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Article  •  30 May 2024


Penguin Random House children’s authors at Sydney Writers’ Festival 2024

Learn more about the children’s authors who were part of the 2024 Sydney Writers' Festival and check out their books.

The 2024 Sydney Writers’ Festival took place last week, bringing together 'a broad and engaged community around the sharing of books, writing and ideas.’

It was an exciting and inspiring festival for readers and writers of all ages. Over the weekend, several events catered to children and Penguin Random House (PRH) authors Amy Doak, Emma Memma, Morris Gleitzman, Kristin Darell and Deborah Abela delighted fans in their various sessions.

On Saturday, Amy was the perfect moderator for the YA ‘Murder They Wrote’ panel.

Shortly before the event began, she was surprised by her publisher, Zoe Walton, with a hot-off-the-press copy of her upcoming novel, Eleanor Jones Can’t Keep a Secret. Fellow author Jack Heath strategically placed it on the table beside him, displaying the book during the session.

After the panel, a line of eager fans were buzzing to meet Amy, and students from UNSW filmed her for their TikTok channel.

On Sunday, Emma Memma kicked off the family-focused day with a sold-out session. Her ‘All About the Butterfly Bus’ event encouraged 400 kids and parents to sing and dance along.  After the session, so many fans queued up to meet Emma Memma that her signing session lasted for over three hours. Festival staff were in awe of the response, likening Emma Memma’s popularity to Taylor Swift’s star power.

Morris Gleitzman’s in-conversation with Kris Darell was also a sold-out session. Morris shared insights into his latest novel, Tweet, and made the audience laugh with his ‘monologues’. After the session, fans were eagerly waiting to meet Morris, and he signed books for over 1.5 hours.

To wrap up the afternoon, Deborah Abela enlightened audiences in ‘The Inbe-tweens’ session where she discussed writing for the 8-12-year-old audience and diversity in middle-grade books. She also wowed everyone with a reading of The Kindness Project while pages were projected onto a screen behind, highlighting the book's unique format.

Overall, the Sydney Writers' Festival was a joy for readers and writers alike. If you missed these wonderful sessions, keep an eye out for upcoming events, and read on to learn more about the authors and their books.

PRH children’s authors at Sydney Writers’ Festival 2024

Author Amy Doak headshot.

Amy Doak

Amy Doak is a lifelong lover of books, reading and writing. Following a career in media: advertising, radio, television and magazines, she continues to work as a freelance writer and is excited to see her non-fiction writing career evolve into a fiction one.

Amy lives in regional Victoria with her husband, teen, tween, dog and a very grumpy cat.

Eleanor Jones Can't Keep a Secret book cover.

Eleanor Jones Can’t Keep a Secret

A gripping YA murder mystery that follows the events of Eleanor Jones is Not a Murderer. Coming 2 July 2024.

Emma Memma author photo.

Emma Memma

Beloved children’s entertainer Emma Memma, with her love of dance, sign language and music, brings visual communication to the forefront of the children’s media space. She is empowering the next generation through movement, creativity, inclusiveness and friendship.

Emma Memma Colouring Book

Emma Memma Colouring Book

64 pages of Emma Memma-inspired colouring, featuring Elvin Melvin, Waffles the Wombat and more.

Morris Gleitzman author photo.

Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman grew up in England and came to Australia when he was sixteen. After university he worked for ten years as a screenwriter. Then he had a wonderful experience. He wrote a novel for young people. Now, after 44 books, he’s one of Australia’s most popular authors. He was appointed the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2018–2019.


Tweet book cover.


A tale about a boy and his budgie on an epic adventure that might just change everything.

Kristin Darell author photo.

Kristin Darell

Kristin Darell has been a passionate storyteller since she was a child. Whether it was making up adventures with her twin sister, or writing about the world around her, she was rarely found without a pen and paper in hand. As an adult, she made this passion her life. She worked as a broadcast news and sports journalist for major Australian news organisations for more than twenty years.

After the birth of her two children, Kristin re-focused her attention on writing for children. As an author, she has contributed to children’s writing anthologies and is the acclaimed author of the Football Fever series with Football Australia and the Taronga Zoo presents series.

Kristin is a strong advocate for children’s literature, working as the Program Manager for the Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation. She lives on Sydney’s northern beaches with her husband, two children, two dogs, pet snake and three-legged pygmy bearded dragon.

Taronga Zoo1 book cover.

Taronga Zoo 1: Poo at the Zoo

The first book in the ultimate animal adventure series from Australia’s most popular zoo. Coming 3 September 2024. 

Deborah Abela author photo.

Deborah Abela

After training as a teacher, Deb travelled to Africa, where she was trapped in a desert sandstorm, harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail twice. She trained as a teacher before becoming writer/producer of a national children’s TV show at Network TEN. She’s since written 30 internationally published and awarded books, including the Max Remy series, her climate change trilogy, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm and The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee. Her CBCA Notable, The Book of Wondrous Possibilities, is about the power of books to save us when we feel lost. Her latest books are: The Kindness Project, a verse novel about how even the smallest act of kindness can change the world and her picture book, No More Room in the Bed. www.deborahabela.com

The Kindness Project book cover.

The Kindness Project

A hearwarming verse novel about four kids who overcome their differences and take on the world.

Featured Titles

Eleanor Jones Can’t Keep a Secret
Eleanor Jones stirs up more mystery and danger in this fast-paced YA mystery.
Read more
Emma Memma Colouring Book
Sing, dance, sign and colour with Emma Memma!
Read more
A boy and his beloved budgie are thrust into an epic adventure that could change everything. Absolutely everything.
Read more
Taronga presents: Poo at the Zoo
The ultimate animal adventure series! From Taronga’s two Zoos comes a wild junior fiction series, purrfect for animal lovers aged 7 and up! Join best friends Sophia and Ollie as they experience a day in their DREAM JOB and get up-close and personal with all your favourite zoo animals, big and small.
Read more
The Kindness Project
A heartwarming verse novel from beloved Australian children’s author Deborah Abela.
Read more

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