From the President

Liz Bowring

CBCA NSW Branch President


iRead 2021 - October edition

Dear members,


At long last we have a simple, direct way to accept donations on the website. You will find all the details later in iRead, and I hope you will be as excited as we are to be able to offer a package that supports learning with quality Australian literature in schools which would not normally have the capacity to purchase the resources. We are looking beyond the provision of resources, with the offer of professional assistance to the isolated teachers who choose to participate. We are aligned with the goals of the National CBCA shadow judging project, which Wendy Rapee introduced to the CBCA Branch Presidents last week, which she describes in her report.


It was delightful to meet online with our patrons, the Governor Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC and Mr Dennis Wilson in a virtual Patronage call on Friday September 17.  Gail Erskine, Toni Field and I felt their genuine interest in CBCA NSW Branch, and our shared value of the importance of quality Australian literature. Many ideas were discussed and possibilities raised for future events. 


The NSW Branch committee has been analysing all our systems with the primary focus on how best to serve members and meet your expectations. Our motivation is to cost effectively present and deliver on our purpose—connecting young people with literature. Our first goal is to streamline our membership calendar so that memberships are all on the same calendar cycle. This alleviates staff and accounting costs. Payments will be more automated. We are planning for this to commence in March 2022, and there will be regular updates sent out to keep you in touch with the process, so plan your budget for your membership fee to be due in March. 


An advertisement will appear in the coming weeks for the position of Administrative Officer/Accounts, a part-time position with CBCA NSW Branch, 10 hours per week. The position will be advertised on SEEK as well as by email and the criteria will be available for all to view. If you know anyone who is passionate about our organisation, has the skills, and is interested in a part time position let them know.


Alison Manno has resigned as treasurer. Alison had returned this year to the position after a couple of years break, but has decided to focus on assisting with the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program.  I wish to thank Alison for her assistance in what has been a very busy five months. Our new treasurer will be welcomed onto the committee at the October meeting.


Don’t you love 2022’s Book Week theme Dreaming with eyes open….

So many possibilities!


Cheers from me


iRead 2021 - September edition

Dear members,


As CBCA Book Week 2021 comes to a close, I want to congratulate all winners of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and especially our members who have received this wonderful recognition:


Book of the Year: Early Childhood Award Libby Hathorn and Lisa Hathorn-Jarman for No! Never!


Eve Pownall Award winner Liz Anelli for illustrating Dry to Dry, and Honour Award winners Sami Bayly for The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals, and Dub Leffler for illustrating Strangers on Country.

For a complete list, videos, reviews and teaching resources check the CBCA site.


Another Award – the Nan Chauncy Award has also been presented this month. It is pleasing to congratulate the lovely Jan Nicholls who is a dedicated supporter of Australian Children’s Literature. You will find a report with Jan’s response below.


The last submissions for the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program have all arrived, and now the judges are assessing the manuscripts.  


Over the past few months, as the committee have been undertaking the administrative tasks, we have been analysing our processes and looking at the most time and cost-effective procedures to benefit you, our members. We have been attending webinars by Answers for Associations, which have provided evidence to support our decision-making. The CBCA NSW Branch committee held a special meeting on Monday 23rd of August where it was decided to change memberships of CBCA NSW Branch to an annual membership. This means that all subscriptions will fall due at the same time. Administratively, this is much more efficient than the current practice, as all notices are sent out at the one time with a membership campaign, the payments can be processed together, and any follow-ups undertaken immediately.  Dedicated staff can be employed to meet the increased workload for the necessary period. Details are to be sorted out – we will keep you informed, and we invite your feedback.


We still have some items of merchandise left to sell. We have plenty of posters, bunting, sticker sheets and bookmarks. The bookmarks make great mini gifts. Please email us if you have merchandise requests while we are locked down, and we can work out the best way to get the stock to you. We will not be going into the office otherwise at this stage.  The first print run of the anthology has all been sold, and new stock is due from the printers. Contact the Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch directly with orders. There are a few cheeky videos by contributors on the website as well, so have a look.


We are aware of ensuring smooth succession on the committee. Please consider joining. Alison has been firm that she wishes to hand over the treasurer’s role at the next AGM, and there is plenty of other roles where you can make a positive impact on the direction of our organisation.


Excited for the announcement of next year’s Book Week theme! Stand by.


Cheers from me


iRead 2021 - August edition

Dear members,


We have some good news. The Register of Cultural Organisations has informed us that CBCA NSW Branch has been approved Deductible Gift Recipient Status, which means that donors to CBCA NSW Branch will be eligible to receive tax deductions on donations from 6 July 2021. The application process has taken a couple of years and has been very complex and I thank those on the committee (and who were on the committee) for pursuing this. We are now required to obtain Registered Charity status to complete all requirements, and this application is underway. 


