Judges and Judging

Submissions will be judged by an experienced panel based on the award criteria. The Judging Panel will comprise four judges each highly experienced in the publishing, library or education industry.


The judges will work under the direction of an Award Coordinator and will select a short list of up to five books per category based on the award criteria. They will choose a winner and two highly commended books per category from the shortlisted titles.

Judging Criteria
  • Judges will assess the quality of entries based on:

    • style and language

    • creativity and originality

    • story line and plot

    • structure

    • character development (as appropriate)

    • cohesiveness


  • Judges will take into account the age of the entrant.

Allison Paterson
Author, Teacher

"Children are great storytellers and can create imaginative tales that can be turned into lively and character-filled books for everyone to enjoy.” 

One day I want to grow up and be a writer … Did the world’s greatest authors ever speak those words when they were kids? They certainly did!


When I grew up I had the chance to travel to the other side of the world and marvel at the birthplaces of the most famous and memorable characters of children’s stories – Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Charlie and Matilda. I gazed in awe at the workspace of Roald Dahl and followed the BFG’s footsteps to the final resting place of the world’s greatest children’s author to thank him for the magic of his stories – you see, I love children’s literature.


As a child, I wrote books and presented them to my teacher. One day I wanted to grow up and be a writer … it is now forty years later and, while I still have some growing up to do, I am a writer. My book for adults called Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars is the true story of my family’s experience in World War I. I wanted to share my story with children so I wrote a children’s version titled Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front. Right now I am working with my publisher on a picture book, which is very exciting, picture books are awesome!


For the first twenty years of my life I lived on a farm where I spent many hours dreaming of being an author (amongst other things like gathering eggs, chasing sheep, playing netball and doing my homework). My bedroom window framed a creaky old windmill which was silhouetted every morning in the glow of the Australian sunrise. The rooster and the cows woke me up to see the sun peek over the horizon. I had my nose in a book until it was time to get ready to catch the bus to school. Looking back, there were not many books created by Australian writers which I could borrow from my school library.  Today your libraries are chock full of awesome Aussie books! You no longer need to travel half way around the world to find the birthplaces of memorable characters and their creators. Hooray for the Australian children’s publishing industry and all those who promote Australian authors and their stories!


As well as being an author I have been a teacher for thirty years. When I wasn’t teaching children to read, I was reading children’s books, so twenty years ago I studied some more and became a teacher-librarian. I volunteered to review new books for Magpies Magazine to help other librarians choose books for their libraries. The best part of being a reviewer was reading different books I would not normally choose to read, I broadened my reading horizons … try it, there are all kinds of reading experiences to be had and from these your writing blossoms.


The Young Writers' Award has created an amazing opportunity for young writers – a chance to become a published author with your name on the front cover of your own book! Start writing and polishing your stories. I am looking forward to reading yours!

Catherine McCullagh


Author, Editor

Catherine McCullagh completed a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) at the Australian National University in Canberra and taught English, History and languages at secondary and pre-tertiary level. She then embarked on a military career spending 20 years as an officer in the Australian Regular Army as a teacher, linguist and research editor.


On leaving the Army, she established herself as a freelance editor. Catherine has edited a large number of books, articles, study papers and a range of other publications including biographies, poetry and essay collections and adventure stories. In 2010, Willingly into the Fray, a collection of narratives and reminiscences which she compiled and edited, was published to mark the centenary of Australian Army nursing.


Catherine has appeared as a guest lecturer at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance and the Canberra Institute of Technology. Her latest book, War Child, a co-authored memoir, was published in 2016.

Jane Smith


Author, Librarian

Jane Smith is a school librarian at Concordia Lutheran College in Toowoomba, Queensland and an avid historical researcher and lover of Australian history. She grew up in Brisbane and started her career as a physiotherapist practising in New South Wales, before moving back to Queensland and retraining as a librarian.


Jane’s fascination with Australian history inspired her to write her Australian Bushranger series to share the colourful lives of these bushranging legends with younger readers, and show kids that history is far from boring and sometimes truth is even more entertaining than fiction.  Her meticulous research helped her to uncover new facts and dispel many of the myths that have surrounded these characters for years. She has written 8 kids books to date and has a new 6 books series to be released in 2016.


Jane is married and has two adult children.   Jane enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to live music, singing in a community choir and relaxing with her family and cat. She loves visiting old houses and for over a decade has enjoyed meeting with a group of loyal friends for their ‘Book Club’ meetings – the perfect way to share a love of reading, coffee, cake and of course friendship.

Wendy Noble


Author, Editor

Wendy Noble has reviewed children's and young adults' books for Good Reading Magazine, for over 12 years. She is a blogger, and has had articles and short stories published in numerous magazines in Australia and the USA. Wendy has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing, and has been a guest lecturer in college and TAFE classes, as well as running workshops at writers' conferences.


These days Wendy is more focussed on reading and reviewing books, and writing her own. Beast-speaker, her first fantasy for young adults, was published in 2014. Wendy dreamed of being a writer since she was a kid and is still pinching herself now that it has come true. She's going to stop soon (the pinching that is), because it hurts.