Dromkeen Literary Festival – Saturday 19th March, 2016

On Saturday March 19 from 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. the first public Dromkeen Literary Festival will be held since the new owners took over Dromkeen in 2013. It will be a day about celebrating Australian children’s literature and giving the creators of the books the opportunity to meet with their audience to share their stories about the making of their books. There will be something there for whole families, teachers, librarians and lovers of children’s literature as well as talks and workshops. There will also be a range of wonderful book related activities in the garden.

There’s a host of authors and illustrators presenting, all details are below and at:


‘Authors and Illustrators Bringing Favourite Stories to Life’

Welcome to the 2016 Dromkeen Literary Festival

This is our first public festival celebrating Australian Children’s Literature and Storytelling.

About Dromkeen

Dromkeen Homestead was built in 1889 as the country estate of Victorian Supreme Court Judge Arthur Chomley (1837–1914). Dromkeen was named after his mother’s family home in Dromkeen, in County Limerick in Ireland.

From 1973, Joyce and Courtney Oldmeadow used the homestead as a private residence and educational bookshop, with a public display of original artworks and manuscripts from Australian children’s picture books. It became a home for Australian children’s literature. Scholastic Australia purchased the homestead in 1985 and continued to maintain the Dromkeen Collection until it was moved to the State Library in 2012.

In 2013 Dromkeen was purchased by the Joiner family and reopened as a centre for Australian children’s literature. Dromkeen is once more host to hundreds of visitors, including school and tertiary groups, offering the opportunity to take part in workshops run by Australian authors and illustrators and also to view original picture book illustration.

The first major event was the display of the John Barrow Collection curated by Books Illustrated, which includes original artworks by some of Australia’s well-known illustrators including Ann James, Alison Lester, Bob Graham, Terry Denton, Jane Tanner, Julie Vivas and many more. The works are from the modern classic era of Australian Children’s Literature, 1980 -2004.

The March 19th 2016 Festival continues the theme of Australian children’s literature and will be an exciting event suitable for children, teachers, librarians, families and all children’s book enthusiasts. There will be opportunities to meet and listen to a marvelous team of authors, illustrators, cartoonists and storytellers.

There will be:
Talks and readings by children’s authors and illustrators
uthor/illustrator discussions on writing, reading and teaching children
Hands on workshops
iewing of original illustrations
A range of fantastic book related activities in the garden
Author/ illustrator book signings and sales

Guest Speaker Information

Author/Illustrator Mark Wilson Author/Illustrator Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson is one of our most successful and popular author/ illustrators of children’s books. His awards include two Wilderness Society Awards, two Whitley Awards and five CBCA Notable Picture Book awards. His books include The Afghanistan Pup, Digger the Dog Who Went to War, The Horse Soldier, Journey of the Sea Turtle and The Last Tree. www.marklwilson.com.au
Illustrating Picture Books: Our Incredible World (Ages 8-12)

In this session students discuss picture books and how stories and illustrations work together, as well as genres, characters, themes, styles and where story ideas come from. Mark aims to stimulate creativity and increase student confidence in their own writing and drawing.Illustrating Picture Books: Journey of the Sea Turtle (Ages 4-7)
Mark looks at Journey of the Sea Turtle and discusses how we can help animals in the wild. There is reading, acting out and Q&A about wild creatures. Mark then gets students drawing by starting with simple, single shaped creatures and eventually drawing turtles and whales.


Author Corinne Fenton Author Corinne Fenton
Corinne Fenton loves writing children’s storybooks and is the author of ‘Little Dog and the Christmas Wish’, the theme for the Myer Christmas Windows in 2015. Her stories include social history and her main characters are usually animals. Corinnne’s books include The Dog on the Tuckerbox, Queenie’ and ‘Bob the Railway Dog. She has also been a judge for the Dorothea McKellar Poetry Awards.  www.marcw230.sg-host.com
Stories Behind the Books – Little Dog and the Christmas Wish (and the Myer Windows), Bob the Railway Dog and Queenie One Elephant’s Story (Ages 5-95)

Corinne will talk about how she finds or makes up the stories, and the research and work that happens behind the scenes in the making of a picture book. Many people believe picture books are easy to write because they have so few words, but in her experience nothing could be further from the truth. Corinne also talks and shows a short movie about the excitement of the Myer Christmas windows last year for Little Dog and the Christmas Wish. Questions welcome.


