Allison Marlow Paterson
Allison Paterson is the author of the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, the children’s version of the adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars. Both publications are based on a collection of over 500 letters written by her grandfather and his four brothers whilst serving Australia in WWI. Her children’s picture book called Granny’s Place brings the past to life and is inspired by delightful and poignant childhood memories of her grandparents and their farm. Shearing Time is a companion tale to Granny’s Place and is an insight into an iconic process embedded in Australia’s cultural identity. It is also the story of a day in the life of a country child at shearing time – having fun and helping out!
2018 saw the release of he first book in Allison's series Australia Remembers: Anzac, Remembrance Day and War Memorials (Big Sky Publishing, 2018). Australia Remembers: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force (Big Sky Publishing, 2019) will be released in August 2019.
Allison's first young adult title – Follow After Me (Big Sky Publishing, 2019) will be released in March 2019.
Allison grew up on a farm surrounded by sheep, dogs and chooks. She loved to read and enjoyed endless hours in the school library. She became a teacher and her love of reading and children’s literature forged a pathway to becoming a teacher librarian, the perfect job for a book-loving teacher. She also loved to write. That passion has led her to the life of an author, immersed in words, books and sharing stories.
Allison presents talks and workshops in a range of situations and to audiences from kindergarten to retirement villages, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services, libraries, book shops, service clubs and of course, she loves to visit schools. She is a judge for the Redgum Young Aussie Writers’ Awards and considers herself very privileged to have reviewed children’s literature for Magpies Magazine for over a decade.
The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust awarded Allison a 2017 Creative Time Fellowship - four weeks dedicated to writing and research in Canberra. Her young adult manuscript Follow After Me is the result. Allison is now working full-time as a writer and presenter and is a member of the Australian Society of Authors and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Workshops and Talks Summary
Allison delivers inspirational talks and workshops for the early Primary School years through to the elderly. Topics include the creative writing process, the making of a picture book, using your own inspirational stories, Australia’s involvement in World War I and the journey of an author. All can be modified for the needs of the audience. She can visit online as well!
Author Talks - Class Size up to 90 students
It’s Shearing Time! (Ages 5-8 - 45 minutes)
Students will discover the inspiration behind the author’s picture book Shearing Time, will enjoy a reading and meet Annie the dog puppet and her friends the lambs. Participants will learn about the process of shearing and enjoy a sing-a-long.
Follow Your Dreams (Ages 9-Adult - 45 minutes or 1 hour)
An author’s journey. From a lifetime dream, to writing fact then fiction - sharing real life experiences and turning them into stories.
Remembrance – One Family’s Story (Ages 10-Adult – 45 minutes to 1 hour)
The story of Allison’s grandfather and his four brothers who served in WWI is ideal for Remembrance Day, Anzac Day, Year 9 WWI studies and Senior Australian History.
A data projector and screen need to be available for Allison to use. Teachers do need to stay as the students gain much more from teacher involvement.
Workshops - up to 30 students
The Plot Thickens (Ages 8 -13 - 1 hour)
Allison has read thousands of children’s stories as both a teacher and current judge for the Redgum Young Writers’ Awards. Our young writers create sizzling starts but writing excellent endings can be a challenge. Children will develop characters and create a story skeleton from head to toe.
Convince Me Persuasive Writing Workshop (Ages 8 – 13 – 1 hour)
Students will brainstorm position statements, structure a strong argument, write an effective beginning, use persuasive devices and create convincing conclusions.
Creating Picture Books (Ages 8-13 – 1 hour or 90 minutes)
Allison outlines the steps to creating a children’s picture book. Students plan and storyboard a simple story and learn how text and images interact with and complement one another.
Place As Character (Ages 10-16 – 1 hour or 90 minutes)
A writing workshop for advanced writers. The setting comes to life in the first few pages, going beyond description to the very core of the characters’ experience. Participants will create a setting, link detail with emotion, invoke a true sense of place and learn how authors say more by saying less.
Digging Up Bones – turning facts into fiction (Ages 12 - adult - 1 hour or masterclass)
A writing workshop for advanced writers. Weaving historical facts, life experiences ad powerful messages to create engaging fiction – the research and crafting process.
A data projector and screen need to be available for Allison to use. Teachers do need to stay as the students gain much more from teacher involvement. Students should bring writing books and pencils.
I have had such lovely feedback from all the staff at Spring Gully after your talks with the children about Anzac Sons and Granny's Place. Thank you so much for the interesting presentations which inspired especially the grade five and six children to learn more about WW1. Kerrin, Spring Gully State School
I want to thank you again for your visit. My class enjoyed the opportunity of sharing their stories with you on Monday. 'Granny's Place' is the perfect book for this age level to learn about history and find out about the history of our own families. Your power point presentation and your personal delivery was very age appropriate and you held the interest of the students. The teachers have commented on how you encouraged students to hold onto their stories and drawings. At Creek Street Christian College we encourage our students to find out their gifts and talents and to use them. Your presentation also showed how the process takes place when writing a book. We found this interesting coming from a published author and will help in our classrooms when involved in writing activities. Sharon, Creek St Christian College
I really loved Allison's talk. She has such a warm-hearted and genuine manner and her care and sense of responsibility to her ancestors was so clear in her presentation. I loved the way she spoke to all of the audience as equals, not children, and tapped into our sense of history. Wish her well with her future books, Di, Coolum State High School
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Allison talking about her journey from researcher to author. An amazing thing to be able to collect and sift through and collate all that information and then transform it into the wonderful books that she has written. The whole talk was so well presented. As I said when I reached the podium, I couldn’t speak. Her story about her journey was inspiring and yet very practical and appealed to the storyteller in all of us. I liked her focus on supporting young people who may want to write ... She was very eloquent yet succinct in telling us about the picture book and I am filled with admiration, Adie, Beerwah State High School
Allison spoke and presented well despite the technical issues we were experiencing with the LCD projector. Being a Teacher Librarian, she was [relatively] unfazed by the sudden disappearance of the visual aids to her presentation and continued with good humour and a wonderful, poignant style as she spoke about the research (her personal journey) that she’d undertaken for ANZAC sons. I look forward with great interest to hear – and read - more from Allison in the future. Graeme, Immanuel Lutheran College
Just a quick note to thank you on behalf of students and staff at PHC for making the time to visit us yesterday. I was very pleased to meet you ... Some of the student comments were - very interesting, inspiring, enjoyed learning about how you became an author and the process of becoming an author, made me want to research my ancestors, Nola. Pyramid Hill College
Author, Guest Speaker, Publishing Consultant
May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellow 2017