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Abdi’s world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, and joined another 300 heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost three months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya – of the group he’d set out with, only five had survived.» Read more about Abdi Aden
Clue by clue, chapter by chapter, David Astle’s Puzzled meanders through the maze of a cryptic crossword, showing you the dark secrets and wondrous tricks of wordplay. ‘He’s the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords,’ says award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.» Read more about David Astle
Luke Atkins is an ultra-endurance runner and personal safety expert. Luke has represented Australia in both taekwondo and endurance running competing all over the world from Mongolia to the USA.
Luke seamlessly draws the link between the mental toughness required to run for more than 24 hours non-stop and the daily grind. His concept that life is an endurance race has proven to be especially valuable for VCE students and corporate groups.
As a sponsored athlete in the Under Armour Australia team in Worlds Toughest Mudder and the General Manager of Hall’s Taekwondo his ideas on leadership and team work are invaluable.
As a martial arts instructor for over 15 years Luke has developed structured personal safety sessions for schools and corporate audiences.» Read more about Luke Atkins
Amal Awad is a journalist, author and screenwriter who is focused on issues of society, religion and popular culture. She is the author of four books and is involved in several screenwriting projects. Amal is also a public speaker and has produced and presented for ABC Radio National.» Read more about Amal Awad
Lauren Burns OAM, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist (BHSc) Olympic Gold Medallist, Taekwondo Sydney 2000» Read more about Lauren Burns
Oslo Davis is an illustrator and cartoonist who has drawn for magazines and newspapers worldwide. As a satirist, Oslo has a particular interest in drawing the foibles and ridiculousness of modern day life.» Read more about Oslo Davis
Mary is a writer, award winning ABC Journalist and former Education Minister. She is National Director of Writing Australia and Chair of Orchestra Victoria. She was the first female solo prime time TV newsreader in Victoria, and the first female Planning Minister in Victoria.» Read more about Mary Delahunty
Sean Dooley has written for TV comedies like Full Frontal, Hamish and Andy and Spicks and Specks, is author of books such as The Big Twitch and Cooking with Baz, and is currently editor of Australian Birdlife magazine. He was also the national birdwatching champion, holding the record for seeing the most birds seen in one year. Sean Dooley is the Birdman.» Read more about Sean Dooley
Adam Elliot is not only an Academy Award ™ winning Animator, but also one of Australia’s funniest, unique and most refreshing corporate speakers and entertainers. Adam has given his inspiring and motivating presentations to hundreds of groups all over the world.» Read more about Adam Elliot
Clementine Ford’s take on social issues is bold, brave and entertaining. She inspires and challenges people of all ages in equal measure.» Read more about Clementine Ford
Adam Ford is a poet and zinemaker who lives in Chewton, in Central Victoria. He loves showing people how easy it can be to start making zines or writing poetry themselves.» Read more about Adam Ford
Sean aims to give parents, teachers and students greater insight and the practical tools to foster health and wellbeing along with academic and sporting achievement.» Read more about Sean Fyfe
Morris is one of Australia’s most successful and experienced children’s authors. As a speaker he uses the mix of humour and emotion found in his best-selling books. His sessions are informal, interactive and fun. Sharing the secrets of his writing room, Morris leaves students informed and inspired, as well as equipped with tools for their own adventures in literacy and creativity. And he brings his own sandwiches.» Read more about Morris Gleitzman
Anna Goldsworthy is a prize-winning classical pianist and writer. She an engaging speaker and performer, and is passionate about bringing the lessons of classical music to the widest possible audience. She is Artist Director of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.» Read more about Anna Goldsworthy
Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate. More hip than hippie, she makes sustainability and science easier to understand and is known for her TV shows, including ABC’s Catalyst and the SBS series Eco House Challenge.» Read more about Tanya Ha
Fiona has been writing and performing for Australian stages and screens for many years. She wrote and co-starred on the ABC sketch comedy show, Flipside, as well as on channel nine’s sketch comedy series, Comedy Inc – The Late Shift series 5 and on all three series of the Network Ten sketch comedy series SkitHouse. She has also written and directed numerous shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.» Read more about Fiona Harris
Belinda Hawkins has reported on national and international events for ABC TV and SBS TV for almost 30 years, filing from countries as diverse as Nigeria, Eritrea, Cuba, Germany and Russia. For the past twelve years she has been a senior journalist with ABC TV’s Australian Story program. Her documentary work has been recognised with a raft of awards, among them a Walkley award, seven Quill awards, four New York Festival Medals and four United Nations Media Peace Awards. She started her working life as high school teacher in country Victoria.» Read more about Belinda Hawkins
Justin Heazlewood is an award-winning triple-threat of writer, musician & comedian. As The Bedroom Philosopher he has appeared on Triple J & ABC TV, releasing three albums including the ARIA-nominated Songs From The 86 Tram. The video for Northcote (So Hungover) earning nearly half a million hits. In 2014 his first non-fiction book Funemployed, about being an artist in Australia, was an indie-hit, earning praise from artists and industry alike. In 2015 an 8-part series was commissioned for RN.
