2022-23 GCWA COMMITTEE



President – Kate Kelsen – gcwa.president@gmail.com 

Vice President – Judy Wollin gcwa.vicepresident@gmail.com

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

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

Membership Secretary – Kellie Cox – gcwa.membersec@gmail.com

Association Editor – Jane O’Connell – gcwa.editor@gmail.com

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

Online Media Coordinator – Jane O’Connell – gcwa.vicepresident@gmail.com

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

Publicity Coordinatorgcwa.publicitycoordinator@gmail.com

Providore – Rochelle Agius

General Committee Members – Louisa Wright; Philip Bradbury

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


Read more about our current committee members below


President – Kate Kelsen

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.


Vice President and Secretary – Judy Wollin

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.


Treasurer – Jen Swenson

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”.


Association Editor – Jane O’Connell

Jane O’Connell

Jane O’Connell is a former journalist who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Over a long career in media, Jane worked in television, print and digital media and continues to write and edit through her content company, Backbeach Productions. In the book world, she has co-written and edited a number of non-fiction publications and edited a short story anthology. Jane has been a board director with the Children’s Book Council of Australia and a volunteer writing mentor at Sydney Story Factory. She was born in Sydney, has lived and worked in London and Singapore and now calls the glorious Gold Coast home. Her debut novel, Cold Against The Glass, will be released in 2022 through Tablo. 

As the association editor for GCWA, Jane is looking forward to immersing herself in the growing community of Gold Coast writers and helping raise the profile of GCWA activities and events.

On social media, she can be found on Twitter @janeo and Instagram @janeo.


Membership Secretary – Kellie Cox

Kellie Cox

Kellie M Cox has worked in the field of psychology for two decades giving her an insight
and fascination for human behaviour that she draws on to create complex characters. Her novels published with Strong Female Protagonists include, Murderous Intent, The List, The Reef, Advice for Life and The Last First Kiss.

Kellie’s stories traverse the globe, taking readers to cities they dream to visit from Paris,
Rome, Berlin, Bora Bora, and the Mekong Delta. Her own travel stories forming much of the
inspiration for the settings and colourful characters readers fall in love with. Drawing on themes of life, love and death, Kellie writes in the genres of magic realism, romance, suspense, and crime to create stories that stay with you long after you put them down.

Kellie connects with other writers through Gold Coast Writers’ Association, Queensland
Writers Centre, Rainforest Writers Retreat, Sisters in Crime, Somerset Storyfest and Fiona
McIntosh’s Masterclass graduate group.

When not writing or seeing clients in private practice, Kellie can be found on the beaches of
the Gold Coast flooding her social media with photos of her gorgeous dogs.

Connect with Kellie at www.kelliemcox.com or on any of the socials.


Newsletter Editor – Christine Betts

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.


Website Content Manager – Selena Budgen

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.

You can learn more about Selena Jane over on her website or connect with her on facebook, instagram or Linkedin.


Publicity Coordinator



General Committee Member:

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.   


Patron – Andy McDermott

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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