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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
Tansel is a 3-Time Australian Memory Champion and author of the titles ‘The Yellow Elephant’, ‘How To Learn Almost Anything In 48 Hours’, and the e-book app, ‘The 4 Most Powerful Techniques’. He has amazingly memorised two Yellow Pages phone books in only 24 days.
As one of the world’s foremost memory educators and mental athletes, Tansel is often seen on television demonstrating his memory skills as well as speaking at schools and conferences, nationally as well as internationally. In 2012 he was the memory coach for Leo Burnett former CEO Todd Sampson in the award-winning TV documentary, Redesign My Brain and has received praise from the founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell and Google. A passionate motivator, Tansel has coached students, CEOs, athletes, and celebrities, to be at their very best.
Tansel also has a passion for inspiring and engaging students to tap into their mental capabilities, to achieve their goals and maximise study performance. After working with Australian schools for the past 13 years, the memory techniques he has developed have been described the leading way for faster and better learning.» Read more about Tansel Ali
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 one of Australia’s leading obstacle endurance athletes. In 2012 and 2013 Luke finished 14th at the Tough Mudder World Championships, a 24 hour race held in the USA in which he completed more than 300 obstacles and 120km. He is also a member of the Under Armour Australia Team for Obstacle Racing.» Read more about Luke Atkins
Anna Barnes is an award winning writer and playwright. Her plays and monologues have been performed around Australia and in 2011 she was Red Stitch Actors Theatre’s writer-in-residence (VIC). In 2012 her first book, a non-fiction book for girls, Girl! The Ultimate Guide to Being You, was published by Penguin Australia.» Read more about Anna Barnes
Jon Bauer is the author of short stories, and plays for stage and radio. His work has been published in The Daily Telegraph, The Sleepers Almanac and The Bridport Prize, as well as broadcast on national radio. Rocks in the Belly is his first novel.» Read more about Jon Bauer
After losing her sight in her early twenties, Melissa began a unique journey towards independence and resilience. In her sessions, Melissa addresses issues like teamwork, problem solving, leadership, discrimination, courage, decision making, goalsetting and overcoming adversity.» Read more about Melissa Benson
Rachel Berger is one of Australia’s most highly regarded, adept, and adaptive comedic talents, working variously as a broadcaster, comic, novelist, columnist, agitator and television entertainer. Rachel’s dynamic presence and engagingly sharp observations have made her an extremely popular performer both live and on television, across Australia and overseas.» Read more about Rachel Berger
Danielle Brogan is a professional football (soccer) player of the highest level. She currently plays for Sydney FC in the Australian W-League and has been part of the Matildas squad – the Australia women’s national association football team – since 2009.» Read more about Danielle Brogan
Lauren Burns OAM, Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist (BHSc) Olympic Gold Medallist, Taekwondo Sydney 2000» Read more about Lauren Burns
Simon Coronel is one of the most skilled illusionists in the Southern Hemisphere. Using pure dexterity and no tricky props, he creates live performance art that seems utterly impossible.» Read more about Simon Coronel
Ben Cryan achieved the unachievable. After falling from his surfboard onto a coral reef and developing a serious illness, he overcame thirty-four operations, being told he would never walk again, to defy the odds. His life is built on adventure, about challenging your ability and about never giving up, which is exactly what he did from his hospital bed. Ben has been faced adversity, and has one hell of a story to share that will inspire all who have the opportunity to hear it.» Read more about Ben Cryan
Robin de Crespigny is a powerful and moving speaker who provides an alternative view on the very topical subject of asylum seekers. Her bestselling book The People Smuggler put a human face to a debate often conducted in the abstract, and her thought-provoking talks will help start constructive, non-judgmental conversations in the community.» Read more about Robin de Crespigny
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