His 10-part Get Up Mum radio series based on his cassette recordings of himself as a kid was aired Radio National’s Life Matters. You can listen to the series here.» Read more about Justin Heazlewood
Tony Wilson has written two hilarious satirical novels about celebrity and tabloid media. He is also the author of five picture books, and has worked successfully on television (Race Around the World and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever!), radio (Triple R’s Breakfasters) and print media (The Age and The Monthly).» Read more about Tony Wilson
Sophie Cunningham worked in publishing for twenty years before becoming the Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She is well known for her work as the editor of Meanjin, and is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) as well as the non-fiction Melbourne.» Read more about Sophie Cunningham
Shane Horsburgh is a re-definer of masculinity, constantly challenging the accepted interpretation of what a ‘real man’ is and how this view impacts our everyday lives. From counter-terrorism operative to author, educator and sometime stage actor, Shane’s inspirational and engaging style helps young men become better students, friends, partners and husbands. He has been engaged to speak at the National Press Club and TEDx to national and international audiences.» Read more about Shane Horsburgh
Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, author and musician.
A proud nerd, he abandoned his law degree to travel the world and sing funny songs for a living. You may have seen him on TV, at a festival, or as one half of the man/puppet duo Sammy J & Randy.» Read more about Sammy J
Anna Krien is an award-winning Melbourne-based journalist, essayist, fiction writer and poet. Her book Night Games: Sex, Power & Sport, won the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year in the UK, and is being developed into a television mini-series. Other publications include Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests, Booze Territory, Quarterly Essay 66: The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia’s Climate Deadlock and Quarterly Essay 45 Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals.
Anna is currently working on a collection of short stories, which is due to be published mid-2018.» Read more about Anna Krien
Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist and screenwriter. He is the author of two books: the black comedy memoir The Family Law (2010) and the travelogue Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). The Family Law has been translated into French and is currently being developed for television. Gaysia was published in India in 2013, with the US and other territories to follow in 2014. Both of his books were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards, and he is currently working on his third.» Read more about Benjamin Law
David Nyuol Vincent is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He was trained as a child soldier in Ethiopia and lived as a refugee in Kenya until he was twenty-six. Since rebuilding his life here in Australia, David has become an advocate for refugees and the Sudanese community and he is a Victorian Human Rights Youth Ambassador and a People of Australia Ambassador. He also helped to set up an all-Sudanese refugee football team, the Western Tigers, in the Brimbank soccer league. David is a true humanitarian and is committed to achieving peace for his people in Sudan.» Read more about David Nyuol Vincent
Marathon swimmer, Tammy van Wisse has swum one-and-a-half times around the planet, setting six world records – five of which are still current. She has swum the English Channel twice (the success rate is only seven percent), is the only person to have swum Bass Strait and spent three and a half months submerged in the mighty Murray River – to highlight the river’s environmental importance.
Armed with the same energy and dedication as she has put into her incredible swimming career, Tammy brings a truly unique and inspiring presentation that entertains as it informs, and inspires as it motivates.
Tammy’s never-give-up world champion stories are enlightening, entertaining and powerfully motivating. She shares her secrets and strategies of how to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles showing audiences that with a commitment to a goal, and a belief in oneself – anything is possible.
Chris is an Australian and British professor of Earth science and author of three popular science books. Chris is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales, where he and his team are focusing their efforts on finding lessons from the past.
Chris investigates past and future climates, how people have responded to change, and recent human evolution and migration. He does this in a hands-on fashion: he digs down into the ice of Antarctica for core samples, the depths of a volcanic crater, or searches for Hobbit fossils (seriously!) across Indonesia. He has stories to tell and bring to life.
Chris has earned a reputation as scientist who can demystify and articulate, for any audience, exactly what it is that a scientist does for a living. His enthusiasm shows us not only why he pursues these interests, but points out what we stand to gain through scientific education.» Read more about Chris Turney
Anne E Stewart is an acclaimed storyteller with an international reputation. A versatile performer Anne has the energy and voice to engage any audience. Her focus is on the shared stories of Australia honouring Indigenous, Celtic, Asian and World stories.
