About scbwiqld

SCBWI Qld is part of Australian and New Zealand chapter of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). The SCBWI is a professional organisation that acts as a network for children's authors, illustrators, editors and publishers. There are over 22,000 members in more than 70 regions worldwide. In Australia and New Zealand we have a strong and active network.

Report on the Productivity Commission Hearing_Brisbane

SCBWI at the Productivity Commission Hearing in Brisbane

written by Sam Sochacka, Children’s Literature Advocate,  Aspiring Children’s Author, ESL Educator

Productivity Commiss Public Hearing Brisbane June 2016

The children’s and young adult literature industry was well represented at the Brisbane hearing of the Productivity Commission’s Intellectual Property Arrangements Inquiry.  9 out of the 11 authors who presented were representing the children’s and YA literature industry.  Morris Gleitzman, Sheryl Gwyther, Michael Gerard Bauer, Angela Sunde, Candice Lemon-Scott, Christine Bongers, Melanie Hill, Caroline Magerl, Dimity Powell, Pamela & Peter Rushby, and Sam Sochacka attended the hearing on Monday, June 20, 2016.  Morris, Sheryl, Michael, Angela, Candice, Christine, and Melanie all made presentations to the Commission. 

Two crucial points were made by the Commissioners as speakers made their presentations.  The term of copyright will not be reduced to 15 – 25 years, nor was it a recommendation of the Commissioners.  This figure came from a finding that they made; that creators derive the most financial benefit in the 15 – 25 years after their works are created.  Creators will retain copyright for the current term of death plus 70 years.  This is great news! 

There was further confusion as to whether or not the Commissioners had recommended that parallel import restrictions be lifted.  It had been reported in the media that this was the case, however the Commissioners explained that their terms of reference instruct them to investigate the transitional issues associated with lifting the parallel import restrictions.  Therefore it was not a recommendation, but a decision that the Government looks set to enforce.  The Government had asked the Commissioners for advice on how it would work, not an opinion on whether or not the parallel import restrictions should be lifted.  This is not such great news.  At all.

Key points that were made, often repeatedly, included the need for Australian kids to access Australian stories with Australian locations, language, spelling, cultural references etc..  Morris Gleitzman spoke on behalf of children as consumers of books and pointed out that for young people, the relationship with story – a young character discovers a much larger problem than they have ever encountered before, is key, and that this must be provided in an Australian context.  Through reading children need to do research, they develop interpersonal skills, they learn to enlist help, and develop the capacity to empathise.  Reading develops problem solving skills, personal development and growth.  The central character’s journey in story mirrors the educational and social progress that young people need to make.  Stories reflect what is happening in the culture and environment of young people. 

When parallel import restrictions are lifted, Australian children will suffer as they will not have access to as many, by quite a margin, Australian stories as they do now.  Morris also expressed concern about where the next generation of writers will come from if publishing houses will not have the capacity to invest in new writers, something that will occur if publishers need to compete with foreign editions of foreign, and Australian, works.  He explained that Australian publishing houses will not be able to compete with foreign edition remainders as they would be sold at a much lower prices than the Australian editions.  He concluded by saying that, “Australian children need Australian stories”.

            Sheryl Gwyther spoke on behalf of the 1200 members of SCBWI.  Sheryl spoke to two main issues, making the following points:

  • ‘Fair use’ exception to copyright – fears these proposed arrangements will go beyond fair, especially in schools. Disadvantages original creators.  Destroys the principle what we own what we create.  Authors and illustrators fear that grants will be the only thing left.  
  • Parallel importation – will not enable publishers to take on new authors, let alone support their current ones. Dumping of foreign published Australian author’s books into Australia will flood the market with cheaper, foreign editions and publications.  Books will have been altered with spelling, expressions, places, ideas, and thoughts.  Australian consumers expect to be able to buy books with Australian culture, idioms, experiences, values, ideas, and landscapes.  Australian children need to be able to connect with Australian stories.

            Michael Gerard Bauer spoke about his book, “Don’t Call Me Ishmael”.  He pointed out that if parallel import restrictions are lifted, his Australian publisher would be competing with foreign publications.  He asked the Commissioners if international publishers should be able to capitalise on the hard work of Australian editors/publishers and undermine them in our own market.  He stated that there would be fewer Australian writers with the removal of PIR and that fewer Australian writers would mean fewer Australian books for consumers looking for Australian content.  He said that Australians must see their language, culture in texts that they read.  On school visits, Michael finds that students often have UK/US versions with all Australian’isms taken out. 

            As a senior literacy teacher, Angela Sunde said that the removal of PIR would detrimentally affect child literacy.  Angela pointed out that children’s share of the printed market in the world is 35%, but 50% in Australia.  And that Dymocks had a 30% increase in children’s book sales since 2010.  She explained that this was due to strong local content, which supports curriculum in identity, helping children to develop a strong sense of self.  Australian content and spelling in books is crucial for Australian Children.  Angela stated that Australian kids need books that reflect their culture, and language.  Strong content will be lost with removals of PIR.  There will be fewer books published here. 

