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 meet student needs. I have a teaching background and enjoy presenting to both students 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
These are targeted to separate 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. I use PowerPoint examples and also bring show & tells including props and draft manuscripts so students can see the work behind writing a book.
- For middle and upper primary, as well as high school: 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 Annie’s Snails, Granny Grommet and Me and my next picture book Nanna’s Button Tin.
- High school students are interested in the process of creating picture books: contrasting very different titles; Granny Grommet and Me with Photographs in the Mud.
- Middle high school and seniors: discussion of YA titles Choices and pregnancy or The Shark Caller and sustainability/diverse cultural beliefs.
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.
- 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 + $100
- 1 x 1hr session: $300 + $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:
- Show the students copies of my books. Read the 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. I’ll have a bucket of gear and packing up/moving to a new class takes a few minutes. Also it’s not unusual for shy-but-keen student writers to want to ask a question privately.
- If it’s a workshop have scrap paper and pencils ready and if students want autographs please ask them to bring books and factor in time for that.
- Appointing a couple of students as minders to meet me and help lug gear is very much appreciated.
I love visiting regional schools! Here are photos from travels in WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions.