Meet the Team

SCBWI in Australia is divided into two main regions: Australia East and Australia West, with state chapters.

Australia East & New South Wales

Susanne Gervay—Co-Regional Advisor, Australia East

Susanne is inspired by the incredible creativity of the children’s writers and illustrator community. She’s proud to have been awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her books by the International Literacy Association, nominated for the Astrid Ingrid Memorial Award 2020 and received an Order of Australia. She writes fiction from picture books, middle grade to YA novels and engages in complex issues from multiculturalism, disability to peace. The I Am Jack books have become rite-of-passage on school bullying, adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, touring Australian and US theatres. Butterflies is recognised as outstanding YA literature on disability. Susanne’s picture books are defining as they ‘demonstrate with great power that we can teach our children profound truths and timeless values.’ Professor of English, D.R. Pattanaik, Banaras Hindu University. She is privileged to work with outstanding illustrators, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Anna Pignataro and Serena Geddes. Her latest picture books reach into peace and identity, Elephants Have Wings and The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses. She is a patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, ambassador for Room to Read and other organizations. She’s won awards and her works are endorsed by many organisations.

Deborah Abela, Dip Teach, BA (Comm)—Co-Regional Advisor, Australia East

Deborah trained as a teacher before becoming writer/producer of a national children’s TV show at Network TEN. She then went to Africa where she was harassed by monkeys, was caught in a desert sandstorm and thrown in jail twice. Since then, she’s become an internationally published and awarded author of 28 books including her climate change trilogy, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery were inspired by her grade 4 teacher. Her latest books are the CBCA Notable picture book, Bear in Space illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, and The Book of Wondrous Possibilities, which is her love letter to booksellers and librarians and how they save us when we feel lost. Deb’s won awards for her work but mostly hopes to be as brave as her characters.

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall—Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Australia East

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has illustrated over twenty children’s books and has been published internationally. Her books appear on the Premier’s Reading Challenge lists and have been shortlisted and won awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Eve Pownall Award for her first picture book. Her recent picture books include the 2023 CBCA Notable Summer Blue with Trudie Trewin and the 2021 CBCA Notable Bear in Space with Deborah Abela. Dinosaur Dads with Lesley Gibbes was Shortlisted for the 2022 Speech Pathology Award. She is the 2022 recipient of the SCBWI Don Freeman Illustration Award and the SCBWI Work of Outstanding Progress Award for a work-in-progress.

Margaret Roc—Assistant Regional Advisor, New South Wales

Margaret is an author, co-author and editor of over 50 books for children and teachers including fiction, non-fiction and picture books. She was born in Scotland and lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband, John. She is a mother of two and has worked as a teacher, special needs teacher and teacher-librarian. Her picture book Jellybean Goes to School and non-fiction titles Australia’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals and Plants and Australia’s Critically Endangered Animals are on the NSW Premier’s Reading List.

Amanda Lieber—New Member Coordinator and NSW Facebook Coordinator

Amanda’s favourite career so far has been an actress performing children’s theatre and theatresports in various countries. As a drama teacher she loved writing poetry for her students to perform at eisteddfods. Her wild imagination, love of stories and dedication to educating children has amalgamated her passions into writing picture books and short stories for children of all ages. Amanda’s first picture book, My Giant Seashell, will be published in 2022 with Little Pink Dog Books. A dream come true. She has many manuscripts ready to launch into the world and cannot wait for them to become real books.

Jemima Parker—Editor of the SCBWI Australia East Newsletter

Jemima is a visual arts and law graduate working as communications professional at the Australian National University. She grew up on Australia’s far-south coast in a house with no television, and spent her childhood reading books, writing stories and exploring the creek with her dog. Before pursuing her dream to write picture books, Jemima has spent almost twenty years honing her writing and communication skills – writing legal contracts, teaching printmaking, presenting about her art practice, and creating content for websites and social media. An aspiring author, Jemima is currently working on several picture book manuscripts. In November 2021, she was runner up for the Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Branch Aspiring Writer’s Mentorship Program. She was shortlisted for this program again in October 2022. Jemima lives in Canberra with her husband and two much-loved dogs. When she isn’t writing, reading, or making art, you can find her drinking coffee, or testing out stories on her five nieces.