Soon there will be a ‘donate here‘ button on the website to assist those wishing to do so. Donations will go into a separate bank account, a public fund, and will be used for specific programs and will not be used for administration costs. I will be discussing the details further with the sub-branches, but just to let you know, as the entity is the CBCA NSW Branch, Sub-branches cannot apply for separate DGR status.  The CBCA NSW Branch public fund is to be used for any donations to ensure the tax-deductibility.


On the morning of Sunday 25th July, I was pleased to join the first meeting of a new Sub-branch for members in the Canterbury/Bankstown and Inner West areas. Initiated by Jemima Shafei-Ongu, the Zoom meeting was attended by a diverse and enthusiastic group, and guided by Sub-branch liaison person, Wendy Fitzgerald. With so many creative people in the area there is great potential to create exciting programs, support each other and reach out to local readers. Welcome.


We have closing dates upon us this month:




  • CBCA Book of the Year awards will be announced at noon on August 20. Have a paper plane handy as this is a strong motif in the video and the perfect vehicle to launch CBCA BOOK WEEK 21 August-27 August ‘OLD WORLDS NEW WORLDS OTHER WORLDS’.

  • Register to view CBCA NSW Branch’s online Kids Book of the Year event either before the announcement or later at your leisure as CBCA Book Week is celebrated over the following week as usual.


I particularly wish to thank the Awards Foundation who have ensured the viability of the Children’s Book of the Year Awards. This year, in their 75th year, the prize money totals $80,000. Their work is much appreciated. I would also like to thank SCWBI (the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) who have recently launched a fundraiser for the Awards Foundation. We are joined in our passionate drive to promote Australian books for Australian children.


Cheers from me


iRead 2021 - July edition


Dear members


Reaching out to you from the splendid isolation of the lockdown, and hoping you are all keeping safe and warm.


I want to extend our warmest congratulations to Jan Nicholls who has been awarded the 2021 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award. I have had the opportunity to meet Jan and work with her for a short time whilst she was CBCA WA Branch President.  She is such a lovely person. She has an impressive knowledge of Australian children’s literature, and her commitment has made her an outstanding ambassador. Here is a link to an interview with Jan from earlier this year, you will see she is wearing her signature shade of red. We have included Wendy Rapee’s presentation speech later in iRead. 


As I write I trust that there are many unpublished writers busily preparing their manuscripts to submit to our Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program. This is a great opportunity, and as many of you will already know, some very successful writers have gained recognition after receiving support from the CBCA NSW programs which have been running since the 1996 Frustrated Writers Program. After a hiatus last year, Cathy Tasker has generously ensured that we will be continuing this program with confidence for the next 5 years (Closing date for submissions is July 31, so tell your friends).


With the kids on holidays, it may be time to consider getting them to submit a book trailer to our Collide! Book Trailer Competition. It also has a deadline coming up, with submissions closing August 2. Great prizes have been donated by North Sydney Rotary Club. Also remember Kid’s Corner has a wealth of information and writing activities to keep young (and older) minds busy.


With CBCA Book Week coming up next month it is time to register individuals and classes to view our online Kids Book of the Year event. This year viewing times will be flexible, so you can choose to view before the official online announcement from CBCA, or later as suits.


Don’t forget we have a special Members lounge with resources curated just for you. Your password to the members lounge was in the email, along with your member number, that comes after paying your fees. If you can’t find it send us an email. You can still access Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2021 and the AAA: poetry exploring inner worlds.


The 2021 CBCA Judges' talks videos are now available! They have been uploaded to the CBCA National YouTube channel as 'unlisted', meaning that you require the URL to access them. They are readily available via the Members' Only page on the National website. Step by step via CBCA NSW Website. A lot of time and effort went into producing these videos. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the CBCA Book of the Year Judges, Christine Oughtred (Awards Subcommittee), Anne Varnes (Awards Administrator) and Simon Reeve (Simon Reeve Productions) for making these happen.


Members of the CBCA NSW Branch committee are covering the work that was done by our business manager, Felicity, as we assess the scope of work we will need when the position is advertised.  I thank the following people for the huge extra effort they are putting in to ensure the organisation continues operating smoothly.


