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Northern Sydney Sub-branch

northern sydney bannerCommittee for 2018

President: Marian McGuinness

Vice President: Wendy Fitzgerald

Secretary: Tonya Alexandra Ward

Minutes Secretary: Jean Saxby 

Treasurer: Louise Park

Lunch with the Stars Coordinator: Belinda Murrell

Other Valuable Committee Members: Lindy Batchelor, Belinda Murrell, Kirsty O’Rourke, Wendy Blaxland, Fran Jones, Jan Latta, Oliver Phommavanh, Jules Van Mil, Debra Tidball and Kristin Prescott.


Our Authors and Illustrators

We are lucky enough to count many distinguished authors and illustrators among our members. Visit their websites below to find out more, or come along to one of our meetings to speak to them in person!

Tonya Alexandra        

Kate Forsyth   

Felicity Pulman 

Lindy Batchelor

Yvonne Low

Jean Saxby

Wendy Blaxland

Marian McGuinness

Jan Latta

Kristin Prescott

Belinda Murrell

Debra Tidball

Wendy Fitzgerald

Oliver Phommavanh

 Louise Park

Meetings and Upcoming Events

Anyone who would like to come along to our events and activities will always be made very welcome by our happy group of children’s book enthusiasts.

For further information please email our Secretary, Tonya Alexandra Ward at 

Thursday 1st March 2018

Join us as we kick off the year hearing about the business end of children's books with Paul MacDonald from The Children's Bookshop, Beecroft NSW

Paul MacDonald poster


Travelling Suitcase Project

The CBCA Northern Sydney Sub-branch committee have been working on a fantastic resource for schools to borrow - called The Travelling Suitcase project. 

We have four (4) suitcases which are now circulating schools. They have been collated by: intrepid adventurer and photographer Jan Latta and best-selling authors  Belinda Murrell, Kate Forsyth and Louise Park (AKA H.I.Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose). To book a suitcase for your school for up to FOUR weeks, contact Contents and further borrowing details here.

However, it must be noted that The Travelling Suitcase Project was not our sub branch’s original idea. It was actually the very clever Jenny Stubbs, Book Links and the Children’s Literature Centre in Queensland who initiated The Travelling Suitcase Project back in 2006. Read more about this interesting story here.

Past Events

Christmas Party with Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood - November 2017

We had such a fun night! Here are a few snaps...2017 Christmas Party Northern Sydney cbca

Publishing Panel - October 2017

Publishing Panel 2017

Lunch with the Stars - September 2017

LWTS at Manly was amazing as always. A room full of authors, illustrators, teachers and students were enthralled by the multi-talented Gus Gordon. And this year we got to share it with the whole world - the Premier's Reading Challenge filmed it and streamed it live with around 100 schools around NSW watching. How fabulous to share our event with thousands of school children! You can see the edited version here.

Here are a few snap shots:-

The authors and illustrators:

Lunch with the stars, Many

 Gus Gordon talking about his early drawings:


Looks like Oliver Phommavanh forgot his breakfast!

Lunch with the stars Manly  

Here's one of the tables - all decorated and kids dressed up:

Lunch with the stars Manly

We had an evening in July hearing about the Premier's Reading Challenge and Yvette's writing:

Some photos of the night:


 Yvette Poshoglian

Book Babies - Members showing off their new books:

Book Babies 2017 July

 Authors in the Hills

On the 6th of June ten of our authors and illustrators gave talks and mini workshps to the children of Terry Hills Public School for their Authors in the Hills day. It was a wonderful experience for all. Here are a few photos of the day: 

Authors in the hills

Debra Tidball Authors in the Hills

Aura Parker drawing Heidi from TwigLesley Gibbes


Shelly Unwin

We had an evening with Allison Tait:

Some photos from the night:

Allison Tait talking about Author Platform at St Kevin's school


The crowd at the meeting

Travelling Suitcase presentations - Kate Forsyth and Louise Park:

Kate Forsyth and her travelling suitcase


Louise Park with her suitcase

We had a wonderful excursion to Nutcote in April 2017:


We farewelled our president Wendy Fitzgerald, treasurer Kirsty O'Rourke and committee member Alice Jones at our first AGM for 2017.


Our committee members met at the home of outgoing president Wendy Fitzgerald to plan our sub-branch's activities for 2017.


Our Vice President Lindy Batchelor took us on an enlightening tour through the NSW Art Gallery. Lindy was an inspiring guide, demonstrating the tour she gives to school children to teach them about storytelling through art.


Shelley Unwin and JC Burke were our enlightening guests speakers at our October 2015 Meeting, held at St Kevin's Primary School in Dee Why.

shelly and jc

Members of our Sub-Branch judged the 2015 Warringah Library Young Writers’ competition as an opportunity to support and encourage local authors in the making. Our judges attended the presentation night along with the mayor, pictured below.


The 2015 Big Book Day Out was a great success and we throroughly enjoyed taking part with our own stall, giving out goody bags to eager book-loving children. 

CBCA NSW Judge Cathie Tasker provided an enlightening talk on the 2015 Short List, the judging process and what makes a good books for kids and YA. Held as part of Gordon Library Literature week.

Our authors Belinda Murrell, Kate Forythe and Jan Latta enthralled the kids at Gordon Library with stories of magical, mysterious and brave adventures as part of their Winter Warmers series of events.

Author Afternoon Tea

Our 2014 end of year celebration featured author and illustrator Peter Carnavas who entertained us not only with his words, but through pictures and song as well. We also celebrated the release of our member Wendy Blaxland's picture book, The Christmas Rose. Friend of the committee and owner of Beecroft Children's Bookshop Paul Macdonald shared his picks for summer holiday reading.

Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas

Wendy Blaxland

We were thrilled to welcome our very special guest speakers, 2013 Children’s Laureate Alison Lester, and award-winning illustrator Sarah Davis at our end of year celebration for 2013.

alison lester

alison with committee members

Photos courtesy of Jean Saxby

Members got together for a fun catch-up dinner with past president, Lindy Batchelor at Harbord Diggers Club.

dinner with Lindy

Our 2013 Committee Planning Meeting at the home of our outgoing secretary, Antonette Diorio.

meeting at Antonette's

Our fabulous authors and illustrators at the 2013 Lunch with the Stars at St Patrick's, Manly. Guest author Gabrielle Lord and guest illustrator Serena Geddes regaled an audience of children's authors, teachers, students and librarians at this gala event.

lunch w stars 13