BRWF 2018 Schools Program

Sponsored by Officeworks and Coffs Harbour City Council

The BRWF 2018 Schools Program has been an integral component of the Bellingen Readers & Writers festival from the beginning. In recent years over 600 students attending schools throughout the Coffs Coast and Bellingen areas have benefited from the festival’s visiting authors and poets.

The Schools Program is part of the festival’s commitment to promoting literacy and inspiring a passion for reading, literature and cultural production among the youth of our region.

We continue to encourage schools to join together to offer an author visit as a shared experience between neighbouring schools. It both shares the cost and makes for a fun day!


Rowan McAuley

Rowan McAuley loves to engage children and adults alike in dynamic, interactive presentations and workshops. As a visual and kinesthetic learner herself, she wants her audience to become participants, and to feel excited about reading and creative writing. In her words, “I love disappearing into my own head and letting the outside world disappear as I write a different world into existence on the page, but the end result is that what I do doesn’t always feel very real. It’s more like spending your days in a lucid dream. So when a letter comes from a real, live reader, telling me that they’ve read my book and it had an impact on them, it’s like a little miracle.”
Rowan is renowned for her collection in the popular Go Girl series, including: Stage Fright, The Big Split, Sleep Over, The New Girl, and many other titles.
She has also written a number of books in the Gateway Series under the pen name Cerberus Jones, in collaboration with Chris Morphew and David Harding. Titles include: The Four Fingered Man, The Lady from Nowhere, The Lost Home World, The Ancient Starship.
Rowan’s books have also been published in US, Canada (in French), Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, Slovenia, China, and Korea
Rowan is able to capture the imagination of her audiences through her excellent command of language; her creative, quirky and imaginative ideas; and her clear delivery of planned workshop material. She is happy to tailor a talk or workshop to suit the needs of her audience.

Rowan McAuley

Alicia Tuckerman

Alicia Tuckerman

Described as having an overactive imagination as a child, Alicia has been writing stories her entire life. She attributes surviving her teenage years to the comfort, release, and escape writing offered and she hopes to inspire the next generation of readers and writers to embrace their passions. Alicia draws on her own life experiences to explore the joys, triumphs and cruelties of modern day adolescence and considers there is no fantasy world she could create that is more terrifyingly beautiful than the one we’re expected to live in.
Alicia’s debut novel, If I Tell You, is a beautifully written and evocative YA romance set in a rural Australian landscape. The book is “…about being seventeen and growing up in rural Australia. Falling in love for the first time, following your dreams and disappointing your parents. It’s about figuring out who you are on your own terms and learning to wear your skin like it belongs to you. Being brave enough to live your life, even when your life is terrifying.
Alicia grew up in rural NSW but now lives in the Swan Valley region of Perth and does most of her writing in the small hours before the kids wake up, or on her daily commute to the office.

She offers enthusiastic and supportive workshops and presentations for young people looking to find their voice through the written word.

Write Out is a creative writing workshop which aims to encourage young people to develop stronger and more confident writing strategies. Writers will be provided with a creative writing topic and or starting point to form the basis of a short story. The group will brainstorm what they believe are good story telling strategies and discuss key steps in crafting a short story:

• Character development;
• Choosing a point of view;
• Tips for writing dialogue;
• Setting and context;
• Plot;
• Conflict and tension;
• Crisis or a climax; and
• Resolution.


J.M. Donellan

J.M. Donellan is a writer, musician, poet, and teacher. He was almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas, fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India and was harassed by a half-naked man whilst standing next to Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris.
Josh’s debut novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India, won 2009 IP Picks Best Fiction Award and his latest novel Killing Adonis, received a highly prestigious star from Kirkus Reviews.
Josh has performed and spoken at a huge range of events around Australia and overseas including: Sydney Writers’ Festival, TEDx Southbank, The Australian Poetry Slam, and Wonderland Festival Brisbane 2017.
As a teacher as well as author and performer, he understands how to engage and entertain adults and kids of all ages in a variety of different artistic and learning experiences.
Josh does everything from readings to workshops to slam poetry performances, with a heavy emphasis on participation.



