Kids Big Day Out just gets bigger

Zanni Louise in action at Kids Big Day Out at the 2019 Byron Writers Festival – pic Jeanti St Clair

This year’s Kids Big Day Out had a wonderful turn out of both authors and kids.

The seats were packed full as the authors engaged with the children and parents. Stories were read out loud, games played, and jokes quipped that had the kids in giggles. The quick humour and a sense of fun was palpable within all of the sessions.

Zanni Louise is a children’s book author with 12 published including picture books and chapter books for young readers. Her books are sold internationally. Her 2019 novel Stardust School of Dance had a dance created for it, which she encouraged the children and parents to join in on.

‘Boredom is the best,’ Louise said, ‘because that’s when your brain will want to start creating!’

Zanni Louis dancing the ‘Stardust Dance’ with the kids and audience —pic Sarvah Rayner


Sisters Zoe and Georgia Norton Lodge are a writer and illustrator team creating children’s fiction, such as their co-creation series Elizabella. Zoe is the writer and broadcaster, known for her work on ABC’s The Checkout. Georgia is the illustrator and designer, creating brands and drawing people’s homes for her Georgia Draws a House project.

‘Elizabella writes Sorry Poems when she accidentally upsets people—which is often, because she’s a prankster.’ — Zoe, talking about the main character in the sisters’ middle-grade, comedy novel Elizabella Meets Her Match.

Zoe and Georgia draw a house with the kids’ help. — pic Sarvah Rayner

Alison Lester is one of Australia’s bestselling children authors, with titles published such as Magic Beach and My Farm. She is also a lifetime Indigenous Literacy Foundation Ambassador. Lester was Australia’s Children’s Laureate from 2011 to 2013. She has been writing for forty years, and drawing even longer. For her stories she gets inspired by her family, her home and her horses.

Lester asked the kids and parents as they drew sea creatures together on stage, ‘Does anyone here like drawing?’ The crowd cheered affirmations. ‘Good! Then promise me you’ll keep drawing.’

Alison Lester draws sea creatures with the kids —pic Sarvah Rayner


Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian writer and poet of Afro-Caribbean decent. She has published three picture books and her third, Fashionista, is a book about ‘clothes and the way they make you feel’. It is the first of her picture books to contain her watercolour and collage illustrations. Beneba Clark currently writes for The Sunday Paper.

‘Put on your passion; wear your heart on your sleeve.’

Maxine Beneba Clarke reading from her Fashionista picture book — pic Sarvah Rayner


Isobelle Carmody one of Australia’s most highly regarded and prominent authors of fantasy with a host of award-winning novels to her credit, including title such as Little Fur, The Red Wind, and Obernewton.

Since she was just 14 years old, Carmody has been writing and telling stories to her seven younger siblings. Her love of stories carried her to writing them down for herself, to be able to live within them longer, and entirely without the intention of ever being published.

‘Not everyone turns out as a writer, so what’s the difference between me and them? I had a way of processing the world as a story.’

Isobelle Carmody talking about The Monster Game she played with her siblings as children — the start of her storytelling path —pic Sarvah Rayner

Also appearing during at the Festival’s biggest Kids Big Day Out were Tony Flowers, Bronwyn Bancroft, Morris Gleitzman and John Flanagan.

Sarvah Rayner is a Southern Cross University Creative Writing student. Southern Cross University students have reported on Byron Writers Festival since 2010. Find out where a degree from Southern Cross University can take you.

Southern Cross University Reporters