School students to meet favourite authors, illustrators on campus | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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School students to meet favourite authors, illustrators on campus

More than 20 leading Australian authors and illustrators will bring their stories to life – in person and virtually – at the annual Beyond the Book Literature Festival on the Sunshine Coast from tomorrow, Thursday 22 February.

Focused on children’s and young adult literature for Years 4 to 12, the 29th festival presented by Immanuel Lutheran College and UniSC was previously known as Voices on the Coast.

Coordinator Kelly Dunham said the name change reflected the festival’s extension to audiences across Australia through its virtual program, as well as the in-person sessions on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 February at UniSC’s campus at Sippy Downs.

“I love seeing children’s faces light up when they meet the author or illustrator behind their favourite book and learn more about storytelling in the talks and interactive workshops,” said Ms Dunham of Immanuel Lutheran College.

“We also welcome adults to the program, which this year includes three days of virtual presentations from Monday 26 February to Wednesday 28 February.”

She expected strong interest in Kokomini writer and Fulbright Scholar Graham Akhurst talking about his novel Borderland and journalist/author Sarah Armstrong with her debut Big Magic.

Presenters who have either taught or studied at UniSC include:

  • Dr Ginna Brock, a poet and podcaster who also teaches creative writing, English literature and game analysis;
  • Dr Levi Durbidge, who teaches world languages after decades in language education in Australia and Japan and is exploring the impacts of digital technology and transnational mobility on language learning and use;
  • Dr Lee McGowan, who teaches creative writing and publishing and has authored history books on women’s soccer, beach soccer and football in fiction;
  • UniSC graduate Dr Dean Jacobs, an author, illustrator and designer with a Doctor of Creative Arts, talking about the importance of imagery in narratives and visual literacy;
  • UniSC graduate Dr Sarah Pye, also a Doctor of Creative Arts, bringing her puppet Pongo the sun bear to share adventures from the jungles of Borneo while researching the Wildlife Wong books

Ms Dunham said the Beyond the Book Literature Festival was designed to ignite a passion for reading and writing in future generations.

“Through hands-on curriculum learning and the chance to connect with their favourite authors and illustrators, the festival aims to inspire and empower young minds,” she said.

The festival’s community event Books on the Green will be held tomorrow, Thursday, from 5.30pm to 7pm at Immanuel Lutheran College, where families will mingle with authors and illustrators amid live entertainment and food trucks.

It also will celebrate the launch of two books: Leo and Ralph by Peter Carnavas and Her Majesty’s League of Remarkable Young Ladies by Alison Stegert.

For details, registration and tickets for the festival, go to

Media enquiries: Please contact the Media Team