Amy Jobson—New Books and Awards, Australia East

Amy Jobson is a writer based on the beautiful NSW/QLD border. She recently won the JWFK Pitch It! 2023 competition in Picture Books and is an active member of her SCBWI critique group. After graduating with an Honours degree and thesis publication in Psychology, Amy switched gears and launched into the freelance world of presenting, acting, and writing in film and television production. She made young Amy leap for joy as a performer on Movie World’s main street and production assistant on a Marvel film, and still has a baby tooth going strong! Amy lives by the ocean with her husband, two divine daughters, and Aussie Shepherd Howie where they run a 4X4 business and squeeze in surfing and camping. Amy is currently submitting children's picture books and loves to connect with other creatives. You can find her on Instagram @amy_jobson or check out her website

Emma Quay—Instagram Coordinator for Australia East

Emma Quay is an illustrator and writer of many award-winning picture books; her memorable characters for My Sunbeam Baby, Rudie Nudie, Baby Bedtime, Shrieking Violet and Daddy’s Cheeky Monkey are favourites on children’s bookshelves all over Australia. Emma grew up in the English countryside, and has wanted to illustrate children’s books for as long as she can remember. She works from a studio in her home and sometimes feels like she barely leaves it, but her illustrative work is held in collections around the world, including the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. More about Emma and her work can be found on her website at or at @emma_quay_books on Instagram.


Caz Goodwin—Assistant Regional Adviser, Victoria

Caz Goodwin is an internationally published children’s author. She is best known for her popular rhyming picture books, including her Lazy Daisy books and the Little Matilda series. Her books have won or been shortlisted for various awards. Most recently, Grace and Mr Milligan has been shortlisted for the 2024 CBCA Book of the Year (Early Childhood) and Little Matilda was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year 2022. She is on the Young Australian Best Book Awards (YABBA) council and is an Australia Reads ambassador. Caz’s books have been produced in Braille for low-vision children and included in the Premier’s Reading Challenge. They’ve also featured on Sarah Ferguson’s Fergie and Friends show, CBCA Storytime, podcasts, newspapers and radio.

Kaye Baillie—Assistant Coordinator, Victoria

Kaye Baillie lives on the Surfcoast in Victoria. She writes fiction and non-fiction picture books, short stories for children and chapter books. Many of Kaye’s short stories have appeared in the NSW School Magazine. Her picture books have been shortlisted in various awards such as the CBCA Book Awards, NSW Premier’s History Awards, WAYRBA (Western Australian Young Readers Book Awards), Speech Pathology Australia Book Awards and the Children’s Peace Literature Award. She is published both in Australia and internationally She also has books published in the educational market. Kaye has a passion for bringing stories about remarkable people to our young readers as well as enjoying writing humorous stories.

Judy Watson—Illustrator Coordinator, Victoria

Judy Watson is a Melbourne writer, illustrator and mixed-media artist. She has worked as a veterinary nurse, a theatre box office manager, a Landcare educator, and a graphic designer, and all these have found their way into her work. Her books have been several times longlisted and shortlisted for CBCA awards. Her picture book with Frances Watts Goodnight, Mice! won the Prime minister’s literary award in 2012 and Leonard Doesn’t Dance was included in the International Youth Library’s White Ravens catalogue. Judy is married with two children, a three-legged dog, several chickens and various foster cats. She likes to be surrounded by trees and is loving her writing journey. 

Amy Adeney—Membership Coordinator & Newsletter Editor, Victoria

Amy Adeney is a Melbourne-based author who draws on her background in primary teaching and gifted education to write picture books, junior fiction and middle grade novels. She reviews children’s books for My Child Magazine, and is currently completing an Associate Degree in Professional Writing at Editing at RMIT.


Alison Stegert—Assistant Regional Advisor, Queensland

SCBWI QLD ARA and Sunshine Coast Coordinator Ali Stegert is a determined children’s author and a gushing fangirl of whimsical illustrators. Debuting in 2023 is Ali’s first MG novel, Her Majesty's League of Remarkable Young Ladies, an historical fiction/espionage adventure that won the 2021 Chicken House | IET150 Prize (UK). She is repped by Lucy Irvine of PFD Agency, London. Alison is a big believer in the power and joy of creative community.

Jacqui Halpin—Brisbane Coordinator, Queensland

Jacqui Halpin is a former registered nurse, tuckshop convenor, and children’s author. Her passion for children’s books came while reading bedtime stories to her children. She completed a Diploma of Professional Children’s Writing and now has the joy of reading her own picture books to her grandchildren. Her picture book, Where’s Lucky?, illustrated by Sandra Severgnini, was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards in 2019. Her latest book, Wartime Nurses – Care and Compassion, is the sixth book in the popular Australia Remembers by Big Sky Publishing. Jacqui lives in Brisbane where she bakes too many cakes, eats too much chocolate, and drinks far too much tea.

