2024 Judges

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Meet our judges for Write a Book in a Day 2024…

Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis

National Judge

Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. That said, he’s best known for his award-winning YA novels. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen. His second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards, among others. The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. It went on to win the IBBY Australia Ena Noel Award. We Could Be Something is his latest novel. As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories. He has since contributed to numerous anthologies, including Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. Will is a NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador.

Nat Amoore

Primary Division Judge

Nat Amoore is a Sydney-based writer whose debut novel Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire came out in 2019 with Penguin Random House. It had great success as both Dymocks and QBD’s ‘Kids Book of The Month’, becoming Australia’s #1 bestselling debut Aussie children’s fiction in 2019. It has now been sold into the UK, US, Italy, China, Estonia and Romania. Her second book The Power of Positive Pranking  was shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book Prize and REAL Children’s Choice Book Awards. It went on to win the 2021 Environment Award for Children’s Literature. The Right Way to Rock  came out in June 2021 and was a 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Notable and a nominee for the 2023 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. Novel/graphic novel hybrid We Run Tomorrow hit stands in 2022 and is both on the Speech Pathology Book of the Year shortlist and a CBCA Book of the Year Notable.
The brand-new junior fiction series Shower Land launched in Feb this year, with Book 1: Break the Curse being announced as Dymocks ‘Kids Book of the Month’. The first three books in the series are all coming out in 2024 and Nat’s first picture book is hitting stores in 2025. Nat was a recipient of the CBCA Maurice Saxby Creative Development Program for 2018 and is a proud Role Model for Books In Homes.
Maddy Proud 2020

Maddy Proud

Primary Division Judge

Maddy Proud is a professional netballer currently playing for the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball Competition. She is the current co-captain of the club which won the 2021 and 2019 Super Netball Championship. Maddy has played professionally since the age of 16, starting her career at the Adelaide Thunderbirds after becoming the youngest player to ever be contracted to a professional netball team. Maddy was the captain of the Australian 21 & Under team from 2012-2013 during which time she led the team to a silver medal at the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2013. Maddy’s first children’s novel, Grace on the Court, was published in January 2018. The story follows 13-year old Grace Parker as she figures out how to handle the 3 B’s: boys, boy bands and ball sports. She has completed a Masters of Creative Writing at Macquarie University.
Margot Lindgren

Margot Lindgren

Primary Division Judge

Margot Lindgren worked as a Teacher-Librarian in NSW Primary schools for 33 years in a variety of settings from small rural schools to a large metropolitan campus. She has a passion for children’s literature which she shares through her blog – Momo Time to Read. She adds several new titles each week ranging from Picture Books through to senior novels. Margot is currently National Secretary of IBBY Australia (International Board on Books for the Young). In 2021 she was selected to judge the  Picture Book of the Year Award (2021-2023) for the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Following her retirement in 2018, her volunteer roles include working in the Book Bunker at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.  In addition to her teaching qualifications Margot has an MEd in Teacher-Librarianship and Post Graduate qualifications in Children’s Literature.

Chloe Mauger

WA Primary, Middle & Upper Divisions Judge

Chloe Mauger has worked in school libraries since the late 1970s. Since her retirement in 1999 most of her professional energies have been poured into working on the Committee of The Children’s Book Council of Australia, West Australian Branch, which she joined in 1998. She has held the roles of president, secretary and committee member and judged a number of prestigious awards including the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the West Australian Premier’s Book Awards. Chloe is also a reviewer for Magpies: Talking About Books for Children, and has been privileged to be a judge for the Write a Book in a Day competition since 2015.

Marita Smith

Upper Division Judge

Marita Smith is an author, editor, and gourmet mushroom grower. After finishing a PhB (Hons) in Science at the Australian National University, she worked as a paleobiogeochemist in the Netherlands and then vagabonded her way across Europe working on small farms. She now lives in a tiny house on the NSW South Coast, where she writes young adult science fiction, cultures bioluminescent fungi, and hangs out with her donkey, Mindy.
Mick Elliott 2020

Mick Elliott

Middle Division Judge

Mick Elliott is an author, illustrator, TV producer, literacy ambassador and mischief-maker who has been doodling and telling stories since he was a toddler. His hilarious adventure trilogy, The Turners, was nominated for an Aurealis Award and features on the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. His illustrated comedy series, Squidge Dibley Destroys The School, is popular with kids all over the world. Mick is an award-winning children’s TV producer and screenwriter who has worked on acclaimed productions for Nickelodeon, the Sesame Workshop and the ABC. His first picture book, Dads and Dogs, is out this year from Walker Books.

Judith Rossell

Illustration Judge

Judith Rossell is the multi-award-winning author-illustrator of the bestselling Stella Montgomery series (Withering-by-Sea, Wormwood Mire and Wakestone Hall). She has written sixteen books and illustrated more than eighty. Her most recent books are: Play with your Plate, a novelty board book for toddlers; Pink! a picture book written with Margaret Wild; and her new illustrated middle grade novel, The Midwatch, set to be released in October. Her work has been published in the US and UK, and translated into more than twenty languages. Judith teaches at RMIT and the Australian Writers’ Centre, and lives in Melbourne.
Photo of Emma Mactaggart smiling

Emma Mactaggart

Illustration Judge

Emma Mactaggart is an award-winning author, speaker, and publisher. She has been teaching the craft of writing and illustrating to children and adults for nearly 20 years via her Child Writes program. Her publishing business, a small press with a big purpose, Boogie Books, is the largest publisher on Amazon in the world of children’s picture books written by children for children. There are over 370 titles in this collection. These same books also flew for five years with Jetstar as part of their in-flight entertainment system! If Emma is not actually reading, she is promoting reading (International Read to Me Day!), creating books or dreaming up way to promote the creativity of those in her community. She is the Founder and ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’ of The Lighthouse Toowoomba, where free wildly imaginative literacy-based workshops are offered to children who need them. The physical space includes a lot of GLAM: a youth writing centre, workshops spaces, offices, a one-way library and a gift shop, and The Write Gallery. Her workshops always include a nod to the 5 tenets of wellbeing and drawing to promote children’s imaginations.