Nette Hilton

Nette Hilton is the first ‘real writer’ I ever met. She came to visit Innisfail as part of the Nestle writing competition for children. (I was a judge) Nette writes for children and adults, her adult novels are written under a pen name made up of her grandmother’s name and her own.

Her most recent books have been for younger readers and middle primary readers and are about young children negotiating school dynamics and finding a place in the world. Her work is sold internationally and is in translated into several languages including French, Spanish, Korean and German.

The evening hosted by the Innisfail Library (for Nette) was the beginning of WINQ. I was inspired by how many Innisfail people were there and collected names of those interested in writing and wallah, a group is formed.

Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly and Sandy Curtis are two authors I met in Brisbane during the first writers festival I attended. Both were very approachable, my son Lachlan must have made an impression on Matthew because he was remembered the following day and Matthew even remembered the names he signed in the book we had purchased. He is a special guy. I first read ‘Temple’ after listening to Matthew in an interview I was so impressed by his energy and the excitement he feels with his stories I ran out and bought his books, his candour when discussing himself is very appealing too. this is an awesome website and well worth the visit.

Sandy’s books – which I also enjoy, include the titles ‘Deadly Tide’, ‘Black Ice’, and ‘Dance with the Devil’, her books are crime, action, romance, drama and suspense; they have been translated into German. The German covers are quite hilarious. Sandy is now a friend of mine and we speak regularly on the phone and email. Sandy has come to Innisfail and held workshops for the writers group, she also coordinates the Bundaberg WriteFest.


Norfolk Island

Authors Gary McKay, Helen Reddy, Ida Buttrose and Wendy Harmer were the drawcards at the writers’ festival I attended on Norfolk Island.

Wendy Harmer, Gary McKay and meGary writes non-fiction books and I learned he is a master with indexing and other things I am hopeless at. The first book of Gary’s I read was about Cyclone Tracy in Darwin. I really didn’t think I would find it possible to enjoy reading about something so horrific especially since my family had just been through something similar. Do you know what? I thought it was one of the best books I have ever read – about anything.

Most of Gary’s other books are war related or commissioned works, recently he completed a book about Caloundra Surf Life Saving Club for their 75th anniversary.

Wendy Harmer is not only a very funny comedian she is an incredibly talented writer. I’ve read all her books – both the books for kids and her chick-lit (or chook-lit as she has had it called), I have enjoyed every one of them. Books about a fairy in a park named Pearly and then there is the chook-lit… I won’t go into details but let’s just say things happen at weddings in toilets.

Gary McKay, Helen_Reddy, meWho would have thought these people would be so friendly. Their company was most pleasurable; I even was invited out to dinner with Wendy and her family. We were entertained by using the placemats as drawing paper and playing ‘Mr Squiggle’.

For anyone looking for a wonderful holiday destination I can recommend Norfolk Island, it is a beautiful place with the most exciting history that’s all around you and there is a special circular gallery with the most gorgeous art work, as an artist myself I can honestly say the work in there is totally awesome.


Rebecca Berrett

Rebecca Berrett is an illustrator of epic talent. I was fortunate enough to attend McGregor Summer School and have her for a tutor. She showed me the difference between a picture book ‘set out’ a publisher might look at and my self published books.

This is the information I required for my ‘The Bear Said Please’ book and the other books I am currently working on. She and I spent a spare day in the bush drawing until a massive thunder storm hit and we had to run half way up a very wet mountain with a very wet, strange, scared dog. Rebecca and I stay in touch and help each other out whenever we can.


Macca and Me

After Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail and the surrounding areas the media were in town quite a lot. ‘Macca’ from ABC’s ‘Macca All Over’ interviewed me about my books and the cyclone. Apparently my interview or parts of it are broadcast often, usually around Christmas when he wonders if I am still living in a shed – YES Macca I am.


State Focus

State FocusChannel Ten’s ‘State Focus’ programme interviewed me about my books. I had to go to the studio and talk to a woman who was a voice in an earphone. I had to sit on a chair balanced on a box in the middle of the newsroom – people were going about their daily work all around me. It was really quite a challenge to concentrate on what her questions were and give reasonable answers. About six months later Channel Seven phoned to say ‘Queensland Weekender’ would like to do a feature on me. They came out to where I live and filmed go to this link then scroll down to 1st March 2008 weekender 4.