Diane Finlay—Far North Coordinator, Queensland

Diane left the chilly winds of northeast England in 1995 to make Cairns her home. She’s proud to have been part of the pioneering team which brought the 2008 inaugural festival to the readers and writers of the Far North region. Her efforts continue with the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival. She is author, illustrator and publisher of The Duck with no Quack. The School Magazine has published a number of Diane’s children’s short stories and poems. She has recently finished her first YA novel and is brainstorming a sequel. Diane was a founding member of the Cairns SCBWI Chapter.

Kate Foster—Gold Coast Coordinator, Queensland

Kate Foster is a children's author writing about friends, family, and dogs. Originally from a small town in the southeast of England, she now lives on the stunning Gold Coast in Australia with her family and second-hand dogs. She is passionate about encouraging and teaching a wider understanding of autism and mental illness via a positive approach and representation in both her books and presentations and talks. Kate is co-creator of Author Pen Pals, an initiative started in 2023 to connect authors and illustrators with remote, rural, and disadvantaged schools. Kate's books include: PAWS (Walker Books Australia 2021, UK 2022, and Candlewick 2023), The Bravest Word (Walker Books Australia, 2022 and UK, 2024) a CBCA Notable and WAYBRA Shortlisted title, Harriet Hound (Walker Books Australia, 2023), The Unlikely Heroes Club (Walker Books Australia, 2023), Third Time’s the Charm (Collins Big Cat, 2023) and Small Acts (Walker Books Australia, 2024) co-authored with Kate Gordon.

Jo Sandhu—Assistant Gold Coast Coordinator, Queensland

Jo Sandhu is an award-winning author who writes novels for upper middle grade. Her trilogy, Tarin of the Mammoths, is published by Penguin Random House. Book One, The Exile, was a 2018 CBCA Notable book and was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for Best Children’s Fantasy Book 2017. It was the winner of the 2018 Readings Children’s Book Prize. Other books in the trilogy are Clan of Wolves (2017) and Cave Bear Mountain (2018). Jo lives on the sunny Gold Coast, Queensland with an assortment of pets and a view of the beach. Her favourite season is Autumn, she loves an Oxford comma, and she drinks both tea and coffee in abundance. Jo can be found at

Katrin Dreiling—Illustrator Coordinator, Queensland

Katrin is a German-born language teacher who moved to Australia with her husband and three children and became an illustrator. She creates quirky illustrations that feature different media. Her first picture book The World’s Worst Pirate by Michelle Worthington was named Notable Book 2018 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Katrin was awarded the Harper Collins Illustrators Showcase Award 2019 at the SCBWI ANZ conference. She is represented by Essie White at Storm Literary Agency. In 2021 her first authored and illustrated picture book A Perfect Pig published by Scholastic Australia was released and quickly followed by If You Ever Meet a Skeleton written by Rebecca Evans and published by Page Street Kids.

South Australia

Lauren Mullinder—Assistant Regional Advisor, South Australia

Illustrator, margin scribbler and front page pattern maker; Lauren is inspired by nature and whimsical stories and has illustrated four published books since 2016. She is passionate about literacy, the environment and the arts and is currently involved across SCBWI and CBCA state committees while also being actively involved in workshops and education programs. Lauren has been drawing for as long as she can remember, changed the layout in her studio five times (desks are very heavy) and is currently drawing dinosaurs, swamps and intergalactic space races.

Kristin Martin—Treasurer and Assistant Event Coordinator, South Australia

Kristin Martin writes picture books and poetry. She is the author of Banjo Frog’s Concert Spectacular (Wakefield Press, 2024) and two poetry collections, To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? (Glimmer Press, 2019) and Paint the Sky (Ginninderra Press, 2016). Her poems have also been published in anthologies, magazines, websites and art exhibitions. She applies her fondness for patterns and numbers to not only her rhyming poetry, but also in her position as treasurer of SCBWI SA. Kristin’s writing is inspired by her garden and her pets: three turtles, four frogs and a bearded dragon named Ash.

Mandy Foot—Illustrator Coordinator, South Australia

Since 2007 Mandy has illustrated over 20 books and in 2019 added her first title as both author and illustrator, Joey and Riley (Hachette Australia).  Bragging points, um – in 2013 Old MacDonald Had a Farm was Hachette Australia’s no. 1 best-selling children’s book and no.4 in Australia and this year Hush Say the Stars by Margaret Spurling (Little Book Press) was shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Award. Mandy coordinates the annual SCBWI SA Winter Gathering and always entices the inner illustrator out of every member – no excuses. Her firm belief is that everyone can draw, it’s just the style that differs. Even with so many books currently on the go, she always says yes (except maybe to sleep – that’s a luxury). Amongst book commitments, school visits, mentoring new illustrators to the industry and meeting the high demands of her two attention-starved border collies, she is also a Role Model for Books in Homes and an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia, which she thoroughly enjoys. Ok doggies I’m done… oh yes, I love you too.