              As a bookseller, Candice Lemon-Scott spoke of how bookshops will be affected by the lifting of PIR.  She made the following points:

  • Can’t derive enough income from writing to support her family. She took a second job is as a book trader. A sole trader. 
  • As an independent bookseller it’s hard to compete with department stores.
  • Australia has the largest independent bookshop industry in the English speaking world. 900+ independent bookstores. 1.1 billion contributed to the economy. 
  • Under PIR changes she won’t be able to compete with department stores, won’t be able to return unsold stock.
  • Small business sector would lose again: jobs.
  • A bookshop forms more than part of the retail sector. It forms part of the fabric of society.  Where people can come and get personal book recommendations.  Where authors can come and promote their new works. 

              Christine Bongers spoke of dissent and dismay at the removal of territorial copyright.  She said that her novels are quintessentially Australian.  And that the only way that Australian authors can make a living is by selling territorial rights to their books overseas.  Government subsidies are not a viable option as government funding can be withdrawn at the drop of a hat.

              Melanie Hill spoke about the change in copyright laws and said that we would become a country that imports, instead of exporting, innovation when PIR are lifted.  She pointed out that the most important determinate in education is literacy, and that Australian children will suffer when copyright laws are changed, and PIR are lifted.

Christine Bongers read an impassioned statement from Isobelle Carmody who was unable to attend the hearing due to illness.

Thank you, and congratulations, to all those who put their case forward to the Commissioners.  It was great to see such strong representation of the children’s and YA literature industry at the hearing.

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The Essentials for being an Author

Republished from Sheryl Gwyther‘s writers’ blog … 

vermeer-lady-writing

When I run writing classes, people often ask for hints on how to become better writers (and so do children – thankfully, for a future of great stories still to come!)

These are the essentials I pass on…..

  • Have an active imagination. Always ask, WHAT IF?

  • Be an acute observer of people, nature, places and things. Learn how to develop an ‘artist eye and ear’. Be aware of all your senses, totally.

  • Read voraciously (like a foraging seagull) with a hunger for story.

  • Learn by osmosis, and from the wise advice of the experienced and the successful; to glean more information on how to do it better from books and the web, and also from workshops run by those who have been ‘through the mill’ themselves, and who’ve gained much knowledge from their wide experience.

  • You will face manuscript rejections – regard them as your apprenticeship. Even experienced writers get manuscripts rejected. We are a small market in Australia. Unfortunately, a fact of life.

  • Never give up. If you are truly meant to be a writer, perseverance and toughness is essential at those most vulnerable moments of painful rejection or ‘so-so’ reviews. But you will pick yourself up, learn from the experience and start editing and re-writing to make your story even better.

  • Join a small writers’ group you can trust in – everyone there will understand the mountains we travail in this job; they will support, just like you would do in return.
  • Join a support network like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators … a global network. We have an excellent regional group here in Australia and New Zealand.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

Image: Johannes Vermeer’s portrait of a writing woman in 1670-71. One of his beautiful studies of women in the sublime light of his studio. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Writing_a_Letter_with_her_Maid

ANGELA SUNDE’S … ‘Snap Magic’ book launch coming soon

SCBWI member, Angela Sunde talks about the publishing journey of her new book for young people, Snap Magic.
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SNAP MAGIC – EDITED BY CATHERINE McCREADIE, former senior editor of children’s books, Penguin Australia (now working freelance at Penguin and Allen & Unwin).

Snap.Magic.Invite.BCat2

 

LOCAL SCBWI AUTHOR AWARDED RADF GRANT

Are you an author or illustrator who lives in regional or outback Queensland? You have the opportunity to apply for a grant to help develop your writing. Many creators aren’t aware that the Regional Arts Development Funding exists. Go check out the site now! taryn

One of our Queensland authors, Taryn Bashford , from the Sunshine Coast has just been awarded an RADF Grant. Here’s what she says:

I’d like to give a shout out to the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and all those local councils out there who give grants to unpublished authors.

It’s hard to gain any financial support when you’re an unproven, unpublished writer. However, there’s a grant called the Minor Round Grant for regional arts development (RADF) and it really is easier than you think to apply. I had always been put off applying until I read a post like this.

I thought it would take hours and be too hard, but the Sunshine Coast Regional Council not only made the process easy, but also assigns you a grants officer who will answer your every call and email. Mine was invaluable.

I received $1,700 to attend the SCBWI Conference in Sydney in July 2014. I now have a literary agent who is managing submissions to several publishers – all of whom requested my manuscript at SCBWI.

I can’t encourage you enough to look up grants available from your local council. Good luck!

Well done, Taryn! Happy writing with your stories.

If anyone in the Brisbane City Council area is interested in applying for these types of creative development grants, check out the  Creative Sparks funding program.