Anne has told stories in some of Australia’s major cultural institutions, art galleries and libraries as well as on ABC radio and TV. She has been invited guest at Storytelling festivals throughout Australia, the UK and in Mexico and Colombia. Anne is a consummate MC with the ability to create shows tailored to audience needs.» Read more about Anne E. Stewart
Trent Southworth is a former NSW Police Officer with over fourteen years policing experience, including eight years employed in the Youth Liaison role. In his role, Trent worked closely with numerous government and non government agencies to identify youth related initiatives such as underage drinking programs, truancy, road safety, drug programs, and bullying.
Trent assisted in the implementation and monitoring of the State Governments Young Offenders Act, which targets all young offenders aged between 10 and 18 years of age. Through his experience in the NSW Police, Trent witnessed first-hand the importance of ongoing education of young people in today’s society.
Since leaving the Police, Trent has developed and facilitated numerous seminars for students, teachers, parents and community groups Australia-wide.» Read more about Trent Southworth
Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator and next-gen expert, fluent in social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers. Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them.
Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.» Read more about Claire Madden
Shane Maloney is a popular novelist. His books have been published in the US, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Finland and Tasmania.» Read more about Shane Maloney
John Marsden is the author of titles including So Much to Tell You, Letters From the Inside, and the much celebrated Tomorrow series, adapted for film in 2010. From a childhood at a deeply conservative paramilitary school with strict standards and a culture of rugby and rowing, John developed a passion for reading, writing and education at an early age. So far has published fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults and adults and has founded the Candlebark School in Victoria.» Read more about John Marsden
Tristan Miller has had an incredible story, for such a regular guy. He dealt with a number of life’s highs and lows, before finally losing his dream job at Google in the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. Instead of laying down, he turned his life into an amazing adventure by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, in 42 countries, on all 7 continents!» Read more about Tristan Miller
Ellen has been National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, one of Australia’s largest non-profit climate organisations. During her leadership, the organisation grew from a handful of friends wanting to change the world to a national organisation with over 80,000 members and the ear of politicians and business leaders due to it’s quirky and innovative campaigns.
Ellen has become one of Australia’s leading commentators and campaigners on the issue of climate change. Since leaving the AYCC in late 2012 she has worked in politics, as Campaign Manager for Simon Sheikh’s Senate campaign in the ACT (mobilising thousands of volunteers and just missing out on a Senate seat) and as a Senior Campaigns Advisor for Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.» Read more about Ellen Sandell
Since starting on a country newspaper in 1975, Andrew Rule has worked on three metropolitan newspapers and in both radio and television production. He has written, co-written, edited and published many books, including the Underbelly true crime series and the Chopper series, which inspired the successful feature film. He hosts a regular fortnightly spot on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast called In The Rule World.» Read more about Andrew Rule
Michael Robotham is an internationally celebrated crime writer whose books have been translated into 25 languages and sold more than six million copies around the world.
Born in country NSW, he began his career as a journalist and went on to write for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.
In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK.
Michael’s first psychological thriller, THE SUSPECT, caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002 and was sold into more twenty languages in less than three hours. It later became only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.
In 2015, Michael’s novel, LIFE OR DEATH, won the coveted Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger award for the year’s best novel, beating Stephen King and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) who were on the shortlist. He has also twice won Australia’s Ned Kelly Award for best novel and the Australian Book Industry Award for best fiction in 2018 for THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS.
