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Teaching with Fantasy
Australian Fantasy Writers in Conversation and in the Classroom
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by Teaching with ...
  • Join some of the best Australian writers of fantasy fiction for young adults for a day of Professional Development at The University of Queensland.


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    We are grateful to the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund for supporting the Teaching with Fantasy project.

    In 2017, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund awarded Kerry Kilner and Kim Wilkins funding to support the development of teaching and learning resources for the teaching of Australian fantasy novels for young adults and to run a professional development event for teachers. The grant has enabled us to bring these exciting writers together in person and in digital form. 

  • The Teaching with Fantasy workshop directly targets the requirement in the Australian Curriculum: English for students to be reading and analysing a range of texts, to include fantasy and speculative fiction, including literature from Australia. Moreover, the authors represented at the PD day explore themes of interpersonal relationships and ethical dilemmas. More specifically, the day hits a number of content descriptions, including the expectation that students:

    • reflect on ideas and opinions about characters, setting and events (ACELT1620)
    • examine the way language is used to create characters and influence reader’s emotions (ACELT1621)
    • analyse the ways that characterisation, events and setting combine in narratives (ACELT1622)
    • recognise and explain differing opinions about the world as represented in texts (ACELT1807)
    • analyse, interpret and use various uses of text structures, language and techniques, including to create tone (ACELT1630, ACELT1767, ACELT1632, ACELT1637)
    • explore notions of literary value and why such notions vary according to context (ACELT1634)
    • evaluate the appeal of an individual author’s style (ACELT1636)
    • explore and reflect on personal understandings of the world and significant human experiences gained from interpreting various life matters in texts, including fantasy stories (ACELT1635).

    This is just a small selection of specific links to the Australian Curriculum drawn the Literature Strand alone, and across Year 7 to 9.

  • About the Facilitators

  • Associate Professor Kim Wilkins


    Associate Professor Kim Wilkins is the Program Director of the University of Queensland's Writing, Editing, and Publishing program. She has more than twenty years of experience in the publishing industry and is a leading researcher in the field of twenty-first-century book culture.

    Kim is also a novelist, and has published thirty full-length works of fiction under her own name and under her pseudonym Kimberley Freeman. She has been translated into twenty languages and has won or been shortlisted for many awards. She writes fantasy fiction, historical fiction, and women's adventure fiction. She is a big fan of Led Zeppelin, misty English landscapes, tiny dogs, and huge books.

    See Kim's full AustLit record here.

  • Kerry Kilner - AustLit Director


    Kerry is the Director of AustLit and Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication and Arts at UQ. She is responsible for making AustLit the best it can possibly be, and is helped in that task by an amazing team of researchers, indexers, researchers, and student helpers.

    A long-standing area of research interest is twentieth century Australian women playwrights working in the period before 1955. She is creating an archive of Australian drama which can be explored here.

    See Kerry's full AustLit record here.

  • Lindsay Williams


    Teacher, author of teaching resources, and professional development provider, Lindsay Williams taught for twenty-four years in state and independent schools, including seventeen years as Head of English.

    He holds both a diploma of teaching from Brisbane College of Advanced Education and a Bachelor of Education Studies from The University of Queensland. In 2017, he was completing his PhD at The University of Queensland.He has also lectured and tutored at both Griffith University and The University of Queensland.

    See Lindsay's full AustLit record.

  • About the Authors

    This event brings together fantasy authors from across the country. Explore the list of authors and their spotlighted works below.

  • Sean Williams (South Australia) : The Stone Mage and the Sea


    About the author

    Sean Williams is an Adelaide-based speculative fiction author of more than 160 works, including short stories, novels, and works for children and young adults. His works have won or been nominated for over 45 awards, including multiple Ditmar Awards and Aurealis Awards, beginning with his short fiction in the mid-1990s. Saturn Returns (2007) was shortlisted for the international Philip K. Dick Award. Williams has also won the Peter McNamara Convenors' Award (Aurealis Awards) and in 2017 was the recipient of the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.

    See Sean's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    In a world where the huge, red-sanded deserts are ruled by Stone Mages and the vast coastlines by Sky Wardens, any child with magic ability is taken away to the Haunted City to be trained in the Change.

    Fundelry is a small town much like any other in the Strand. The people have little tolerance for anyone who stands out, and Sal and his father are strangers, running from someone ... or something. Sal is rescued from the local bully by Shilly and her teacher Lodo, a mysterious tattooed man who seems to know more about Sal than Sal himself. And Sal′s father seems to want to stay put for a while. But soon the Sky Wardens will come to Fundelry.

    Before then, Sal must uncover the connection between Lodo and the mother he never met, in order to escape a fate that seems to have been chosen for him before he was even born.

    See the full AustLit record for The Stone Mage and the Sea.

  • Anthony Eaton (ACT) : Nightpeople


    About the author

    Academic and author Anthony Eaton, born in Papua New Guinea and raised outside Perth, is currently based in Canberra, where he is an associate professor at the University of Canberra. He published his first novel in 2000, and has since followed it with a young-adult series, a children's series, and a number of standalone works. Like Sean Williams, he has held the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, and his novels have repeatedly been shortlisted for and won major awards, including Aurealis Awards and the Western Australian Premiere's Book awards.

    See Anthony's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    Saria is the last of her kind, the final child to be born in the Darklands, a quarantined expanse of outback desert, contaminated generations earlier by the remote and mysterious Nightpeople. Spirited away at her birth before the Nightpeople could remove her from the genetic pool, Saria, now in her early teens, is called before the Council of Dreamers to be used as a bargaining chip. There she discovers the truth about her own past and that of her people.

