Far North Queensland—the New Kid on the Block

The Far North Queensland sub-chapter of SCBWI met last week, marking my first stint at the helm. As we, in the tropical north, are spread from Port Douglas to Mena Creek, with Cairns somewhere in the middle, our members need commitment and determination to attend these meetings. Even so, we seem to have a staunch group of regulars with a diverse collection of skills, strengths and experience.

Nine SCBWI members and prospective members contributed to our lively meeting on Sunday 18th September at Rydges Tradewinds Cairns, the venue of the Tropical Writer’s Festival. The day was balmy and beautiful, and we had a taste of the summer edging near, encouraging us to grab a table where a breeze may find us next time.

 The New Kids on the Block. Introducing the Far North Queensland sub-chapter of SCBWI.

The New Kids on the Block. Introducing the Far North Queensland sub-chapter of SCBWI.

The experience of our members varies as do our interests. We have well-published writers in our group and writers just starting out. We write picture books, junior novels, YA, poetry and pretty much everything in between. This gathering gave us a chance to discuss a loose format for our future meetings so that we can make the most of our time when together.

Frequency and venue

We all seemed to agree that 3-4 times a year on Sunday mornings will work well for everyone.  At each meeting we will set the date of the next. This should keep us on track although, during the wet season, anything could happen.


The format of the meeting seemed to work well but, as always, when people have a lot to offer, time goes quickly. But generally our meetings will unfold like this:

  • With beverages in hand, we’ll start with a brief circuit so everyone can share what they’ve been working on (or not) and how it’s going.
  • Next we’ll agree on a date and venue for the next gathering.
  • The bulk of the meeting will be discussing the two to three questions or topics that have been brought up in the weeks before the meeting.
  • The sands will run out by this time and some, if not all, will stay for lunch.

Interim connection

Another idea came up as well, which seems to be working already. To keep the lines of communication open between meetings, we have decided to start using group emails to throw out questions or concerns. This will allow us to receive answers to specific questions more quickly and help to shape the topics raised at our next meeting.

But wait – there’s more

Aside from discussing our future as a group up here in the steamy north, we also discussed: 

  • how we make the most of our writing time
  • Kay Crabbe’s publishing journey with her latest book The Pearl-shell Diver
  • picture book structure and the difference between educational PBs and trade PBs
  • Celia Barrell’s project with grade 7/8 kids illustrating her book of poems
  • combatting the sagging middle and losing incentive.


So that just about wraps it up for the FNQ sub-chapter of SCWBI, except for a quick plug for a couple of our active members up here: On 9 October, Celia Berrell, of Science Rhymes fame is hosting a Picture Book Poetry Garden Party with picture book author, Trudie Trewin. This is also being held at Rydges.

Happy Spring!

Ann Harth

Roving (Captain) Revealed - Meet Dimity Powell

Well shiver me timbers I’ve just about run out of crew for you to meet. A wise captain never gives the exact location of her treasure but seeing as you’ve now had a good peak into my treasure chest (read; Roving Reporter team) you might as well get to know a bit more about the mad lass helming the wheel.

In our final instalment of Rovers Revealed, may I introduce you to…me, Dimity Powell.

 Dimity Powell aka Chef de Brigade of Rovers

Dimity Powell aka Chef de Brigade of Rovers

Gold Coast children’s author, Dimity Powell considered herself a ‘bridesmaid author’ for a very long time, always shortlisted rather than spotlighted. That was until people started asking for her word-webs to include in anthologies, junior novels, school magazines, picture books, and even digital apps, one of which was Shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Books Awards 2016. Her picture book, The Fix It Man will reach bookshelves by March 2017. This makes her happier than a bear eating ice cream. She writes exclusively for kids because it’s crazy good fun and because she believes kids and great stories are life-essentials, like ice cream. Her writing ambitions are modest although she’d consider giving up sugar to hear one of her picture books read on Play School. Meanwhile, she enjoys her role as a devotee to children’s literature by giving writing workshops for children and adults and reviewing as many ‘must-share’ titles as she can online.

Unearth more at Dim’s Write Stuff.

Is this your first SCWBI Conference? If not how many have you attended, where?