A six-part TV series based on THE SECRET SHE KEEPS has been made for Channel 10 and will screen in early 2020 with an international cast.» Read more about Michael Robotham
Marcus is a medical doctor and popular motivational speaker, who has addressed thousands of school children and a large number of businesses over the last ten years on a wide variety of health and personal welfare subjects.» Read more about Dr Marcus Robertson
Hannie Rayson is a multi-award winning playwright who has a reputation for topical complex dramas written with wit and insight. She is an accomplished public speaker – funny, incisive and thoughtful.» Read more about Hannie Rayson
Alice Pung is a writer and lawyer who loves teaching. Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as the United States, and she has taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80 in Australia, China and the States. Alice is also an Ambassador for the 100 Story Building Project, a social enterprise which helps promote literature and literacy skills to young people in the Western suburbs.» Read more about Alice Pung
Ailsa Piper has worked throughout Australia as a writer, theatre director, actor, speaker, teacher and memorably, a pate-wrapper! She completed her MA at the University of Melbourne during her three-year stint as an actor in Neighbours’ Ramsay Street, winning the Patrick White Playwright’s Award in her spare time. She is a passionate – some would say obsessive – walker, and her book Sinning Across Spain, reflects that.» Read more about Ailsa Piper
Luke Ryan is a Melbourne-based writer, comedian and two-time cancer survivor. His first book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Chemo, is a comic memoir about growing up and getting cancer that grew out of his critically acclaimed 2009 Melbourne Comedy Festival show, Luke’s Got Cancer. Inspiring, engaging and with a unique comic edge, Luke brings years of stand-up, storytelling and speechmaking experience to bear on topics as diverse as handling adversity, bullying, discovering perspective, getting the most out of life and finding one’s vocational direction.» Read more about Luke Ryan
Critically acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Alex Hammond’s debut novel Blood Witness was shortlisted for the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. It was also selected for the State Library of Victoria’s Summer Read 2014 where it was the most borrowed title. This novel is currently under option as a TV series while its sequel The Unbroken Line is released in 2015.» Read more about Alex Hammond
A couple of decades ago, Graeme Base’s job description was distilled by his then six-year old son as “Oh, my dad just stays home and colours in.” Unable to forgive or forget this devastatingly accurate dismissal of his life’s work, Graeme has finally decided to embark on a global speaking tour to set the record straight: Sure he stays home and colours in, but he also writes the words!» Read more about Graeme Base
Angela Pippos is a journalist, TV and radio presenter, columnist and author of The Goddess Advantage – One Year in the Life of a Football Worshipper. It’s as much about love, loyalty, stuffed tomatoes and Greek mythology as it is about Australian rules football.» Read more about Angela Pippos
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, The Fifth Estate, now in its third year. She is a former editor of The Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia. Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.» Read more about Sally Warhaft
Claire Dunn is a writer, journalist, educator, barefoot explorer and author of My Year Without Matches, the memoir of her extraordinary journey living in the bush for a year learning wilderness survival skills.» Read more about Claire Dunn
Sian Prior is probably best known as an ABC radio presenter, a columnist and critic for The Age, and a musician. But this accomplished public performer is also the author of an acclaimed memoir, Shy. Her book solves the riddle of how someone who has grappled for decades with debilitating social anxiety has nevertheless managed to carve out a series of successful careers in the public eye.» Read more about Sian Prior
Maxine Mckewʼs background is in journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as Lateline and 7.30 Report. Her work has been recognised by her peers and she is a recipient of both Logie and Walkely awards. When she left broadcasting and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood, and later for infrastructure and local government.
Following the success of her political memoir, Tales from the Political Trenches, published in 2012, Maxine McKewʼs new book Class Act looks at some of the most important questions in Australian education. Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.
Maxine now lives in Melbourne where she continues to work on a range of activities at the University of Melbourne. She is a director of three boards, Per Capita, the John Cain Foundation and the State Library of Victoria.» Read more about Maxine McKew
Dr Susan Carland is an academic, author, and social commentator. She has a PhD from Monash University’s School of Social Sciences, and she is the director of the Bachelor of Global Studies, also at Monash University.
Susan is a regular Friday panellist on ABC TV’s News Breakfast, and hosted the ABC Radio National Series Assumptions. She has guest-hosted on ABC Melbourne radio, and was co-creator and presenter of SBS’s Salam Café. She has appeared on the Agony series, Lateline, Q and A, The Project, 7:30, The Drum, Home Delivery, and has featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Dumbo Feather, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Sunday Life, and 200 Women. Her first book was Fighting Hislam, was published by Melbourne University Publishing in 2017, and her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, The Saturday Paper, in academic publications, and numerous anthologies. In 2017, she presented on a panel at the United Nations in Geneva as a guest of The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement.
In 2018 she was named on Who magazine’s “Women Who Fight” list, and in 2017, she was named on the “Who’s Who of Australian Women” list, in InStyle as a “Woman of Style”, and in Elle as one of 17 women “To Know and Be Inspired by”. In 2012 she was named on the “20 Most Influential Australian Female Voices” list by The Age. She has also been named on the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World list, and as a “Muslim Leader of Tomorrow” by the UN Alliance of Civilisations.