  • Gail Erskine - email

  • Toni Field - answering the phone enquiries and Sub-branch involvement

  • Wendy Rapee – merchandise and volunteers

  • Alison Manno – financial matters (Felicity has been contracted to do approx. 3hrs a week in the interim)

  • Jackie Hawkes and Terry Fahy – Kid’s Corner

  • Laurel Reynolds – iRead

  • Liz Bowring – website and social media

  • Viv Nicoll-Hatton – mail

  • Sue Bates – meeting admin

  • Cathy Drury and Denise Cramsie additional assistance with programs.


Cheers from me


iRead - 2021 June Edition

Many of you will have already heard that our Business and Events Manger Felicity has resigned and will be

leaving CBCA NSW Branch on June 10th. Many accolades have been flowing in, and I am sure you all have

many fond memories from your interactions with her either by email, phone or at events. Felicity has been a

committed and enthusiastic supporter of CBCA and she has overseen the development of CBCA NSW Branch in both a professional and personal manner. Over the past 11 and a half years she has grown the role immensely. Hers will be difficult shoes to fill. On behalf of you all I wish her all the best in her new endeavours. We have asked the past presidents to write some memories of Felicity’s contributions and you will find these later in iRead.

I want to share the following from the Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch President:

‘It was a 'pinch-yourself' moment at the State Library on Friday May 28th at the launch of Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds: Stories, Poetry and Plays for Children, not only as so many member creatives were able to attend, but also to hear our patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, describe our book as 'Already a classic in Australian Children's Literature'. This accolade will not have been lightly said indeed pays tribute to the calibre of the contributed works. It was a most humbling and emotional moment for all there. 


The fact that we not only had a forward by the Governor but also a statement from our incredible children's laureate Ursula Dubosarsky has given our anthology a real sense of distinction and a special thanks goes to Ursula for this as well as for her story contribution. To have Jasmine Seymour's advice and input in the provision of a dual language Acknowledgment to Country as well as a dual-language poem and a translation of our English sub-branch title was another vital and significant aspect.’

Elizabeth Cummings

We are currently taking orders using the CBCA Merchandise Order Form: purchasing the anthology.

The Sub-branches are continuing with their monthly zoom meetings, and will be meeting again on June 8. They are holding so many exciting events, so check out what’s happening near you.

Fortunately, we have decided to move the Preparing for NAIDOC Week: Contemporary Indigenous Voices PD event online. With Monty Boori Pryor in Melbourne and Dr Helen Milroy in Western Australia, pre-recording has been the best option. We have recorded Boori in conversation with Wendy Rapee, and Helen will answer many questions to reveal insights into their creative process and explaining appropriate use of their story/illustration when working with children. Available from July 2, 2021.


Gail Erskine has taken a section of the AAA: Poetry: exploring Inner Worlds conference to Bronte Public School as a 3-hour professional development session. Wonderful opportunities can be tailored for schools to purchase a staff development session. Details on the website, and email us with your enquiries.

Cheers from me


iRead - 2021 May Edition

Dear Members,

On April 17, 2021 CBCA NSW Branch held the AGM. We were very grateful to Jan Metzner who hosted the meeting in the very gorgeous Stanmore Public School Library. It turned out that quite a few members preferred to attend via zoom, and so it was a mixed meeting. I wish to apologise to members who had difficulty joining with Zoom. Unfortunately, we still do not have totally perfect systems in place, and I know that a couple of keen members were not able to connect. We will work on improving this.

The elections have confirmed the following positions:

President: Liz Bowring

Past president: Gail Erskine

Vice President: Wendy Rapee

Treasurer: Alison Manno

Public Officer: Toni Field and Terry Fahey stood for election. Toni Field was declared elected after a show of hands by all present either bodily or via Zoom.

Minutes Secretary: Sue Bates

Committee: Terry Fahey, Laurel Reynolds, Cathy Drury, Viv Nicholl-Hatton, Judith Radin, Denise Cramsie


Natalia Bragaru, who has been treasurer for the past year, and Peter Macinnes were both thanked for their substantial contributions as committee members.

It was interesting to hear from the sub-branches as they had a couple of minutes each to describe an element from their year. We have reactivated the Sub-branch liaison role and have a strong plan to facilitate good communication between the groups led by Wendy Fitzgerald. There are so many great things happening in the Sub-branches. Check out their reports and photos in iRead. In addition, Sub-branches have their own section of CBCA NSW Branch website.









We are keenly anticipating the launch of ‘Old Worlds, New World, Other Worlds: stories, poetry and plays for children’ at the State Library of NSW by our Vice Regal Patrons, The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC and Mr Wilson on May 28th. Our patrons have also produced a wonderful video clip to promote Collide! Book Trailer Competition, and Nathan Luff, one of our Collide! judges and ambassadors will be giving Collide! a boost as part of the program. More information: booking to attend the event and purchasing the anthology.

