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Samantha Turnbull

Author, Storyteller/Performer

Samantha Turnbull is a children’s author, slam poet, multimedia journalist for the ABC, and mummy blogger. She offers talks about her books and creative writing workshops for primary school students, slam poetry and multimedia journalism workshops for upper primary and secondary students, and informative sessions on childhood gender stereotypes for parents and teachers.

Where were you born?

Lismore, northern New South Wales, also known as the ‘rainbow region.’

What other jobs have you had?

I have actually been working as a journalist since I was 14 years old. After school, I would spend my afternoons writing for the weekly paper in the country town where I grew up. I only got paid four dollars per hour, however, so I took a few extra jobs to pay my way through uni including ‘perfume sprayer’ at a department store and kids’ party entertainer (I enjoyed dressing up as a pirate far more than a princess or fairy).

What themes are recurring in your work?

I’m ‘anti-princess.’ That means, I’m sick of stories that feature prissy princesses who need rescuing by princes. I’m also sick of princesses being plastered on everything from nappies to squeezy yoghurts to earplugs (yes, you can get princess earplugs).

I’m also a big believer in every story for every body – there’s no such thing as ‘girls’ books’ and ‘boys’ books’ – and I have a sneaky way of proving that point to my primary school audiences.

Overall, I love to challenge gender stereotypes. And, as a journalist, I can teach you how to recognise those stereotypes when they’re fed to you in the media.

So, the short answer is, these themes can be found recurring in my work: diversity, family, friendship, gender, sexism and stereotypes.

What have been the highlights of your career?

The launch of The Anti-Princess Club series in March, 2015.

Winning the Byron Bay Writers Festival Poetry Slam in 2014, and performing at the NSW Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam in 2014.

Winning a bunch of journalism awards including Young Journalist of the Year (twice) and the Tom Barrass Memorial Award (twice) at the NSW Regional Media Awards.

Being named a finalist in the Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism in 2004.

Running a radio station at a summer camp in the USA for children who lost their parents in the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, 2001.

Reporting at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Where have your works been published?

The Anti-Princess Club children’s book series was published by Allen & Unwin in March, 2015.

I am a full-time multimedia reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and have my work published regularly across all of the ABC’s platforms, including ABC Online, the 7pm NSW TV news, ABC News 24, ABC Local Radio, The Country Hour and The World Today.

My writing has also appeared in News Ltd publications including The Daily Telegraph and Gold Coast Bulletin, APN publications including The Northern Star and Sunshine Coast Daily, Rural Press publications including The Canberra Times, ACP magazines including Cosmopolitan and SHE, websites including Mamamia, Kidspot and Kids Book Review.

I also blog at samanthaturnbull.com.au and antiprincessclub.com.au

What are you passionate about?

Redefining what it means to be girly, and proving that there’s more than one way to be a girl.

Infiltrating the ‘pink aisles’ of shops across the world.

Ridding bookshelves of too many lame princess stories that stereotype girls as weak, obsessed with beauty and in need of rescuing.

Showing kids that their self worth is not something that can be found in the mirror.

Demonstrating that there is no such thing as books/toys/interests ‘for girls’ and ‘for boys’ – everything is for every body.

Calling out gender stereotypes in popular culture and showing kids and adults how to identify them.

Slam/performance poetry.

Multimedia journalism/storytelling.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may have seen me spruiking The Anti-Princess Club in the media – here’s an interview I did on Channel Nine when the books came out: http://www.9jumpin.com.au/show/mornings/videos/4115541214001/

I don’t appear in it, but you may have seen the awesome book trailer I made for The Anti-Princess Club here: http://youtu.be/AXJ83WR0LKQ

There’s a video of my performance at the NSW Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam here: http://youtu.be/U6KiENJll68

And you can hear me on ABC radio most days, and my reporting head pops up on ABC television every now and then.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I LOVE working with kids and they seem to LOVE me back. My presentations and workshops are super dynamic, interactive, and often include some impromptu rap and beatboxing. (No, I’m not a professional rapper or beatboxer but I live in hope).

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