Susan is an ambassador for UNICEF Australia, and is also a certified scuba diver!» Read more about Dr Susan Carland
Author, academic, broadcaster, rock musician, former human rights lawyer and AFL mascot, Waleed Aly is one of Australia’s most exciting political and social commentators. Waleed is known in the public eye as a host on The Project, and from appearances on Q&A, Meet The Press, The 7.30 Report, Enough Rope with Andrew Denton and the host of ABC’s Big Ideas. In December 2014 he finished a two-year stint as the presenter of ABC Radio National’s Drive program.» Read more about Waleed Aly
Shamini Flint is an engaging, witty and inspirational speaker. She holds audiences of any age spellbound with tales of growing up in Malaysia and travelling the world in search of an identity (or at least a good curry). Her ability to discuss important issues in an accessible way is unparalleled.» Read more about Shamini Flint
One of the very first to identify the contemporary rise of Melbourne’s cultural and place power, Maree Coote is an energetic inspirational speaker. Her unique understanding of her topic (Melbourne) is made accessible through her command of history, culture, art and design for a wide variety of audiences. According to Philip Adams, “Melbourne never had a more ingenious ambassador.” Coote’s first book The Melbourne Book: A History of Now is in its fourth edition after 12+ years in print, and has been dubbed ‘Melbourne’s Bible’.
Maree’s ingenious typography has caught the attention of international design bodies with her book Spellbound: Making Pictures with the A-B-C winning the coveted Bologna Ragazzi 2017 Special Mention Prize in Italy. (She’s the first Australian to win this prize since Shaun Tan 10 years ago.) It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards.
An earlier book Alphabet City Zoo also won a Distinction Prize in Korea’s Nami Concours Awards in a field of entries from 149 countries.
For eight years of his life, Luke was an obese alcoholic and drug addicted thug. Leading a violent street fighting crew, he was stabbed on two separate occasions; once in the lung, the other time in the head.
On the outside he looked strong and confident, on the inside his thoughts would come to haunt him. He was incredibly scared, depressed, anxious, and awkward in social situations. Luke always worried what other people thought about him which led to him committing some harsh acts and missing out on many positive opportunities.
Becoming a successful business owner, mental health advocate, and one of Australia’s top motivational speakers, his purpose is to now use his experience to inspire, motivate, and enlighten others. To stop worrying what other people think. To develop personally & professionally. To shed the labels. To be free.» Read more about Luke Kennedy
Samantha took the ultimate challenge and entered the ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’, which requires competitors to run four 250km ultra marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest deserts (Antarctica) on earth – it is regarded as one of the toughest endurance series on the planet. Samantha made history by becoming the first woman and the youngest person ever to complete the Grand Slam. Her journey was captured for the big screen in the award winning film Desert Runners. She now uses her capacity to run long distances to impact social change in developing countries and within Australia. In 2014, she ran 1968kms across rural South Africa to fund an initiative that improves access to feminine hygiene products and education.» Read more about Samantha Gash
Damon Young combines a love of ideas and language with a fun, entertaining style. And lots of superhero t-shirts.» Read more about Damon Young
Dr Arne Rubinstein is an expert on adolescent development, with 30 years experience as a doctor, counsellor, mentor, speaker and workshop facilitator. His programs and seminars have been attended by over 25,000 people in Australia and around the world and are designed to support boys and girls to successfully make a safe, healthy transition from children to young adults, with a particular focus on creating coming of age Rites of Passage. In 2008, he was nominated for Australian of the Year for his groundbreaking work with youth.» Read more about Dr Arne Rubinstein
Maria is the good Greek girl who grew up above her parents’ Melbourne milk bar and shared a bedroom with her yiayia – until university when she discovered her rebellious side. She tells her story in her acclaimed memoir together with her experience of a complete mental breakdown that shattered her professional and personal identity. Maria is now a vocal mental health advocate and an ambassador for Beyond Blue.» Read more about Maria Katsonis
Leah Kaminsky is a family physician and an award-winning author of eight books.» Read more about Dr Leah Kaminsky
Nick’s early career in the fashion and entertainment industries ultimately led him to his ongoing work in mental health awareness. He earned international modelling contracts and made regular appearances on Australian television as a presenter as well as a personality. During his time on Dancing with the Stars, Nick publicly spoke about his experience with depression and anxiety for the first time.» Read more about Nick Bracks
Nicole is a fashion historian: an award-winning writer, educator and retailer, the author of two books and curator of perhaps the largest collection of Australian fashion in the world.
