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Newcastle Sub-branch

 Office Bearers for 2017

PRESIDENT: Kirrili Lonergan
VICE PRESIDENT: Katrina McKelvey
SECRETARY: Lillian Webb
TREASURER: Amanda Shirley
Jodie Carlson
GENERAL COMMITTEE: Ruth Higginbottom, Gwynne McGinley, Julie Swane


  • We have our very own sub-branch Facebook page.
  • Search for 'CBCA (NSW) Newcastle Sub-branch' to find us.


Meeting 1 and AGM: Wednesday, 22nd February at St Therese's New Lambton. 6:30pm meet and greet for a 7pm start.
Meeting 2: Wednesday, 22nd March at Hunter Valley Grammar School, Ashtonfield. 6:30pm meet and greet for a 7pm start.
Meeting 3: Wednesday, 3rd May at Charlestown South Public School. 6:30pm meet and greet for a 7pm start.
Meeting 4: Wednesday, 7th June at Belmont Library. 6:30pm meet and greet for a 7pm start.
Meeting 5: Wednesday, 13th September at Newcastle Library. 6:30pm meet and greet for a 7pm start.
Planning Meeting: Wednesday, 25th October at 7:30pm. (executive committee members only)
Our Christmas Party is on Wednesday, 29th November. Further details TBC.
Our third annual 'Lunch with the Stars' will be Thursday, 14th September. Our guest speaker will be Oliver Phommavanh. Further details TBC.

For a copy of our full calendar or to be on our email list, please send a message to Katrina (vice president).(

New members always welcome.

Any enquiries about the Newcastle (NSW) Sub-branch can be directed to Vice President, Katrina McKelvey
Phone: 0410 650 874 or email 
If you would like to know more about the businesses, authors and illustrators who are members of our sub-branch, you can find some of them on our sub-branch 'MEMBER'S LINKS' list here

2017 is in full-swing and we have been delighted with the wonderful events that have happened so far. We're also very excited for what’s to come in the next few months!

Katrina McKelvey, Kirrili Lonergan and Gwynne Jones attended the CBCA NSW event, Night of the Notables on 28th February. We were extremely excited to learn three local authors, including two of our members were on the notables list.

Congratulations to Deb Kelly for Ruby Wishfingers: Skydancer’s Escape (Younger Readers) and Liz Anelli for One Photo (Picture Book) and Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre (Picture Book and Eve Pownell & Information Books).

Great, inspiring words came from Jacqueline Harvey just before the official announcement. 

Congratulations to the CBCA NSW Branch and Dymocks - George Street for organising and hosting such a lovely event. 


Photo: Jacqueline Harvey

Our second sub-branch event was held on 22nd March at Hunter Valley Grammar School (thanks for hosting us, Lyn). We discussed our impending Newcastle Writers Festival events, in particular the Schools Program and Family Fun Day. Thanks to Julie Swane (from Newcastle Region Library and the Schools Program Co-ordinator/Host), Jenny Blackford (festival board member) and Amanda Shirley (MacLean’s Booksellers - official festival bookseller) who gave us a sneak peek inside some of the festival highlights. Lucky us!

Photo: Julie Swane, Jenny Blackford, Amanda Shirley

Our sub-branch vice president, Katrina McKelvey spoke at the recent CBCA NSW AAA event on 28th March. She presented her insights into some of the books on the notables list in the Picture Book category before the official announcement of the shortlist. She mentioned 16 titles and predicted three of the six officially shortlisted ones.

One Photo by Liz Anelli, made it onto the Picture Book shortlist!

Other local sub-branch members attended and said the day was extremely beneficial. Another great CBA NSW event which we're proud to be part of!

Photo: Sarah Foster, Katrina McKelvey, Judith Ridge, Sue Whiting

The Newcastle Writers Festival Schools Program, presented by Newcastle Region Library on 29th and 30th March, featured John Flanagan, Jacqueline Harvey, Jack Heath, George Ivanoff, Louise Park and Michael Wagner. We were very proud to have local members volunteer to help support the smooth delivery of this program to children across the Hunter. Great, successful program, Julie Swane!

Photo: Michael Wagner, George Ivanoff, Louise Park, Jack Heath, Jacqueline Harvey

The Family Fun Day held on 8th April was a real treat! Katrina McKelvey, our vice president was a stand-out MC for the event, and with all the amazing activities and guests featured, children and families were inspired and enthralled from start to finish. The day started with local CBCA members: Liz Anelli, Gwynne Jones, and Kirrili Lonergan creating a new picture book live on stage. Children contributed to collage pieces to each page spread. Jackie French was another highlight. She taught the audience a new language of speaking 'wombat' - had to be there to understand! She dramatically read Diary of a Wombat and chatted about the pleasure of reading. Richard Roxburgh drew some of the characters from his new children's book, Artie and the Grime Wave. He encouraged children to draw along with him – it was an incredibly engaging experience. Nick Earls shared the origins of several words inspired by his research for his Word Hunters series.The Newcastle Youth Orchestra entertained with beautiful orchestral music. Professor Francesca Falconette (Nadia Sunde) had an amazing time entertaining children as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter book.

 Photo: MC: Katrina McKelvey

Photo: Liz Anelli, Kirrili Lonergan, Gwynne Jones

Photo: Amanda Shirley, Kirrili Lonergan

We held our third meeting of the year on 3rd May at Charlestown South PS (thanks for hosting, Maria), where we were privileged to hear from Ross Lane and Bill Iceton from Books 4 Outback; a self-funded organisation that delivers pre-loved books to regional schools across the state. Ross and Bill shared many eye-opening, yet wonderful stories from their travels, and the tireless efforts of volunteers who receive, process, clean and pack books for Ross and Bill to deliver. Last year, they delivered books to 28 towns, including 48 schools, preschools and child care centres, and four libraries. They plan four to five trips again this year. Read a report in the Newcastle Herald here. Our generous sub-branch members donated many boxes of books on the night for their upcoming road trip.

Photo: Ross Lane and Bill Iceton

Photo: Kirrili's car full of donations from our sub-branch

We are excited to have the opportunity to represent the CBCA NSW Branch and our local sub- branch at the MANTLE conference on 12th May. The MANTLE Conference is an annual event for Teacher Librarians in Newcastle and the Hunter, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast regions. This year’s Keynote Speaker was Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs. Our president, Kirrili Lonergan, and local members, Lynn Jenkins and Liz Anelli presented amazing workshops during the day.


Photo: Katrina McKelvey (VP), Liz Anelli, Lillian Webb (secretary), Jess Black


Photo: Leigh Hobbs, Kirrili Lonergan (Pres), Gus Gordon, Lynn Jenkins, Liz Anelli

Recent book launches:

(congratulations to these local members)

Little Paws series written by Jess Black

Dancing Charli by Ant Wood

The Loyalty of Chickens (poetry) by Jenny Blackford

Me and You by Deb Kelly

Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? by Renee Price

More Congratulations:

Congratulations also to our clever local members, Liz Anelli and Jess Black for recently being shortlisted for various awards. Newcastle is certainly bursting with talent!

And one more announcement - yes, one more: our local independent bookseller, MacLeans Booksellers, Hamilton won Regional Bookstore of the Year at the recent Australian Independent Bookseller awards. Congratulations to Amanda, Max and their team of staff!

If there are any CBCA NSW members who would like to join us, please email our president, Kirrili Lonergan ( for more details.

Happy reading and writing!

Renee Price – Publicity Officer