June was born in PNG to an Australian Dad and Bush Mekeo mother. Her early years were spent in Tasmania and after some nomadic university years lived mostly in Queensland. She now lives in Brisbane with her three older children (university and senior school), dear science genius hubby, two guinea pigs, a pet bird and several pet fish, as well as several guitars, a drum, two digeridoos and keyboard.
June is the editor and contributor to two books, Under One Sky (2010) the anthology of the Licuala Writer’s Group and After Yasi, Finding the Smile Within (2013), a compilation of photographs and stories about using the creative arts to recover from cyclone Yasi. She had a collection of her photographs and poems for family included in an online book by the late Nell Arnold, called Discovering (2011).
In 2016 June successfully crowd funded $10,000 to publish Magic Fish Dreaming as well as winning as ASA emerging writers mentorship for picture book writing.
June’s latest book is Magic Fish Dreaming, a collection of poems written for five to eleven year olds. It takes readers on a poetry quest through Far North Queensland and encourages them to write their own poetry based on their environment and imagination.
June has a PhD from the University of Sydney in writing empowerments and extensive experience as a ‘writer in community’ workshopping, dramaturging and performing. When she isn’t writing she is tutoring creative writers at QUT in the keystones program at the Oodgeroo unit, working on creative collaborations, walking in nature or reading. She maintains blogs on writing and life in Queensland.
June was honoured to receive an Australia Day Award in 2011 for five years of service to writing and youth empowerment in the Cassowary Coast, including mentoring young and community writers from all walks of life in writing their own poetry. She’s received a number of RADF and Australian council grants to facilitate a diverse range of writing projects.
The main themes of June’s picture books and YA novels in development are; discovery, migration, respect for nature, people and diversity, dreaming, creativity, compassion, and poetry.
June is booked on a panel at the Sandcliffe Festival in April 2017, sharing her ‘unique story’ and is currently designing library workshop, events and festival submissions to further the cause of poetry for children and children’s poets.
M. J. Gibbs has an innate curiosity about people and places when finding ideas for the stories and poems she writes. From ‘Booknook Blue’ in Maryborough and Kenmore, Brisbane to the Bookloft in Mapleton, Marg has reached out to children in local communities to bring a love of reading and story telling. The book clubs enabled her own four children and their friends a golden opportunity to connect, be creative and enjoy a bookish program involving craft, games and outings.
Marg has published poetry in magazines and anthologies, ‘The Magic Fairy Wish’ and ‘Musical Christmas Tree’, ‘Alone in a Dark Room’, ‘Phantom Moon’, ‘The Hope Tree’ and ‘Art Room’ in the NSW School magazine. Her stories about the Brisbane flood have been enjoyed by many.
Her recent picture book called ‘Arriving Home’, about Maggie the Magpie Goose and Eric Echidna was well received in the community especially with the help of 9 local artists who illustrated it. Its message is clear – friendship, belonging and community.
‘Jasper’s Jumbled up Words’ is a sensitive and gentle picture book about a young boy who wants to be understood, which deals with the difficulties surrounding language development. Illustrated by Emma Stuart, this book was published in July 2020.