She has presented talks and workshops around Australia.» Read more about Nicole Jenkins
Aviva Reed is a visual ecologist, illustrator and collaborator on the Small Friends book project; a series of science-adventure storybooks created by artists, writers, scientists and educators that explores symbiotic relationships between microbes and larger forms of life.» Read more about Aviva Reed
Ron is a much loved and highly respected Victorian Indigenous educator, storyteller and musician. He is in demand as a speaker, sharing his knowledge of Indigenous culture with passion, honesty and humour.» Read more about Ron Murray
Industrial designer, hack engineer, DIY aquaculturalist and illustrator Stephen Mushin collaborates with scientists, and engineers in underground workshops to solve ‘elephant in the room’ scale ecological problems.» Read more about Stephen Mushin
Jake Wilson is a freelance writer whose film reviews appear weekly in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax Media publications. His book Mad Dog Morgan, a critical study of the film of the same name, was published in 2015 as part of the Australian Screen Classics series.» Read more about Jake Wilson
Ruth Clare is the author of the award-winning memoir, Enemy (Penguin, 2016), and a passionate advocate for the rights of children. She is also a TEDx and keynote speaker, copywriter and teacher. Her work has appeared in publications such as Meanjin, Elle, The Good Weekend and Better Reading.
Ruth’s memoir is about the way she faced her experience growing up with a violent father and an alcoholic mother with courage and strength. It is also a compassionate unravelling of the psychological impact of war on veterans and their families.
Though the issues she talks about are tough, Ruth is an open, inspiring and entertaining speaker. She believes honest discussion about the things that hurt us can be the beginning of real change.
Ruth also speaks on the nature of resilience – how to fight back instead of surrendering, hope as an attitude not an emotion, the way to effectively challenge negative thinking and how being kinder to yourself can help you move on from trauma to create a thriving life.» Read more about Ruth Clare
Kate James is a coach and mindfulness teacher working with people who are seeking purposeful lives.
In workshops and annual retreats in Bali and Byron Bay, Kate introduces participants to a range of different styles of meditation as well as the principles of mindfulness and how they can be integrated into every day life.
She is the author of Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life.» Read more about Kate James
Steve Bell is an inspirational individual who has forged his own path through life. The world’s highest and most difficult mountains are the backdrop for his vivid lessons on growing up, personal fulfillment and building a business.» Read more about Steve Bell
Jessica Walton’s picture book Introducing Teddy started as a Kickstarter project, gaining the attention of international media and eventually, Bloomsbury Publishing. Now published in 13 countries and translated into 9 different languages, the book introduces the youngest readers to understanding gender identity and transition in an accessible and heart-warming story about being true to yourself and being a good friend. Jess is a cancer survivor, amputee, queer, daughter of a trans parent, feminist, musician and teacher. She has spoken to any and every age group about her book, writing, LGBTI issues, cancer and disability.» Read more about Jessica Walton
Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet and broadcaster. She regularly appears on ABC radio talking books and culture and is often touring with her poetry. She has also appeared on ABC TV’s Sunday Arts, News Breakfast, Recovery and SBS’s Nomad program. Alicia was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that toured extensively in planetariums around the world.» Read more about Alicia Sometimes
Judy Horacek is an award winning Australian cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and writer. In 2004, she and Mem Fox created Where is the Green Sheep? which became an instant children’s classic, and winner of the CBCA Gold Medal for Early Childhood. She has since done four books of her own that she has both written and illustrated, and three other books with Mem, Judy is an experienced presenter in schools, both talking about her own work and helping children to make their own drawings and stories. Her classes are always full of laughter and fun, and her enthusiasm is infectious.» Read more about Judy Horacek
Tasneem is a whole lot of parts, symbolising the hybrid identity of today’s global citizen, which she speaks to with sheer wit. She is an East African born, Indian origin, Bendigo raised, Melbourne loving, daughter, mother, middle-child, karaoke swooning, sleep deprived, vertically challenged, feminist, Muslim, exhausted, activist – and she won’t compromise on any of those titles.» Read more about Tasneem Chopra
A charismatic,engaging, intellectually adventurous, deep thinker who also makes her audiences laugh. Talks accompanied by stunning National Geographic photography.» Read more about Robyn Davidson
Since publishing her first play at age seventeen, Alex (Lee) Miles has written for stage and screen, for brides, with the book Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride, and for spys-in-waiting with eight Zac Power books. Using her background in theatre, Alex entertains with interactive workshops on writing and the Imagination Muscle. Her Starring Olive Black children’s series launched in 2017.» Read more about Alex Miles
Nevo is a young, passionate activist and writer. They also happen to be transgender and identify as non-binary. Releasing their memoir, Finding Nevo, on gender and sexuality at the age of 21, Nevo is unafraid to delve into difficult and often taboo topics while remaining relatable and engaging.» Read more about Nevo Zisin
Kay Perry is a teacher and examiner with decades of experience in the teaching of Literature and English at tertiary and senior secondary levels. She is the author of several study guides and is yet to respond to the advice to “put down that book and go outside”.» Read more about Kay Perry
Nathan’s unique blend of humour and sincerity is unanimously well received. He gains an immediate rapport with audiences via his dynamic storytelling and his work as a sports presenter on Channel 9 and Fox Sports having covered NBL & WNBL basketball, AFL footy, Big Bash Cricket, A-League Soccer, Super Rugby and Super Netball.