This will be my second Conference. The first was two years ago in Sydney. This is what happened - SCBWI Sydney 2014 Conference.

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

My inaugural conference was memorable to the nth degree. It was a glorious consolidation of knowledge and literary relationships. I found the whole experience enriching and very satisfying, which sounds a bit unspecific but the thing that stuck was the ‘vibe’ I received from being there. Of course, it would be great to have a manuscript requested but that’s just icing on an otherwise already delicious cake.

As a creator in the Kids Literary Industry, what do you want to be best known for?

My propensity for story sharing, both the stories of others and my own. And that whatever I create is done with integrity and heart. To know my words are tucked away on a bookshelf somewhere and loved by someone is the best ending of all.

Name one thing you cannot live without.

At some point in any day, I will need my hairbrush. I really come undone without it. And did I mention my need for ice cream…?

Stick around for more interesting tip bits and updates from our Reporters as we steer our team into Sydney Harbour in September, ever closer to the SCBWI 2016 Conference.

Till then, Rove you Later!






Rovers Revealed # 4

I do love a good reveal. I confess, I’m one of those types who appreciate a bit of explanation at the end of a well-read tale so I can be sure of who’s who and what’s what and why it all ended up that way. Colour me duller than dishwater but for me, that beats being left in the dark with my (out of bounds) imagination.  Here at SCBWI, we never want you to feel in the dark either, so here is another of our Meet and Greet series reveals. Sit back and become better acquainted with two more of our sparkly Roving Reporters, Canetoad, Melanie Hill and Cockroach, Ramona Davey. *

Melanie Hill

 Melanie Hill

Melanie Hill

Melanie has loved fairy tales since her birth in 1971. She has always written poetry for pleasure. The need to write fiction was dragged from her unconscious during hostage training prior to deploying to Iraq. Now, she is the matriarch of a wild gang of outlaw kids and is married to a former pirate. Melanie is terrified of crocodiles, mice and swamp monsters, but she enjoys cloud busting, travelling by train, and stories with hopeful (but not happy) endings.

You can follow Melanie on twitter @melanieahill, facebook under Melanie Hill Author, or her bloghttp://melaniehill.weebly.com/

Is this your first SCWBI Conference?

This is my first SCBWI Conference

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

I hope to come away with 1-2 new writing friends and ideas on how to improve my work.

As a creator in the Kids Literary Industry, what do you want to be best known for?

I would like to be best known for children's poetry, and action packed stories.

Name one thing you cannot live without.

I cannot live without my family. They inspire me and stop me from spending too much time daydreaming.

Ramona Davey

 Ramona Davey

Ramona Davey

Ramona Davey was born in Jersey. She is an experienced primary teacher with a specialty in Art & Design.

Ramona writes picture books, junior fiction and middle grade novels. She has a passion for rhyme, quirky stories and historical fiction.

She also participates in Tania McCartney’s 52 week Illustration Challenge.

In 2012 Ramona wrote, illustrated and self-published a picture book called “The Jersey Twelve Days Of Christmas.” She also created it as an eBook for iPad with sound effects for iTunes.

Writers Groups/Societies:

NSW Writers Centre

SCBWI - NZ & Australia

Ramona is new member co-ordinator for SCBWI Aus/NZ – Sydney region)

You can contact Ramona on the following social media:

Blog: http://ramonadavey.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RamonaofJersey

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jerseyramona/

Is this your first SCWBI Conference? If not how many have you attended, where?

This year will be my third SCBWI Conference and I am really looking forward to it.

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

This year's may be the most memorable, as I no longer feel like a nervous newbie. As New Member Co-ordinator for SCBWI Sydney region I can meet and greet new SCBWI members and do my best at making them feel welcome and not alone. 

As a creator in the Kids Literary Industry, what do you want to be best known for?

Writing hard to put down children's books - whether it be through my humorous writing or for extremely interesting and mind blowing historical stories.

Name one thing you cannot live without.

Hand cream. :-)

 *Any assumption that either of these ladies resemble the creatures of their home-states is purely speculative and that of the author’s. No offence to either state, reporter or creature is intended, unless of course you are a Queenslander, like I am…

Better rove you later!