The planning of a face-to-face event for Contemporary Indigenous Voices: Preparing for NAIDOC Week is well under way. We are confirming dates with our speakers, but please keep June 22 or 24, 2021 free.

The brilliant AAA: Poetry: exploring Inner Worlds conference is still available on the website. There are varied packages on offer, with some wonderful opportunities for schools to purchase a pack for staff development sessions. There are details on the website, and a special arrangement can be made to suit the needs of your school. Contact Felicity in the office.

I thank the committee and members for putting your confidence in me. This will be my third year as President, the final according to the constitution. I am mindful that we need a succession plan for a number of positions. It is a good time to join the committee and share your skills. I urge you to consider this opportunity.

Cheers from me,


Liz Bowring

CBCA NSW Branch President

2021 AGM - Attendees.JPG

Attending the CBCA NSW Branch 2021 AGM

Left to right: Sheryl Cootes, Jackie Hawkes, Kristen Darell, Wendy Fitzgerald, Liz Bowring, Toni Field, Jan Metz, Laurel Reynolds, Gail Erskine, Denise Cramsie and Viv Nicoll-Hatton.

iRead - 2021 April Edition

Dear Members,


Have you planned how you are going to use the Easter holidays yet? I know some of us will be heading off to a festival, a peaceful location or just have plans for ‘me time’ at home. Why not immerse yourself in poetry for a few hours? You can still register for AAA PD Conference Poetry: exploring inner worlds. With a cornucopia of poetical presentations, and a wide range of options, you can be assured of an absorbing and informative time wherever you are online.


Toni Field and I had a marvellous meeting with CBCA NSW Branch patron Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley this month. She shares our love of books and the understanding of the importance of quality Australian literature for developing minds. She was most supportive and enthusiastic about CBCA NSW Branch program of events, and keen to attend where she would be able to both meet our members and see our organisation in action. Her excellency and her husband Mr Wilson (both patrons) have produced just for us an entertaining video to promote Collide! Book Trailer Competition. You can view it online and use it with students. We are delighted to be able to show this video in her presence at the State Library of NSW where she will also be launching the Anthology: New Worlds, Old Worlds, Other Worlds, a collection of writing and illustration by our NSW Branch members published by the Eastern Suburbs Sub-branch. Keep the date free: 28th May, 5pm.


While talking about videos, watch out for the next South Australian video, which is on the Shortlist. This year it is South Australian Branch who are producing online content, shared across all branches, assisting us all to understand the process of selecting the CBCA Book of the Year especially  for kids, and also one featuring Janeen Brian, and promoting the CBCA 2021 Shortlist.


The list judges of the Book of the Year for 2022 and 2023 is now available. We have 4 members who have bravely taken on the challenge for the next 2 years. They are Kathryn Eyre (Older Readers), Margot Lindgren (Picture Books), and Sheryl Cootes and Alex Wharton (both Eve Pownell). We are most appreciative of the substantial commitment these people are making, and I would like to thank them for offering their experience and wise counsel.


Don’t forget the CBCA NSW Branch AGM is coming up. We will be gathering at Stanmore Public School at 3pm, and I’m sure everyone is keen to get together and chat over a cuppa. Consider joining the committee. We would love to have you on board. Our treasurer would appreciate handing the reins over to another, so if you are interested, please nominate. There are also lots of opportunities to join a CBCA subcommittee that make the Book of the Year Awards happen. You can be involved in an element such as Merchandise or Communications. Check out Wendy Rapee’s column later in this newsletter.


An affirming article from The Conversation ‘After a year of digital learning and virtual teaching, let’s hear it for the joy of real books’ provides some interesting reading and inspiration as we promote the Shortlist.


Liz Bowring

CBCA NSW Branch President

iRead - 2021 March Edition

Dear Members,


I think ‘Book Week is every week’ should be our mantra. The announcement of the Notables in February affirms this. The Book of the Year Award judges have been busily selecting the strongest candidates from the wide choices submitted by the publishers towards the end of last year. This year the CBCA South Australian Branch have produced two short videos for us all to use, which explain the annual selection process, one for kids and one featuring SA children’s author Janeen Brian. Janeen’s video challenges the audience to read as many books from the Notables as they can.