He retains ongoing engagement and captivation with laughter and entertaining interaction being underpinned by his raw authenticity and integrity. Nathan’s honesty in recounting stories of failure, rejection and grief from his own journey strike a chord with any audience.
15 years of experience as a speaker and working with youth equip Nathan with the ability to tailor the ideal presentation for your group. His current position as a Boarding Duty Master and Director of Basketball at St Ignatius College Riverview ensures he is on point with teen culture and trends.» Read more about Nathan Strempel
Liv is a passionate and engaging speaker with over 15 years of experience working across the corporate and non-profit sectors across both Australia and the US.
As a registered psychologist and qualified meditation teacher, her sessions bring a balance of science and practice and are interactive, fun and practical.
In her role as a mindfulness educator, she brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her sessions through sharing both her personal and professional experiences.» Read more about Liv Downing
Manal Younus is a writer, poet, performer, and creative producer. As a young, black Muslim woman of Eritrean origins living in Australia, Manal uses her art forms to create and explore her own identity and spark thought in the minds of the audiences and communities she engages with.» Read more about Manal Younus
No one defies the computer science stereotype quite like Ally Watson with her charming Scottish accent, disarming wit and colourfully tattooed skin. Her unique and refreshing insights into the life of a female developer in a male-dominated industry allow for the delivery of thought-provoking and action-inspiring presentations that are deemed to spark positive change in the technology industry.» Read more about Ally Watson
Leonie Smith (aka The Cyber Safety Lady) is one of Australia’s leading Cyber Safety experts. She is passionate about empowering children, teens and adults to take positive, preemptive steps to stay safer online. She’s done the hard yards as a mum of 4. Leonie has spoken to thousands of students, teachers, parents, seniors and business, Australia wide. Her practical and sometimes technical solutions for online safety have been called life changing!» Read more about The Cyber Safety Lady
Shabnam is a visionary young woman who grew up as a refugee in Pakistan before she called Australia home at the age of 15. Since then she has persistently worked to positively shift the way our communities see and talk about a young, former refugee, woman of colour. Her passion to empower and motivate those around her to realise their potential, follow their aspirations and keep challenging traditional stereotypes and the status quo knows no bounds.
Having worked in Australia, India, America and Europe to promote education and global citizenship, she has co-founded two not for profit organisations helping refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and abroad. She has also earned her black belt in Karate and holds several national and international titles.» Read more about Shabnam Safa
Sophie Jamieson is a qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in food systems, nutrition and sustainability. Sophie is passionate about creating a healthy, fair and sustainable food system where people enjoy good food that makes people feel good, learn well, grow strong and succeed in sport.
Drawing on her vast experience in food, nutrition and sustainability, Sophie cuts through the noise to revel the key information and strategies her audience needs to make informed decision about what they grow and eat.» Read more about Sophie Jamieson
Bri Lee is an author, freelance writer, and speaker based in Sydney.
After graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts (Mandarin) degree in 2014, she was admitted to the legal profession early in 2017. Bri is now completing an MPhil in Creative Writing.
Her first book, a memoir called Eggshell Skull, was published by Allen & Unwin in June 2018. It explores sexism in the legal industry and justice system, and tells the story of how many barriers women—including Bri herself—face when trying to access justice. The book won several awards including the Biography of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. It also received several other listings, including being longlisted for The Stella Prize.
Bri is a well-known advocate for criminal justice law reform. She worked as a Research Assistant to Prof. Jonathan Crowe at Bond University where together they co-authored a paper detailing Queensland’s consent and ‘mistake of fact’ laws. After more than a year of campaigning their work was successful, and the Queensland Attorney-General referred the issue to the Law Reform Commission.
