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Open Right

16 September 2020
A Warm Welcome to Lisa Fuller


New speaker alert!

We are delighted to welcome Lisa Fuller to the Booked Out community! Lisa is a Wuilli Wuilli woman from south-east Queensland. She now teaches creative writing at the University of Canberra, where she is also doing her PhD in creative writing.

Lisa’s debut YA novel, Ghost Bird, has won and been shortlisted in a slew of awards, and in 2018 she came second in the Feminartsy Memoir Award 2018 for her piece, ‘Story ends, is, begins’. You may recognise Lisa from this year’s digital Melbourne Writers Festival School’s Program. 

Welcome Lisa!

To read more about Lisa Fuller, or to book a session, contact us on 03 9824 0177 or email

Thursday the 10th of September is R U OK?Day – a national day of action to remind us that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” if someone in your world is struggling with life’s ups and downs.

R U OK? aims to protect people from suicide and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone who is struggling.

At Booked Out, we care a lot about wellbeing and mental health. We work with some amazing role models and inspirational speakers from across the country who tackle important issues in schools.

Check out our Well Within program which includes Australia’s leading experts in better health and wellbeing for secondary school communities. Because there’s more to say after R U OK? And these speakers can help you find the words.

Today is International Literacy Day! 📚🌟
This year’s theme focuses on literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond with a focus on the role of educators and changing pedagogies.
With that in mind, we’d like to express our admiration and gratitude for all the teachers and librarians who have been working so hard this year to improve and encourage their students’ literacy, despite the many challenges 2020 has brought. We know this year has been tough, but we just wanted to say we think you’re doing an outstanding job!
And thank you to all our wonderful speakers who are always passionate and dedicated when it comes to youth literacy and learning – keep it up legends!

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day! ❤️💛🖤⁣

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation are focussed on improving literacy levels in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and closing the literacy gap.⁣

Today at 12.30pm, they will be presenting an online event designed for children 3-11 years of age. Primary schools, libraries and early education centres are invited to join this special online session, (today is the premiere but it will be available on their YouTube channel after today). ⁣

Viewers are encouraged to donate a gold coin on the day of viewing and engage in the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ first languages. Funds go towards the purchase of books and learning resources for children in remote communities.⁣

Follow @IndigenousLiteracyFoundation to find out more about their important work and check out the event on the YouTube page. ⁣

Last Friday was Wear It Purple Day! 💜🏳️‍🌈✨⁣

We work with some incredible speakers who are tireless advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights.⁣

To our speakers Nevo Zisin, Daniel Witthaus, Jessica Walton, and projectrockit cofounders Lucy Thomas and Rosie Thomas: we are so grateful for the work you do each day to combat bullying and encourage equality and resilience, especially amongst young people. Today we want to recognise your dedication and say a special thank you. 💜⁣

#WeAreTheChange #WearItPurpleDay2020

Happy (what would have been) Book Week! 🎉🎉🎉

Though the official 2020 Book Week dates are now October 17-23, we know that many schools and libraries across the country are still celebrating this week. (Or if you’re like us you celebrate books all year round!) So, we just wanted to say happy reading and wish you all the best with your festivities.

If you’re celebrating in October, and you’re as excited as we are, add some literary magic to your plans with a special author or illustrator visit! We have a diverse range of speakers available for bookings in October and throughout the year, online and in-person*.

Whether you’re after a writing seminar, illustration workshop, story-time reading or an entertaining performance – we’ve got the speaker for you.

Get in touch today to discuss your Book Week activities, we’re always happy to chat all things literary!

*Depending on your state’s and the speaker’s restrictions.

Also check out Lia Hills’ Still Life Haiku Project!

Poet and novelist, Lia Hills, has created an instructional video about how to capture your experience of this time through haiku. The video makes for a readymade lesson for remote learning, complete with a teacher worksheet.

You can view the video here:


It would be an understatement to call the Booked Out-ers word nerds. We don’t just read books, we eat them up for breakfast!  That’s why we’re super excited to see the shortlisted titles for the 2020 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. If only our local libraries were open – we’d be knocking down the doors to borrow them all!

To read the full blog post about the 2020 prize, and view the shortlisted titles and authors, click here for the Readings post.

If you’re based in Melbourne and desperate for a new book to read, the fantastic workers at Penguin have compiled a list of Bookshops in Victoria that are offering online and phone orders. Click here to find your local bookseller and maybe order a book or two (the Readings shortlist beckons!)

The wonderful Nat Amoore is running a little competition on social media for all the Victorian schools in lockdown. Go in the draw to win:



🦆 1 x copy of TOTAL QUACK UP AGAIN

📚 $100 voucher for more books at The Little Bookroom

‍💻a 30 minute Q&A Zoom session with Nat Amoore!

To enter, just post a photo of an Australian kid’s book you love on Twitter or Instagram, tag and follow @nat_amoore and #natsbrain so she can find you.

Anyone can enter, but the prize must go to a Victorian school in lockdown.

Good luck!

There’s nothing better than a new book to keep you company during lockdown (or semi lockdown!) and there’s none better than one that’s only just hit the shelf!

