Australian Children’s Publishing – What’s Hot and What’s Not!

Sometimes being a writer is tiring. It’s not just because you wake up at 400am because your character has new plans for their life and wants to share them with you NOW! The process of writing is tiring – spending hours crafting your manuscript, submitting, being rejected, writing  more, submitting more – you know how the story goes.

In spite of the ups and downs I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a writer. But every now and then I feel the need to recharge. Sometimes it’s by having time away. Other times it’s by simply listening and being inspired by other creative people.

IMAG7075Last weekend I was lucky to be able to do both. I spent the weekend with my crit buddy and good friend, author, Alison Reynolds. As well as laughing, eating good food and chatting about all things writerly, we managed to fit in time to attend some fabulous events at the Melbourne Writers Festival.


Allen and Unwin Publisher Eva Mills, and Author/Editor Penni Russon gave us some great insights into what’s currently happening in Australian children’s publishing.

IMAG7062The purpose of their sold out session was to highlight the trends, possibilities and challenges of writing for 21st century children.

Both Eva and Penni were very generous; sharing their experiences and staying back afterwards to answer questions that they didn’t have time for during the session.

It was so wonderful to be given insight into their very special author/editor relationship and to hear how Penni’s popular Undine trilogy, Little Bird, Indigo Girls and Only Ever Always came into being.

Allen & Unwin Publisher, Eva Mills talked about how she gave up a successful career in science to follow her passion for children’s books.

Eva and Penni (who is also a freelance editor for Allen & Unwin) shared their knowledge and views about current industry trends.

What’s hot in Australian Kid’s Publishing

Eva told us that the top three things she is on the look out for are YA memoir, Middle Grade adventure/realism and she also said YA romance is still popular.

She also mentioned the Friday Pitch where authors have the opportunity to have their work seen by Allen & Unwin publishing staff.

What’s not

Genre that publishers aren’t currently seeking are dystopian, paranormal and quirky girl character centered junior fiction.

On the positive side, Eva said that outstanding manuscript in these genre might still be considered for publication.

She also mentioned that these thing go in cycles so genre that are not popular now could very well be back in fashion in a few years time.

It was a fascinating session and I came away feeling hopeful and inspired.

I highly recommend taking a break from your story world and venturing out into the real world to see what other writers are doing, and what’s happening on the publishing scene.

Did you go to any Melbourne Writer’s Festival Events that you can highly recommend? If so, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section of this post – or you might want to tell us about what you do to rejuvenate when being a writer has made you weary.

Happy Writing:)






4 thoughts on “Australian Children’s Publishing – What’s Hot and What’s Not!

  1. It was a really interesting session, Dee and it was great to see you and Alison. I found lots of the Q’s & A’s really helpful too as this often brings out lots of points that aren’t in the initial talk.

  2. I went to two MWF sessions – one with Jackie French et al on Shakespeare which was entertaining. The other session was inspiring – a conversation with Fiona Wood and Will Kostakis, very well chaired by Bec Kavanagh. It was a thoughtful and funny discussion about love in all its forms – love in families, love between mates, romantic love – interspersed with readings from the authors’ latest books ‘Wildlife’ and ‘The First Third’. I’ve got each of those books on my bedside pile now.

  3. Thanks Alison,

    Always great to hear about the other sessions. They both sound fabulous. The First Third is a great book and I imagine Fiona and Will were very entertaining.

    Sounds like you have some great reading ahead:)


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