Gabrielle Lord - 2017 presenter Gabrielle Lord survived being ‘razed’ by the nuns, acquired an education despite this, and after working in many different areas, sales, teaching, brick-cleaning, peach-picking and packing, and in the Public Service as an employment officer, started writing seriously aged 30.
Her first two manuscripts ended up composting the tomatoes at her market garden – another attempt to make a living – but the third one FORTRESS was picked up internationally and made into a feature film starring Rachel Ward. A later novel WHIPPING BOY was made into a telemovie starring Sigrid Thornton. The film rights money, coinciding with her daughter leaving school, allowed Gabrielle to resign and instead of getting up at 4.30am and writing for several hours before heading off for work, she could write full-time and lead a more ‘normal’ writer’s life – hanging around with scientists and detectives, badgering forensic anthropologists (she studied some Anatomy at Sydney university) and doing work experience with a busy private security business and of course, writing. You can find out more about Gabrielle at her website.
Sarah Ayoub - 2017 Presenter
Sarah Ayoub is a freelance journalist based in Sydney. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Marie-Claire, Girlfriend, Cosmopolitan, House & Garden, Sunday Style, Yen, CLEO and more, and she tutors journalism at the University of Notre Dame. Sarah is the author of Hate is Such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee, contemporary novels that make great supplementary texts for units on Belonging and Discovery. Sarah regularly speaks at schools and writer’s festivals about identity and self-worth in YA fiction, and is passionate about empowering young people to see the value in their own personal stories. Find out more about Sarah at her website.
Sue Whiting - 2017 Presenter Sue lives and works in a coastal village south of Sydney. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her latest book Platypus, illustrated by Mark Jackson, was a CBCA 2016 Notable Book. Sue was Publishing Manager and Senior Commissioning Editor at Walker Books Australia for ten years, before leaving in 2016 to concentrate on her writing and to work from her home as a freelance editor, writing coach and mentor. A former primary school teacher (in another life) with a special interest in literacy education and children’s literature, Sue loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages. Find out more about Sue at her website.
Professionals Editors / Copywriters
Cathie Tasker - 2017 Presenter Cathie Tasker began her professional life as a librarian, then worked in publishing for many years, creating about 700 books — at Scholastic, HarperCollins and Koala Books. As an editor and publisher she worked on popular and award-winning titles, many of which are still in print. She is now in her third career as a creative writing teacher, mostly at the Australian Writers' Centre. She also enjoys judging literary awards — currently for the Aurealis Awards and the CBCA Book of the Year Awards for 2014-2015. Find out more about Cathie at her website.
Sue Whiting Sue lives and works in a coastal village south of Sydney. She has written numerous books in a variety of genres: fiction and nonfiction, picture books through to YA, including the best-selling The Firefighters, and the award-winning A Swim in the Sea. Her latest book Platypus, illustrated by Mark Jackson, was a CBCA 2016 Notable Book. Sue was Publishing Manager and Senior Commissioning Editor at Walker Books Australia for ten years, before leaving in 2016 to concentrate on her writing and to work from her home as a freelance editor, writing coach and mentor. A former primary school teacher (in another life) with a special interest in literacy education and children’s literature, Sue loves sharing her passion for story and storytelling, reading and writing with people of all ages. Find out more about Sue at her website.
Zoe Walton Zoe Walton is Publisher – Random House Young Readers at Penguin Random House Australia. Zoe edits New York Times bestselling author John Flanagan with his Ranger’s Apprentice and Brotherband series, which have sold eight million copies worldwide. She also publishes many popular and award-winning Australian authors, including Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Fleur Ferris, Emily Gale, Darren Groth, Nicole Hayes, Skye Melki-Wegner and Belinda Murrell.
Clare Hallifax has worked in publishing since 1990. As publishing manager at Scholastic Australia, she is both publisher of Omnibus Books, and manager of Scholastic’s Digital publishing program.
Studying both journalism and literature led Clare to publishing. Her first job in children’s books involved “fact-checking” - standing on one foot, and flicking rubber bands, under the guise of editing primary school science texts.
During her career, Clare has worked with some of the esteemed names of Australian publishing. She retains a love of both fiction and non-fiction and the excitement of discovering new stories and new voices never gets old (unlike Clare!)
James Read James Read is an Editor at Pantera Press, a boutique publishing house with a focus on finding and nurturing fresh Australian talent. He handles manuscript submissions at Pantera Press, actively seeking strong new writing that showcases great storytelling, regardless of genre. James is actively involved in structural editing, copy editing and proofreading of manuscripts plus author liaison.
A vivacious reader with a passion for Australian authors, you’ll always find James with a book in his hands!
Kimberley Atkins Kimberley Atkins is a Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House Australia. She has worked in publishing for the last eight years in both Sydney and London, where she has held roles in editorial and marketing. In that time Kimberley has worked across academic, education and trade publishing at three of the world’s largest global publishing houses. Most recently Kimberley has been commissioning commercial adult fiction and non-fiction at Penguin, discovering debut authors and working with international bestselling authors including Lesley Pearse, Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty and Stephen Fry. In her spare time, she has also self-published a bestselling novel on behalf of her mother, which has since led to a traditional publishing contract, seventeen international rights deals and four further novels.
Presenters will be updated regularly so keep your eye on this page.