It’s our 25th festival this year! It was back in 1996 when two teachers from Immanuel Lutheran College decided to bring authors and illustrators to the Sunshine Coast for one day of talks and workshops, initially involving 23 schools. Now, in 2020, the festival is held over four days, attracts 4,500 school students, offers over 115 talks and workshops by 28 presenters and is attended by 70 schools from a 200km radius. It should suffice to say that the festival has been an overwhelming success over the last 25 years.
In 1996, a partnership was formed with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in its first year of operation, which is still strong today. As the University has grown, so too has the festival, which takes over the University for two student days. Students from across the Sunshine Coast have also become more familiar with the University due to their visits during the Voices festival.
The festival has created a wonderful legacy for children and young people across the Sunshine Coast and has encouraged reluctant readers to pick up a book from a visiting author. It has fostered that love of literature across many years for individuals, and has produced a number of published authors in their own right. Best-selling children’s author, Jessica Townsend, who has reached world-wide acclaim with her Nevermore series, decided to become a writer after meeting John Marsden at a Voices festival. How lucky for us she did!
In 2020, two authors from that very first festival are again joining the line-up. Renowned poet Steven Herrick and awarding-winning author Gary Crew will be entertaining and educating students once again.
To celebrate our 25th festival, and the new time of year, we are holding an outdoors launch at Immanuel Lutheran College, where authors, illustrators, poets and members of the public will all mix and mingle. There will be great opportunities to get up close and personal with a favourite author.
When: 19–22 February 2020
Where: University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Immanuel Lutheran College (ILC)
Presented by: Immanuel Lutheran College & USC
Further information can be found at www.voicesonthecoast.com.au or phone 54773437
By Kelly Dunham
Event Organiser, Immanuel Lutheran College
Wai Chim is the author of The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling. A first generation Chinese American from New York City, she grew up speaking Cantonese and absorbing Western culture through books, TV and school. Wai spent some time living in Japan before making Sydney her permanent home. Her previous books include the Chook Chook series and Shaozhen, part of the Through My Eyes: Natural Disaster Zone series. Freedom Swimmer was her debut novel for young adults and was shortlisted for the inaugural Readings Young Adult Book Prize. In addition to writing, Wai works as a digital producer/web developer for The Starlight Children’s Foundation.
In 2006, Brian was scuba diving off of a small island near the coast of Phuket when his dive buddy pointed at an underwater rock formation that Brian was passing by. Brian turned to see a huge moray eel with a head the size of a football staring back at him.
Brian started to slowly back away but instead of attacking, the eel turned and wound its way into a crevice. That incident is not yet in one of Brian’s books, but one day it might well be. A lot of Brian’s real-life adventures end up in his books (in fictional disguise of course!). Whether it is an attack by a vicious swarm of wasps, being bullied at school, or skimming the surface of the ocean in a tiny seaplane, Brian loves to use real-life incidents as the basis for stories in his books.
Even at school, Brian knew that he wanted to be a writer. It took him 30 years to realise that dream with his first junior novel published in 2003.
Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was 16. After university, he worked for 10 years as a screenwriter. Then he had a wonderful experience – he wrote a novel for young people. Now, after 40 books, he’s one of Australia’s most popular authors. He was appointed the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2018–2019.
Tim Harris is the bestselling author of several laugh-out-loud series for kids including Toffle Towers, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables and Exploding Endings. His first ever book, Exploding Endings: Painted Dogs & Doom Cakes, was awarded Honour Book at the 2017 KOALAs. Tim’s second series, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables, contains his trademark quirkiness, mixed with a touch of poignancy. The lead book was awarded a CBCA Notable in 2018 and the series was shortlisted for the REAL Awards in 2018 and 2019. His books have been published in Australia, the United States, Poland and Turkey.
A primary school teacher for 15 years, and advocate for creativity and short stories, Tim’s presentations and workshops are dynamic and entertaining. He is a sought-after presenter, having worked in more than 100 schools throughout 2016 and 2017.
Jacqueline Harvey is the author of the popular Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series, which have sold over one million copies in Australia. Jacqueline speaks to thousands of young people at schools and festivals around the world and says the characters in her books reflect the best of children and those she’s met over the years. While she is not a twin, like Kensy and Max, she does have excellent powers of observation and has always thought she’d make a great spy.
Jacqueline lives in Sydney and is currently working on more Kensy and Max and Alice-Miranda adventures.
Steven Herrick is the author of 24 books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the NSW Premier's Literary Awards and have been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year on nine occasions. He is widely recognised as the pioneer of the verse-novel for children and young adults. His verse-novel 'By the river' won both the German Catholic Book of the Year and the German Youth Literature Prize in 2019.
George Ivanoff is a Melbourne author who has written more than 100 books for kids and teens, including the interactive You Choose books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the Gamers trilogy, as well as a ton of school readers and educational books. His latest book, The Australia Survival Guide, takes a humorous look at how dangerous Australia can be and what kids can do to survive. George drinks too much coffee, eats too much chocolate and watches too much Doctor Who. He has one wife, two children and an uncontrollable imagination.
Jan Latta is an author and wildlife photographer of 17 True to Life books. She has photographed leopards in Sri Lanka, pandas in China, chimpanzees in Uganda, tigers in India, orangutans in Borneo, and sloths in Costa Rica and Africa 11 times, to tell the animals' stories. She is the ‘voice’ of endangered animals to help their survival.
Fourteen of her True to Life books are listed in the Premier’s Reading Challenge. Adventures in the Wild is her new book, full of fabulous photographs and close encounters with wild African animals.
At university, Lynette Noni studied journalism, academic writing and human behaviour before venturing into the world of fiction. She is now a full-time writer and the bestselling author of the six-book young adult fantasy series, The Medoran Chronicles, along with the Whisper duology, which was acquired in the United States by the editor of The Hunger Games. Lynette is also collaborating on a project with the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas.
Malla’s debut young adult (YA) novel, When the Ground is Hard, has been named a Kirkus Review’s “Book of the Year for 2019” and received a “Highly Commended” recommendation by the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for 2020. Her internationally published crime novels, A Beautiful Place to Die, Let the Dead Lie, Blessed Are the Dead and Present Darkness have, between them, received two Edgar Award nominations, a Davitt Award and two Antony Award nominations. Her next YA novel is due for release in 2020.
Born and raised in Eswatini, Malla now lives and works in a weatherboard house in Sydney.