Jacqueline Turner

Jacqueline TurnerJacqueline Turner came to visit Cairns – In 2005, Jacqueline was Queensland’s inaugural poet-in-residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane, Australia. She is the author of three collections Into the Fold, Careful and Seven Into Even. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Her work has appeared in absinthe, West Coast Line, Rampike, qwerty, Tessera, and Fireweed. She has also published a number of chapbooks.

She founded a literary magazine called Filling Station that has been publishing international writing for the last 10 years. Jacqueline teaches creative and critical writing at Simon Fraser University and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver.

Morris Gleitzman

Morris_GleistmanMorris_GleistmanMorris Gleitzman… well what can one say about an encounter with Morris – a few words spring to mind: toad, snot and fart. Morris once spoke about living in Ingham – North Queensland – near here. He was young and had a summer job pulling pins from between the cane train bins. A dangerous job to say the least, many a man loses fingers pulling the pins when not concentrating. Morris had an audience while he worked, imagine one man in the centre of an extremely strong circle of light and all around the dark edges sit toads, watching, and waiting, for the unsuspecting young man to lose his fingers. While working and living up here Morris could see the fierce determination the ‘locals’ had in ridding the area of the dreaded cane toad, swerving all over the road in order to run them over. Hunting them at night with golf clubs – this is where he first got the idea for ‘Toad rage’.

Nick Earles

Nick EarlsNick Earles is another author I came across at the Brisbane Writers Festival. ‘Zig Zag Street’ is one of my favourite books written by Nick. One of the best interviews with Nick can be found at this link written by Dan Silkstone. Nicks website is interesting too, very much part of his book repertoire, the website fits in – does he have the recipe for ‘dirt pesto’?

Angela Murphy

Jackie & AngelaAngela Murphy is a Cairns based writer and tutor. I have attended quite a few of her seminars and learned so many different things.She was a presenter at the 2008 Inaugural Tropical Writers Festival (as was Nick).

LicualaWINQ – Writers Innisfail North Queensland.

This is the writers group I started in 2007. The first ‘group photo’ was taken at our Inaugural meeting. Since then we have held workshops, written two books together, socialised and was asked to speak about writers groups at the Inaugural Tropical Writers Festival. Busy, busy.

You can find more out about WINQ by visiting heading to creators/writers and finding Jacque Duffy.


Ret. General Peter Cosgrove

General_Cosgrove_meGeneral Cosgrove and his team came to visit the ‘If Walls Could Talk’ exhibition. The exhibition was held in the Innisfail RSL dining room opening on the first anniversary of Cyclone Larry, the exhibition created quite a lot of talk around town. The General and his men were most impressed with the artwork and stories, it’s a shame even the general couldn’t shift the Bingo Ladies out of the exhibition space on the Sunday ‘Feast of the Senses’ day. Bingo Ladies play their bingo rain, hail or shine I recon they would play on during an invasion of the body snatchers actually I think those ladies may have already been snatched.

Over 500 school kids came to visit the exhibition and completed work sheets. On one occasion a gentleman named ‘Lofty’ was visiting when a group of kids came in to have a story read to them. He just happened to be the character in the particular story that was chosen by the children. As the story was being read I introduced the kids to the man in the story so they could put a ‘real’ face to the words. Watching and listening to him point out things in the artwork and elaborate on the story as I read it was an awesome experience.

Donald J Waters

Donald_J_WatersDonald James Waters is ‘tutor extraordinaire’… I have been fortunate enough to have him as my tutor at McGregor Summer School for three years now. He challenges the very air you breathe, extending you artistic skills beyond your comfort zone and into another world.

He is also a great dancer.

Roy McIvor

Roy McIvorRoy McIvor is an Elder for Hope Vale north of Cooktown; he had the easel behind me last January at McGregor Summer School. His artwork is remarkable, traditional indigenous art mixed with abstract. Roy himself is a very thoughtful, and sharing man, I intend to take the family on a holiday to visit him and his wife Esme. go have a look at Roys art, I think you will enjoy it.