Welcome to Story Hunter
We explore big ideas with young writers and are committed to inspiring the next generation of storytellers.
We offer an annual program of events and workshops for primary students to inspire and motivate students to grow a deeper engagement in reading and writing.
We work in partnership with schools across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region, to support teachers and school librarians to amplify their impact.
Bookings are now open for 2023, and will be opening in Term 4 for 2024.
All workshops include a facilitated session by local writers, in addition to student and teaching resources incorporating new methods of ideation and development with creative writing outcomes.
Workshops run from 1.5-2 hours.
Prices start from $12 per student. The option to receive an invoice is available.
Incursions are delivered by local writers to stage 2 and 3 students in classrooms, halls or libraries.
Themes include Characterisation, Plot Development, Editing, Visual Literacy and targeted HPGE workshops.
To view our suite of workshops on offer in 2023, please click below.
This is our first publication, highlighting the outstanding work written by young writers in Story Hunter creative writing workshops in our first year.
Look out for our student publication, Marvellous Birds & Curious Creatures, released in September.
This includes a collection of short stories written by 30 students living in the Hunter region.
Story Hunter Guides
Emma Biddle is a creative writing PhD candidate, and published YA and children’s author. She has previously worked as an English teacher and for a local publishing company in administration and cover design. Needless to say, she loves books. Emma believes that writing is a reflection of the creative nature that makes us human, and a way to explore our empathy and curiosity. She loves working with young people to develop their ideas and is excited to be a part of the Story Hunter team.
Jess Black is an award-winning author of forty-seven children's books. Jess regularly teaches creative writing in schools and runs holiday workshops. Jess has written the Tales of Mr Walker series about a dog who comes to live in the fanciest hotel in town. Jess has also written the Kitty is Not a Cat series, Little Paws series and the Keeper of the Crystals series; and is co-author of the hugely successful Bindi Wildlife Adventure series, the Kaboom Kid series and the Animal Tales series. Jess lives in Newcastle with her two daughters, husband and slightly batty cat and dog.
Karen Eastwood is a storyteller, writer, podcast host and educator. She has worked on Newcastle Library's early literacy programs including, Stories Come Alive, (formerly known as The Wacky Wombat Show) as well as the annual Book Week Show. Karen has facilitated storytelling and creative writing programs for all ages. Her mission is to help people have fun building connections through the sharing of stories. She especially enjoys helping children discover how to use the magic and power of words to convey their own unique perspectives and stories.
Cath Owen is a primary school teacher and writer who is lucky enough to live in beautiful Port Stephens on Worimi land. She has always loved stories in all forms, whether reading them, writing them or seeing them performed. She is a strong supporter of public education and is thrilled to be able to share her passion for stories and to help students in the Hunter region to develop their own voices. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, sing and to enjoy the natural beauty of Port Stephens with her kids.
Jerry Ray is a multi-disciplinary storyteller and artist working between illustration, creative writing, music and performance. From producing original theatre and a range of comedy events to helping young people find their voices in writing, drama and visual arts; the ultimate goal for all his work is to foster real community and make everyone feel included in a meaningful way.
Malini Stephen is a teacher and writer, passionate about all things reading and writing. Malini has previously lived in Darwin and now resides in Newcastle. Malini believes creativity is important for developing young minds to expand their imagination, and she works to support others with the skills to explore their ideas, create new worlds and make sense of this one.
Jacqui Wright is a teacher and writer who is a passionate believer in the power of stories to connect, inform, heal and empower individuals, groups, communities and nations. Jacqui's first novel, Red Dirt Talking, was longlisted for the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Since then, her stories, plays and articles have been published by Radio National, ABC News, Griffith Review, Fairfax, Westerly, Margaret River, Fremantle and Currency Presses. Jacqui's work at ABC Kimberley has shown that there is more than one way to tell a story. Putting words together in all kinds of ways – writing, drawing, speaking and recording via digital technologies – will never lose its magic!
Which schools do you work with?
We currently offer our programs to all primary-school aged schools who are located in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter region.
Story Hunter will prioritise resources each term to schools with the most need, and to prioritise working with schools with an ICSEA rating below 1000. We also consider other logistical factors such as geographical isolation, ease of access to schools and levels of teacher/principal support for our programs.
How do I book?
You will need to book via the website booking system
Who can book?
We currently offer our paid programs to all primary-school aged schools who are located in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter region. We run these programs in classrooms and do this in partnership with schools or educational institutions in the region.
Any teacher, librarian, support worker or Principal who works within a school or educational institution with primary school aged students from the ages of 8-12 can submit a booking to have our writers visit them. An invoice will be issued. We will always follow up to ensure the program suits your needs.
As a parent, carer or P&C committee member you may put in an EOI on behalf of your school, but you will need to have spoken with a teacher or Principal and will need to include a contact within the school that we can follow up directly with.
What age groups do you work with?
Currently we only offer our programs to Stage 2 & 3 students, this is generally children aged 8-12.
We know that the ages of 8 – 12 are crucial in a child’s social, emotional and learning development, and will have the greatest impact.
Access to the creative arts, particularly writing, in children under 12 significantly increases their communication skills, social connectedness, creativity and empathy, among an array of other learning, social and emotional benefits.
Our Sponsors and Partners
Story Hunter is made possible by the support of volunteers, donors, partners & sponsors surrounding us.