection and empower them for the future.

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Lucy Cuthew - I am the author of over thirty children's books, most recently BLOOD MOON, my debut novel, a YA in verse about periods, sex and online shaming. BLOOD MOON was shortlisted for the Bath Children's Novel Award in 2019, came highly commended in the United Agents/Bath Spa Prize in 2018 and will be published by Walker Books in the UK/AUS&NZ in July 2020, and in the US&CAN in September 2020. Find more about it here.

I have an MA in in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University, a BA (hons) in English and an MPhil in Children’s Literature. You can find links to my academic work and other articles here. I worked in children’s publishing for ten years before I became an author, and was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which celebrates the achievements of young women in publishing.

My published works for younger children include picture books, educational texts, phonics books and short stories. You can find out more about these titles here. My picture book, Back to School Tortoise, was shortlisted for three awards, including the CCBC Choice Award and was featured on CBeebies Book at Bedtime. I also write short stories and poetry. Some of them are here

I regularly speak on the BBC about children’s books and current affairs, and visit schools to talk about poetry and writing. For more information on school visits, please contact me here

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 35 books, including BOOKED, which was longlisted for the National Book Award, SOLO, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and, his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. Kwame is the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that aims to Change the World One Word at a Time.

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Steven Herrick is the author of twenty-five books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards and have been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards on nine occasions. He is widely recognised as a pioneer of the verse-novel genre for young adults. He is also the author of six travel books. He spends nine months of the year visiting schools in Australia and three months on his bicycle, travelling around, pedalling slowly and thinking about his next book.

Performance Poetry and the Community

2021 AAA - Joseph Coelho
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Joseph Coelho is a performance poet and playwright. His plays have received special note from The Verity Bargate Award and The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition. He has written plays for young people for Theatre Royal York, Pied Piper, Polka and The Unicorn Theatres. Joseph has been a guest poet on Radio 4's Front Row and performed poems for Channel 4 and CBeebies Radio. His debut poetry collection 'Werewolf Club Rules' is published by Frances Lincoln and won the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award 2015. Joseph lives in Folkestone, Kent. Kate Milner studied illustration at Central St Martin's, and is an MA student in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin. Her illustrations and prints have been shown in London galleries and national touring exhibitions.

Spoken Words sweetheart Sophia Thakur climbed onto the stage at the age of 16 with a refreshing and intimate take on traditional poetry, and captivated a room full of career professionals. Since, she has pushed the boundaries of poetry to inspire varied audiences across the world from the Glastonbury stage to the Ted Talks stage to countless mainstream TV and radio segments. Sophia Thakur’s powerful messages on mental health, diversity, politics, self-expression, empowerment, women and wellbeing has led to participation at events organised by The Guardian, The Royal Family, Channel 4, BBC, Viacom and the Liberal Democrat and Labour party. Many of whom she has continued to work with. Sophia Thakur has sold out three groundbreaking headline shows across the world, including her book launch at the Jazz Cafe in London.

Her debut book ‘Somebody Give This Heart a Pen’ became a global #1 Bestseller months before it hit the shelves. The collection of stories-in-verse has been named the ​‘the only key to empathy’​, and has been publicly supported by Accenture, The Bookseller, MTV, London Times Magazine, Stylist, Google and even Stomrzy’s Merky team. Sophia’s unique approach to delivering a powerful message through poetry and workshopping has led her to be invited to captivate and charm diverse audiences at Google, Facebook, Getty Images, over 80 Universities, The Houses of Parliament and countless Corporate and commercial agents across the world. She is often invited into work with the creative teams at Nike, Samsung and MTV to share her talents for crafting powerful messages, to further enhance their campaigns. Most recently, MTV’s Black History Month series and Viacom’s International Women’s day campaign which has gone on to win a number of film awards.

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Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015. Maxine has published three poetry collections including Carrying the World, which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry 2017 and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award. The Hate Race, a memoir about growing up black in Australia won the NSW Premier's Literary Award Multicultural NSW Award 2017 and was shortlisted for an ABIA, an Indie Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and Stella Prize. The Patchwork Bike, Maxine's first picture book with Van T. Rudd was a CBCA Honour Book for 2017.

Maxine has performed slam poetry for many years for audiences of all ages.   

Maxine’s most recent book is When We Say Black Lives Matter.

‘A black child's parents explain what the term Black Lives Matter means to them: in protest and song, in joy and in sorrow. I see this picture book as an act of Black Love - I was inspired to write and create it when thinking about how to explain the concept of Black Lives Matter to the young African diaspora kids in my extended family, living in over eight different countries across the world - including America, Australia, Germany, Barbados and England. - Maxine Beneba Clarke, on writing WHEN WE SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER

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Nandi Chinna was born in Adelaide in 1964. She spent seven years living in yoga ashrams in NSW and Victoria before moving to Perth in 1990. Nandi graduated with creative arts PhD from Edith Cowan University in 2014. She currently works as a research consultant, specialising in social and ecological histories.

Nandi is an award winning poet, and facilitates workshops on the art of Poepatetics — the practice of walking and writing in order to connect with the natural world and foster creative responses to nature. 

Nandi’s first collection of poetry Our Only Guide is our homesickness was published in the Five Islands Press New Poets publishing program in 2007. Her chap book How to Measure Land won the Byron Bay Writers Festival Picaro Poetry prize in 2010. Her latest poetry book Swamp; walking the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain was published by Fremantle Press in 2014. Her wetland poem ‘Cut and Paste Lake’ won the 2014 Tom Collins Poetry Prize.

Nandi’s poetry and essays have been widely published in national and international journals and anthologies and her poetry has been broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Poetica. Her short stories ‘Ralph’ and ‘Ink Stained Fingers’ were performed in London as part of the web based installation 1001 nights, by performance artist Barbara Campbell. Her latest article Swamp was published in the Griffith Review 47, Looking West, 2015.

Nandi has worked on a number of collaborative projects with other artists including: Speaking in Strings – poetry performance with musician Danna Checksfield 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014; Birdlife - with Michael Farrell, Graeme Miles, Nyanda Smith, Perdita Phillips. Lethologica Press 2011; Alluvium – Art text project with illustrator Andrea Smith., Art/Text/House Clearing Project, Lethologia Press, 2012; In Conversation – sculptural collaboration with Nein Schwarz, Danna Checksfield, and Michael Wingate, 2014; Hack the Festival – digital cartography project, Perth Festival, 2015;  SKRYF – with Gijs van Bon, Fremantle Festival, 2015; Anthologia - poetry/ art project with Steven J Finch and Alina Tang, 2015.

Nandi recently curated the exhibition, Re-Imagining Perth’s Lost Wetlands, which told the story of Perth’s swampy past and re-imagined the site of Perth pre- colonisation in 1829.

Her passions and interests include poetry, walking wild, seeking encounters with non-human species, swamps, spaces of dereliction and beauty, and seeking way better ways to live in mutuality with our earth home.

A.F. Harrold is an English poet who writes and performs for adults and children. He spends his time showing off onstage, writing poems and books, and stroking his beard (it helps churn the ideas). His latest anthology is The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice. He is also the author of The Song from Somewhere Else (illustrated by Levi Pinfold), the Fizzlebert Stump series, and the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal longlisted The Imaginary (illustrated by Emily Gravett). A.F. Harrold lives in Reading UK with a stand-up comedian and two cats. Visit

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