Bookings for conferences and talks
booking conditions here or see them below and have a look at my schedule to see if I will be in your area. It may still be possible to give talks or appearances if I will be in the area for other talks. I get many requests for different talks and events throughout the year. I live in regional New South Wales and it can be costly for me to travel to different events. Before getting in touch about speaking at an event, please read the
If you have publicity or media enquiries, please get in touch with Georgia Williams at email@example.com
I charge a fee for any talk where others are being paid, as well as costs. However, if it’s a cause involving kids in need, wombats, or anything that helps keep the planet in a good state for kids and wombats, I usually don’t ask a fee, and will cover some or all of the costs.
Costs include: kilometerage to the nearest airport (this is Canberra, 220 kilometres round trip from Araluen); the flight, and transport costs at the other end; hotel bills including meals.
Flights: as the nearest, often fog bound, airport is two hours drive away, very early flights and ones that arrive in Canberra very late usually don’t work, unless accommodation in Canberra is provided for the night.
Fees: I charge $1500.00 a day plus GST OR whatever your school or group can afford, plus costs.
Charges for talks to businesses or commercial groups are $3000.00 a day. All charges are negotiable, depending on the cause and topic and whether I’m available at the requested time.
A hand held microphone (one with a cord is fine). I don’t have much voice these days, so a microphone is needed even for small groups. If it doesn’t work, then, sadly, I simply physically won’t be able to speak to the group. Lapel mikes don’t work for my style of public speaking – I move around too much.
Business class travel for flights over three hours (apologies, but I travel so much that I need to be able to doze or work on flights. Otherwise I need a day before speaking to recover from the flight).
Pick up at the airport and delivery back again, either by a volunteer or car and driver, especially if it has been a long day’s travel (it usually is).
If it’s a school visit, a driver to pick me up from accommodation and take me to the school. Am happy to get a taxi back, but it can be difficult to find a school, or the main entrance and office, especially in morning peak hour.
No buses, especially small buses to and from airports. Many apologies, but I get very, very bus sick and remain so for several days. Be wary of any service that offers pick up and delivery to airports without specifying how the pick up will be made - it may be a small bus that will go from hotel to hotel and house to house and can take three winding hours through suburbs for half hour journey.
Trains, planes, camels and friendly horses are fine. Where possible, I like to walk.
If possible, I try to talk to groups of 200 or more, to maximize the number of people I can talk to.
Please note that book sales need to be arranged if it is an event that the publishers are subsidising.
If it's an all day booking, the limit for talks is three (in line with the ASA recommendations).
Possible speaking topics:
Writing workshops for kids or adults (however, I rarely do these anymore)
The Land Where Stories Come From: The Stories Behind the Books and the Craft that makes Them
How to Find the Magic Book - the one that Turns Every Kid into a Reader
The Women Men Don't See: Finding the Women Hidden from our History Books
Why We Must Remember: Why History Matters
Creating Picture Books - and how to get them published
Historical Fiction and Historical lies: What's the Difference? (plus a few of the best myths about Australian history)
Turning Histories into Stories
Wombats, Weeds and Wongaberries.... the story of the last 30 years
How To Speak Wombat
The True Tale of Mothball Wombat, Pete the Sheep and Dancing Kangaroo who Became Josephine
I'm afraid I can't do as much travelling as I used to though, for health reasons, usually no more than two hours driving or eight hours travel in one day, and I can't speak to any group without a microphone or I run out of puff! Sorry about that! But instead I can do internet chats, either in a chat room or just using email with a teacher/librarian moderating.
But if your class, school, reading club or gardening group would like an informal chat, write to me at the above address and I'll get back to you. There is no charge for isolated schools, distance education, or any group that just doesn't have the funds.
Tips for Author Visits to Schools (not just me!)
Give good directions to get to the school, and explain where the office is... the main gate and office can be hard to find, as many schools front two or more streets.
Arrange a parking place if they have car....they won't know where to park if the car park is full and if the schedule is tight finding a car park can take half an hour or more, and a gallop back to the school.
Show them where the loo is.
Don’t ask too many questions at lunch time so they have 'time off' from talking.
If there will be special needs kids in the group explain who they are and what possible problems there may be beforehand.
Don’t leap up and yell, 'You there Jason Smith I'm watching you!!!' at the most dramatic moment of the author's talk (teachers' interrupting is more of a problem than kids talking).
If the author is having problems keeping the kids in line they'll say something...even if it's just 'help!'.
Don’t threaten retribution before the talk if the kids misbehave...if they muck up then the talk was boring, so threatening them insults both kids and author.
If the kids want signatures, or to ask questions later, ask them to get into a line, with a table between them and the author... hundreds of kids crowding round can literally get suffocating. You get so giddy you can't keep going. It can also be quite frightening, especially as if there are lots of kids, they can't all hear you if you ask them to keep back.
Even if you don't need a microphone when you talk in the hall, the author probably will - giving an intensive talk for an hour is very different from giving a lesson in a classroom or speaking for only 10 minutes in a hall.
2 0 1 9
28 February – 1 March
Gundagai school talks, NSW
Playgroup Conference, Melbourne
Currie Lecture, Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), Canberra
Launch of This is Who We Are book of poetry for young people created with the brilliant Tania McCartney at the Australian National Library, Canberra
Panel on ‘Why We Must Remember’ with Morris Gleitzman and Marcus Zusak at the Jewish Museum of Australia
If you need to get in touch with me directly, please email
I may take a few weeks to reply to mail. Please send any mail to
PO Box 63
Braidwood NSW 2622
For urgent enquiries, you may also contact Harper Collins during Business Hours:
Harper Collins Publishers
PO Box A565
Sydney South 1235
Questions for School Projects
Hopefully all the questions are answered on the special section on the web site.
If there’s another question you really need an answer to, send it to Jackie French care of Harper Collins Publishers, PO Box A565 Sydney South 1235.
It may take a couple of weeks for me to receive the letter, and another few weeks at least before it can be answered.
Help with Stories and Unpublished Manuscripts: I’m sorry: if you need an idea for your story you badly need to think of it yourself. Help from me would mean that you don’t develop the brain ‘muscles’ that will make you a better writer.
I can’t help edit your story either, partly because I am a writer, not an editor, but also because there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit it in.
Nor can I help get your book published. Again, I’m a writer, not an editor, and have neither the talent nor expertise to judge ho successful a book might be. No book I have ever recommended to a publisher has ever been accepted. I don’t even know the process these days to get your manuscript assessed or read by a publishing house. Many publishing houses like Harper Collins have a place on their web site where you can submit manuscripts, but I have never used them, nor know how it’s done. Try publisher web sites, and also your local Writer’ Centre, who will have lists of what publishers are looking for various genres, and can also recommend workshops of editing, re writing and publishing.