Bookings for conferences and talks

During 2015 much of my year will be taken up with laureate activities. Invitations to these should be sent to:
Australian Children’s Literature Alliance | PO Box 5083, Brunswick North, VIC 3056

Current Schedule

17 March ASA Talk to Federal Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet
26 March-5 April
International Laureate Summit, Bologna; representing the Australian Publisher’s Association at the International Book fair, Bologna
20 April Primary History Teacher’s Conference Sydney
21 April talks at  Australian Jewish Museum Sydney
30April 1 May Teachers Conference Sydney
7 May Talk to national Indexers Conference Canberra
11 May National Hairy Nosed Day (wear Whiskers for Wildlife)
20 May NSW State Library Letters to Anzacs: writers read the letters they have composed in reply to those from the battlefields in World War 1
24-25 May Australian History and Geography Teacher’s Conference Melbourne
26-28 May regional laureate talks Mt Gambier SA
20 June Childcare Workers Conference Perth
22- 28 June Perth, Albany, Busselton. Esperance regional laureate talks
10-12 July events arranged by HarperCollins, Sydney; launch of Ophelia Queen of Denmark
13 July History Teachers Conference Sydney
25 June- 1 July  Perth, laureate events Calgoorlie Koolgardie
5-9 August Byran Bay Writers festival and Scools Days
15-16 August Dymock’s Conference Gold Coast
11-12 September ASA conference  Sydney
18-19 September SPELD conference Brisbane
13-16 October laureate Everyone Can Read tour MONA Tasmania
16 November State Awards presentation

Please check the schedule in the latest newsletter on this website, or on the Australian Children's Laureate Website
The Laureate Office can be contacted:
Australian Children’s Literature Alliance | PO Box 5083, Brunswick North, VIC 3056
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Monthly Laureate Chats

I’ll be chatting to anyone who emails once a month through 2015. Check the newsletter and laureate web site for details. At this stage it is likely to be the first Friday of every month.
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Group Email Chats and Videos

Free to any school or group using or discussing my books provided I have the time available. Video conferencing may be possible, but would need to be arranged through HarperCollins (contact Jacqui Barton – see below)
Electroboard chats are also possible, but electroboard charges a fee for these. (I don’t).
It is also possible to download videos of talks about various books or workshop ideas. Contact Jacqui Barton, Education Manager, HarperCollins,


Contact: Amanda Diaz
Phone 02 99525000
Australian Children’s Literature Alliance | PO Box 5083, Brunswick North, VIC 3056
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I charge a fee for any talk where others are being paid, as well as costs. However, if it’s a cause involving kids in need, wombats, or anything that helps keep the planet in a good state for kids and wombats, I usually don’t ask a fee, and will cover some or all of the costs.

Costs include: kilometerage to the nearest airport (this is Canberra, 220 kilometres round trip from Araluen); the flight, and transport costs at the other end; hotel bills including meals.

Flights: as the nearest, often fog bound, airport is two hours drive away, very early flights and ones that arrive in Canberra very late usually don’t work, unless accommodation in Canberra is provided for the night.

Fees: I charge $1500.00 a day plus GST OR whatever your school or group can afford, plus costs.
 Charges for talks to businesses or commercial groups are $3000.00 a day.  All charges are negotiable, depending on the cause and topic and whether I’m available at the requested time.


- a hand held microphone (one with a cord is fine). I don’t have much voice these days, so a microphone is needed even for small groups. If it doesn’t work, then, sadly, I simply physically won’t be able to speak to the group. Lapel mikes don’t work for my style of public speaking – I move around too much.

- Business class travel for flights over three hours (apologies, but I travel so much that I need to be able to doze or work on flights. Otherwise I need a day before speaking to recover from the flight)

- Pick up at the airport and delivery back again, either by a volunteer or car and driver, especially if it has been a long day’s travel (it usually is)

- if it’s a school visit, a driver to pick me up from accommodation and take me to the school. Am happy to get a taxi back, but it can be difficult to find a school, or the main entrance and office, especially in morning peak hour

- no buses, especially small buses to and from airports. Many apologies, but I get very, very bus sick and remain so for several days.  Be wary of any service that offers pick up and delivery to airports without specifying how the pick up will be made- it may be a small bus that will go from hotel to hotel and house to house and can take three winding hours through suburbs for half hour journey.
         Trains, planes, camels and friendly horses are fine. Where possible, I like to walk.

- If possible, I try to talk to groups of 200 or more, to maximize the number of people I can talk to.

nb: Book sales need to be arranged if it is an event that the publishers are subsidising

Contact details for speaking invitations and internet/email chats
Enquiries should be sent to Jo Mills at
PO Box 63 Braidwood 2622 Australia
Please address all enquiries: attention Jo Mills.
Enquiries are only checked every fortnight, so may not be answered till then.

All other enquiries, mail and email should be directed to the Laureate Office
Australian Children’s Literature Alliance | PO Box 5083, Brunswick North, VIC 3056
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Harper Collins, Harper Collins Publishers, PO Box A565 Sydney South 1235

Urgent enquiries
Contact HarperCollins publishers during business hours:
02 99525000

Questions for School Projects
Hopefully all the questions are answered on the special section on the web site.
If there’s another question you really need an answer to, send it to Jackie French care of HarperCollins Publishers, PO Box A565 Sydney South 1235
It may take a couple of weeks for me to receive the letter, and another few weeks at least before it can be answered.

Help with Stories and Unpublished Manuscripts
I’m sorry: if you need an idea for your story you badly need to think of it yourself. Help from me would mean that you don’t develop the brain ‘muscles’ that will make you a better writer.

I can’t help edit your story either, partly because I am a writer, not an editor, but also because there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit it in.

Nor can I help get your book published. Again, I’m a writer, not an editor, and have neither the talent nor expertise to judge ho successful a book might be. No book I have ever recommended to a publisher has ever been accepted. I don’t even know the process these days to get your manuscript assessed or read by a publishing house. Many publishing houses like Harper Collins have a place on their web site where you can submit manuscripts, but I have never used them, nor know how it’ done. Try publisher web sites, and also your local Writer’ Centre, who will have lists of what publishers are looking for various genres, and can also recommend workshops of editing, re writing and publishing.


Tips for Author Visits to Schools (Not just me)

  • Give good directions to get to the school, and explain where the office is... the main gate and office can be hard to find, as many schools front two or more streets.
  • Arrange a parking place if they have car....they won't know where to park if the car park is full and if the schedule is tight finding a car park can take half an hour or more, and a gallop back to the school.
  • Show them where the loo is.
  • Don’t ask too many questions at lunch time so they have 'time off' from talking.
  • If there will be special needs kids in the group explain who they are and what possible problems there may be beforehand.
  • Don’t leap up and yell, 'You there Jason Smith I'm watching you!!!' at the most dramatic moment of the author's talk (teachers' interrupting is more of a problem than kids talking).
  • If the author is having problems keeping the kids in line they'll say something...even if it's just 'help!'.
  • Don’t threaten retribution before the talk if the kids misbehave...if they muck up then the talk was boring, so threatening them insults both kids and author.
  • If the kids want signatures, or to ask questions later, ask them to get into a line, with a table between them and the author... hundreds of kids crowding round can literally get suffocating. You get so giddy you can't keep going. It can also be quite frightening, especially as if there are lots of kids, they can't all hear you if you ask them to keep back.
  • Even if you don't need a microphone when you talk in the hall, the author probably will - giving an intensive talk for an hour is very different from giving a lesson in a classroom or speaking for only 10 minutes in a hall.