Interview: Katrin Dreiling Winner HarperCollins Illustrator Showcase Award

I caught up with Katrin Dreiling the day after she received an illustration portfolio mentorship award with Lisa Berryman at HarperCollins.

Katrin with HaperCollin’s Lisa Berryman

Katrin with HaperCollin’s Lisa Berryman

How are you Katrin, you looked completely overwhelmed when hearing your name on the night.

I felt surprised, stunned and speechless at the time. But I do remember very clearly the cheering in the room, it was a beautiful feeling of community, I feel very grateful.

If you could have prepared a speech, what would you have included?

I would have thanked SCBWI and Lisa Berryman and the judges for their support. I would have thanked my friends and colleagues for their never-ending support. And I would have thanked my family and especially my husband for their support and last but not least, I would have loved to thank the printroomeditions’ Jon and Stella who printed my Portfolio.

What was your favourite moment of the conference (apart from the portfolio win):

I had so much fun with my room mate (aww, thanks Katrin) and I loved the words of wisdom from Essie White who said that “You can’t force education on kids, you have to engage them.”

I also loved the entertainment of the 3-minute book launces at the Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft and the Pitch Perfect sessions at the conference as it showed how subjective feedback is at any stage of someone’s career.

Thank you Katrin!

by Yvonne Mes


Behind the Scenes: Meet the Faculty Dimity Powell

So far, being head gardener, aka Conference Blogging Coordinator, has been a breezy time of cultivating new expectations and enjoying a bouquet of happy memories. I can’t wait to make more with you all very soon. Meantime if you not sure who I am - for shame! - here’s a wee overview of the infamous?, exceedingly talented??, Dim but nice, Dimity Powell.

Briefly state your conference role and conference responsibilities:

I’m the mad nutter who’ll be shoving a camera and notebook into everyone’s faces under the umbrella of National Blogger Coordinator. This will be the third conference I’ve assumed a Roving Reporter role. Overseeing the RRers is one of the highlights for me. They are a fabulous team, willing and able to go to any extreme to cover every image, syllable and story the conference uncovers. My role is to ensure we report on each of the sessions, including the master classes and all the fun bits and publish them on the Conference Blog. See Write Share.

I’m also one of the authors at The Children’s Bookshop Celebration of Stories event Sunday afternoon before the Conference. Plus, I’m on the panel for one of the PD sessions as part of the awesome Creating Creative Writers auxiliary Conference, Tuesday 26 February.

Celebrate these authors and illustrators’ stories at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft

Celebrate these authors and illustrators’ stories at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft

Describe your most notable achievement or proudest moment in Kids’ Lit to date:

It came as a genuine surprise to be shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards for, The Chapel of Unlove, the digital narrative commissioned for the incredible Story City app. I had an absolute hoot writing this multi ending, interactive, locative fiction and am so proud and pleased to see it recognised in this way.

I actually think any word of mine that makes it onto any public publishing forum is a huge step forward.

What is the most memorable (SCBWI) Conference experience you’ve had to date, or hope to have?

The overall vibe of these conferences is stupendous but one of my glowing memories was being in the same room for the first time with Holyrood Lane’s illustrator, Nicky Johnston and EK Books publisher, Anouska Jones. It was the first time I laid eyes on Nicky’s roughs for Holyrood Lane, too. When she showed Anouska and me, it felt like receiving a book of magic.

Name one thing you can’t live without:

I tend to spiral into a spin if I forget my hairbrush and I know for sure I’d seize up like a rusty gate if I didn’t have yoga in my life but for me, ice cream is my Band-Aid; it makes EVERYTHING better and therefore is a life essential.

Provide at least one Fun Fact from a SCBWI Conference you’ve attended or organised (anywhere in the world)

A few months before the 2016 Sydney Conference, I met this girl in a bookshop in Brisbane. When I say met, I mean she accosted me in a non-threatening but completely unexpected ‘BOO!’ kind of way. She seemed to know me but stupidly, I didn’t know her. When my heartbeat returned to normal, I acknowledged I was happy to make her acquaintance.

