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Ali Stegert



Date of Success:

Alison Stegert is a kidlit creator based in Queensland. Boogie Woogie Bird is her first picture book (illustrated by Sandra Severgnini, published by Redback Publishing, 2022). The Remarkables, her first-place entry in the 2021 CYA Conference Competition, went on to win the prestigious international competition The Times | Chicken House | IET 150 Prize in late 2021. Ali won publication by Chicken House (2023) with a £10,000 advance and an offer of literary representation from Lucy Irvine of PFD Agency, London.


Ali’s love of languages, early travel adventures, and keen interest in fairy tales, archetypes, and personality theory weave through her writing. She draws on her graduate training in applied psychology and twelve years' experience as a school counsellor to create intriguing characters whose strengths, flaws, and interesting triggers ring true-to-life. An enthusiastic creative community builder, Ali is the state director of the Queensland branch of SCBWI Australia East/New Zealand.


The CYA Conference gave me my first whiff of success. All the way back in 2010, I plucked up the courage to enter my first ever novel in the CYA Conference Comp. There are some nasty rumours that I bounced on the couch and danced around the kitchen when I heard my entry was in the final three. Let’s just say if I screamed and wiggled like a Gold Lotto winner, it would have been to my tween daughters’ utter horror. I came away with third place that year, and it was such a boost to my confidence. I knew I wanted to write for kids; I didn’t know until then that I had any talent.


Over the decade that followed, I entered many CYA competitions and attended many CYA conferences. I learned. I applied myself. I pored over the precious feedback sheets from the competitions, gleaning every ounce of insight to strengthen my writing. I rubbed shoulders with fellow writers of all stripes. I put my stories in front of agents and editors. And always—always—I cherished the feedback that came from CYA. (I still have hardcopies of every CYA Conference Competition feedback sheet.) As my skills grew, my confidence did too.


If I hadn’t experienced that first small victory in 2010, I might have thrown the towel in long ago. I had early wins and late disappointments, but I persisted. It took 12 years, but I’ve finally created a beautiful children’s book and made some money from my writing. Lots of hard work plus encouragement and opportunities from CYA made me the author I am!

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