President – Kellie Cox – gcwa.president@gmail.com 

Vice-President – Kate Kelsen – gcwa.vicepresident@gmail.com

Treasurer – Jen Swenson – gcwa.executivetreasurer@gmail.com

Secretary – Judy Wollin – gcwa.executivesecretary@gmail.com

Membership Secretary – Jen Swenson – gcwa.membersec@gmail.com

Association Editor – Kerri Yarsley – gcwa.editor@gmail.com

Newsletter Editor – Christine Betts –  gcwa.news@gmail.com

Online Media Coordinator – Kate Kelsen – gcwa.vicepresident@gmail.com

Web Content Manager – Selena Budgen – gcwa.websitemanager@gmail.com

Publicity Coordinator –  Louisa Wright – gcwa.publicitycoordinator@gmail.com

Providore – Debbie Marks

General Committee Member – David Kay – davidtkay@yahoo.com.au

Patrons – Founder, Mary Maclaren (Harbottle); Kay Danes OAM; Andy McDermott

Read more about our current committee members below

Kellie Cox – President

Kellie Cox

Our President, Kellie M Cox is a multi-genre author of five books and enjoys writing fiction, non-fiction, short stories, technical works, blogs, poetry and prose. She created the publishing enterprise, Strong Female Protagonists to challenge the narrative of gender in storytelling. Kellie enjoys writing about human behaviour and utilises her qualifications in psychology and over twenty years’ experience in the field to write relatable and complex characters.

Kellie works in private practice. She is one of the founding members of Australian Coastal Health Collective, working alongside other dedicated professionals to provide specialist clinical support services. When not writing, Kellie enjoys life on the Gold Coast and can be found at the beach or saturating her social media with photos of her gorgeous dogs.

Kate Kelsen – Vice President

Kate Kelsen

Having discovered a love of storytelling early in life, at twenty-one years of age Kate published her debut novel The Wilted Rose, a novel inspired by the true story of a Brisbane family’s experience with mental illness during the 1960s. Kate has since gone on to publish three more books and multiple short stories across various genres. 

Kate has received recognition from writing awards and competitions around Australia, including:-Kindred Counsel: Shortlisted for the 2022 SD Harvey Short Crime Story Award-Ten of Swords: Winner of the 2022 GenreCon Short Story Competition-Undetected, Published co-authored with Christine Betts. Rainforest Writers Retreat Anthology 2021 Anthologies available here (Amazon).
Kate’s past recognitions include the Reader’s Digest 100 Word Short Story Competition. Grieve Writing Competition, Hunter Writers Centre Award,
In her writing, Kate takes a particular interest in exploring various human experiences and perspectives. She predominantly writes crime and psychological suspense, often with a sprinkling of the supernatural. Kate is currently working on an Irish Noir novella series set in Galway.

Jen Swenson – Treasurer

Jen Swenson

Jen Swenson is a community-hearted accountant specialising in Not for Profits. She has a passion for writing books and resources centring around personal development, her first being a fun children’s story entitled “Goldie the Unchicken”.

Judy Wollin – Secretary

Judy Wollin
Judy Wollin

I write children’s books. Real-life action adventure for 8 to 12-year olds, particularly reluctant readers.

I was born and raised in Melbourne and have lived on the Gold Coast for 11 years with my husband. I have adult children and grandchildren. I lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates between 2006-2010.

I studied at Gippsland CAE and QUT culminating in being awarded a PhD in 1999. I have completed a variety courses with the Australian Writers’ Centre and have been encouraged to pursue publication.

I am currently a member of the Australia Society of Authors, Queensland Writers Association, Gold Coast Writers Association and Write Links and have a Goodreads review presence.

I have a growing social media presence across my website (http://judywollin.com), Twitter (@judywollin1), Instagram (judywollinauthor) and facebook (Judy Wollin Writer).

My work with children and adults struggling to read and write fuelled my drive to promote literacy. I write children’s books in the hope that I can play my part in preventing low literacy in young people and adults.

Kerri Yarsley – Association Editor

Kerri Yarsley

Kerri has spent most of her career in the computer industry, initially as a programmer, then after four kids, she found documenting to be more easily achievable from a home-based office.

English and the written word was not originally a strength, especially coming from a Science background, but it became so after two decades of technical writing.

Kerri’s first book, “The Instruction Manual for Kids – Parent’s Edition”, took twenty-five years to research and twelve months to write. She hoped the book would help struggling parents (and grandparents) in their quest to raise their young ones – from babies all the way through to teenagers – in a way that promoted good sense, happiness and fun learning. The book was self-published in 2012 and received a number of excellent reviews. Timing and sudden health issues halted the momentum of the book’s progress.

Kerri continues to remain active in the creative writing space through her connection with the GCWA, which she enjoys immensely, and through a shared dream with her husband of creating children’s stories with a distinctly Aussie theme.

2021 Recipient of the GCWA Achievement Award.

Christine Betts – Newsletter Editor

Christine Betts

Christine Betts is an Australian writer based in the Northern Rivers. Christine trained in education and the visual arts. She spent many years creating Australian-made giftware and art for interior design projects. Writing took centre-stage in 2017 when she left her management position with a market-leading art-seller and packed up her brushes.

