News & Editorial


25 September 2023

Benjamin will take students on a journey to discover their own inner poetry, what it means to access spontaneity and their creative flow, how different poets use various techniques and styles, the use of rhythm, imagery, metaphor and surrealism.

Benjamin had first poetry published as a teen in adult literary journals. He has since published two anthologies of poetry, The Song of a Hundred Miles and Night Swim.

Sam Smith


21 September 2023

‘But I don’t know what to write…’ Ever heard that one before? In this fun, engaging, highly imaginative (and frequently surprising) creative writing workshop, students are taken through a process, invented by Melaina one dark and stormy night… Actually, it was a moment of playfulness that led to the invention of a writing technique which has since delighted kids and adults across Australia. Both highly enjoyable and strangely effortless, the outcome of this workshop is the beginnings, bones, inspiration, and discovery of images and stories your students might never have believed themselves capable of.

Topics covered

  • How to generate an idea from ‘nothing’
  • How to discover and develop story through internal perception & external experiences
  • How character motivations can create plot and vice versa
  • How to use the senses to deepen and enrich story
  • How possessions, surroundings, and memory can create and deepen story

Curriculum outcomes 

  • Writing and representing
  • Thinking imaginatively, creatively and interpretatively
  • Expressing themselves
  • Create literary texts that explores students’ own experiences and imaginings
  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings
  • Create literary texts by using storylines, characters and settings

Sam Smith


21 September 2023

Not all people will be writers, but everyone is a storyteller. Long before pen and paper and keyboards and screens… people told stories. Out loud, and in the moment, with some being passed from mouth to ear for millennia. Stories are at the heart of being human, (we all know how it is to try telling students to stop talking!) and learning to tell a story well is a priceless life skill. In this fun, action-packed workshop – students will learn specific skills and techniques for crafting, remembering, voice work, characterisation, gesture, movement, and the presentation of a story. They will be given opportunities to develop confidence in public speaking and becoming more engaging storytellers!

Topics covered

  • Crafting stories to tell aloud
  • Techniques for exploring and memorising stories
  • Voice work
  • Creating characterisation through voice, gaze, and gesture
  • Movement
  • Overall presentation skills

Curriculum outcomes 

  • Thinking imaginatively, creatively and interpretatively
  • Expressing themselves
  • Performing Arts
  • Language, ideas and dramatic meaning
  • Mood and atmosphere

Sam Smith


21 September 2023

Sarah will discuss where ideas come from, and the fun and hard work of being a full-time writer. Discussion of a book’s life from the first inkling of an idea to publication. Sarah will touch on the importance of setting and character in writing and how it informs her own writing. Using stories and photos, she will take students behind the scenes of a writer’s life.

Duration: 30 – 45 minutes
Please note this presentation can be delivered to large groups of up to 300 students.

Sam Smith


21 September 2023

Picture book and middle-grade author, Zanni Louise, helps high school students develop stories that are meaningful to them. Students will do a deep dive into narrative structure, literary techniques and editing.

Sam Smith


21 September 2023

Author of over twenty bestselling picture books, Zanni takes kids through the magic of picture books and helps them write and illustrate their own. Kids learn visual literacy skills, literary writing style and formatting techniques.

“I like Zanni Louise because she talked to us (she didn’t just speak) and she has put a picture in my head for when I’m older that I might be a book author.” – Student at Shearwater, Mullumbimby

Sam Smith


15 December 2021

For Term 1, 2024, join author Zanni Louise for a series of masterclasses where students will learn and experiment with a range of creative writing techniques and genres. Classes are designed to be fun and celebrate the joy of storytelling.

This is a FREE year-long program 5 sessions per term – Registration essential.

Dates: for Term 1 – 2024

Thursday 15 February 

Thursday 29 February

Thursday 14 March

Thursday 28 March

Thursday 11 April

Time: 5 – 6.30pm
Where: Lismore Children’s Library, Lismore Central Shopping Centre, 44 Carrington Street, Lismore 2480
Suitable For: 8 – 12 years

Author of over twenty kids’ books, including bestselling picture book series HumanKindZanni Louise writes and draws every day and hopes she will keep going until she’s too old to hold a pen!

Sam Smith

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15 December 2021

Join author, poet, podcaster and journalist Samantha Turnbull for a series of masterclasses where students will learn and experiment with a range of creative writing techniques and genres. Classes are designed to be fun and celebrate the joy of storytelling.

We are hoping to run the 2024 Ballina Masterclass in the second half of the year. Watch this space for more information.

2024 Term dates:  TBC

Samantha Turnbull

Samantha Turnbull is a children’s author and podcast producer with the ABC. Her books include Fierce Girls, Remember the Rainbows and The Anti-Princess Club series. She is also a qualified primary teacher and loves competing in poetry slams.

Amy Shaw


25 October 2021

This self-editing workshop is a distillation of techniques gleaned from working with twenty plus editors from over ten different publishing companies and for many students is surprisingly enjoyable! The focus is not on grammar and punctuation, so much as specific editing techniques taught in a step-by-step easy format that even the most disinterested writers can use to instantly improve their writing (and marks). Great for NAPLAN or HSC preparation.