    See the full AustLit record for Nightpeople.

  • Ambelin Kwaymullina (Western Australia) : The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf


    About the author

    Ambelin Kwaymullina is a lawyer, an author of children's books, and a Palyku woman from the Pilbara region. She has worked as both author and illustrator of books, both individually and in collaboration with her mother, Sally Morgan, and her siblings, Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Blaze Kwaymullina. Her work has been shortlisted for a wide range of awards, including both the Queensland and the Western Australian Premier's Awards, the Aurealis Awards, and the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards. Both Caterpillar and Butterfly and The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf have been taught at universities in New South Wales and Victoria.

    See Ambelin's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    The Reckoning destroyed civilisation and humanity has had to rise from the ashes. But there are now people with abilities -- Flyers, Firestarters, Rumblers -- and society is scared of them. The government calls them Illegals. Ashala Wolf protects a group of Illegals. They hide together in the Firstwood and she'll do anything to keep them safe. When Ashala is captured, she realises she has been betrayed by someone she trusted. Now she only has herself. But when Neville starts digging in her memories for information, she doubts she can protect her people forever ... will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

    See the full AustLit record for The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf.

  • Alison Goodman (Victoria) : Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club


    About the book

    Alison Goodman began publishing with the Aurealis Award-winning Singing the Dogstar Blues in 1998, and has gone on to publish standalone novels and two significant young-adult series: Eon and Lady Helen. Goodman has won the Aurealis Award for more than one work, and has been longlisted and shortlisted for a range of other significant Australian and international awards, including the Davitt Award, the Norma K. Hemming Award, both the New South Wales and the Victorian Premier's Awards, and the James Tiptree Jr Award.

    See Alison's full AustLit record.

     About the work

    London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her debut at the court of Queen Charlotte and officially step into polite Regency society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know that step will take her from the opulent drawing rooms of Mayfair and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies. Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of ruined reputation and brusque manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred and secret duty. Helen is not so sure, especially when she discovers that nothing around her is quite as it seems, including the enigmatic Lord Carlston. Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St James's Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and dark choices that must be made ... whatever the consequences.

    See the full AustLit record for Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club.

  • Jodi McAlister (Tasmania) : Valentine


    About the author

    Academic and author Jodi McAlister is currently based at the University of Tasmania, where she teaches both classic English literature and genre fiction. Her research area of expertise is romantic love and its intersections with popular culture. In January 2017, she published her debut novel, Valentine, a dark fairy romance set in a small Australian town. The sequel, Ironheart, is due in early 2018.

    See Jodi's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    Strange and terrible things begin to happen to four teenagers – all born on the same Valentine’s Day. One of these teenagers is the Valentine: a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human child at its birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is. Pearl shares a birthday with Finn Blacklin. She’s known him all her life and disliked every second of it. Now Pearl and Finn must work together to protect themselves from the sinister forces that are seeking them out. But there's one more problem: the explosive chemistry between them ...

    See the full AustLit record for Valentine.

  • Maria Lewis (New South Wales) : Who's Afraid?


    About the author

    Born in New Zealand and later raised on the Gold Coast, Maria Lewis worked as a cadet reporter on the crime beat as a teenager, before shifting to entertainment reporting. She made a name for herself as a freelance entertainment reporter, podcaster, and TV panellist, with a strong focus on queer representation and feminism in film, before she published her first novel, Who's Afraid?, in 2016. The first sequel (of a total five books) was published in 2017, around the same time as Hoodlum Entertainment announced they'd be planning a television series based on the character.

    See Maria's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    Tommi Grayson's never exactly been a normal girl. Bright blue hair, a mysterious past and barely controlled rage issues have a way of making a woman stand out. Yet she's never come close to guessing who she really is ...

    When her mother dies, a shattered Tommi decides to track down her estranged father. Leaving Scotland for a remote corner of New Zealand, she discovers the truth of her heritage - and it's a whole lot more than merely human.

    Barely escaping with her life, now Tommi must return to her her friends, pretending everything is normal, while all too aware of the dangers lurking outside - and within. Worse still, something has followed her home ...

    See the full AustLit record for Who's Afraid?

  • Isobelle Carmody (Queensland) : The Gathering


    About the author

    Isobelle Carmody is one of Australia's most recognisable young-adult fantasy writers, thanks in part to her long-running Obernewtyn series. Carmody began writing the series when she was fourteen: the first instalment, Obernewtyn was published in 1987 and the final, long-awaited volume, The Red Queen, in 2015. In between Carmody had published a range of works, from short stories to novels, including the continuing Legendsong Saga and the multi-author Quentaris Chronicles. Her work has won or been shortlisted for a wide range of awards, including the New South Wales Premier's Awards, the Aurealis Awards, and the Ledger Awards.

    See Isobelle's full AustLit record.

    About the book

    When Nathanial and his mother move to the quiet, safe streets of Cheshunt, he immediately senses something wrong. Violent gangs patrol the streets, feral dogs roam at night, and the oppressive stench from the abattoir lingers over the school.

    Soon Nathanial learns that his presence is no accident. As he uncovers the dark secrets of Cheshunt's past, and event spiral desperately out of control, he and his new friends must confront phantoms from their past in the battle to stop the Gathering and its terrifying creator.

    See the full AustLit record for The Gathering.

  • Coming Soon...

    • Video interviews between Associate Professor Kim Wilkins and each of the authors!
    • Audio recordings of the panel sessions at the event!
    • Lesson plans by the English Teacher Guru, Lindsay Williams!
    • Information trails and online exhibitions about Australian fantasy worlds!
    • and there's always so much more....
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