This year’s National Conference will feature a new segment called “Australian Storytelling Spotlight” with keynote addresses from leading Australian authors celebrating the role of storytelling and writing in education and development. Authors will present a short keynote address during the Conference as well as take part in special book signings and meet & greets at the ACEL Bookshop.



Jackie French AM is one of Australia’s best loved authors, with over 60 national and international awards, as well as a historian, ecologist, and dyslexic. She is passionate about the right of every child to read, and the power of story to change lives. She was Australian Literacy Ambassador 2011, Australian Children's Laureate 2014-2015, Senior Australian 2015, and is currently Ambassador, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, Patron, Monkey Baa Theatre Company, Patron Book Links, Patron SPELD QLD, Ambassador, Code Read among other her voluntary positions for young people, as well as her own ‘Magic Book’ project that promises to find and provide a book that every child- or adult- finds impossible to stop reading. While Diary of a Wombat may always be the best loved of her over 200 works (please do not call her prolific) her books like Hitler’s Daughter, Nanberry: Black Brother Whiteand Tom Appleby Convict Boy have long been invaluable classroom staples, as are newer works like the Matilda Saga. Her books connect history, geography, literature, ethics and ecology.

• Author, Historian, Ecologist, Honorary Wombat
• Ambassador, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature
• Senior Australian of the Year, 2015
• Australian Children's Laureate 2014-15


Danielle Binks is a writer, reviewer, book blogger and Youth Literature Advocate. In 2016 she joined literary agency, Jacinta di Mase Management, as an agent – seeking Australian authors of Young Adult (YA) and Middle Grade (MG) fiction works.

In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology, of new Australian young adult writing – inspired by the #LoveOzYAmovement – and released by HarperCollins.

Danielle is a graduate of RMIT’s Professional Writing & Editing program, and holds a Bachelor of Communications from Monash University.

Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology : Awards & Accolades

• Voted No. 3 in ABC Book Club’s ‘Five of the Best’ 2017
• WINNER: Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+) 2018 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA)
• Eight Nominations in the 2017 Aurealis Awards shortlist
• Longlisted: 2018 Gold Inky Awards

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Katrina Nannestad is an award-winning Australian author. Her books include The Girl Who Brought Mischief, The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome, the Olive of Groves series, the Red Dirt Diaries series, the Lottie Perkins series and Bungaloo Creek.

Katrina grew up in country New South Wales in a neighbourhood stuffed full of happy children. Her adult years have been spent teaching, raising boys, perfecting her recipe for chocolate-chip bickies and pursuing her love of stories. She now lives near Bendigo with her family and an exuberant black whippet called Olive.

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A four-time All-Australian, Alex Rance was a key player in Richmond's drought-breaking 2017 AFL Premiership win. Off-field, Rance looks to inspire the next generation to realise their dreams. He and two business partners started The Academy, a school for Year 11 and 12 students that is based on teaching real world skills and keeping students engaged in their schooling by following their passions.