Sağolun – thankyou Turkey; ITEF; Writers & Readers

Sağolun – thankyou Turkey; ITEF; Writers & Readers

Inspiring, wonderful, emotional, funny – hanging out in Turkey with international writers at the ITEF Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival – who I call friends now:-

  • Defne Ongun muminoglu, Susanne Gervay, Sima Ozkan at ITEFthe wonderful Turkish writer who is committed to literacy for Turkish kids, Dephne Ongun Muminoglu has published 12 children’s titles
  • the delightful young translator of my ‘I AM JACK’ books who is also a children’s writer, Sima Ozkan – she took me around to writer places in Istanbul – so much fun

Here we are – Dephne, Sima and me -with our books at our panel session for the ITEF Festival

  • internationally acclaimed Dutch author Linda Polman – who goes into places ‘where angels fear to tread’ – Somalia, Rwanda and is on her way to Lesbos now and bringing accountability to the United Nations
  • shortlisted for the Booker and like me, from Hungarian refugees, Britisher author Tibor Fischer has been published in 25 languages and really understands history
  • passionate and wonderful Arabist-Turkish-Dutch biographer Melem Halaceli whose literary non fiction book about her Ottoman-Arab grandfather reveals generations of war and love too.
  • Israeli author Sarit Yihai-Levi whose book ‘The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem’ immediately became a best seller and is being developed into a feature film
  • of course as a Swedish author, Emelie Schepp writes crime and of course she’s stunningly beautiful and smart. She started as a self published author and is now a best selling author published in 29 countries by traditional publishers. Love that.

Gulnar Hajo and Adina Rosetti


  • despite escaping from Syria, Gulnar Hajo is so positive and has written award winning children’s books and is warm and embracing
  • Romanian children’s author Adina Rosetti has beautiful picture books and is part of the new voice of Romanian writers.

Gulnar and Adina

  • the coolest Dutch couple, Jos and Nicole write together under the name Elvis Peeters – and Elvis can really dance – he’s a musician and Nicole is a peace worker – and they write award winning books about the human condition.

Mecchtild Glaser and Susanne                                         Frank Schablewksi and Jim Smith

Mecchthild Glaser and Susanne Gervay

Turkey ITEF Mecchtchild GlaserFrank Schablewsi and Jim Smith ITEF

  •  German fantasy writer  Mecchthild Glaser who has won the Seraph Prize for Fantasy. Her new novel ‘The Book Jumpers’ is amazing as her characters jump into great literature from Sherlock Holmes to Jane Austen to Alice in Wonderland and solve great mysteries.
  • Irish writer Keith Ridgway has been awarded the Prix Femina in France and the Rooney Prizefor Irish Literature
  • born in Germany, Frank Schablewksi is just brilliant – a philosopher, poet and funny guy – he dazzled me with his beautiful words, intellect and he can speak so many languages and his poetry is translated into Spanish, Hebrew, Slovenian as well as German.  Here he is with Jim Smith –
  • Jim Smith may have a very common name, but he’s a star – his series ‘BARRY LOSER’ won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. I call that fabulous!
  • the beautiful writer, photograpaher and translated my story ‘Days of Thailand’ with such emotional commitment.  Love your elephant on your arm too.

….. and there were more and I feel privileged to be among them at the ITEF Festival.

ITEF Istanbul festival

MARTI Publishers TurkeyThankyou to my wonderful, welcoming, talented Turkish Publishers MARTI who took Jim Smith and me out to the best ever Turkish feast!!!!  Thankyou Sibel and the team.

Thankyou to the ITEF Festival Director Mehmet Demirtas and the hard ITEF working and lovely festival team.

Thankyou to the Kalem Literary Agency

Thankyou to my wonderful translator Burcu – the intern who translated during my sessions and was my minder.

How wonderful that books connect us all.


I'm a writer committed to kids in particular. Adults are good too. Want to bring hope through story to my readers. Awarded an Order of Australia, Lady Cutler Award and a Lifetime International Award for Literacy for my body of work, spreading literacy is really important. I'm head of SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand, patron of Monkey Baa Theatre, Ambassador for the Premier's Reading Challenge, Writer Ambassador for Room to Read ... among other roles. I also love heritage and adapting to enhance the lives of people today, which is why I restored The Hughenden Hotel 1870s and The Residences Centennial Park - the only homes in the parklands which are open now for accommodation, events and lots of nature.


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