Sue Whiting

Sue Whiting

New South Wales

Speaker type

  • Author
  • Educational consultant
  • Virtual visits
available for virtual visits

Sue Whiting is an acclaimed children’s and YA author and editor who has worked in publishing for two decades. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country. Sue is a former primary school teacher with a special interest in literacy education, and the author of numerous books for a variety of age groups, including the bestselling Missing, the award-winning The Book of Chance and a number of CBCA Notable Books.

Recent Awards and Short-listings:

The Book of Chance: Shortlisted for 2021 CBCA Book of the Year – Younger Readers Category
The Book of Chance: Highly commended in The Sisters in Crime 2021 Davitt Awards for Best Children’s Crime Book
The Book of Chance: Shortlisted for 2021 WAYRBAs (West Australian Young Readers’ Award)
The Book of Chance: Shortlisted for the 2022 YABBA and Koala Awards
Good Question2021 CBCA Notable Book – Picture Book Category
Good Question: Shortlisted for The Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards, 5 – 8 years category
Beware the Deep Dark Forest: 2019 CBCA Notable Book – early childhood category

Missing:  Shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards

Platypus: 2016 CBCA Notable Book, picture book category
Platypus: NSTA 2017 Outstanding Trade Science Book (US)
Platypus: Shortlisted 2016 Wilderness Society, Environment Award For Children’s Literature
Platypus: Selected for the CCBC Choices 2017, the best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children’s Book Centre (US)
Platypus: Selected for the 2017 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year (Five to Nine category) (US)
A Swim in the Sea: Winner, Speech Pathology Australia, Book of the Year

 Sue is happy to speak to a variety of topics and themes and will adapt her presentations to cater for specific needs.

Some of these include:

PRIMARY SCHOOLS PROGRAM

The truth in the lie [Years 5-6]

Let’s face it; stories are actually elaborate lies. Honest lies, because the reader is complicit, but lies nonetheless. And of course the best lies, and therefore the best stories, are those that are closest to the truth. Truth and lies and how to find truth in a fake world are the central themes in my new mystery/suspense novel, The Book of Chance, for readers aged 10+.
In my interactive and thought-provoking session for upper primary and lower secondary students, I will put the spotlight on social media, explore the slippery nature of the written word and conduct some hilarious lie detection activities that will challenge students’ perceptions about what is true and what is not. I will also lead the students through my research, serendipitous discoveries and the writing process of creating a suspenseful page-turning mystery. The process of writing my mystery novel Missing will also be explored and referenced.

Missing [Years 5-6]

In this session I will take participants on an interactive research tour of Panama – the setting for Missing – and explore the challenges of writing a suspenseful, page-turning story while remaining true to the tragic premise behind the story. The session will feature my much-loved PANAMA QUIZ and also some Panamanian dancing and music.  

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 It’s a story! [Years 3-6]

In this session participants will be taken on a wild story journey: in an icebreaker ship traversing the Southern Ocean, trekking across ice fields and glaciers in Antarctica, battling through a raging blizzard, and finally taking shelter in an ice cave … Along the way, they will discover what it takes to make a story both authentic and gripping, and how this story inspired Pearly and Pig and the Great Hairy Beast. They will also consider what it takes to be an Adventurologist, explore the characters of Pearly and Pig, and maybe even channel their inner pig! The session will involve interactive storytelling, audience participation and will also endeavour to enthuse participants about books and reading.

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The Story Thingy [Years K-2]

What is the story thingy? And how does it help my writing? What happens when I disappear into the Story Thingy? This session for younger students focuses on dramatic, humorous and interactive storytelling – I’m partial to dress-ups! – and will encourage students to use their imaginations and actively participate. It will also touch on the process of writing, where ideas come from, and simple narrative structure. Featured books will include the CBCA Notable Picture Books Beware the Deep Dark Forest and Good Question – both illustrated by Annie White.

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Writing workshops

We must never forget that writing is a craft and the only way to develop that craft is to practise it – to write and write and write.
I am happy to deliver workshops to any age group from Year One upwards. I draw on my teaching, writing and editing experiences to inspire young writers to use their imaginations and provide tips and exercises for writing development. Workshops focus on the importance of the writing journal and regular free writing practise, getting ideas, creating characters, plotting, using imagination, writing techniques, authentic dialogue, structure, plotting and planning and writing super starts.

The secrets to building a sensational story

This workshop will focus on how writers BUILD THEIR STORIES. Students will discover the power of the story triangle: character/setting/problem – the BUILDING BLOCKS of a sensational story.
Students will participate in activities that will explore how to build a setting and a character, how to create a problem, build a plot and put all the elements together to create a story.

To quest or not to quest (Years 2-4)

Using Beware the Deep Dark Forest as a mentor text, this workshop explores the essential elements of quest narratives and guides students through the process of planning and writing their own quest stories. The workshop will involve creating a story map and the development of intriguing characters, evocative settings, and strong story structures.


