CYA Later – Darwin to Brisbane… and Back!

Kat @ CYA

Kat @ CYA

One of the holiday highlights for me was without a doubt the CYA Conference, held in Brisbane in conjunction with the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Problem being… while normally I’m 6 hrs up the road – this year I was halfway across the country!


But some opportunities can’t be missed. So, after driving 4000km (and almost as many days) to reach Darwin, within 12 hours of our arrival I was in a plane (at 1am – yee-uch!) and winging my way back to Qld. (How c-razy is that?!)


The CYA Competition gave ‘This is the Mud!’ a jumpstart to publication when it won the inaugural Preschool Picture Book Manuscript category in 2006. In 2009 – the year of it’s release – I was invited back for a muddy celebration at the CYA.

A hundred children’s writers, illustrators and publishers in one place at one time. What fun! Putting faces to names – and wicked personalities! Meeting authors who’ve impacted on my journey… Talk, talk, talk, talk, talking… And attending workshops too, of course.

How could I resist?

Kim, Dee, Kat & Sheryl

With Kim Miller, Dee White and Sheryl Gwyther... Let the celebrations begin!

For me, the unforgettable highlight was the session I shared with Dee White (‘Letters to Leonardo’) and Kim Miller (‘They told me I had to write this’), when we got to celebrate the launch of our CYA success stories.

For a while I felt like the rose between the thorns (I like that!) sharing the celebration with two YA novels – with two ‘letters’ books at that. (And muddy me, squished in the middle.) But don’t let that analogy scare you off Kim and Dee’s writing. Yes they address some prickly issues – but in their own unique styles, they both do it so well. (More on that in another blog.)

Kat & Mud

A slideshow of rolling images tell their own story... as Kat reads to the kids-at-heart.

The CYA would have been brilliant for the workshop alone. But it offers so much more to Australian children’s writers and illustrators! There’s that fantastic competition that offers feedback to every writer. And networking with a range of prominent industry professionals. Friendships… Inspiration… Great food!

Tina and Ally - time for a chat at last!

Tina and Ally - time for a chat at last.

And this year, there was that not-to-be-missed opportunity to extend the celebrations and fling some more mud around. But more importantly, to acknowledge the mammoth amount of work that Tina Clark and Ally Howard – with their team of volunteers – pour into the CYA each year. I for one am extremely grateful!

You thought I was tall before? I tell you, I was HIGH that day!


  1. Launching with you was an unforgettable highlight for me too, Kat. I was even a little bit tall/high that day too (and that doesn’t happen very often).

    Loved your ‘muddy’ reading…and your ‘muddy’ book.



  2. Hi Kathryn

    I received This is the Mud today – thank you for sending it. I have three children aged 5, 4 and 2 and I don’t think they’ve ever sat so still while listening to a book….more than once. Such a pleasure to see one illustrated to reflect a true Australian farm as well.
    Best of luck with your future work – I hope there’s more where this one came from!


    • Kylie,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I was delighted to read of your family’s experience. So pleased my muddy book has found a home with you!

      There’s plenty more stories – and I look forward to more books too… 🙂


  3. Kat, a brilliant day and so glad you could make it! Wish we had more of a chance to just chat and catch up – it all went so quickly. Watching you up there speaking about Mud made me feel all nostalgic for our time in Bundy 🙂


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