New South Wales

Russell Blackford

Photo of author and literary critic Russell BlackfordPreferred audience: upper secondary to adults

Russell Blackford is a philosopher, literary critic and novelist based in Newcastle. He is a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Evolution and Technology.

Russell is the author of many books, articles, and short stories. His most recent book is The Issue of Moral Authority, published by Palgrave Pivot.

Russell’s special topics include freedom of speech, current debates over the ‘New Atheism’, the religion/science debate, human enhancement and transhumanism, and the history and current state of the science fiction genre. He has written media tie-in novels for the Terminator franchise, and can talk about the craft of writing science fiction and fantasy. He can also lead workshops on creative writing, especially in the science fiction field. 

Jenny Blackford

Photo of author Jenny BlackfordPreferred audience: older primary or secondary

Jenny Blackford’s YA-crossover novel set in ancient Delphi and Athens, The Priestess and the Slave, was described by bestseller Alison Goodman as ‘a compelling blend of vivid storytelling and meticulous research’.

Her poems, fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies for people of all ages.

Jenny can talk about what it was like to be a slave girl in 5th century BCE Greece, or a Bronze Age princess in the Homeric world; how the Pythia of Apollo prophesied at Delphi, or how ancient magic worked; and ancient food, clothes and more.

She can also conduct writing workshops for people aged 9 to 90.

She lives in Newcastle, NSW.

Laurine Croasdale

Photo of author Laurine CroasdalePreferred audience: year 3 to year 12

Laurine Croasdale has published over 15 fiction and non-fiction titles and written TV scripts for Hi5.

Her popular books, Surf School and Surf Sisters, celebrate the strong bonds of friendship between four girls with the ever-popular surf culture as a backdrop. Her most recent release, iHarry (Aussie Chomps), is a humorous take on our obsession with mobile phones.

Laurine presents at writing festivals, and holds author talks and workshops for students in year 3 through to year 12. With a focus on fun and interactivity, Laurine covers the basics of creative writing. Her popular workshops include: 'Superheroes and villains', 'The story game', and 'From idea to story'. 

Workshops can be delivered onsite or via video conference.

Jan Latta

Photo of author and wildlife photographer Jan LattaPreferred audience: primary students

Jan came face-to-face with a mountain gorilla in Rwanda and the experience changed her life. When she realised there were fewer than 600 mountain gorillas left in the world, she wanted to do something to help, so decided to publish books for children on endangered animals to help their survival. 

To create the 14 True to Life Books, Jan travelled to China, Borneo, India, Sri Lanka, Uganda and 10 times to Africa. She follows wild animals, taking photographs and writing about their survival. She is the ‘voice’ of the endangered animals to tell their true to life story.

12 exciting educational videos add fun to her inspirational presentations and creative workshops. Jan is a popular speaker at schools and festivals for both adults and children in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and throughout Australia. She is a proud Role Model for Books in Homes.

Christopher Cheng

Photo of author Christopher ChengPreferred audience: kindergarten through to year 10 and adults

Christopher has been writing children’s picture books, fiction and non-fiction for over 25 years. His titles include New Gold Mountain (My Australian Story), 30 Amazing Australian Animals, and the picture books Sounds Spooky (Aurealis award winner), Python (shortlisted CBCA awards) and his latest title New Year Surprise!A primary teacher by profession (including 8 years at Taronga Zoo developing the first Australian Zoomobile), Chris tailors presentations to his audience’s needs and they are informative and fun! He is a highly experienced and popular presenter, regularly appearing schools, libraries, and at festivals in Australia and internationally. For four years Chris was ambassador for the Federal Government’s National Literacy Week initiative.Chris talks about his writing journey, conducts writing workshops and shares his love of books.He also talks with adults about the importance of books.

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