top of page

Kathryn Apel



Date of Success:

Kathryn Apel is a born-and-bred farm girl who’s scared of cows. She lives among the gum trees, cattle and kangaroos on a Queensland grazing property. Kat’s early books were misadventures inspired by life on the land. She has also achieved acclaim as a verse novelist – dealing with issues such as bullying, sibling rivalry, self-doubt, and the intricate balance of friendship.

Previously a teacher and literacy coach, Kathryn is now focused on writing, and conducts author talks and poetry workshops at schools and festivals around the globe. She has an active online presence through Twitter and Instagram, and blogs as a part of the international #PoetryFriday community. Kat was the 2019/2020 Primary judge of the prestigious Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.

Kathryn’s rhyming picture book manuscript, ‘This is the Mud!’ won the inaugural CYA Picture Book competition in 2006, and was published in 2009.

Kat’s verse novel for younger readers, ‘Bully on the Bus’ won the published author’s category in 2012, was published in 2014, going on to win the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature – Younger Reader, before being published in America in 2018, and awarded an NCSS and CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.

In 2012, Kathryn’s rhyming picture book manuscript was used as an illustration prompt for the CYA Illustration Competition. Kat was drawn to Renée Treml’s bright and playful illustrations – and was delighted to meet Renée while they were both waiting for editor interview. This conference resulted in ‘The Bird in the Herd’,  illustrated by Renee, was published by UQP in 2021, 9 years after the CYA Conference, and 19 years after Kat wrote the first draft.

Kat’s trio of rhyming manuscripts won the 2019 CYA Published author competition, which has once again afforded new publishing opportunities.


The CYA Competition gave me;

  • feedback on my writing.

  • an opportunity to jump the slush pile and land my manuscripts clear on the editor’s desk.

  • credibility and credentials

  • hope (vital as a beginner – and published! - author)

  • my first published picture book … and later, my first verse novel ...  and another picture book.

The CYA Conference took me out of my bubble of isolation and introduced me to lots of warm and wonderful children’s writers, illustrators, and other industry professionals, many of whom I correspond with regularly today. An RADF grant in 2019 enabled me to attend the first 3-day CYA Conference, where I took part in a picture book bootcamp, and both the Kidlit and Everything’s a Genre days. This weekend was invaluable, for the information, and the professional networking.

bottom of page