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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.


Our Christmas Party is on Wednesday, 29th November at Peg's Cafe, Whitebridge from 6:00pm.

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
NEWCASTLE SUB-BRANCH Report, October 2017

On Friday August 18, we were excited to celebrate the winners of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Extra-special congratulations go to our amazing, Leila Rudge. Gary (Walker Books) was awarded an Early Childhood Honour Book! Congratulations to Liz Anelli, and One Photo (Penguin Random House), for being shortlisted in the Picture Book category. 


Sub-branch members enjoyed a busy Book Week this year, escaping to everywhere to share their writing and illustrating work with school students. For many of us, this is our favourite time of the year, when we are able to visit multiple schools, engage in workshops, presentations, and help foster a love of reading, writing and creating, across stages. The kids adore the experience! We would like to thank those schools who involved our members in their Book Week celebrations this year. Your support is amazing!

Our fifth sub-branch meeting was held on Wednesday August 30, including an intimate, special event, where Paul Russell launched his new picture book Grandma Forgets. Paul shared his endearing book with us, and the inspiration and reasons for writing the story. Other local authors and illustrators were then invited to share their work, and a little about themselves, to the group. This was a great way to engage with each other, particularly for our lovely new members, and spark insightful conversation about all things children’s books.  

On Thursday September 14, we hosted our third, annual Lunch With The Stars event, and what a day it was! Over 100 children from 13 local schools attended, and enjoyed engaging with the stars throughout the day. Students decorated their tables with stars’ books, props, images, and had the opportunity to ask their star about their creative process, inspirations, favourite books and more!

 We were delighted to welcome Oliver Phommavanh to our event, and his key note speech was inspiring, enthralling and utterly hilarious! He added such a wonderful energy to the room. Our resident illustrators, Kirrili Lonergan, Liz Anelli, Lillian Webb and Gwynne Jones, led us all through a motivating and fun-filled illustration activity, and everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch together.

Thanks to the wonderful team for organising the event – Kirrili (chief coordinator), Jodie, Ruth, Julie, Gwynne, Amanda, Lillian and Katrina (emcee). Thanks also, to our local independent booksellers, MacLean’s (Amanda Shirley), for setting up a lovely display of our books.

We have been busy circulating the Jackie French Travelling Suitcase around all our CBCA schools this year, and it is currently being shared with the children at St Therese’s Catholic Primary School New Lambton. It has been a great resource! Any photos available?

On Friday October 27, Newcastle Region Library held a fabulous street party to celebrate their reopening, following major renovations throughout the year. The evening also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Cultural Centre. To help spread the word about all the good work the CBCA does, our Sub-branch featured a stand at the event, where we also showcased some of our members’ books, we had book readings and some drawing activities for children who attended the event. This was great fun! We have hopefully recruited some new members as well! 


On Wednesday November 29, we will be gathering at Peg’s Café Whitebridge to celebrate Christmas and wrap up another wonderful year. We will be delighted to a banquet meal, trivia by Jess Black, and spoilt with entertainment by the talented Aaron Hipwell and Renee Price.

Recent & Upcoming book launches/releases: (congratulations to these local members)

Grandma Forgets – Paul Russell

Ruby Wishfingers: King of the Castle and Funny Money - Deb Kelly

Ten Pound Pom – Liz Anelli (Carole Wilkinson)

Grace and Katie – Susanne Merritt & Liz Anelli

Perfect Petunias – Lynn Jenkins & Kirrili Lonergan

Bold Australian Girl – Jess Black & Fern Martins


We await the winners of this year’s Speech Pathology Australia: Book of the Year Awards, and wish local members, Deb Kelly (Me and You - illus.Karen Blair) and Liz Anelli (Desert Lake - author Pamela Freeman) all the best for their shortlisted books.Winning books announced November 2.

Liz Anelli & Pamela Freeman’s, Desert Lake was shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards and Environment Award for Children’s Literature. Well done, ladies! 

Liz Anelli has also been nominated for the Australian Society of Authors board of directors. Congratulations, and good luck, Liz!

Renee Price’s picture book, Digby and the Yodelayhee Who? (illus. Anil Tortop) has been added to the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Booklist (K-2).

We are in the process of planning our calendar of local events for 2018. It looks like it will be another bumper year in and around Newcastle. 

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