Beverley McWilliams—Assistant Event Coordinator, South Australia

After working in corporate tax and accountancy, Beverley decided life was too short for facts and figures so she ditched the rat-race (and the money) to follow her dream job as a writer. Beverley’s debut picture book Born to Fly was published in 2019 by MidnightSun. She has also published articles and poetry in children’s magazines and has a particular passion for non-fiction, spending her days in the depths of research. Beverley has just finished writing her first novel and is currently working on two picture book biographies. Beverley lives by the beach in South Australia with her family and menagerie of pets which provide endless inspiration.

Alys Jackson—Member Coordinator, South Australia

Alys is a picture book, short story and poetry writer who lives in Adelaide. Her work appears in magazines, including The School Magazine, (Australia), Aquila (UK) and The Caterpillar (Ireland) and on WellRead, an online reading platform supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and BBC Children in Need. In 2017, Alys received the Harold Goodwin Short Story Award and Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Award for Poetry and Prose. When not writing, she is the Business Development Manager at Children’s University, the University of Adelaide. Alys also runs a local Adelaide Hills Food Swap and can often be seen enjoying a glass of wine in her garden.

Adam Cece—Committee, South Australia

Adam Cece is an award-winning best-selling author of children’s books, including Wesley Booth Super Sleuth, Twin Spin and the hilarious Huggabie Falls series, which has been published worldwide. He is passionate about inspiring people, young and old, to read and write. He is an SA Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador, mentor, workshop facilitator and manuscript assessor, and visits schools and libraries around Australia delivering fun, interactive talks focused on being an author, the craft of writing, getting published, solving mysteries, and how to write a cracking shopping list. You can follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram @ceceadam on Facebook @adamceceauthor or find him online at

David R Lewis—Committee, South Australia

I juggle words while being distracted by lorikeets, rosellas, magpies, possums and koalas in our Adelaide Hills backyard. I’m a former journalist, media adviser and speechwriter with an Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing), and member of writing groups including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), ASA and Writers SA. I’ve won a short story competition, had stories published in anthologies and newspapers, a book reviewer and volunteer writer for the Australian Refugee Association. I’ve just completed another middle grade novel and there’s a non-fiction picture book story about a certain ant. Some of my writing is at

Danny Snell—Committee, South Australia

As a child Danny Snell was a reluctant reader, so it was pictures rather than words that drew him to the wonder of books. Danny went on to study graphic design and illustration at the University of South Australia and he now works as a picture book illustrator and author. His books have won a number of awards including the CBCA Eve Pownall Award, the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, and The Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award. Danny lives in Adelaide with his partner, his two daughters and a sleepy old cat. And yes, he loves to read.


Fiona Levings—Co-Regional Coordinator, Tasmania

Fiona Levings is a Hobart-based geologist turned author/illustrator who draws inspiration from the Tasmanian environment, community and family connections. Working as an independent creator, her first book, The Moonbow was inspired directly by the beauty (and fickleness) of the Tasmanian landscape; her second, Now and Then, captures a piece of local history. Fiona was honoured to be selected as the 2020 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow by the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust and Now and Then has been recognised as a Notable book in the Eve Pownall (non-fiction) category of the 2020 CBCA Awards. Fiona has a PhD in geology, many years experience working in industries strange and unfamiliar and is passionate about supporting her local creative community. Follow Fiona on Facebook and Instagram @TheMoonbowMaker or visit her webpage

Reena Balding—Co-Regional Coordinator, Tasmania

Reena Balding has been a storyteller, a yoga teacher, a locally engaged Australian diplomat and a newspaper sub-editor and is now a publisher with Aboriginal Studies Press. She has been writing for children for around 10 years and her first non-fiction picture book, a collaboration with a Tasmanian Elder, is coming out with Magabala Books in 2025. Reena has also produced a CD of original songs in English and Indonesian which she launched at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Reena lives in Hobart with her husband, two kids and a dog. In her spare time Reena tries to explore Tasmania by bushwalking, camping, diving and caving throughout as much of it as she can. She also teaches yoga to adults and children now and then.