SECONDARY SCHOOLS PROGRAM

The truth in the lie [Years 7-8]

Let’s face it; stories are actually elaborate lies. Honest lies, because the reader is complicit, but lies nonetheless. And of course the best lies, and therefore the best stories, are those that are closest to the truth. Truth and lies and how to find truth in a fake world are the central themes in my new mystery/suspense novel, The Book of Chance, for readers aged 10+.
In my interactive and thought-provoking session for upper primary and lower secondary students, I will put the spotlight on social media, explore the slippery nature of the written word and conduct some hilarious lie detection activities that will challenge students’ perceptions about what is true and what is not. I will also lead the students through my research, serendipitous discoveries and the writing process of creating a suspenseful page-turning mystery. The process of writing my mystery novel Missing will also be explored and referenced.

Missing [Years 7-8]

In this session I will take participants on an interactive research tour of Panama – the setting for Missing – and explore the challenges of writing a suspenseful, page-turning story while remaining true to the tragic premise behind the story. The session will feature my much-loved PANAMA QUIZ and also some Panamanian dancing and music.

The ghosts of the past

A discussion on the stories behind and the process of writing Portraits of Celina. This session will show how the initial idea grew and changed over time and how as characters revealed themselves to me, they led me to write a book that I never expected to write. Themes of family relationships, dealing with grief, first love, truth, secrets, courage, missing persons, life in the 1970s and what is real will be explored.

The writer’s journey

Using published books and current works in progress as examples, this session will explore the writer’s journey from initial idea to final book. It will demonstrate how authors use a combination of research, their own experiences and imagination to plot and plan, write and rewrite stories that are authentic and gripping.

Writing workshops

Can cater to individual school’s needs. Topics include – creating realistic characters, authentic dialogue, story structure, plotting and planning, writing techniques, editing, creating suspense etc.

The inside story

Having worked in children’s publishing for twenty+ years, ten of which as a commissioning editor and publishing manager for Walker Books I am in the unique position of being able to speak about the publishing process from a variety of perspectives. The Inside Story provides insight into the world of publishing with tips about how to get a story noticed. (Best suited to ages 12+)


ADULT PROGRAMS

• In a nutshell: writing for children and young adults workshop
• Writing picture books master class
• How to develop enthusiastic readers and writers in the classroom
• Write Away – How to create enthusiastic and confident writers

 

Testimonials

  • It was a pleasure to have Sue Whiting attend Westfields Sports High School to celebrate Book Week 2018. Sharing her passion for writing had students and teachers captivated, allowing them into her world of make believe, truth and inspiration. She spoke of her daily routines linked to her writing and the processes involved in being published, to never give up and reminding us that anyone can be a writer!
    Her easy and approachable style made for great participation, and many students engaged in Q&A and a select group took part her in her now infamous Panama Quiz! We had some great feedback from the students who attended and hopefully inspired many great writers.
    Thanks for a great day.


    Westfields Sports HS Library - 2022

    Westfields Sports HS Library - 2022
    Sue Whiting
  • Sue’s fabulous story telling immediately captures the attention of students, both young and older. Our younger students can’t wait for our very own copy of Sue’s latest tale and our older students have continued to test their geographical knowledge after taking the Panama challenge.

    A day with Sue is truly a great one and our students want to know when she’ll be back.


    St Peter’s Anglican School, Campbelltown - 2022

    St Peter’s Anglican School, Campbelltown - 2022
    Sue Whiting
  • We all felt very excited about having you and you exceeded our expectations!

    All the staff spoke highly of your visit also. The Library team were impressed with the vibe, the way you engaged all the students and had them in your hand! We loved the variety of your presentations, from the engaging storytelling, to the dress ups, to having students share ideas and be part of the presentation. The students have all recounted fondly stories from the sessions and especially loved hearing your new book! Thank you for the planning, organisation and enthusiasm, which were so evident.

    I have already begun recommending you to my Teacher Librarian friends!

    It was lovely to meet you and thank you again for being so vibrant – oh and for making the book signing lovely and personal for each student.


    Penrith Anglican College

    Penrith Anglican College
    Sue Whiting
  • From the opening introduction of her session, Sue Whiting had our senior students engaged and entertained. With images of white fluffy bats, CCTV footage, and a Panamanian cheer, Sue Whiting shared her research, interests and personal details used to shape a story. The presentation was interactive, well paced and pitched beautifully for our primary school setting. Missing has not been back on the library shelves since Sue’s visit, and students have requested I track down and purchase her earlier books. Staff and students alike were entertained, intrigued and engaged with Sue Whiting’s session. I would heartily recommend Sue Whiting for your next school author visit

    Bourke Street Public School - 2022

    Bourke Street Public School - 2022
    Sue Whiting
  • The students were mesmerized throughout Sue’s visit – they held onto every word as she took them on an enchanting journey through the life of a children’s book author. Sue’s obvious passion for her vocation and years of experience in the classroom are a recipe for absolute success when lighting the flame of curiosity and possibility – her visit certainly ignited the budding young authors within our midst!

    Yarrawarrah Public School - 2022

    Yarrawarrah Public School - 2022
    Sue Whiting
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Sue Whiting