I have a teaching background and love visiting schools, libraries and festivals. Please scroll down for rates and more details about sessions.
* If you would like me to visit your school, library or festival please email via the Contact link. I love visiting schools and libraries in regional, remote and urban areas and target sessions to student needs. I have a teaching background and present to children, teenagers and adults. I’m available for talks, PowerPoint presentations, workshops and teacher PDs. Some schools prefer ‘Meet the Author’ sessions with a large group. Others like individual class workshops or ask me to work with small extension groups of keen writers. I can tailor sessions to the needs of your group.
Meet the Author sessions
Targeted to specific age groups using age-relevant titles to show my writing process; from inspiration (idea) through drafts, character development, setting, research, dummy copies to final publication. PowerPoint examples and Show & Tells (including props and draft manuscripts) help students understand the process of writing a book.
- For middle and upper primary, as well as high school: The Dog with Seven Names, The Shark Caller, Lighthouse Girl, Light Horse Boy, In the Lamplight and Photographs in the Mud.
- For K-2, my powerpoint is shorter and focuses on Nanna’s Button Tin, Annie’s Snails, Granny Grommet and Me.
- For secondary students interested in the process of creating picture books: contrasting Nanna’s Button Tin with Photographs in the Mud.
- High school and adults: discussion of YA titles Choices and pregnancy, The Shark Caller and sustainability/diverse cultural beliefs, or historical fiction including the Light series and The Dog with Seven Names.
These work well as an extension following a Meet the Author powerpoint session as per above. With K-2 an activity can follow a shorter talk/powerpoint.
Some of my popular presentations include:
- Meet the Author (using any or all of my titles)
- Anthropo-what! (Anthropomorphism in Children’s Literature with a focus on my PhD Creative Works The Shark Caller and The Dog with Seven Names)
- Linking History and Literacy for Primary Students
- Shaping Historical Fiction (from idea through research, editing and character development to final publication)
- Spotlight on Historical Fiction (using one or all of Photographs in the Mud, The Dog with Seven Names, the Light series)
- Page to Stage (with a focus on Black Swan Theatre’s adaptation of Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy and Perth Festival The Giants, four titles are optioned for film [The Shark Caller, the Light series])
- Animal Characters as Windows to War and Difficult Themes
- Nanna’s Button Tin – Drama Craft and Fun for young childrenMore Details:
- Workshops and talks about anthropomorphism and crafting animal characters focus on my novels The Shark Caller and The Dog with Seven Names. Sessions can be adapted to different age levels from 9+ through high school to adult activities and presentations. Anthropomorphism in Australian children’s literature was the focus of my PhD research. Sessions on this topic include discussing genre (fantasy/animal stories/historical fiction) and also about ways to create interesting characters with a specific ‘voice’. I have interesting Show and Tells including shark skin (it’s like sandpaper not scales) and a shark egg, as well as images from research trips to Papua New Guinea and the Pilbara/Kimberley. The Dog with Seven Names also links to historical fiction including the 1942 Broome flying boat strafing and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. I have photographs of plane wrecks in Roebuck Bay, remote hospital posts as well as images near the secret WW2 Corunna Downs airstrip. The Shark Caller is an adventure/fantasy novel with themes including sustainability, marine life diversity, protection of oceans as well as cross-cultural beliefs. These titles can also spark discussions about writing from different viewpoints (human/animal).
- Popular picture book workshops linked to Nanna’s Button Tin and Granny Grommet and Me include readings, acting and discussion of the books; what children have seen (or might see) in the ocean, whether they have a button tin/special teddy or toy at home. This can be followed by an art activity using: buttons, crayon drawings and edacol paint wash; collage with sand, shells, beach items; make a page for a class book, or any other sea related activity. Both titles lend themselves to discussions and writing/drawing activities about grandparents and what each child likes to do with their own granny.
- Historical fiction presentations and workshops linked to my award-winning ‘Light’ series focus on three titles; Lighthouse Girl, Light Horse Boy and In the Lamplight. These sessions can involve: investigation into local history and family stories, exploration of storytelling via different medium (archival photographs/letters/articles, drama and song), writing old-fashioned postcards to/from a WW1 soldier or nurse (with final copies written in ink and decorated). Sessions can be individual or a series of sessions with students to explore local history via community or family photographs. This has resulted in evocative writing, class compilations and book launches.
- Light Horse Boy lends itself to similar discussions, overlapping with Lighthouse Girl, as well as inspiring activities linked to WW1 animal mascots/writing from different viewpoints.
- With Annie’s Snails I have fun activities that involve making words with snail shells (in small groups/with a partner).
- Animal Characters in Literature: I have recently submitted PhD studies focusing on anthropomorphism in Children’s Literature. There are many ways this topic can be adapted for different age groups from primary through to adult.
What a fantastic way to bring history to life. – Barbara, Mt Lockyer Primary
This would have to be one of the best projects I have ever been involved with. It was really easy as the class was so engaged and enthusiastic because it was “real” and there was an end product they were working towards. Most of the kids this morning are still raving about it! – Tristan, Yakamia Primary
Thanks for the great incursion yesterday. I’ve received positive feedback from staff and students alike who really enjoyed and appreciated your visit to our college. – Kathy, Quinn’s Baptist College
I charge rates suggested by Australian Society of Authors rates (ASA) + travel (WA):
- 3 x 1hr sessions: $700 + $100
- 2 x 1hr sessions: $550 + $75
- 1 x 1hr session: $350 + $50
Please note that these travel costs apply to non-Albany visits in Western Australia.
Interstate and international costs may vary to include air travel.
For Sydney bookings please contact the Children’s Bookshop Speaker’s Agency
These depend on the type of session; data projector, whiteboard, pens and scrap paper…
Preparing for a visit
There are a few things you can do to make things run smoothly:
- Share copies of my books. Read blurbs and ask for feedback.
- If possible read one of my books (or a chapter) to the class before the visit.
- Encourage students to visit my website and prepare questions. ‘Interview’ sessions develop students’ interviewing and research skills.
- Allow 5-10 min between sessions. Schedule all sessions in one space if possible. I’ll have a bucket of gear and packing up/moving rooms takes time. Also it’s not unusual for shy-but-keen student writers to want to ask a question privately.
- For workshops have scrap paper and pencils ready. If students want autographs please ask them to bring books and factor in time for that.
- Appointing students as minders to meet me and help lug gear is much appreciated.
I love visiting regional schools! Here are photos from travels in WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions.