Celebrate Reading Presenters

Fremantle Town Hall - 27 & 28 Oct

Stories With Spine

This year’s Celebrate Reading program takes a deeper dive into the world of stories and real life conversations for young people and not so young people about the things that are hard to talk about. 

The conference will enrich your understanding of the process of writing and storytelling for young people. It is a unique professional learning experience for teachers and librarians and will also appeal to writers, artists and book lovers.


Alice Pung, Aśka, Bri Lee, Cath Moore, C.S Pacat, Dr Anita Heiss, Eliza Hull, Georgia Richter, Holden Sheppard, Jessica Walton, Julia Lawrinson, Kyle Perry, Lynette Noni, Meg Caddy,  Meg McKinlay, Michael Speechley, Nova Weetman, Sue Whiting and Victoria Midwinter-Pitt.

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Alice Pung

Alice Pung OAM is the bestselling author of the memoirs Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, and the essay collection Close to Home, as well as the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her Father's Daughter won the Western Australia Premiers Award. Her debut adult novel, Laurinda, won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her second adult novel, One Hundred Days, was shortlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Award, and has been optioned by Michelle Law for development as a film.


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Aśka, (pronounced ‘Ash-ka’), is creative dynamite. She’s an energetic visual storyteller, a science
communicator, and a hugely engaging and popular presenter. Aśka is passionate about visual literacy, and has published more than ten books, comics and graphic novels, including the CBCA Notable: STARS IN THEIR EYES, with Jessica Walton. She is a recipient of numerous government Arts grants, prizes, and the May Gibbs Fellowship. When not making stories with pictures, Aśka is traveling across Australia, teaching drawing-as-a-language to enthusiastic audiences of all ages.


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Bri Lee

Bri Lee is an author, freelance writer, and speaker based in Sydney. After graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts (Mandarin) degree in 2014, she was admitted to the legal profession early in 2017. Bri is now completing an MPhil in Creative Writing. Her first book, a memoir called Eggshell Skull, was published by Allen & Unwin in June 2018. The book won several awards including the Biography of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. It also received several other listings, including being longlisted for The Stella Prize. Bri is a well-known advocate for criminal justice law reform. Bri’s most recent publications include Who Gets to be Smart and Beauty. 


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Cath Moore

Dr Cath Moore  is a multi-media writer, story developer and teacher.  Her debut novel Metal Fish Falling Snow won the 2021 Victorian and Qld Premier's YA Literary Award, Prime Minister's Literary award, was longlisted for the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the NSW Premier's YA and Multicultural Awards and CBCA awards.


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CS Pacat

CS Pacat is the New York Times and USA-Today bestselling author of Dark Rise, Captive Prince and the GLAAD-nominated graphic novels Fence, and has also written multiple titles for DC Comics. Educated at the University of Melbourne, CS Pacat has since lived in a number of cities, including Tokyo and Perugia, and currently resides and writes in Melbourne.


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Dr Anita Heiss

Dr Anita Heiss is an internationally published, award-winning author of 23 books; non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction and children’s novels. She is a proud member of the Wiradyuri Nation of central New South Wales, an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the GO Foundation, and Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland. Her novel, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray about the Great Flood of Gundagai, won the 2022 NSW Premier’s Indigenous Writer’s Prize and was shortlisted for the 2022 HNSA Prize and the ABIA Awards. Anita’s first children’s picture book Bidhi Galing (Big Rain) about the Great Flood of Gundagai, was released in June 2023.


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Eliza Hull  

Eliza Hull is an award-winning musician, writer and disability advocate. Eliza is a proud disabled woman, with a physical disability ‘Charcot Marie Tooth.’ Eliza is the editor and creator of the book We’ve Got This, essays by disabled parents which features parents who identify as Disabled, Deaf or Chronically Ill. The book has been released in Australia and now internationally. She is also a contributor in the anthology Growing up Disabled in Australia.


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Georgia Richter

Georgia Richter has an MA (Creative Writing) from the University of Western Australia and is an IPEd Accredited Editor. She has taught creative writing, professional writing and editing at the universities of Melbourne and Western Australia, as well as at Curtin University. Georgia joined Fremantle Press in 2008 as the fiction, narrative non-fiction and poetry publisher, and, with Deborah Hunn, is the author of How to be an Author: The Business of Being a Writer in Australia.