Our authors and illustrators are constantly releasing new works that take our breath away, and this week we are excited to shine a spotlight on the following talented creators.

These authors and many others can be booked to speak to your students or library patrons – to contact us, email, or call 03 9824 0177.


Maxine Beneba Clarke When We Say Black Lives Matter

A vital and timely picture book from the prize-winning and bestselling Australian author Maxine Beneba Clarke

Little one, when we say Black Lives Matter,
we’re saying black people are wonderful-strong.
That we deserve to be treated with basic respect,
and that history’s done us wrong.

From birth to the end of school, in joy and in sorrow, on the trumpet and the djembe, at home and in the community, a black child’s parents remind him why Black Lives Matter.

Kate MildenhallThe Mother Fault

You will not recognise me, she thinks, when I find you . . .

Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.

But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.

Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.

From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.

The day I created a boy started out like any other.

Katie didn’t mean to create a boy. A boy like a long-lost Hemsworth brother: six-foot tall with floppy hair and eyes like the sky on a clear summer’s day; whose lips taste like cookie dough and whose skin smells like springtime.

A boy who is completely devoted to Katie.

He was meant to be perfect.

But he was never meant to exist.

Lili WilkinsonThe Erasure Initiative

A girl wakes up on a self-driving bus. She has no memory of how she got there or who she is. Her nametag reads CECILY. The six other people on the bus are just like her: no memories, only nametags. There’s a screen on each seatback that gives them instructions. A series of tests begin, with simulations projected onto the front window of the bus. The passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed, and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom – she’s fighting for her life.

We are so proud of the way our speakers have adapted to these difficult times. Amongst balancing new workloads and commitments, our speakers have been incredibly resilient, and risen to the challenge of COVID-19 with fantastic online sessions.

Don’t just take our word for it, read on for glowing reviews of recent online sessions, delivered in top-notch quality.

Click here to view our full list of speakers who are offering online sessions, and don’t forget that due to this new initiative, you can now book authors and illustrators from thousands of kilometres away without the pricey travel costs!

BRIAN FALKNER – St Andrews Lutheran College, April 2020

“Brian was entertaining, engaging and so well-organised! The little activities he planned were relevant to the unit and super effective. All of the students enjoyed the visit and his clever sense of humour!”

“I thought Brian was great at engaging multiple students and his content appealed to them. My students thought he was great and really appreciated how he interacted with them on a personal level. As a teacher, I found his explanation of the importance of character in a story, really insightful.”

MARK SMITH – St Kevin’s College, August 2020

“Mark did an outstanding job with presenting online to our Year 8 students. Even though it was not possible for our students to be interactive, Mark still delivered a highly engaging presentation which captivated our students’ attention and gave them many useful tips and hints for their own writing. He answered all of our previously sent questions and many students contacted him via social media afterwards. I would highly recommend other schools engage Mark for an online presentation during this remote learning period. Julie Pagliaro – Head of Libraries, St Kevin’s College”

“The Mark Smith talk was intriguing and I personally found it to be a captivating presentation. Mark covered some interesting topics whilst not losing the attention of the viewer.” (student)
“I really enjoyed the Mark Smith talk and I picked up so many tips! It was the best author visit so far.” (student)
“Mark’s talk was fantastic and relatable advice to assist our boys with their own creative writing. He had a few lines that I’ve written down to start using in my own teaching. Mark has a wonderful presentation style. Very warm and engaging.”
MELISSA KEIL – Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, August 2020

“Melissa was terrific and very engaging. She was well prepared and had a warm relaxed presence online. It was inspiring for our performing arts students to hear how she found her way being a writer. The kids stayed online for the duration and they were enthusiastic in their thanks to Melissa at the end.

Melissa also undertook a tech run through with me the day before so that we were both confident that the technology would work.

Having the option for online author presentations during this time of remote learning has been a wonderful way to break up the routine for both our students and staff.”

MARK SMITH – Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, August 2020
“Mark was terrific and very engaging. He has a relaxed presence online and really knew how to pitch his presentation to the age group. The kids stayed online for the duration and asked some terrific questions which Mark was responsive to.”
ALICE PUNG – Catholic Ladies’ College, August 2020
“Could I please also take this opportunity to share that we have been booking writers through Booked Out for several years now- and we were absolutely delighted by Alice Pung’s delivered workshop! During such extraordinary times, going into remote platform, we have had to rethink many of our school programs, but today’s workshop was a true testament to the care and professionalism provided. Alice Pung worked beautifully with our students and tailoring the workshop to suit the program. I wanted to take the time to share that of all the delivered workshops through the years, Alice Pung’s presentation was immaculate!”
LUCINDA GIFFORD – Sacre Coeur, August 2020

“We had our sessions today. Lucinda was amazing. She connected with our students from Prep to Year 6. It was so delightful to hear the girls laughing so much. The level of excitement was palpable.

Lucinda was engaging, she was so responsive to the students that made the girls feel so much a part of the presentation.

The response for the students and teachers was so positive. Everyone came away feeling happy.

It was wonderfully uplifting for all.”