HNSA Author Spotlight: Our Guest of Honour, Jackie French

By Elizabeth Jane Corbett

Our Guest of Honour, Jackie French

Jackie French is no stranger to Australian readers. She has written over two hundred books, won sixty literary awards, served as the Australian Children’s Laureate, and been named Senior Australian of the year. When not writing, she plants trees and harvests their fruit, walks in the bush, tames and studies wombats, lunches with friends and makes cakes. She is dyslexic and, with her innate understanding of learning difficulties, is a passionate advocate for equal educational opportunities. She is the patron of multiple literacy programs Australia wide.

Jackie is best known for her children and young adult titles, which include general fiction, gardening and history books as well as those on sustainability and ecology. She is also the writer of some of Australia’s most iconic picture books (although because it is so popular and because it’s all anyone ever asks about she has asked us to refrain from mentioning The Diary of a Wombat). Her historical fiction titles for children, young adults, and those not-so-old at heart include the award-winning Hitler Trilogy, the Matilda Sagas, and The Animal Stars Series, just to name a few, as well as a number of award-winning stand-alone titles. 

In recent years, Jackie has consolidated her success in the adult fiction market with her Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies books. This series follows the fortunes of Sophie Higgs, heiress to an Australian cattle empire, who has been educated at Shilling Hall, an exclusive finishing school for young ladies from the upper echelons of English society. However, Shilling Hall is not quite as it seems and Miss Lily has more to teach the girls than simply how to catch a husband. 

The Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies series has been described as part Downton Abbey and part wartime reaction with a good dose of romance, espionage and intrigue added to the mix. The first book in the series, Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies, opens on the eve of World War One and explores the contribution women made to the war effort in hospitals, canteens and as drivers of military transport vehicles. The Lily and the Rose, follows Sophie and Miss Lily into the Roaring Twenties and the aftermath of the war whilst the third instalment, The Lily in the Snow, is set during World War Two. The series is punctuated by two Christmas Books: With Love from Miss Lily and Christmas Lilies

Jackie is a riveting public speaker and will be appearing as our Guest of Honour in conversation with Jackie Ballantyne at the HNSA 2019 Sydney Conference on Saturday 26 October at 10.15 am. Learn more about our program at our HNSA website where you can buy early bird tickets. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date. 

This post was written by Elizabeth Jane Corbett is the Social Media Coordinator for HNSAustralasia. Her debut historical novel, The Tides Between, was named a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book for older readers. At HNSA 2019, she is looking forward to talking with Sophie Masson, Lauren Chater and Kirsty Murray about Feminine Mystique and revelling in some Regency Madness with Alison Goodman, Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie.

HNSA 2019 Conference

HNSA Sydney 2019 will be held on the weekend of 25-27 October 2019 at Western Sydney University Parramatta.

Once again, historical fiction writers and readers can gather for a three stream program on the weekend of 26-27 October including our extended Academic stream on Sunday 27 October. This time there’s also a Craft & Publishing program on Friday 25 October with craft workshopsmasterclasses and manuscript assessments with top class tutors. Our Guest of Honour is Jackie French. Keynote speaker Paula Morriswill address our theme: History Repeats

Among the 60 acclaimed speakers are patrons Kate Forsythand Sophie Masson,Catherine JinksAli AlizadehMarie Munkara,Lucy Treloar,Robert Gott,Pamela Hart,Nicole Alexander,Jane CaroAlison Goodman,Kelly GardinerMichelle Aung Thin, Meg Keneally,Majella Cullinaneand so many more. 

Our signature First Pages Pitch Contestreturns with $200 prize money on offer. They’ll also be a sword fight or two with our Historical Re-enactments & Weapons display!

Enjoy a delicious meal at our conference dinneron Saturday 26 October where Anna Campbellwill entertain us. You’ll also hear who’s won this year’s ARA HNSA Short Story Contest with a $500 prize.

Visit our website to purchase your early bird tickets now!

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