Secondary Authors
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Fact Makes Fiction with Will Kostakis


Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. That said, he’s best known for his award-winning YA novels. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen. His second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. It went on the win the IBBY Australia Ena Noel Award. Monuments is his fourth novel.



Whether he's writing about grandmothers who give teenagers outrageous bucket lists to complete or about sword-wielding sort-of gods who have to save the world, Will Kostakis' stories are sometimes difficult to believe. But they always have a kernel of truth to them. In an entertaining session that mixes real-life anecdotes with practical writing advice, Will explores how he takes fact and turns it into fiction.


Bren has always been a bit of a nomad, always the newcomer, always observing, fascinated with language, story, what the future holds, and how what we do now affects the future. She has written three books for younger readers set in futures changed by environmental issues, the award winning How to Bee and The Dog Runner, as well as her latest book Across the Risen Sea. Bren also has a wild science fiction novel for young adults, In the Dark Spaces, under the pseudonym Cally Black which has also won awards. Bren had been travelling Australia in a bus, but in the past year bought a business and settled in beautiful Kalbarri, WA. 


Join Bren in a fun and enlightening discussion as she shares how she gets the reader to trust and believe in the main character, and how she develops the language of her character, and the societies and settings of her fictional futures. She'll share why she's so fascinated with the future, how examining a fictional future is beneficial, also her influences and some techniques to give young participants lots of ideas for writing experimentation.

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What is the fascination with the environment?

With Bren MacDibble

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My Life in Cartoons with Brenton McKenna


There were only two grown up professions Brenton wanted to do as a child when he got older. The lack of zombies ruled out ‘zombie wrangler’ so he became the next best thing, a graphic novelist. Recognised as Australia’s first Indigenous graphic novelist, Brenton was born and raised in Broome, Western Australia. He hails from a long line of storytellers and draws his inspiration from folklore, mythologies, ghost stories, daily happenings and pure curiosity.



As a youngster, Brenton struggled with reading and writing. It wasn’t until he picked up a Ghost Rider comic book at the age of 10 that everything changed. In this session, Brenton will share his own history of growing up in Broome and what inspired him to create the graphic novel series, Ubby’s Underdogs. He will also explore the exciting steps involved in creating a graphic novel.


Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa is a first-generation Australian Sikh spoken word artist, educator, performer and human rights reformer. Sukhjit is passionate about diversity and her work predominantly provokes conversations around Australian identity, feminism, cultural confusions and the power of uncomfortable conversations. Within a short period, Sukhjit has gone from performing at the Opera House for the Australian Poetry Slam Competition in 2014 to performing on national television for Australia’s Got Talent and, most recently, she was a speaker at Ted x UWA.



Tap into the spoken word poet within and learn the basics of spoken word poetry and performance skills through guided writing and performance exercises. In this session Sukhjit will be sharing some of her incredible word pieces. She will also challenge students to step out of their comfort zones and try spoken poetry. Previous experience is absolutely not required, instead she just wants all students to have a go and have fun.


Spoken Words with

Sukhjit Khalsa

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All Things Honeybee with Craig Silvey


Craig Silvey grew up on an orchard in Dwellingup Western Australia and he now lives in Fremantle. Craig Silvey wrote his first novel, Rhubarb, at the age of 19. It became a bestseller and was chosen as the “One Book” for the Perth International Writers Festival. In early 2008, Silvey completed his second novel Jasper Jones with the aid of an Australia Council New Work Grant. Jasper Jones was published in 2009 by Allen & Unwin Australia and made into a film in 2017. His recent novel, Honeybee, is a tender, profoundly moving novel, brimming with vivid characters and luminous words.



Join Craig Silvey for a fascinating presentation talking everything Honeybee. With vivid and moving characters, Honeybee is a heartbreaking and life-affirming novel that has been deemed a must-read. Listen to Craig talk about his writing process and discuss both of his best selling novels, Honeybee and Jasper Jones. This will also be a fantastic opportunity to hear from Craig  and ask him all of your questions.


Susan Midalia has a PhD in contemporary Australian women’s fiction and has published on the subject in national and international literary journals. Since retiring from academia in 2006, she has published five works of fiction. Her three short story collections – A History of the Beanbag, An Unknown Sky and Feet to the Stars – were all shortlisted for major Australian literary awards. Her first novel The Art of Persuasion was published in 2018 and her latest novel, Everyday Madness came out this year.



There are many different ways to write a story. You can start by revealing the ending. Or you can use a series of headings. Write from two different perspectives. Create two different endings. But whatever structure you choose, what matters most is using words that will engage the reader from the opening sentence and make them want to read more. This workshop will use a number of short writing exercises that encourage you to use words in interesting and imaginative ways. Bring your writing implements, a love of language and story and a willingness to try something new.

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Imaginative Short Stories with Susan Midalia

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Happily Ever After

With Sally Murphy


Sally Murphy wanted to be many things when she grew up – then she realised she didn’t want to grow up! So, she’s decided to be a big kid for as long as she can get away with it. Sometimes, though, she manages to masquerade as a grown up, which is just as well because when she’s not making stuff up in for her books she works in a university and is mother and grandmother to a growing brood.  Sally’s books include verse novels Pearl Verses the World and Toppling, children’s novels including Looking Up, Australia’s Great War: 1915, Bushfires and Worse Things.


Books are supposed to make you feel good. But does that mean everyone gets to live happily ever after?  Join Sally Murphy as she talks about fire, war, death and other tough stuff. She will discuss how tough topics can be worked into stories that can still make you smile. Sally will tailor a discussion around these tough themes and issues, giving students a chance to have their questions answered.


Holden Sheppard is an award-winning Young Adult author born and bred in Geraldton, Western Australia. His debut novel, Invisible Boys (Fremantle Press, 2019), won the 2018 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award  and was listed as a Notable Book by the Children’s Book Council of Australia in 2020.

Holden has always been a misfit: a gym junkie who has played Pokemon competitively, a sensitive geek who loves aggressive punk rock, and a bogan who learned to speak French.


In this session, Holden Sheppard will share his very personal impetus for writing his acclaimed novel, Invisible Boys. Holden will talk about his own unlikely journey from being a manual labourer in Geraldton to becoming a published author and storyteller, in spite of various obstacles growing up. He will speak to students about his experiences of rejection, self-sabotage and perseverance and share how he leaned into failure to grow resilient enough to follow and achieve his dreams. Holden will also discuss how telling stories has the power to effect change not only on the world but on the storyteller themselves.  


Invisible Boys with

Holden Sheppard