Bri’s second book, released in November 2019, is an essay called Beauty. In Beauty, Bri Lee explores our obsession with thinness and asks how an intrinsically unattainable standard of physical ‘perfection’ has become so crucial to so many.» Read more about Bri Lee
Having started her career as a comedian, Jo is a dynamic and entertaining speaker. She has presented to schools, universities, conferences, the corporate world, and community groups. Her areas of expertise are:
Scott Harris traveled the world solo with multiple disabilities to show us we can do anything we put our mind to. After a dirt bike accident in 2008, he spent three years at Epworth Rehabilitation learning to live with these disabilities and came out the other side with a completely new approach to life. He wrote the book Crashing Into Potential: Living with my injured brain, which tells the story of how he went from zero to hero despite being knocked down many times along the way.» Read more about Scott Harris
Chris is the author of Scrublands– the bestselling Australian crime novel set in a drought-ravaged town – and The River – an account of his journey through the Murray-Darling Basin.
Now a full-time author, Chris was a journalist for more than 30 years, covering federal politics and travelling as a roving foreign correspondent.» Read more about Chris Hammer
Dr Matt Beard is a dad, husband and award-winning moral philosopher with experience helping people find meaningful, practical advice in the history of philosophy.
He is an accomplished speaker, broadcaster and facilitator who brings enthusiasm, rigour, humour and accessibility to his work.» Read more about Matt Beard
Internationally acclaimed author, artist, INN Health Coach and speaker Meredith Gaston is passionate about joyous, mindful and inspired living. She delivers spirited presentations about integrative wellbeing in daily life, based on her various bestselling titles.» Read more about Meredith Gaston
Anna Snoekstra is the bestselling author of four novels, which have been published in twenty countries and translated into many different languages. She is also a screenwriter for film and television.» Read more about Anna Snoekstra
After many years spent gathering stories and tapping away in darkened rooms, Patrick has overcome his fear of public speaking and is now an accomplished performer – equal parts inspiring and entertaining – who isn’t afraid to explore the deeper motivations behind his stories. Patrick has a talent for engaging and involving his whole audience (even the kid at the back of the hall who doesn’t want to be there).» Read more about Patrick Guest
Ingrid Laguna is a dynamic and engaging author, educator, musician and inspirational speaker. She is the author of junior fiction novel Songbird, a story about a young Iraqi, Muslim girl struggling to fit into her new life in an outer suburb of Melbourne. Drawing on over five years of experience working with school-aged new arrivals to Australia, many from refugee backgrounds, Ingrid uses a range of strategies to support students to tell their stories in a way that is engaging and alive, with strong characters and effective language choices.» Read more about Ingrid Laguna
Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Cultural Material at the South Australian Museum and an international award-winning author.» Read more about Jared Thomas
Eleni Hale is an author and journalist based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, inspired by real life events, won the Readings Book Prize among other accolades and tells the story of one girl’s journey through institutional care.» Read more about Eleni Hale
Erin Rhoads talks and writes about the difference we can make by reducing our waste.
Erin has been sharing her zero-waste and plastic-free lifestyle on Australia’s popular eco lifestyle blog therogueginger.com since 2013. She was a consultant on ABCs War on Waste; is a regular contributor on ABC Radio, and has shared her tips for a zero-waste life with thousands at workshops, talks and forums around Australia.
Her first book Waste Not: Make a big difference by throwing away less was released July 2018, followed with Waste Not Everyday. She is currently writing her first Children’s book.» Read more about Erin Rhoads
Alice Bishop is from Christmas Hills, Victoria. Her first book A Constant Hum, tracks the lingering aftermath of Australian bushfire. It was recently shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and recognised in the Penguin Literary Prize. Alice’s work focuses on place, people and climate—often highlighting the quiet moments that make us who we are.» Read more about Alice Bishop
Lucy Thomas is the cofounder and CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, Lucy has dedicated her whole life to empowering school students to improve the world around them. She has personally worked with thousands of young people all over the world, from Wangaratta to Texas, Wollongong to Auckland, Atherton to Perth.
Hear the story of how a simple idea grew into an enduring social movement and leave the session with simple, safe and socially credible strategies for challenging (cyber)bullying. As a keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator, Lucy is a mighty force of kindness, equipped with the precious ability to creatively engage young people to generate positive social change.» Read more about Lucy Thomas OAM
Rosie Thomas OAM has been hungry for creating positive change ever since she can remember. After launching PROJECT ROCKIT with her sister when she was fresh out of high school, she’s since dedicated the last 15 years to growing Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. Rosie is a highly experienced and passionate (brace yourselves) speaker and is committed to helping her audience realise their own unique purpose and ability to change the world for good.» Read more about Rosie Thomas OAM