Lesley Gibbes and Astrid Scholte shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2020

Not one but two people in the AWC family have made the shortlist for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2020 with both Lesley Gibbes and Astrid Scholte making it on the list.

AWC presenter Lesley Gibbes has been shortlisted for her gorgeous picture book Searching for Cicadas. Featuring beautiful illustrations by Judy Watson, the book is the latest in the Nature Storybook series by Walker Books. 

The Nature Storybook series combines beautiful storytelling with factual information that lets kids explore our unique Australian animals and landscapes. They’re perfect to read with both younger and older kids.

Lesley is the author of twelve books for children. She was inspired to write Searching for Cicadas based on her own childhood memories of her grandmother’s garden in the summertime.

“It was wonderful, but the thing I remember most vividly were the summertime cicadas. As they whizzed and buzzed around us my father and my grandmother would tell me all about them. I loved learning their names and finding out about their secret life underground.”

Lesley is one of our most popular presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre where she presents Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds

“Teaching is the most rewarding thing for me about being an author. I was a passionate primary school teacher for sixteen years before turning my hand to writing. I get so much joy out of combining my passion for children’s literature and writing with my passion for teaching,” she says. 

Also making the shortlist is AWC alumna Astrid Scholte. Her incredible YA novel Four Dead Queens  is up for Book of the Year: Older Readers.

Astrid was drawn to write for older kids because of the strong focus on story.

“YA books are jam-packed full of story,” Astrid says. “They take risks, meld genres and push boundaries. Restrictions and rules are made to be broken in YA. They zip along at breakneck speeds, are thrilling and unputdownable.”

Astrid had tried her hand at writing a few YA books, but completing courses Creative Writing Stage 1, Novel Writing Essentials and History, Mystery and Magic gave her the practical skills she was craving to work on her manuscripts.

“I took the classes because I needed accountability, someone to check in on how my book was coming along. I hoped a course would give me the inspiration, and motivation, to push through that first 15-20K words and finish a manuscript,” Astrid says. “It was the best decision I made for my writing career!”

Four Dead Queens has been immensely popular since its release in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2019.

Congratulations Lesley and Astrid!


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