Jacinta Lou—Social Media, Tasmania 

Jacinta Lou is a writer living in southern Tasmania, with her black pug, Bellatrix, alpacas, lots of chooks and one very grand rooster. Jacinta has been a soldier, a Police Officer, a private investigator, a Community Development officer and the inside of a Tasmanian Devil. She has performed in music halls, called herself an artist and was once a cheerleader. Jacinta has qualifications in Law and a Masters of Counselling. She has completed courses on writing for children, and is active in the Kidlit community. She has published short stories and poetry for children. Jacinta is passionate about stories that start conversations. When she isn’t writing, she is reading the books she claims are for her grandchildren. Jacinta is new to children’s literature and is excited to be supporting other writers in her roles in SCBWI.

Frances Mackay—Graphic Designer, Tasmania

Frances Mackay is a teacher, education writer and children’s book author. She has recently returned to her native Tasmania after living in England for 30 years. She completed her Master of Education in Bath, UK, where she later set up an educational publishing company with a colleague which was sold to a London-based publisher after 10 years. She has over 90 traditionally published books and has now turned her hand to publishing where she enjoys the creative side of producing and designing.

Amanda O’Shea—Coordinator, Northern Tasmania

Amanda O’Shea lives on the northwest coast of Tasmania in an old house overlooking the ocean. She lives with her husband, her four children and numerous cats and chickens. During the day she teaches at a local school where she gets to share her love of reading and writing with her students. In her spare time she enjoys writing stories for children. In 2017 one of her stories won the middle grade section of the CYA competition. Amanda currently has three published books: Poppy and Max 2011, Rocky, 2022 and The Wonky Mulga Bunyip Boarding School- Banjo’s Spiky Problem, 2023. 

Australian Capital Territory and surrounds

Shelly Unwin—Assistant Regional Advisor, Australian Capital Territory

Shelly Unwin is an internationally published children’s author with a focus on Early Childhood. Shelly grew up in a tiny English village where she was surrounded by children, animals, and the occasional pixie fairy—a feast for her imagination. She studied teaching and biology at university before moving to Australia in 2002. Shelly is the author of five books in the You’re… series, illustrated by Katherine Battersby, and shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Early Childhood Book of the Year. She is also the author of Hello, Baby!, Blast Off!, and There’s a Baddie Running Through this Book. Her books can be found in Europe, North America and Australia and she is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary US. Shelly lives in Canberra with her husband, two children and crazy, cute Cavoodle – Biscuit.

Krys Saclier—Committee, Australian Capital Territory

Krys Saclier believes children’s literature has the power to shape the future. Her picture books, Vote 4 Me and Camp Canberra, explain Australian democracy, history and culture through the adventures of a class of year 6 students. They are illustrated by renowned Australian political cartoonist, Cathy Wilcox, and published through Wild Dog Books. Vote 4 Me won the Canberra Critics Circle Award for Children’s Literature and the ACT Notable Award for Small Press Children’s Literature. Her first book, Super Nova, illustrated by Rebecca Timmis and published by Ford Street, was nominated for an Aurealis and an ACT Publishing Award. Krys is a qualified teacher and experienced educator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with experience across television, radio, and press. She is also the creator of the Kids Only Podcast, which features original short audio stories for children. Find out more at

Catherine Meatherington—Committee, Australian Capital Territory

Catherine Meatheringham spends her days writing picture books and drinking way too many cups of tea. She loves writing noisy picture books that are full of music and onomatopoeia to encourage children to join in with the story. Her picture books include; My Possum Plays the Drums, illustrated by Maxine Hamilton and All Dogs Bark illustrated by Deb Hudson. Catherine lives in Canberra with her husband, two children, dog and a noisy possum that keeps her awake at night.

Sarah Wallace—Committee, Australian Capital Territory

Sarah Wallace works as an education policy manager and spends her spare time writing and enjoying time with her three children. She spent four years as a reviewer for Kids’ Book Review, publishing over 100 reviews, and was a roving reporter at the 2019 SCBWI Conference in Sydney. She has a Bachelor of Arts (English) and postgraduate qualifications in early childhood education. Sarah’s first picture book, Emma’s Freckles, will be published in 2022 by Little Pink Dog Books.

Susannah Crispe—Committee, Australian Capital Territory

Susannah Crispe is a children’s book author and illustrator. As a creator, collector and consumer of picture books, she loves being part of an industry that brings art, narrative and creativity to kids. She illustrated Where the Heart Is and Cookie which were both published by EK Books in 2021 with several other books scheduled for publication – some as illustrator, some as author-illustrator. Susannah studied zoology and art history at university, worked in bookstores for over a decade and has a passion for books, tea and travel.