CKT’s A year in review – 2018


Each December, we give you a snapshot of ‘the year that was’. It’s now been seven years since the crazy Creative Kids Tales journey began. We hope you enjoy the 2018 edition of – A Year in Review.

One thing that has always been at the top of our list – Support the Australian children’s writing community from emerging to established authors and illustrators. We are proud that throughout our journey we have remained dedicated to doing just that. By offering you, our writer and illustrator friends a kaleidoscope of services to educate, inform and cultivate your existing talents. We share in your pain and exhilaration as you make your journey along the publication path.

Creative Kids Tales is proud to be unique. We were and are the first to offer a home to share your creative works, comprehensive publishers listing, online critique group, tips from highly regarded members of the children’s writing community, manuscript assessments, book reviews, tips on getting published, what publishers are looking for and many other tools all under one umbrella.

We continue to support you.

CKT Crew

Sadly, Eileen Magee and Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern decided to take a break from their CKT roles this year. Both deciding it was time to dedicate themselves 100% to their writing journey. We wish them all the best and can’t wait to see their books on the shelves.

Fiona Lloyd took on the role of CKT Intro Writer. Fiona has the very important job of researching our monthly guests and preparing an introduction that is both informative and fun.

Susan Hili has long been a valued member of CKT and our online critique group. This year Susan stepped into the role of Online Critique Group Co-ordinator. She juggles the needs and personalities of our five online critique groups.

Emma Cameron and I have had lots of fun this year assessing dozens of manuscripts. The rich variety of stories created by emerging authors is encouraging. It’s been our pleasure to help guide these creatives and hopefully not too far away we’ll be able to celebrate their contract success.

My ever-devoted husband, Rod continues to be the glue that keeps it all together. No more does he tremble when I mutter ‘How about we do this’ instead he takes it in his stride and builds on the wonderful resource we have built together.

I love the people from our writing community. Each day there is someone new to meet and be inspired by their stories.

Meet our team

Another First

In the early days planning Creative Kids Tales I made a list:

  • Assist emerging authors and illustrators on their publication journey.
  • Give them a voice and a place to display their work.
  • Provide one site that contains the tools and services to assist them.
  • Share stories and advice from well-known industry names.
  • Publish a collection of CKT members stories.
  • Hold a Festival.

At the end of 2017, there was only one thing on the list that hadn’t been ticked – Hold a Festival.

In January I surveyed our members and asked them what they would like in a CKT Festival. Would they like a predominantly member focused get together with one guest speaker or would they like a festival with all the bells and whistles? They chose the latter. In nine weeks I pulled it all together! Challenge is my middle name ?

Adopting the theme, Prepare to be Inspired, I invited those from the industry who have and continue to inspire me – Susanne Gervay, Sue Whiting, Tristan Bancks, Wai Chim and Sarah Davis. With some carefully selected topics, I was confident with their wealth of knowledge they would be the perfect fit for the first Creative Kids Tales Writers’ Festival. They were.

On the 17th March 2018, emerging and published children’s authors and illustrators travelled from around the country to the scenic Sutherland Shire, to celebrate the Creative Kids Tales Writers’ Festival.

I wanted to cover a variety of topics that catered to children’s writers no matter where they are on their writing journey:

  • A Beginner’s Roadmap to the Children’s Writing Industry.
  • How to give your manuscript the best chance of a contract.
  • What happens once your manuscript hits a publisher’s desk?
  • What publishers are looking for.
  • The marriage between author and illustrator to produce a successful picture book.
  • Rejection – Why it isn’t a bad thing.
  • How to write a successful series.
  • Writing about what you know.
  • Making a difference with your stories.
  • Marketing yourself and your work.
  • And more.

Susanne Gervay, Sue Whiting, Tristan Bancks, Wai Chim and Sarah Davis wowed our audiences.

With the day almost over, it was time for the CKT Pitch ya Book! session.

Five lucky audience members (Dianne Ellis, Sandra Bennett, Kirsten Ealand, Matthew Shallvey and Victoria Mackinlay had their names drawn from a barrel and gave a 2-minute pitch to judges, Clare Hallifax, Sue Whiting and Susanne Gervay.