Holden Sheppard

Holden Sheppard is an award-winning Western Australian author originally from Geraldton. His debut novel Invisible Boys (Fremantle Press, 2019) won the 2019 Western Australian Premier's Prize for an Emerging Writer and the 2018 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. In 2020, Invisible Boys was named a Notable Book by the Children's Book Council of Australia. The book is now in development as a television series. Holden's second novel The Brink (Text Publishing, 2022), won the Young Adult Book of the Year Award at the 2023 Indie Book Awards.


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Jessica Walton 

Jessica Walton’s picture book Introducing Teddy started as a Kickstarter project, gaining the attention of international media and eventually, Bloomsbury Publishing. Now published in 13 countries and translated into 9 different languages, the book introduces the youngest readers to understanding gender identity and transition in an accessible and heart-warming story about being true to yourself and being a good friend. Jess is a cancer survivor, amputee, queer, daughter of a trans-parent, feminist, musician and teacher. They have spoken to any and every age group about their books, writing, LGBTI issues, cancer and disability.


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Julia Lawrinson

Julia Lawrinson is an award-winning writer of books for children and young adults. She hails from Perth and, despite leaving school at 15, has a PhD in writing and a Bachelor of Laws with distinction. She has presented at schools, workshops and conferences across Australia, and in Singapore, Indonesia and the USA. Her books are about friendship, family and the occasional Jack Russell. She is currently completing a memoir entitled How to Avoid A Happy Life.


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Kyle Perry

Kyle Perry is a 6th generation Ridgley boy, born and raised in the tiny country town on the NW coast of Tasmania. Kyle Perry’s debut novel, The Bluffs, has been translated into eight languages. The Bluffs was awarded the Winner of the Dutch Thrillzone Awards in 2021 (Best Translated Thriller). Kyle’s second novel, The Deep, has also been published internationally and nominated for the Dymocks Book of the Year, attracting critical acclaim and his third title, The Wild, will be published in 2023.


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Lynette Noni

Lynette Noni is an Australian author. Lynette studied journalism, academic writing, and human behaviour at university before venturing into the world of fiction. She is now a full-time writer and the #1 bestselling and award-winning author of The Medoran Chronicles, the Whisper Duology, The Prison Healer, The Gilded Cage and The Blood Traitor.


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Meg Caddy

Meg Caddy is a full-time nerd. Their fantasy novel Waer was shortlisted for the 2013 Text Prize and the 2017 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and their historical fiction Devil's Ballast was shortlisted for the 2020 Readings YA Book Prize. They are currently undertaking a PhD in queer fiction. They live with three dreadful cats and one wonderful small human.


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Meg McKinlay

Meg McKinlay is a children’s writer and poet. She has published twenty books for children, ranging from picture books through to young adult novels, and a collection of poetry for adults. Her work has won numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, the Queensland Literary Award, and the WA Premier’s Book Award. Her latest title is Ella and the Useless Day.


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Michael Speechley 

Michael Speechley is a former graphic designer and a high school art teacher based in Western Australia. His first picture book, The All New Must Have Orange 430, won recognition as an Honour Book for the CBCA awards, 2019. It also won the 2019 Environment Award for Children’s Literature in the Picture Book category. The Gift his most recent book was awarded a Notable Book for the CBCA awards, 2020. It was Shortlisted for the 2019 Premiers’ Book Awards in the Picture Book category and has recently been Shortlisted for the 2022 West Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards.


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Nova Wheetman

Nova Weetman has published 16 books for children and young adults, including: Everything is Changed, The Secrets We Keep, Sick Bay, Elsewhere Girls and The Edge of Thirteen. Her latest book is The Jammer. Nova’s books have been CBCA Notables, shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Prize, Japan’s Sakura Medal, the NSW Premier’s History Prize and more. She won the ABIA Award for Best Children’s Book Small Publisher in 2021.


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Sue Whiting

Sue Whiting is an award-winning children’s and YA author, editor and former primary school teacher, who writes for many age groups, from picture books through to YA. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country. She is passionate about the power of story and the importance of books and reading, and is an advocate for reading and writing for pleasure. Her latest book is Tilda, a historical novel for readers 10+.

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Victoria Midwinter-Pitt

Victoria Midwinter Pitt is one of Australia’s leading documentary filmmakers. Her work including Frontier, Rampant – How a City Stopped a Plague, Surviving Mumbai, Leaky Boat and Afghanistan: Inside Australia’s War has won Walkley & AACTA awards, been nominated for Emmy Awards and screened across the world’s major film festivals and broadcasters.