Author Sherryl Clark Author Sherryl Clark
Sherryl Clarke writes for people of all ages and has written picture storybooks, verse novels, novels for middle/older readers and poetry. She loves getting children to read and received the NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2005 for her book ‘Farm Kid’ and CBCA Honour Book in 2008 for Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not). www.sherylclark.com
Poetry Matters (Ages Adult)

Children have a natural enjoyment of both reading and writing poetry, and if they are encouraged in both, studies have shown that it benefits their learning in all their other subjects. We’ll look at why poetry matters, how to approach poetry with children and get them excited and enthusiastic about writing and reading it (exercises included).


Author/ Illustrator Sue DeGennaro Author/ Illustrator Sue DeGennaro
Sue DeGennaro is the author and illustrator of The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog and has illustrated 13 picture storybooks. Her quirky illustrations are loved by young and old. She has also worked as an aerialist in the circus, as a rigger, a removalist and a window washer. Sue runs workshops for children and teaches illustration at NMIT for adults. www.suedegennaro.com
Illustrating a Picture Book: Ages 8-12

The session will start with a power point presentation showing the process of illustrating a picture book from rough character sketches through to final artwork.The second half of the session will be an interactive drawing session. Sue will show each participant how to draw a collection of her characters step by step. Each participant will have a collection of drawings to take home with them.


Author/ Illustrator Adam Wallace Author/ Illustrator Adam Wallace
Adam is an exciting and entertaining young author and illustrator who has published 30 books. He runs highly interactive workshops and particularly loves primary aged children. Some of his books are Better Out Than In, The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee, Accidently Awesomeand Pete McGee Dawn of the Zombie Knights. www.adam-wallace-books.com
Learn Cartooning the Fun Way (Ages: 8-12)

This session is about making reading, writing and drawing fun, by taking the children through stories that draw pictures. Even the most reluctant illustrator who thinks they can’t draw will come out with a really cool character!


Author Diana Lawrenson Author Diana Lawrenson
Diana is an award winning author of children’s books and a freelance writer. Her children’s books include Paraphernalia’s Present, Crocodile River, Inside the Australian Ballet and Guide Dogs From Puppies to Partners. Her awards include Notable Book Award CBCA , the Whitley Award Royal Zoological Society of NSW and Honour Book CBCA Awards. Diana loves reading her books to young children and uses props to bring her sessions alive. www.dianalawrenson.com
Paraphernalia’s Present and Snapping Crocodiles (Age: 4-7)

Paraphernalia’s Present: Diana will do a reading of Paraphernalia’s Present, during which a chook clucks off-stage and unseen. Dianna will dress as the main character in the story and talk a little about friends and feathers.In the same session, the children will imitate crocodile actions, and Diana will help them make an origami-style snapper (this will require some adult assistance for the younger children), show them real crocodile eggs, teeth and crocodile leather off-cuts all of which they can touch. If time allows after that she’ll read the story.


Illustrator Marc McBride Illustrator Marc McBride
Marc McBride has illustrated over 150 book covers and is famous for his cover illustrations for the Deltora Quest series written by Emily Rodda. His airbrush work of dragons is outstanding and his wit and infectious enthusiasm ensure his audiences are totally engaged. www.bookedout.com.au/marcmcbride
Dragons and Airbrush Art (Ages: General)

During Marc’s session, using airbrush art, he will demonstrate his amazing skill and create a range of fantastic dragons, his favourite things to paint. You won’t want to miss this session.


Illustrator Judy Horacek Illustrator Judy Horacek
Judy is a talented cartoonist, author and illustrator whose wonderful illustrations feature in Where is the Green Sheep written by Mem Fox and won CBCA Book of the Year – Early Childhood Award in 2005. She has since started writing her own children’s books, such as The Story of Growl , These Are My Hands and These Are My Feet. www.horacek.com.au
Green Sheep and Other Characters (Ages 4-7)

In this session Judy will talk about Where is the Green Sheep? and characters from some of her other books and how they came about. She will draw some characters and ask the children for different types of sheep. Judy will also talk about Good Night Sleep Tight, another one of the books she has done with Mem Fox, which is full of nursery rhymes – why Mem wrote it like that, and how Judy decided to illustrate it.