Turns out, that girl was the incredibly gifted, supremely funny, Queensland illustrator, Sophie Beer who was later awarded for being incredibly gifted at the official 2016 Conference Dinner Dance. When I heard her name read out, I leaped from my chair and screamed like a banshee in delight. It felt like being at the Logies, even though I’ve never been to the Logies! I may have cried a bit too, sook that I am.

Well folks, it’s not long now till we all find our respective ways to Sydney. Join me later this week for a pre-conference, last-minute, wrap-up of Who’s Who and Doing What. Till then,

Rove ya’ later!

Dimity (aka Head Gardener)


Behind the Scenes: Meet the Faculty Sheryl Gwyther

Sheryl Gywther is the SCBWI Assistant Regional Adviser for Queensland, an impassioned advocate for all things kids’ lit and a writer for 7-13 year olds. Her short stories, chapter books and school plays are widely used in schools, and her novel, Secrets of Eromanga, an adventure set on an Australia’s dinosaur fossil dig is still popular in many schools.

She’s a recipient of two Australian Society of Authors Mentorships; two May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Residential Fellowship; and an Arts Qld Individual Professional Development Grant. In 2013, Sheryl was recently awarded a SCBWI Work-of-Outstanding-Progress Grant for her historical adventure w-i-p, Sweet Adversity.

When Sheryl occasionally has a spare day, she spends it on painting, printmaking and photography. She’s also a completely besotted grandmother who now has a small person of her own again to share wonderful children’s stories with. It’s hard not to admire her zeal and talent so slam your plant pots together for Sheryl Gywther!



Briefly state your conference role and conference responsibilities

I’m a SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor, in charge of a wonderful tribe of KidLit creators from Queensland. We also have three sub-branches in Queensland (we’re a pretty big state) - one in the Far North Qld, at the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

At the conference, I’m MCing a session, and various other duties (can one call ‘having fun’ a duty?)

Describe your most notable achievement or proudest moment in Kids’ Lit to date

The publication in July 2018 of my historical adventure set in the Great Depression, Sweet Adversity, (HarperCollins Australia).

What is the most memorable (SCBWI) Conference experience you’ve had to date, or hope to have?

A manuscript assessment with the wonderful HarperCollins publisher, Lisa Berryman … most memorable because Lisa told me she absolutely loved my manuscript submission, Sweet Adversity, and my protagonist, Addie McAllister, and also the way I write, and could I please send her the whole manuscript. I didn’t stop grinning for the rest of the conference.

My most memorable foreign SCBWI Conference was the 2018 Summer Conference in Los Angeles. OMG! It was totally amazing, brilliant, informative, massive … I’m still getting my head about the experience. I’m so glad I made the effort to go! Thank you, Susanne Gervay for encouraging me … may not have forced myself to fly so far just for a week otherwise.

Name one thing you can’t live without

My imagination. And my family … especially the little addition to our lives, Ava Harriet Gwyther … now 16 months old. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ’s the next scientist in our family.

Provide at least one Fun Fact from a SCBWI Conference you’ve attended or organised (anywhere in the world)

A FUN FACT from the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. There were over 1200 delegates to this conference held in a huge hotel in the city. Can you imagine 1200 people in a huge ballroom ALL talking at the same time about books, publishing, writing, illustrating KidLit? Yeah, the buzz almost lifted the roof! Check out the fabulous, informative conference blog, here.

Awesome, Sheryl! Just like the Sydney 2019 SCBWI Conference is shaping up to be. Can’t wait.

Uncover more of Sheryl’s writing and artwork at Or meet her in Sydney IRL along with all of our other fabulous SBCWI faculty. The fun begins on Sunday 24 February. Stick around for more info on that in our next post, soon! Till then,

Rove ya’ later!

Dimity (Head Gardener)