Sarah grew up in a family with no television, which meant she was a voracious (if fairly indiscriminate) reader, and she was determined, from an early age, to be a writer. This led her to study journalism, and she joined ABC Radio Current Affairs where, in 1993, she won a Walkley Award for a story on diggers returning to Gallipoli. Later she became a researcher and field producer on ABC TV’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ program.
In 1997 she resigned from the ABC and moved to the hills outside Byron Bay to devote herself to writing fiction.
Her first novel Salt Rain was published (Allen & Unwin) in 2004. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Miles Franklin Award, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Prize and the Dobbie Literary Award. Salt Rain was published in the United States by MacAdam/Cage.
Her second novel His Other House was published in March 2015 by Pan Macmillan and in Germany in August 2015. Her third novel Promise was published by Pan Macmillan in June 2016 and in Germany and the Netherlands in late 2017/2018. Audible audiobooks produced Promise and His Other House in 2016.
She lives in Mullumbimby with the writer, Alan Close, and their young daughter.
Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His books include Two Wolves (recognised as an Honour Book in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, as well as winner of the YABBA and KOALA Children’s Choice Awards), the My Life series (weird-funny-gross short stories featuring Tom Weekly) and Mac Slater, Coolhunter. His short films as writer and director have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV. Tristan is excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create.
Writer, teacher and performer, Jesse Blackadder has entertained audiences aged four to 94 in Australia and internationally with her tales of writing, researching, and unusual creatures. Passionate about becoming a vet from childhood, she ended up becoming an author instead and has written a junior series about friendships between humans and animals. A fibreglass seeing eye dog sets sail for the frozen south in Stay: The Last Dog in Antarctica. A young rider tries to save a wild horse in danger in Paruku The Desert Brumby, and a city kid has to draw on all her courage to save a koala from a cyclone in Dexter the Courageous Koala. Jesse is also an international award-winning author of historical and contemporary fiction for adult readers.
Jenni Cargill-Strong is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, with over twenty years professional experience performing in preschools, primary schools, high schools, universities, festivals, conferences and libraries. Jenni’s repertoire includes original tales and sung ballads, as well as ancestral stories from around the globe. She combines dynamic participative stories that build character and critical thinking, with games to stimulate imagination and songs to enchant. Her shows can be tailored for any age group. Stimuli for story writing and storytelling are given throughout her performance.
Watch Jenni in action on her You Tube channel here.
Zanni Louise is a children’s author based on North Coast NSW. Zanni’s first book Too Busy Sleeping, illustrated by Anna Pignataro, was long-listed for the CBCA Book of the Year awards, 2016. Her second book, Archie and the Bear, with David Mackintosh, has appeared on bestseller lists.
Zanni is set to release another eight books for children in the next two years with Scholastic and The Five Mile Press, including Errol, Dewey Decimal and a picture book series for emerging readers, Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush. Zanni’s books have sold to foreign territories, including the US, China, Korea, Germany, Slovenia and Denmark.
When not writing for children, Zanni runs bookmaking and writing workshops for children and adults. Zanni tours schools across NSW, Melbourne and southern QLD, and appears at festivals.
Lucas Proudfoot is a musician, a storyteller, a surfer and an educator. He has been spreading the word about the diversity and vibrancy of Indigenous cultures through his brilliant school program Circular Rhythm, treating around 200,000 children to his music and humour every year.These performances along with his childhood memories have lead him to release his first book, in a series of six. The Proud Foots adventure series for 5-to-12-year-olds showcases both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures and other remarkable indigenous cultures from around the world.
The Proud Foots encourages discussion about cultural diversity and identity,sparking a sense of curiosity and adventure. Lucas uses the didgeridoo, clap sticks, stomp box, drums and guitar to bring the stories and music to life. It’s this music and Lucas’s childhood growing up as a member of the Bundjalung and South Sea Islander community that inspired this wonderful programme. Students experience music, dance, multicultural themes, diversity, storytelling and the creative process.
“He is a treasure personally and culturally. We are really lucky to have someone with his storytelling skills and gift for entertainment to inspire our students. His connection to his heritage and place was very powerful. The staff responses were glowing. I am like the kids; I only wish we could see him more often!” – Pottsville Beach PS, QLD