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Bec Kavanagh

Curriculum Specialist, Education Consultant

Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer and academic whose work examines the representation of women’s bodies in literature.

She has appeared at the Melbourne & Sydney Writers Festivals and on Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily. Bec has judged a number of literary prizes, including the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, and her reviews can be found in The Australian, Bookseller & Publisher and Australian Book Review. She has written fiction and non-fiction for a number of publications including Westerly, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction and the Shuffle anthology.

Bec was the Schools Manager for the Stella Prize for five years, and is currently Schools Programmer at the Wheeler Centre and a sessional tutor and academic at LaTrobe University. (@beckavanagh)

Where were you born?

Whyalla, but I grew up in the Adelaide Hills. When I was younger during school holidays, I would get up early and hide down the side of my bed so that I could read without being dragged outside to weed the garden.

Where have your works been published?

Viewpoint, Bookseller & Publisher,Australian Book Review, Squawk! and teachers notes through individual publishing houses.

What have been the highlights of your career?

The first A Thousand Words in 2009. Kids coming into one of the first bookshops I worked in and telling me that they loved reading because of a book that I suggested. MWF and AussieCon – talking about books I love with people that I’ve admired.

What are you passionate about?

Trusting your instincts. Finding your own ‘normal’. Reading because you want to. Writing because you need to. Making a home for animals that need one.

Haven’t I seen you before?

If you’ve been to A Thousand Words before then probably! Hopefully I was doing something exciting and not running around like a maniac. Or you may have seen me at the Melbourne Writers Festival or AussieCon4 talking about my favourite things – books!


(Panel Feedback) All three speakers were excellent. The panel worked very well with it being a balanced input from all speakers and Bec moderating the discussion. Bec, Tim and Declan were all very generous with what they spoke about and their time. It was due to the panel that the audience felt engaged, inspired and therefore felt a part of the discussion.

—C. Morton, Whitefriars College, November 2012

In recent years our literary has been an informal drinks function and this format has proved to be very successful. In 2012 instead of having an author promote their books, our committee decided to celebrate Australia’s National Year of Reading by inviting Bec to talk about the latest trends in young adolescent fiction. Feedback from the event has again been overwhelmingly positive! Bec was so easy to listen to and the time literally flew. She clearly demonstrated her knowledge and enthusiasm for YA literature.

—L. Monotti, Geelong SLAV, September 2012

Bec spoke to the Year 9 students. She was natural, speaking as though she was having a chat with a group of friends. Her talk was full of pertinent advice related to her own experiences as a reader and reviewer and the students appreciated that. Their feedback about her the next day was very positive “I thought Bec spoke really well. She included a lot of humour. Nothing she said got boring. I found myself always engaged when she spoke. She included a lot of great advice for people who are passionate about writing.”

—J. Wilson, Librarian, St Leonard’s College, September 2012

My sincere thanks to all who helped in the selection and arrangements for Bec to join us on Friday for PD. I found the information about the genre of Young Adult Fiction and Reluctant Readers succinct, helpful and very relevant to the classroom issues I face in Year 10 in particular.

Further her wealth of knowledge about books to read in certain genres and as ways to understand the crossovers in Young Adult fiction was a welcome road map to an area which is developing so quickly. I left with at least two dozen titles to go away and read which could help me either advise or engage in reading discussions with students.

It is such a blessing to have not one but two PD sessions which hit the mark and leave you feeling like your time was well spent and you really are ‘Professionally Developed’ because of the experience.

Many thanks to all, including Bec for the valuable presentations on Friday.

—B. Auty, teacher, Padua College, August 2012

Bec Kavanagh, the organiser of the “A Thousand Words” writing festival, is a young woman with a strong background within the publishing industry and a passion for literature. When she visited Ruyton last week to speak to Yr 10 students, she proved to be a lively and thoroughly engaging speaker. Well informed, her perception and enthusiasm shone through as she spoke about the types of books that students should not overlook as they move beyond teenage literature to more adult titles.

—Ruyton Girls' College, October 2011

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