Writing NSW and Festival Director Belinda Murrell brought together a who’s who of Aussie authors, illustrators, publishers for the tenth Kids & YA Festival on Saturday and it was  fabulous.

Belinda Murrell with her creation Lulu Bell

Discussions ranged throughout the day. From the different pathways to publication, the appetite for more strong female and diverse central characters, the importance of reading widely, the passion with which young people show their love or hate of novels, the vulnerability of writing honestly (and the bravery required to do so) and the competitive nature of the publishing house.

“There is no substitute for hard work,’ Jacqueline Harvey.

One of the highlights of the day was the pitching session. Names were drawn then aspiring authors took the microphone and pitched their story in front of a panel of publishers and a packed room of other writers. It was nerve-wracking stuff. I salute all the writers who participated.

If you’re preparing to pitch, check out Dr Emily Booth’s Writing a Pitch and Belinda Murrell’s Pitch Perfect. Both have excellent tips and are well worth a look.

Publishers Reveal the Inside Story: Zoe Walton (Penguin Random House), Chren Byng (Harper Collins), Garry Evans (Harbour Publishing House), Clare Hallifax (Omnibus) and Louise Park (Chair)

Regardless of the topic, one thing that all the panelists seem to agree on was the warmth of the Kids & YA writing community in Australia. The industry players were generous with their time, sage in their advice and kind in their feedback. Audience members traded stories and amicably chatted in between sessions. It’s a community worth supporting.

Below is a list of authors and illustrators from the event – look out for their work next time you’re searching for a book for the readers in your life who are young, or young at heart.

You won’t regret it:-)

Books from Fantastical Worlds panelists James Bradley and Garth Nix

Writing NSW Kids & YA Festival Speakers – Saturday, 30 June 2018