Masterclass Presenters & Special Guests
We have some amazingly talented presenters, industry leaders and special guests lined up for our 2018 Sunshine Writers Retreat. We just know that you'll love them and learn so much from them.
Read all about them here!
Read all about them here!
Casey Ardron has been writing for over twenty-five years. His first published full-length work – the young-adolescent book, Xavier Wintersbee and the Book of Virtues – was released in 2017.
With a knack for avoiding the road most travelled, Casey completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering after high school then travelled the world finding work in every industry but engineering. Over the past two and half decades, he’s been a Hotel Manager, a Foreign Currency Trader, a Yoga Teacher, a Swimming Coach, a Finance Manager and a Business Consultant – not necessarily in that order.
Even completing a Master of International Business couldn’t keep him on the straight and narrow, he’s now an author.
Casey’s cinemagraphic style pulls the reader into the story side by side with the characters. In this case, you find yourself alongside Xavier Wintersbee and his friends on an action-packed adventure through the forbidden reaches of Cortoza.
The first book in a four-part series, Xavier Wintersbee carries a message of Patience – it’s what the Shahili call the first virtue.
Zimbabwean born T.M. Clark combines her passion for storytelling, different cultures and wildlife with her love for the wilder places of the world in her multicultural books.
Writing for both adults and children, T.M. Clark lives in Queensland, Australia, with her family.
When not plotting to kill people (including her fans – by request) and hiding their bodies (all in the name of literature) you can find her collecting pre-loved books for the PNG Libraries project, or organising the CYA Conference as she helps others on their journey towards publication.
Aleesah Darlison is an award-winning Australian children’s author who writes picture books, chapter books and novels. Her much-loved stories promote courage, understanding, anti-bullying, self-belief, friendship, teamwork and environmental themes. In 2015, she won the Environment Award for Children’s Literature (Non-Fiction) for her picture book, Our Class Tiger.
Aleesah has published over thirty books including Stripes in the Forest: The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine, Awesome Animal Stories for Kids, the Netball Gems Series, the Unicorn Riders Series, the Totally Twins Series, Ash Rover: Keeper of the Phoenix, Little Good Wolf, Puggle’s Problem and Mama and Hug.
Diane Evans is the Publishing Director for Big Sky Publishing.
Diane manages manuscript submissions and selection of new titles as well as editorial management and production planning across all Big Sky’s titles.
Diane has a strong business background and experience across the entire publishing process. She works closely with authors, editors and key members of the sales and production team to ensure that each book is a collaborative effort that produces an outstanding product – print and digital.
Diane has a Bachelor of Business, MBA and Diploma in Creative Writing.
Dave 'Cartoon Dave' Hackett is an outrageously handsome author, cartoonist and regular on kids TV. He has taught cartooning to over 150,000 children in schools, libraries, literature festivals and in newspapers and magazines across the country.
Spanning three decades, Dave has been cartooning on TV shows airing all over the world, and can currently be seen scribbling each week on Channel Eleven’s Toasted TV .
He is the author of seven how-to cartooning books, 2 picture books and six novels, including the hilarious series ‘UFO – Unavoidable Family Outing’. His first Young Adult novel ‘The Summer of Kicks’ was released in August 2014.
Rebecca Johnson is an author, part-time primary school science teacher and mother of two. She believes her love of telling stories actually began right back in high school, inspired by hearing, then repeating, a good joke. She went on to become a teacher and has now written over 100 books, both fiction and non-fiction, but all grounded in science.
Rebecca regularly visits schools in around Australia, presenting writing workshops to inspire children of all ages to read and write.
Her past experience as a wildlife carer has given her an extra insight into the behaviour of our native animals, giving her fiction stories a taste of realism.
Rebecca won 2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Teaching Science, The Whitley Award for Best Educational Series and twice won Wilderness Society Award for Children’s fiction.
Margaret Kennedy established her boutique agency in Brisbane in 1996 after a long career as an editor of literary fiction and non-fiction.
Her interest is in all writing that fits its purpose, writing on topics that matter, writing that brings joy through its beauty, writing that stops the clock. General and literary fiction and non-fiction and writing for children are her main areas of representation.
Among MKA’s clients, many of whom are award winners or leaders in their field, are Matt Ottley, Robert Macklin, Hugh Lunn, Dr Patricia Clarke, the estate of Judith Wright, Danny Parker, Sandra Okalyi, Dr Donald Grant, Fr Patrick Richards, Dr Sharad Paul, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, Alan Murray, and Kylie Kaden.
Rochelle Manners is the Director of publishing house Wombat Books, which also runs the young adult imprint, Rhiza Press. Separately, Rochelle co-manages Novella Distribution.
Rochelle's passion for encouraging emerging Australian authors led to her establishing her publishing imprints. She loves planning new work and new enterprises.
She has also been an author, publisher and teacher and also works with Book Whispers, a consultant for authors interested in independent publishing.
When not spending her time producing books she is coming up with new business ideas or spending time with her family.
Allison Paterson grew up on a farm with lots of sheep, dogs and chooks. She became a teacher and now she is an author.
Her first book for children was the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front. Then came Granny’s Place, a picture book inspired by her grandparents and their farm. Allison’s latest picture book is Shearing Time.
The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust recently awarded Allison a 2017 Creative Time Fellowship, which consisted of four weeks of writing time in Canberra. Allison loves writing, reading, swimming and walking on the beach.