The pitches were of high standard, with Victoria’s taking out the top honour. So impressed was Clare Hallifax, she invited Victoria to submit her full manuscript. I’m happy to report that Victoria has now signed a contract with Scholastic. Woo hoo!

The day wrapped up with a panel of CKT members sharing their journey with the audience.

Next year (2019) we are set to do it all again with the help of our presenters – Jackie French, Jacqueline Harvey, Deborah Abela and Emma Quay. We will cover a variety of topics to strengthen your investment and increase your odds for healthy writing returns. There will also be a special presentation from the ASA and a publisher’s panel where you get to ask all those burning questions.

We’ll have book signings, a book launch and goody bags for all attendees.

Creative Kid Tales Network Group

We found the Creative Kids Tales Facebook page a little restrictive. Members were only able to post as visitors and their posts weren’t reaching our wider audience. So, we formed the Creative Kids Tales Network Group. This group offer members a more accessible way to share thoughts, ideas or information that will benefit us all. We encourage you to join the Creative Kids Tales Network Group and start a conversation.

We’ll be moving away from the original Creative Kids Tales Facebook page in preference of this new group. If you’ve not joined yet – what are you waiting for!

Join us on the new page:

People we’ve chatted with in 2018

Over the past six years we have chatted with lots of wonderfully talented authors and illustrators, 2018 was no different:

  • Peter Carnavas – February 2018
  • Claire Saxby – March 2018
  • Tim Harris – April 2018
  • Allison Tait – May 2018
  • John Heffernan – June 2018
  • Heath McKenzie – July 2018
  • Lesley Gibbes – August 2018
  • Nina Rycroft – September 2018
  • Frane Lessac – October 2018
  • Anna Walker – November 2018
  • Margaret Hamilton – December 2018

We’ll be chatting with more authors and illustrators in 2019.

Creative Kids Tales Critique Group

Our Creative Kids Tales Critique Group continues to grow. Now with five independent groups our members are enjoying workshopping their stories with their peers in a supportive online environment.

Elizabeth Macintosh
I joined a CKT critique group this year. Members provide valuable advice and fresh eyes for each other’s stories. Unlike many groups, this one consists solely of writers for children so we are all developing our expertise in one area. This contrasts with my other, real world writers’ group which includes a YA author, children’s author, playwright, screenwriter and others interested in memoir.

Megan Higginson
I love, love, love the Creative Kids Tales Critique Group. Having fresh eyes on my story means others see how I can improve my story. Critiquing others help me to be able to pull a story apart and see what works and what doesn’t, strengths and weaknesses. This also means I can apply the same technique to my own manuscripts. I’ve found my writing has improved dramatically since joining.

Sandra Bennett
Being in a CKT critique group keeps me on my toes. It helps me stay focused and accountable. Knowing it will be my turn to post means I no longer procrastinate. I make the time to write. Each critique improves my work, it’s great having fresh eyes on it that you can trust to help you. I love that, and being able to help others with their stories. This writing gig is all the better when we are not in isolation.

Vanessa Jean
It’s great to put forward your story ideas into a group that is also refining their own skills. Everyone is positive yet so helpful in critiquing those manuscripts that need extra tweaking!

Michelle Wanasundera
Joining CKT critique group was one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding my writing. When reading your own work over and over it is very easy to miss things that can be clear to others. So of course having a critique group is invaluable. I’ve polished some early stage stories simply because it’s my turn to post! The support and encouraging comments spur me on too, and the comments that require work give me some much needed direction. Critiquing others work helps keep me in a writing frame of mind, and I love reading the other critiques and have learnt so much this way. It’s also a great feeling to help others, and feel connected in this way.

Debra Williams
I have benefitted greatly from the comments of others through this critique group. Suggestions for editing have been taken on board and used. It’s always critical to have feedback.

If you have been considering joining an online critique group, why not try the Creative Kids Tales Critique Group.

For more information about this group contact

Creative Kids Tales Story Collection

One of our biggest achievements last year was the publication of the first Creative Kids Tales Story Collection. 40 of our authors and illustrators created an amazing collection of stories.