‘Tall Tales and Fat Tunes’ – SCBWI at the BWF

SCBWI Qld member, Dimity Powell posts her review of SCBWI’s contribution to the Brisbane Writers Festival, where five local authors and illustrators volunteered to be part of the children’s program, Alphabet Zoo. Thank you, Jacque Duffy, Lynelle Westland, Jennifer Poulter and Dimity for your fabulous contributions.bwf event1

“There were no track closures or train delays on Thursday the 5th of September, so I arrived in ample time at the State Library of Queensland; hub of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. At nine o’clock in the morning, the place was already humming. The book shop was choked with young readers keen to snap up the latest title by one of their ‘idols’.

bwf event7Some of their idols were already there, searching for literary gems of their own.  Legion upon legion of uniformed school kids led by teachers equally as enthusiastic as they, trooped by in orderly lines. In the absence of coffee, I drank in their palpable excitement and thus energised headed for the signing-in table.

With a bright orange lanyard in place and goodie bag slung over one shoulder, I strolled about the grounds, soaking up the atmosphere of my first BWF and the warm Brisbane spring-shine. There was plenty of time to take in the cavernous marquis, stage to a variety of artists of far greater notoriety than I including; Ben Law, Matthew Condon, John Birmingham and Katherine Howell.

bwf evetn15 Clusters of school children waited on the banks of the river for their WordPlay sessions with visionaries like Michael Gerard Bauer, Katherine Battersby and Oliver Phommavanh. Eventually I headed for the fifth floor artists’ green room, strongly recommended to me by the leagues of green-shirted, unfathomably helpful BWF volunteers. They were right. The views of the river and cultural precinct were breathtaking. And the coffees, second to none, except maybe that bookshop-foyer-buzz. But the best was yet to come.

As a member of SCBWI, I was fortunate to be invited along with Sheryl Gwyther and half a dozen other children’s authors and illustrators from all over south-east Queensland, to participate in BWF’s Alphabet Zoo. This inaugural free program was inspired by the books and art created for kids between 3 – 8 years.

The next few hours were spent in the Studio, a spacious room housing an astonishingly gigantic dragon and walls covered in art courtesy of the kids dropping in and Illustrator-in-Residence, Briony Stewart. We delivered live storytellings, readings and art classes as part of the Tall Tales and Fat Tunes activities.

bwf event16 Fresh on the heels of recent Book Week presentations, this encounter with over 60 primary aged students, their carers, teachers and parents was yet another refreshing reminder of why we do what we do. Positive gratitude was instantaneous.

One teacher couldn’t thank us enough for providing a few minutes of captivating wonderment for her students. ‘I’ve never seen them so attentive. Look at them!’

It is true: sometimes the smallest things in life bring us the greatest joy. I may not have been presenting in auditoriums to hundreds but the glint of sunshine on the Brisbane River, the moments spent sharing my words with small, ever expanding minds and being in the same green room with other authors jotting enigmatic entries into paper journals all added up to great, collective Festival joy. It was one of my most memorable visits to the Zoo ever.”

Many thanks, Dimity! (Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Assistant RA)

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SCBWI Queensland’s Gold Coast meet a great success

Inaugural SCBWI Queensland Gold Coast Regional Meeting 

Report: Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor

Another SCBWI Queensland regional members’ meeting was held on Saturday 24th August – time time, at Tallebudgera Valley on the Gold Coast. It was splendid to see authors and illustrators traveling from as far away as north of Brisbane to south of the Queensland/NSW’s border.

Twenty-five writers, illustrators and librarians, SCBWI members and non-members talked, listened, shared morning tea, lunch and then afternoon tea, networked, shared recent successes and other news, and generally had an excellent time at the home of Angela Sunde, SCBWI support team member.gold coast gig9Our guest speaker, Judith Rossell presented a powerpoint of her work, especially her recently published picture book, Oliver.judith r 2 Of great interest was her journal of drawings she worked on at her May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Residency in Brisbane. The story is set in Victorian England and her pen and ink drawings are sublime.

SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor, Sheryl Gwyther also presented a slide show, Dinosaurs, Research and Writing … turning a trip through time into a novel, talking about the journey of her children’s novel, Secrets of Eromangasheryl_presentationThank you to Angela Sunde and husband, Rob Brown for their generous hospitality, and to Judith Rossell who generously donated her fee back to SCBWI Qld. And thank you to our wonderful members who once again proved that they are the best bunch of people this side of the Black Stump. 🙂

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NEXT SCBWI Qld MEETING: Gold Coast area

SCBWI QUEENSLAND NETWORKING MEETING

Beautiful one day, perfect the next

Beautiful one day, perfect the next

Everyone is welcome to attend our meeting at the Gold Coast

  • 2nd Presentation: Sheryl Gwyther, author … DINOSAUR BONES & other BITS & PIECES, the search for a story

It’s also the chance to catch up with friends, network and meet new people who share the same passion.

WHEN:  Saturday, August 24th 10.30am – 3.00pm

WHERE:  Burleigh area. Contact Angela Sunde (our Gold Coast SCBWI correspondent) at angelasunde @ live.com.au for the meeting’s address

Tea and coffee/morning tea will be provided but BRING some LUNCH TO SHARE

RSVP ESSENTIAL  –   22nd August  queensland@scbwiaustralianz.com

COST:    SCBWI members  $5        Non-members $10