Indonesian children’s and YA author Reda Gaudiamo is the creator of the very popular ‘Na Willa’ stories. Yawuru writer/illustrator Brenton E. McKenna is the creator of the equally popular ‘Ubby’ series of graphic novels. They come together in this session to compare notes with Bianca Breen regarding their experiences crafting stories for young adults that draw on and reflect cultural heritage and identity.
Reda Gaudiamo was born in Surabaya, East Java, in 1962 and currently lives in Jakarta. She writes short stories and novels for young adults. Her books, Na Willa (2018) and Tentang Kita (About Us, 2015), are published in the UK by the Emma Press. She was the chief editor of Cosmopolitan Indonesia and a publisher of several international lifestyle magazines in Indonesia. She has won several awards for her short fiction and novels, among others, from Gadis and Femina magazine. Reda is also known as a musician and singer. For more than 30 years, she performed as a duo with her artistic partner, the late Ari Malibu, creating musical interpretations of poems. Currently she’s working on the third series of Na Willa and her very first solo album.
Brenton E. McKenna is a young Yawuru artist and writer who fell in love with comic books at a young age. He studied visual arts for two years at Goulburn TAFE and in 2009 was one of twenty successful applicants to be awarded a highly sought-after mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors. Brenton has attended several art workshop/residencies and in doing so has generated much national interest in recent years.
Bianca Breen is an emerging YA writer. When she’s not at work at The Literature Centre, she’s the Communications Director of the Australian Young Adult Literature Alliance (LoveOzYA) and the host of YA for WA. Bianca was the YA winner of the 2021 ASA Award Mentorship Program, and a 2022 Upcoming Writer-in-Residence at KSP Writers Centre.