The aim of the project was to give our emerging authors the full experience of being published; beginning with submitting a story, going through the editing process, story layout, printing and then sales and marketing.

We printed 1000 copies and we sold out within two weeks!

See what all the interest was about:

Guess what? We have another one coming out in 2019. Stay tuned for more information about the Creative Kids Tales Story Collection Volume 2.

CKT’s Competitions in 2018

We ran one competition this year; Felines, Farts or Frightening Places. We do love themes at Creative Kids Tales.

Felines, Farts or Frightening Places

Felines, Farts or Frightening Places

Sponsored by Faber Writing Academy

Faber Writing Academy

Congratulations to all who entered our Felines, Farts or Frightening Places competition.

The AMAZING amount of entries we received for this year’s feedback competition have blitzed all previous year’s numbers. The judges had the challenging task of picking the top three. Keep reading to see who took out the top honours.

I want to say a BIG thank you to Faber Writing Academy for again sponsoring this competition. I encourage you to peruse their course list and set yourself a goal to devour one. You won’t be disappointed.

Faber Writing Academy at Allen & Unwin is an exciting writing programme offering a range of courses from one-day workshops to longer courses devised by the foremost practitioners in their fields.

Since launching its first course at Shakespeare & Co bookshop in Paris in 2008, Faber Academy has tutored more than 1500 students in courses ranging from one-day workshops such as Getting Published to longer courses including our popular program Writing a Novel.

Faber Academy was established by iconic London publishing house Faber and Faber to provide high quality, practical creative writing courses that draw participants into the epicentre of the book publishing world. The writing courses are devised and run by leading figures in contemporary publishing. To date, Faber Academy has given the opportunity for writers to benefit first-hand from authors such as Jeanette Winterson, Louise Doughty, Blake Morrison, Helen Dunmore, Margaret Atwood, Miriam Toews, Kathryn Heyman, James Bradley, Patti Miller, Sebastian Barry and Hanif Kureishi.

In 2010, Faber Academy found a natural home with Australia’s award-winning publisher Allen & Unwin, and courses are offered in Sydney and Melbourne.


1st Prize – Received a $295 Faber Writing Academy voucher to be redeemed at one of their writing courses in either Sydney or Melbourne – valid for 12 months from 1st August 2018*.

($295 covers the cost of a 1 day course (incl GST) or you can use it towards the cost of a longer Faber Academy course)

2nd Prize – Received a detailed critique of their entry through the Creative Kids Tales Manuscript Assessment service. Value $100

3rd Prize – Received a $50 book pack and one year membership with Creative Kids Tales.

The Winners were:

1st Place – Lana Spasevski – A Monster Lunch.

2nd Place – Elizabeth Macintosh – Kate and the Circus

3rd Place – Sharon Boyce – Heartstone

Creative Kids Tales YouTube Channel

Still one of our most popular features, the Creative Kids Tales YouTube Channel has 32 interviews, including interviews from my time on The Author’s Shelf.

Each interview has been matched with a slideshow of photos and book covers of the corresponding author/illustrator. The great thing about having an audio file is you can listen to our interviews anywhere like on the bus, the train, while gardening or even relaxing in the bath. However, you choose to listen we thank you and hope you find them informative and inspiring.

KOALA Awards

We continue to support our local writing community there is no question of that and for the past two years we have been the major corporate sponsor of the KOALA Awards.

KOALA is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers (teacher/librarians, public librarians, teachers, publishers and other supporters of children’s literature).

Every year, young readers from all over New South Wales judge their very own literary awards. By voting in the KOALA awards they can reward the Australian children’s books that have most inspired, amused, terrified, enlightened and engaged them.

KOALA need more sponsors. If you are interested drop me an email ().

See you next year!

In 2019 we head into our eighth year. Gulp! We hope you will join us.

From Emma (MS Assessor & APT Coach), Fiona (CKT Intro Writer), Susan (CKT Critique Captain), Rod (website guru) and myself (Georgie) we thank you for your support and allowing us to share in your journey.

Take care and happy writing!

Goodbye Smiley

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