Jennifer Loakes

Date of success: Attending Conference in 2010 - Book published: June 2015

Jennifer is a psychologist (provisionally registered) who has spent many years working with and advocating for vulnerable children. Her psychology training and government policy roles have given her a unique understanding of the complexities of social policy issues and the factors that impact individual and community wellbeing. 

Jennifer currently works in the Strategy and Policy team at Arts Queensland.

Jennifer Loakes is a Brisbane-based writer. Mate and Me, is her first picture book.

She was inspired to write Mate and Me after discovering a family of birds living in a garage. This sparked a chain of thoughts about displaced wildlife, displaced people, and what helps or hinders people to adapt to new environments. Mate and Me gently explores the importance of social connections in healing from trauma and learning to live in a new home.

You can visit Jennifer on her web site:


I have a picture book, Mate and Me, coming out this year with Windy Hollow Books (my very first publication!). The story has quite a history with CYA - I pitched it to Maryanne Ballantyne from Black Dog Books in 2011 and entered it in the primary school picture book competition in 2012. 

The feedback I got from these experiences definitely helped shape my story. 

I found the CYA workshops really beneficial too. 

Meredith Costain's picture book master class in 2010 is one that springs to mind. I knew very little when I came along to her class (All picture books are 32 pages long? Really?).

I also got so much encouragement and confidence from CYA conferences. This made me believe that I could do it too.

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