AWARDS 2021/2022

  • Death of a Show Princess, Shortlisted for the Scarlet Stiletto Awards (Highly Commended)
  • Tough Crowd, Winner – Queensland Writers Centre RightLeftWrite competition, November 2021
  • How I Got this Tattoo, Winner – The Tasmanian Writers Prize for 2022
  • Southbank, Shortlisted -the Brisbane Writers Festival First Date at Southbank competition
  • UndetectedPublished co-authored with Kate Kelsen. Rainforest Writers Retreat Anthology 2021 Anthologies available here (Amazon)
  • A Tale of Twin Towns – Published – Eastern Regional Library (Vic) Anthology Tales of the Pandemic
  • Fancy Meeting You Here – Honorable Mention – Queensland Writers Centre RightLeftWrite competition, August 2022

Her long-time internet handle, WriterPainter, is also the name of her blog on creativity, writing, art, meditation, and potential. She believes everyone is creative, and it is through our act of creating that we find our purpose and meaning in life.

Selena Budgen – Website Content Manager

Selena Budgen

Selena has a background in banking, marketing, creative writing and sales.

She has created and owned several businesses and has been working in the professional space alongside passionate, creative, dedicated business owners for the past 30 years.

She loves fiction writing, but has always written non-fiction professionally for newsletters, blogs, websites and other marketing materials as part of her career.

In 2013 she completed a Diploma in Professional Book Editing, Proofreading and Publishing, and used this to create one of her businesses ‘Mark My Words’, which provided writing and proofreading services to business owners.

In 2020 she published her debut fiction novel ‘Search for the Holy Whale’ which is a coming-of-age novel about the importance of our connection to animals and mother earth.

She has recently been nominated for The BX Business Awards for her content and copywriting business Blott Business,

Selena is passionate about being a good mother, saving animals and the environment, writing, and empowering business owners to share their passion project with the world through creative content.

Louisa Wright – Publicity Coordinator

Louisa Wright

Louisa is an aspiring children’s, YA and Adult novel writer. 

Louisa Published an article in the Gold Coast Bulletin in 2016. This then inspired her to join a writer’s group. In 2017 she published three adventure stories in an anthology called ‘Mystery, Mayhem and Magic.  Louisa’s current project is called ‘Escape to Utopia – Mystery of the Lost Corner’ an adventure novel aimed at 9-12-year old’s. 

Louisa is also writing a women’s fiction novel called ‘Rollercoaster – The Ride to Oz.’  

Louisa lives on the Gold Coast with her two fur babies and enjoys writing by the ocean which is her happy place.   

General Committee Members:

David Thomas Kay

David Kay

Born 1937 in the shipbuilding town of Barrow-in-Furness on the border of the English Lake District; David played soccer and cricket in the local leagues and saxophone and clarinet in the Palais Big Bands. He was an engineer in the Merchant Navy before driving overland in an Ambulance to India with three companions in 1964; a ship to Singapore, a flight to Darwin and David found work as a construction fitter on Koolan Island in Yampi Sound. Then four months Opal mining in Andamooka before backpacking around the rest of the continent. David and his wife Patricia worked in New Zealand, South Africa and Sydney before settling with their son and daughter on the Gold Coast in1979. They sold their business in 1995 and travelled around Australia for nine months, then Europe, Turkey, the USA and Canada before settling back on the coast.

David studied genealogy in his retirement, and he passed a professional writing course at U3A Broadbeach. DNA ascertained his ancestors dated back to the Norse Viking immigration of the Lake District and this was the inspiration for his first fiction novel The Sword of Saint Isidores. Norse and Gypsy Mythology and English Folklore became a feature of his novels and ‘Why did you kill off Ragnarr?’ by annoyed readers led to the introduction of Viking reincarnation in books 2 and 3 of the series, ‘Circles of Time’. 

Book 2 ‘The Ring of Mann’ introduces the clandestine monks of Furness Abbey, the investigative monks of the Knights Templar, and the rule of King Charles II, racehorses and Quakerism. Book 3 ‘The Inscription’ jumps to the 19th century and the early rule of Queen Victoria, but the lingering curse of Freydis is never far away.

After the initial self-publishing in 2007, David joined Kobo eBooks on their inception in 2010.


Andy McDermott – Patron

New Patron – 2021 – Andy McDermott

Andrew McDermott (Andy) published his first novel, The Tiger Chase, with an American publisher in 2002. He has since self-published three fiction titles: The Last Tiger, Murder in Quest and Flirting with the Moon, and two non-fiction titles: The Publicious Guide to Self-Publishing, and The Publicious Book Marketing Toolkit. He has recently finished the first book of a detective series, set on the Gold Coast, featuring Detective Scotty Stephens, entitled X and he has just begun work on the second book in the series entitled Bestseller.

Andy is the CEO of Publicious Pty Ltd a company he started in 2010 to assist authors with their writing and publishing needs. He is the current President of the Gold Coast Writers Association, of which he is also a lifetime member, and he previously taught creative writing at the Ace Community Colleges on the Gold Coast.

As an experienced speaker, Andy has spoken in the US as well as the UK, and he continues to appear at writers’ festivals and events around Australia.

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