Sulari Gentill

Sulari Gentill

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill set out to study astrophysics, graduated in law, and then abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts. Born in Sri Lanka, Sulari learned to speak English in Zambia, grew up in Brisbane and now lives in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW where, with her historian husband, she grows French black truffles, cares for a variety of animals and raises two wild colonial boys. Sulari also paints, but only well enough to know she should write, preferably in her pyjamas.
Sulari is the author of eight books including the award-winning and bestselling Rowland Sinclair Mysteries as well as the Greek mythology adventure series, The Hero Trilogy. Sulari has received wide recognition for The Rowan Sinclair Mysteries: “Sulari Gentill likes to tease, blithely slotting real people and events into a crime series set in the 1930s relating the fictional adventures of artist and gentleman of leisure, Rowland Sinclair… Once again, telling the fictional from the real is part of the fun… Clever Gentill. Investigating the past has never been more fun.” The Sydney Morning Herald.
Sulari’s work spans several genres from Crime Fiction to Adventure-Fantasy. She loves to workshop ideas with students, and one of her workshops titled, The Body on the Page, is popular with students developing their skills in the craft of writing.


Kim Hodges

Kim Hodges currently resides on the NSW north coast and immerses herself in the pristine beauty of beaches, mountains and estuaries. She grew up in Coolah, a small rural town in Central NSW, and has lived in Sydney and the UK. Kim has been employed in many professional roles: tutor and lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences (Southern Cross University); and a consultant in curriculum development (TAFE NSW) and policy (NSW Government).
In her mid-forties she commenced writing her memoir to store in the cupboard for her lads to read in the years to come, but then realised her story may resonate with a broader readership.
Kim’s debut novel, a memoir, Girl on the Edge, is a personal exploration of growing up in rural Australia. It highlights themes such as identity, class, gender, alienation, mental illness and domestic violence. This coming of age story explores the terrain of adolescence through a reflective historical lens that incorporates a wry tone that typifies Australian humour and keeps us reading with the many questions she poses throughout the book. Girl Over the Edge, Kim’s follow up novel, has just been released in April this year.
Kim has work-shopped her way around NSW presenting in schools, libraries and on writer’s festival panels. She gives hope to young people dealing with the ups and downs of growing up. Her writing workshops explore aspects of authentic personal writing, and open the way for self-empowerment for students searching to find their own voice.

Kim Hodges


Robyn Sheahan Bright

Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Robyn understands the challenges of writing and getting published. She was the first Executive Director of the Queensland Writers Centre and operates justified text writing and publishing consultancy services. She is widely published in magazines, journals and online publishing sites, has chapters in several textbooks, has edited anthologies and also manages arts projects. Robyn is able to impart her knowledge and expertise through motivational presentations and workshops. Robyn also understands children’s literature and the children’s book market. In 2003 she was a member of the Australia Council Literature Board. In 2006 she co-edited Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia (1946-2004). In 2006 she also published Kookaburra Shells: Port Curtis Literature. In August 2011, Robyn was awarded the prestigious Dame Annabelle Rankin Award for her services to children’s literature. Robyn has also been awarded the 2012 Nan Chauncy Award, created to honour people who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of Australian children’s literature. In 2014, Robyn won the Johnno Award. Presented by the Queensland Writers Centre, this award recognises Robyn’s ‘significant contributions to the development of Queensland’s writing community’. Robyn is able to workshop with students and teachers who may use this as a valuable opportunity to give feedback to students producing major works, or those about to commence this journey. She is a savvy presenter who is well aware of the publishing terrain and the challenge of ‘the new’. Her recent workshop FLASH FICTION: PRINCIPLES FOR WRITING A MICROSTORY covers the key features which a publishing editor seeks in a prose manuscript (sometimes called ‘substantive’ editing), using examples from published and unpublished writing. Described as “…the most perfect form…” by Italian writer, Italo Calvino, this Flash Fiction workshop will invigorate writing and keep better writers motivated.

For further details and bookings please contact:
Schools’ Co-ordinator: Brigitte Williams 0400645963