Author Evening Social Event

The SLA will be hosting an ‘Authors Evening’ after Day 1 of the conference on Monday 25th September. Participants who choose to attend this evening will travel by bus to and from the Ascot Park Hotel to The Hideaway 201 for the event. You will get to listen to and mix and mingle with authors while enjoying a two-course meal and drinks.


The authors attending this event are


Jeanne Bender and Marcus Winter

After a book launch, several speakers, and numerous workshops, American Author, Jeanne Bender & Sand Artist, Marcus Winter will open up a dialogue with their audience about how they plan to continue lighting the literacy pathway because of what they’ve learnt at this conference and how we intend to bring back these new ideas to our classrooms and communities.

Jeanne will have books for you to purchase at the conference with a book signing opportunity via her exhibitor’s booth ‘Pina Publishing.’

Callan Goodall

I have loved writing for as long as I can remember, right back to my primary school days. I particularly enjoy writing children’s books that have great rhythm and rhyme and a sense of fun. I am a born and bred Southerner having lived my early years in Central Otago (Clyde) and the past 30 years in Invercargill. I have spent my adult life working in the education sector, having been a teacher and now a principal. I have written 4.5 novels over time, though have only published the 2 so far, Set Me Free in 2017 and Pockets of Gold 2023. Midmost Marvin was published in 2020, though I have drafted 4 other children’s picture books which I one day hope to publish. Also have plenty of other concepts bouncing around my brain.

Living the very life that saw their father hanged, Hal and Mannie, are fast running out of options in the London Docklands of 1862. Alone and on the run, they are forced into accepting the dying wishes of their grandfather and flee from everything they have ever known. The brothers set out on an incredible voyage across the globe. But when disaster strikes, their dreams are shattered, and they must rely on a hastily devised plan, barely clutching to hope. Navigating treacherous seas and the excitement of the New Zealand gold rush, the siblings encounter thrilling twists and unexpected challenges. Will they overcome the odds or succumb to the harsh realities they face? Get ready for a pulse-pounding adventure as Hal and Mannie’s quest unfolds. This fast-paced novel keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Will they find redemption and a fresh start, or be forever trapped in their father’s shadow? Discover the power of family, courage, and resilience in this gripping tale.

Ella West

Ella West was born in Invercargill. When she had read her way through the children’s library she
used her older brother’s card and began on the adult section.
She intended to study science like her brothers at the University of Otago but a drama camp she went to when she was fifteen made up her mind to persuade her parents to let her study English literature instead. She completed a BA at Victoria University.A university holiday job, reporting at the Southland Times, taught her an understanding of the craft of writing and led her to the West Coast after a stint at the Evening Post in Wellington. In Westport, the journalist married a shearer and together they went dairy farming on the banks of the Buller River. It was there, between getting the cows in for milking, teaching drama and raising two sons, she wrote her first novel, Thieves, which was shortlisted in the New Zealand Post Book Awards the following year. Anywhere But Here and Real Life quickly followed completing the Thieves Trilogy. Night Vision won the 2015 Young Adult section of the LIANZA Awards and was the Young Adult Children’s Choice winner in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Rain Fall, published in 2018, was a finalist in the Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her latest book, The Sound of My Heart has just been released. She and her family now live on a rural property near Dunedin, where Ella writes full time when she isn’t chasing sheep and cattle on the farm.