Showcasing Susanne Gervay, Children’s and Young Adult Author, Friend and Head of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Australia East and New Zealand
Continuing my series of highlighting my children’s writer and illustrator friends, this week I am delighted to write about the unstoppable Susanne Gervay. Susanne and I met when I signed up, tentatively, to become SCBWI’S representative for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in 2006! (I’ve just spent too long, verifying that date!)
Susanne with Max Hamilton
In the world of paid employment, Susanne would qualify as my boss, however, in the volunteer world, Susanne was the person who steered and guided me through the mechanics of SCBWI. Although I left my role in 2015, Susanne has continued as a guiding light for many in the precarious world of children’s writing and illustrating.
A wonderful article appeared in May’s issue of Magpies, written by Susanne, detailing her background and her writing journey. It celebrated her most recent release, Heroes of the Secret Underground a novel which draws on her family history – her parents in Nazi-occupied Hungary.
Susanne has a wide publishing history, from picture books to young adult novels. All of her books have a message, she fights for causes, she fights for the underdog.
In March this year I made a fleeting trip to Sydney, catching up with Susanne for an elegant afternoon tea. She talked about Heroes with shining eyes and hold-your-breath sentences. I knew then that for Susanne, this was the book which she’d been writing inside, her whole life.
Libby Hathorn, Me and Susanne Gervay 2021
She’s been fielding interviews on radio, tv and visiting schools, until the pandemic stopped us all in our tracks. Knowing Susanne though, she will find some way to continue championing this special book.
I miss not having it to tuck into bed with as my night-time read, lost in the setting of the familiar Majestic Hotel. As SCBWI members and members of the children’s book writing and illustrating community, we spent many a happy time on our visits to conferences in Sydney staying at the Hughendon Hotel. Lovely memories.
Sightseeing at the SCBWI Conference Sydney July 2014 –
Me, Sally Murphy, Claire Saxby, Gabrielle Wang, Bernadette Kelly.