Author/ Illustrator Craig Smith Author/ Illustrator Craig Smith
Craig Smith is a popular, award-winning illustrator of children’s books and is known for his humorous and detailed style of illustration. Some of the books he has illustrated include Where’s Mum (Honour Book in CBCA Awards 1993), Billy the Punk (shortlisted CBC Awards 1996), Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns by Doug McLeod and various Aussie Bites and Nibbles. www.craigsmithillustration.com
The Making of The Hush Treasure Book: (Ages: General)

In a shared session Craig will speak about his role in the making of the Hush Treasure Book.You Have to Start Somewhere (Ages: 7 –12)
Craig’s presentation is about the questions and choices in developing illustrations for storytelling. These include approach and technique, character development, composition, point of view, movement and expression and more.


Illustrator Marjory Gardner Illustrator Marjory Gardner
Illustrator Marjory Gardner has over 20 years experience. Her work has appeared in trade and educational publications both in Australia and internationally. Her fresh and colourful style are unique. Marjory enjoys sharing her work with others, particularly children and loves to inspire them to draw and develop their own style. www.marjorygardner.com
Using Colour and Pattern to Make Your Drawings ZING! (Ages: Primary)

Have fun as illustrator Marjory Gardner shows you how to make your drawings ZING by using colour and pattern. She will demonstrate with sketches, share her illustration portfolio and discuss different drawing styles and techniques.


Author Michael Hyde Author Michael Hyde
Michael, is an author, curriculum specialist and journalist who writes novels for young adults. His novels Hey Joe, MAX and Tyger Tyger are read and taught in many schools. Hey Joe, a book about the Vietnam War, was named as Notable Book in the 2004 CBC Awards and he is well known for his Change the Game Series and Footy Dreaming as well as other non fiction works. He lectures in Professional Writing, Sports Writing and Children’s Texts at Victoria University.
Getting Them Writing, Keeping Them Writing (Ages Adult)

In this session Michael models a process of engaging students in the craft of writing and how to go about finding all the ins and outs of a possible piece of writing before even starting that first sentence.Beginning with a couple of possible sparks (their own), participants are taken through a series of questions and guided brainstorming, where they compile a mass of information, reflect on important and trivial details, and emerge with the first paragraph of a story they can’t wait to finish. Topics include origin of stories, description and imagery, characterisation, dialogue, development and drafting.


Author Glenda Millard Author Glenda Millard
Glenda has published 26 books both nationally and internationally. These include Isabella’s Garden which was shortlisted for 6 awards in 2010, winning The Speech Therapist’s Award and Honour Book in the (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year. In 2013, Isabella’s Garden was listed by the United States Board on Books for Young people (USSBY) as an Outstanding International book. Glenda’s most recent book, a novel for young adults titled, The Stars at Oktober Bend will be published in February 2016. www.glendamillard.com
Making of The Hush Treasure Book:

In this shared session Glenda will talk about her role in the making of The Hush Treasure Book.Making the Stars Shine – an insight into the creation of ‘The Stars at October Bend’ (Ages: Adult & Teenages)
How the ordinary, the extraordinary, the joys and sorrows of life impact on the writing of a novel. Unpicking the book to see what it is made of and why.


Author/ Illustrator Kevin Burgemeestre Author/ Illustrator Kevin Burgemeestre
Kevin is a well known illustrator and writer whose work includes collage and sculpture. He has a list of over 60 books that contain his illustrations. His workshops are enthusiastic, humorous and informative for all ages. He recently finished the cover designs for the Hush Treasure Book for the Hush Foundation. He loves making children feel that what they think and feel is important. www.kevinburgemeestre.com
Making of the Hush Treasure Book (Ages: General)

During this session Kevin will talk about his contribution towards the making of the Hush Treasure Book. His little hand made clay models were used to illustrate the cover of this magical book.