The launch of 2021 Collide with the Notables, our book trailer competition for kids, means that teachers and member schools have more time this year to create exciting book trailers, and we encourage kids to choose a book from the Notables list for their trailer. This year we have received a generous donation from the Rotary Club of North Sydney, which will be used for prizes in each section.  Thank you, Rotary Club of North Sydney and their President Toni Field.


You may wish to check our calendar of events for 2021 to make sure you don’t miss any of them. There is a lot planned for this year, and all members receive substantial savings on all CBCA events. We are particularly excited by the AAA International PD Conference which will explore the inner worlds of Poetry over  2 days, featuring both local and international speakers. Online and flexible, this conference provides an excellent opportunity for teachers across Australia to expand their knowledge of Poetry, while acquiring those important Elective PD hours.


As is the legal requirement, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting on April 17 at 3pm. We will be on Zoom. A notice will go out shortly, so RSVP to the invitation and we will send you a link to the meeting. Consider becoming a member of the CBCA NSW committee, either in a position or to assist with the organisation of events. CBCA is your organisation. Being involved means the organisation better meets your expectations. Check your membership is up-to-date as only members can vote and nominate at meetings.


I want to alert you to an opportunity to volunteer, even from a distance, to assist regularly with our social media. CBCA NSW Branch has been producing regular social media posts for the last year or so with the generous assistance of Bronwyn Birdsall. Bronwyn is now stepping aside from that role. I would like to thank Bronwyn for the fabulous job she did getting us up there and established on social media. If you are interested, please email Felicity.


We have just seen the fabulous, evocative poster Shaun Tan has created for this year’s CBCA Book Week. The father and child from the old world, walking through a meadow of flowers, heading towards a world of fantastical buildings and flying machines, I think will generate lots of conversations and writing about ‘Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds’. This merchandise will be popular.

March on!


iRead - 2021 February Edition

Dear Members


As you unpack your holiday suitcases and brush the sand from your beach chairs, we hope that you are ready to face this new year rested and revived. There will be few tales to share of international travel, these seem to all be vexed experiences of flight cancellations and monstrous charges. Perhaps there will, however, be a new-found excitement of sharing discoveries of the richness and diversity of our own land, unexpected treasures previously overlooked in preference to an exotic international experience. As our focus turns towards Australia, I trust that this appreciation will find firm grounding in the books written for our children and celebrated by CBCA. For us who champion the best home-grown product for our children this may be the best of times.


After last year’s uncertainty we have made the choice to present our events online, at least for the first half of 2021.  The advantage is that you can choose to view at a time that suits you. We also like the idea of meeting up with a few friends, watching the presentation together and celebrating.


CBCA NSW Branch committee has decided this year to pair an experience for children with each of our events. We start with the Night of the Notables which will align with the launch of the 2021Collide Book Trailer Competition for children.


Always keenly anticipated, the AAA PD Conference returns to its usual date in March, aligned with the release of the Shortlist. The organising committee, led by Gail Erskine and Felicity Jagavkar, has managed to secure so many quality speakers that the conference has been extended to 2 days. You will be amazed by the quality of our speakers. We are delighted to have Libby Hathorn join the organising committee as advisor, as well as being a keynote speaker for the conference.


It was the Branch Presidents intention that when the changes to the constitution and Board were made last year, communication would flow more freely. With Wendy Rapee as Chairperson, prompt and open emails are regularly arriving in our inboxes.  The latest is a Strategic Action Plan which is available for comment. The Board is also in the process of appointing two Independent Directors to complete the CBCA Board. If you know an appropriate person who would have the interests of CBCA at heart and the requisite skills, please send them the advertisement below. Applications close 1 March 2021.

Positions Vacant for Independent Directors on the CBCA Board 
Volunteer Independent Director Finance - Full details here
Volunteer Independent Director Legal including Volunteer Company Secretary - Full details here



Many of you would know June Smith retired from the Awards Foundation late last year. She had been involved in CBCA since the 1970’s, was integral in establishing the Awards Foundation in 1995, and has served CBCA on the Awards Foundation Committee of Responsible Persons since then. We all thank June for her marvellous contribution and wish her all the best.


We were disappointed to hear that Kate Flamsteed, who ran operations at the National CBCA office, has resigned. I would like to thank Kate for all her contributions and wish her well in the future. Shannon and Anne will be continuing in their roles in the office.


If you are teaching you would be aware of the huge restructure of NESA. During this time of Transition Arrangements it is not possible to obtain accreditation for our courses. Remember that all our high-quality presentations can be recorded as elective PD.


Please check your membership fee has been paid. Membership fees are used to provide services to you as a member, directly and via the website, and to ensure we are able to provide outstanding events to support Australian children’s literature.



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