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.

Workshops and Talks

I give workshops and talks on a range of topics. See below.

If you would like me to give a workshop in your area, either contact me at:
PO Box 63 Braidwood, 2622, or via Lateral Learning,

I'm afraid I can't do as much travelling as I used to though, for health reasons, usually no more than two hours driving or eight hours travel in one day, and I can't speak to any group without a microphone or I run out of puff! Sorry about that! See more information here.

Internet and Email Chats

But instead I can do internet chats, either in a chat room or just using email with a teacher/librarian moderating. If you'd like to do this formally contact Lateral Learning. But if your class, school, reading club or gardening group would like an informal chat, write to me at the above address or leave a message on the guest book, and I'll get back to you. There is no charge for isolated schools, distance education, or any group that just doesn't have the funds. Allow six weeks though, as the guest book entries are only checked once a month.

I charge a fee for talks, but if the fee quoted is too high please say so- it can either be reduced or I'll do the talk for nothing if the project is a not for profit one, and no one is being paid, or if the school doesn't have funds. (But on the other hand writers need to be paid just like a plumber or a teacher or anyone else you ask to do a job for you.)

As well as a fee there may be the agent's fee, plus expenses- either mileage for the car at 55cents a kilometre or a Qantas flight from Canberra, plus accommodation and meals if overnight.

I try not to be away from home for more than three nights at a time though, and only go away once a month, so I do refuse most invitations. The ones I accept are the ones that let me speak to as many people as possible, to make the most of the time away.

The only requirements are a microphone and a glass of water- both REALLY essential as otherwise I lose my voice. If the microphone doesn't work I can't talk!

Possible topics:
. Writing workshops for kids or adults.
. Creating and picture books- and how to get them published
. How to write a novel in between cooking dinner and taking the goldfish to the vet ... and how to get it published (and why you may not want to)
. The Secret World of Wombats
. Rocket your child into reading ... how to help kids love books ... and help kids who may have reading difficulties too
. How to grow absolutely everything except chocolate in your backyard (sorry about the chocolate)
. Cleopatra's favourite deodorant, Queen Victoria's furniture polish and other adventures with herbs
. The Fascinating History of Your lunch
. Historical Fiction and Historical lies ... and what's the difference, plus a few of the best myths about Australian history
. Turning Histories into Stories
. Wombats, Weeds and Widdleberries.... the story of the last 30 years
. How to build your own house and power system, grow your own food, forget about mortgages and still have time to swim in the creek
. The True Tale of Mothball Wombat and Pete the Sheep

plus many others.

Please please please please...if any author visits your school:

. 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.