Cartoonist and Animator Brett Cardwell Cartoonist and Animator Brett Cardwell
Brett Cardwell from Cardytoons, is a popular and talented cartoonist, illustrator, animator and mural artist who regularly runs workshops at Dromkeen for budding cartoonists and animators of all ages. He also works in primary schools all over Victoria and specializes in mural work and caricatures. www.cardytoons.com.au
You Can Cartoon Book Characters (Ages: General)

In this session Brett will teach the basics of creating characters for your stories. He will teach you how to cartoon faces and body parts to bring your characters alive.Animals and Action (Ages: General)
Learn how to cartoon a variety of animals and how to create movement in your characters.


Storyteller Anne E Stewart Storyteller Anne E Stewart
Storyteller Anne E Stewart is an acclaimed storyteller with an international reputation. She is a versatile performer with energy and voice to engage any audience.
Her focus is on the shared stories of Australia, honouring Indigenous, Celtic, Asian and World stories. Ann has performed in major cultural institutions, art galleries, and libraries as well as on ABC radio and TV. www.anneestewart.com.au
Storytelling For Beginners: Workshop Age: Adult)

Anne will discuss the basic elements of storytelling, illustrate how to build repertoire and enthuse participants to have a go at this age-old art.Stories from Australia and Around the World (Ages: General)
Be entertained by an hour of myths, legends and folktales from around the world.


Dr Catherine Crock- Head of Hush Foundation
Catherine works as a doctor at the RCH with children suffering from cancer and also conducts clinics in the Centre for Adolescent Health. She works to reduce the stress of children receiving treatment for cancer and for their families. She has been instrumental in the creation of the Hush Collection hush.org.au and CelloLullaby www.cellolullaby.org.au and the using of these CDs with all children’s hospitals in Australia.
The Making of the Hush Treasure Book (Ages- General)

Doctor Crock will share about the Hush Foundation and the important work she does with children and families at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She will speak about the commissioning of The Hush Treasure Book.
 Ann James & Ann Hadden Illustrator: Ann James
Ann James is an award-winning illustrator who has illustrated over 60 books. She represents Australian illustrators on The Committee of Management of The Australian Society of Authors and regularly showcases Australian children’s books and illustration at the Bologna Book Fair and other major events across Australia. Some of the books she has illustrated include, I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, I’m a Hungry Dinosaur, The Penny Pollard series; the Hannah series; The Midnight Gang; Shutting the Chooks In; Little Humpty; The Way I Love You; Lucy Goosey; Sadie & Ratz and Chester and Gil.
The Making of The Hush Treasure Book (Ages: General)

In this shared session, Ann James will share briefly about her role in the creation and promotion of The Hush Treasure Book.The Butterfly and The Midnight Gang (Ages: General)
In this session Ann James will give a brief introduction to the John Barrow Collection and share some of her developmental work as an illustrator for two of the books featured in the collection. She will talk about her journey as she worked on the illustrations and share some really interesting anecdotes of how some of the illustrations ‘accidentally’ came about.
 Ann James & Ann Hadden Owner Books Illustrated: Ann Haddon
Ann was a teacher librarian in primary schools for 18 years – setting up the Junior School Library at Yarra Valley Grammar School before collaborating with Ann James to establish Books Illustrated in 1988. She is actively involved in children’s literature, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia, for many years being an executive member and President of the Victorian branch and Vice President of the National CBCA Executive in 2007 & 2008.
An Introduction to the John Barrow Collection (Ages: General)

Along with illustrator Ann James, Ann Haddon will give a brief introduction to The John Barrow Collection, which is currently on display at Dromkeen.




Booking Information

Festival tickets allow access to all parts of the venue and session attendance is on a first-come basis.

Pre Book Online Through TryBooking & Save

Adult tickets purchased online are $20 per person

Children’s tickets 5 and over are $10 per child

All children 4 and under are free

Online bookings require full payment and tickets will be issued on completion of the booking.

Book Now

Pay on the Day

Adult tickets at the gate are $25

Children’s tickets at the gate are $15

Purchasing Your Tickets

Bookings can be made online from Thursday, 14th January. Tickets must be printed and presented at the gate on the day of the festival.

Session Details

Details of most sessions including workshops are available here to download.
Updates will be posted here closer to the date.



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  1. Chris Bell I am very much looking forward to the day and revisiting Dromkeen. I'll especially be looking for some of my favourite people and authors :)
    March 11, 2016 at 9:27 am · Reply

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