Jane Godwin is the Publisher, Books for Children and Young Adults at Penguin and the highly acclaimed author of many books for children. Jane first joined Penguin in the mid 1980s, starting out as an editor in children's books. She became an author by ''accident'' after being asked to write a non-fiction book. Called Dreaming of Antarctica, it was published in 1997. That was followed by a Puffin Aussie Bites story that was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Awards. Jane left Penguin to pursue a full-time writing career but was asked to come back to fill a maternity leave replacement position. ''That was four years ago and I'm still here,'' says Jane, laughing. ''I love being a publisher as well as a writer. I suppose I'm just very passionate about reading and kids and stories. I don't really have any logical, organised way of doing it. It works most of the time. I just need another 24 hours in each day.''
Jane's most recent novel is Falling From Grace and her most recent picture book is All Through The Year, illustrated by Anna Walker.
Davina Bell is the in-house series editor of. As well, Davina is writing for the series. Called Meet Alice, it is set in WA and focuses on WWI and its impact on a family.
Born in Perth, Davina completed a law degree before arriving in Melbourne five years ago to take up the Professional Writing and Editing course at RMIT University. ''I didn't want to be a lawyer, didn't have the temperament for it.'' Davina planned to write a mystery novel but when that went awry she took up Short Story Writing. To her astonishment, her ''first attempt'' was selected by Robert Drewe for inclusion in Best Australian Stories 2007.
Halfway through 2007 Davina was hired as an editorial assistant at Pearson Education, proofreading and checking page proofs. ''I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.'' Davina then applied for a position as a children's book editor that was a maternity leave replacement at Penguin. ''It seemed like such an incredible job I was sure I would never get it.'' Two and a half years later Davina is still there and loving the job.
Rita Hart is the Consultant Editor on the series. Rita has been involved in the editing and publishing of children's books for nearly thirty years. She has worked with some of Australia's finest award-winning writers and illustrators for young people.
Rita presently lives in the United States as a reluctant expatriate, where she continues to edit Australian children's books, and has also begun to write her own books for young people.
"Our two daughters grew up with the American Girl books, and I was impressed and inspired by their quality, depth, and their memorable and complex characters. It is very rewarding to be involved in O A G, and I hope reading these books becomes an integral and joyful part of growing up in Australia. I am honoured to be working on this fresh, ground-breaking series, which brings to vivid life our unique history and society, while telling wonderfully compelling stories centred on believable and interesting heroines. While we enjoy living in the U.S.A., our daughters always identify themselves as our Australian girls!"