Topics covered

  • A brief demonstration of the process of having a book edited and an embarrassing confession
  • Distinguishing between the art and craft of writing a story
  • Numerous self-editing techniques that can be repeatedly used to improve students’ drafts

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Sarah’s workshops are very interactive and practical, and students will start writing straight away. She’ll teach them freewriting (her #1 tool) and brainstorming, and guide them in coming up with their own story idea and story plan. She will draw on examples from her own work and that of other writers in exercises on character, plot, setting and dramatic tension.

Sarah will hear some of the young writers read their work; she’s well known for her detailed, constructive feedback. There will be time for student questions throughout, and at the end. The 90 min option allows for more feedback and questions.

Duration: 60-90min
Suitable for small groups (up to 30 students)

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Sam will teach students how to write and perform slam poetry. Please note, this workshop includes video, so an IWB or computer and projector with speakers is required.

Topics covered

  • Poetry
  • Performing/public speaking with flair
  • Self-expression

* Workshops Poetry for the Page and Poetry for the Stage can be combined

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Sam will show students the steps she followed to write the beautiful poem that features in her picture book Remember the Rainbows. Students will then write their own poetic masterpiece, experimenting with techniques including repetition and rhyme.

Topics covered

  • Writing from real life
  • Emotive language
  • Poetic devices

* Workshops Poetry for the Page and Poetry for the Stage can be combined

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Drawing from her extensive experience in podcasting, Sam will show students how to tell stories for the ears. Students will use weird and wonderful props to create sound effects for broadcast. Students will then use those sounds to inspire and enhance stories crafted specifically to be heard.

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Sam will teach students how to come up with a cracking story idea, create unique characters, build an escalating plot, and pull it all together to write a bestseller.

Topics covered

  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Creating characters
  • Plotting and planning

Sam Smith


25 October 2021

This presentation and workshop explores the elements of creating a childrens’ picture book, using Benjamin’s popular book The Travel Bug as an example. In this workshop, children are assisted to develop their own idea in a group setting (group verse writing) and create a 2-page spread.

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

A one-off workshop or multi-session workshop on scriptwriting and filmmaking tailored to suit the students’ interests. Benjamin has also run social justice filmmaking workshops over a term or two in secondary schools, where students work towards creating short films for screening at a mini-festival.

Sam Smith

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25 October 2021

Tailored to any upper primary and high school students, Benjamin delivers an inspiring workshop exploring ideas of being a ‘story hunter’, encouraging students to find and develop ideas, understand simple structure to engage readers and above all make writing fun.

Sam Smith


25 October 2021

This workshop takes a unique approach to discovering a character through a process of segueing back and forth between their character’s inner world of perception and outer sensory experiences. Students will literally write on a drawing they create.

Topics covered

  • Discovering an original character vs inserting stereotypes into a story
  • Using aspects of their character’s body to reveal and record their experiences
  • Distinguishing between the character’s exterior sensory world and perceptions of it
  • Learning how to use their character’s inner and outer world to create a story plot

Curriculum outcomes 

  • Writing and representing
  • Thinking imaginatively, creatively and interpretatively
  • Expressing themselves
  • Create literary texts that explores students’ own experiences and imaginings
  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings
  • Create literary texts by using storylines, characters and settings

Sam Smith


25 October 2021

Writing an imaginative story is not a linear process, with the best and most unique and engaging ideas frequently originating from hidden creative depths. This workshop teaches students a variety of techniques to access their own imaginative depths, through a series of specific portals into story ideas. Especially useful for NAPLAN preparation!

Topics covered

  • How the imagination works
  • Stream-of-consciousness writing for warming up
  • How to get ideas through a variety of stimuli including: objects, the senses, and random words and images

Curriculum outcomes 

  • Writing and representing
  • Thinking imaginatively, creatively and interpretatively
  • Expressing themselves
  • Create literary texts that explores students’ own experiences and imaginings
  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings
  • Create literary texts by using storylines, characters and settings

Sam Smith


25 October 2021

Misa Alexander present a dynamic workshop using the picture book Fergus & Delilah to explore diversity and inclusion. Students will have the opportunity to explore the similarities and differences of the characters through life-sized props, discussion, illustrations and a bit of dance and music thrown in the middle.

Students will then work alongside Misa as they draw their own characters and reflect on how they can be inclusive of others. Finally, participants will make their own blockhead craft, complete with wires for hair, that they can take home or showcase at school!

Topics covered

  • Differences and Similarities
  • Character choices
  • Inclusion
  • Storyline
  • Power of Illustrations

Curriculum outcomes 

  • Examine Literature
  • Recognise similarities and differences in individuals and groups, and explore how these are celebrated and respected.
  • Understand that people use different systems of communication to cater to different needs and purposes and many people may use sign systems to communicate with others.
  • Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design.

Sam Smith

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