The Trust's selection committee is a voluntary specialist group, which assesses applications for fellowships. The committee comprises members who support and promote the objectives of the Trust and who have experience and expertise in contemporary Australian children’s literature.
The selection of fellows is the outcome of a rigorous process. Each selection committee member reads the applications and ranks them according to their literary merit and the clarity of the rationale. They make a provisional list of choices, which is then submitted, reviewed and re-ranked by the whole committee until a consensus is reached. In this way, while individual committee members' expertise and experience is highly valued, no one person is responsible for the selection. The board of the Trust considers the recommendations of the committee. While the ranked list is accepted, the final number of fellowships to be offered is determined by the board.
Some selection committee members are practising authors/illustrators. Occasionally they make an application for a fellowship, in which case they are completely withdrawn from the committee for that year's selection process
Selection Committee Members
Chair of the selection committee, Julie Wells, began her career as a secondary school teacher, before becoming a children’s librarian in public libraries. She did this for about 12 years, followed by 6 years in which she returned to schools as a teacher librarian. Julie has been highly active within the CBCA SA. She has also been a board member of the SA Writers Centre.
Michael Gerard Bauer (michaelgerardbauer.com) resigned from fulltime teaching in 2000 to pursue his writing dreams. His first YA novel The Running Man was named the 2004 Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year and he has been short-listed on three further occasions. His other works include the popular and award-winning Ishmael trilogy and Just a Dog. His most recent publications, the very funny Eric Vale and Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale series for younger readers, are fully illustrated by his film-maker son Joe Bauer. These days Michael is a fulltime writer who is in high demand for talks at schools and festivals around Australia. His books, which are regularly set as school texts, are currently sold in over 40 countries and translated into 12 languages.
Krista Blakeney Bell (kristabell.com) is an award-winning Sydney-born, Melbourne-based author of twenty eight titles for young readers, ranging from picture books set in China, Warriors and Peeking Ducks (illustrated by Sally Rippen), to Australian history ones like Jack’s Bugle and Bessie’s War 2016 (illustrated by Belinda Elliott) and Burning the Bails (for cricket enthusiasts) to novels like Secrets in Sicily (Segreti in Sicilia) published for the first time in Italy in 2016 in bi-lingual text, one of a series in parallel English and Italian for readers aged eight to eighty. It has won the inaugural Rosa Morettino Abbadessa International Award for Literature. Krista was a children’s book reviewer on ABC Radio and in print for over 30 years. Warriors, Troubles in Tuscany (2016) and Lofty’s Mission were all crafted during May Gibbs Trust fellowships.
Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her body of work by the International Literacy Association, Susanne Gervay AM (sgervay.com) is an award winning children’s author who is recognized for her youth literature and writing on social justice. Susanne’s young adult Butterflies is recognized as Outstanding Youth Literature on Disability, while her children’s titles and picture books are recognised for their engagement with disability, inclusion, multiculturalism and peace. The I Am Jack books have become rites-of-passage on school bullying. Adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, the work continues to tour Australian and US theatres. Susanne is an award winning short story writer. She is committed to literacy as a Writer Ambassador for Room to Read, which has reached 10 million women and children, a role model for Books in Homes and an anti bullying advocate.
Mylee Joseph is a library industry specialist with a diverse background working in research and public libraries in New South Wales. In the Public Library Services team, she provides advice on policy, strategy and operational matters to the NSW public library network. Her interests include literature and library services for young people; public libraries contributing to healthy ageing for seniors; repositioning libraries to meet the changing needs of their communities; building digital engagement skills in library teams using social media tools and integrating mobile technology into delivering library services.
She has been an active member of the Australian Library and Information Association Children's and Youth Services group for 20 years, is active in IBBY Australia and is one of the judges for the inaugural Young Australian Writers competition.
Judith has been a teacher-librarian in secondary schools in Townsville and Brisbane for more years than she would care to admit. As state coordinator of the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust in Queensland she has been involved in the selection process for the fellowship programs since 2003. Judith has been a longstanding member of the Children's Book Council of Australia and has taken on various roles at both the state and the national levels. She currently manages the community projects program for the Queensland branch and is archivist for the national body. Judith is a reviewer of books for Literacy Learning: the Middle Years, a journal of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association.
Gabrielle Wang (gabriellewang.com) is an award winning author and illustrator, whose books are a blend of Chinese and Western culture with a touch of fantasy. She has twice won the Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Long Fiction and her novels have been named Notables in the CBCA Awards. Two of her works were Highly Commended in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and her first novel, The Garden of Empress Cassia was listed on the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honour List. Gabrielle has published fifteen novels with Penguin Books Australia and one picture book with Walker Books. She has also been published in the US, UK, China, South America and Korea. Gabrielle's latest novel is The Beast of Hushing Wood published by Penguin Australia.
Selection Committee Members :(L-R)
Julie Wells, Michael Gerard Bauer , Krista Blakeney Bell , Susanne Gervay AM , Mylee Joseph , Judith Russell and Gabrielle Wang.