Catherine Deveny is a comedy writer, comedian, author, social commentator and broadcaster well known for her work as a columnist with The Age and as an ABC regular. Deveny has been named in the Top 100 Most Influential Melbournians. She is an atheist and (along with two of her sons) dyslexic. Her extensive charity and community work includes the Asylum Seeker’s Resource Centre, Homelessness and Broken Rites. She is a proud ambassador for Dying With Dignity Victoria, International Day of People with Disability, and the Patron (alongside Father Bob) of Griefline. Catherine was also one of the founding members of Friends of Public Housing.» Read more about Catherine Deveny
Demet Divaroren is a Melbourne based writer and editor who teaches creative writing at Victoria University. She is the co-editor of Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia anthology which was shortlisted in CBCA’s Book of The Year awards. Her writing has appeared in Griffith Review, Island magazine, Scribe’s New Australian Stories Anthology, The Age Epicure and The Big Issue. Demet’s first novel Living on Hope which explores contemporary Australia, cross-cultural friendships, domestic violence, racism and different kinds of love, will be published by Allen and Unwin in 2017.» Read more about Demet Divaroren
Linh Do is a Melbourne based activist with a globe-trotting lifestyle, having worked in over 15 countries. She’s done everything from changing one million lightbulbs (and mindsets) in Australia to working at the UN to create social change on environmental issues, and in 2013 was named as Australian Geographic’s Young Conservationist of the Year.» Read more about Linh Do
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
Declan Fay is one of Australia’s leading comedy writers and motivational speakers. He has performed at the Comedy Festival, The Fringe Festival and written for some of the best (and worst) television shows. He has spoken at over 600 different schools around Australia. He has never been pelted with fruit, although his dad once threw a whopper with cheese at him for talking during The Bill.» Read more about Declan Fay
Archie is one of the most in-demand and successful presenters of author talks and workshops in Australia. Archie’s versatility means he can communicate to, and cater for, a range of abilities and interests. The fact that he was a teacher and features writer probably helps.» Read more about Archie Fusillo
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
Giulia Giuffre is the author of Primavera, an Australian-Italian memoir of childhood and family in the second half of the 20th Century. It has been described as an ‘exuberant, bittersweet encyclopaedia of life in general’.» Read more about Giulia Giuffre
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 is the author of two books in the recently released Hardie Grant Egmont series, Forever Clover, and is currently writing three more books for the second series. She also wrote the third series of the popular children’s ABC television show, Prank Patrol.» Read more about Fiona Harris
Pip Harry is a journalist, blogger and author of I’ll Tell You Mine. Pip found it extremely difficult to become an author and would now like to inspire young adults to keep striving for their goals, no matter how many setbacks and knockbacks they get along the way.» Read more about Pip Harry
Barry Heard is Scribe Publication’s bestselling author. His first book, Well Done Those Men is used in over one hundred high schools throughout Australia in both History and English subject areas. Barry visits these schools to give talks on the book. Now claimed as a classic, the author has received over 100 000 emails and some 30 000 letters in response to the book. The book is essential reading in most Australian University History faculties.» Read more about Barry Heard
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.» Read more about Justin Heazlewood
Kate Holden is the author of the best-selling In My Skin and a columnist for The Age. She speaks frankly and movingly of her time as a heroin addict and sex worker, talks of personal dignity and survival, and also speaks about her writing career as a memoirist and freelancer.» Read more about Kate Holden
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
Lili Wilkinson is a reader and writer of YA literature. She is the author of nine books for teenagers, and has a PhD in Creative Writing.» Read more about Lili Wilkinson
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
Lucy Howard-Taylor is the author of Biting Anorexia – an extraordinary
depiction of her descent into the tortured existence of anorexia
and her arduous and remarkable recovery from it.
Anorexia nervosa is the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses, and
over 90 per cent of eating disorder victims are young women.
While anorexia is often portrayed in the media as a phase that
some young girls obsessed by their appearance go through, the
realities of the illness prove that nothing could be further from the
truth. As Lucy states in her powerful depiction: ‘This isn’t about
weight, or a diet or a figure. Somewhere along the line I’ve come
to equate fat with failure and weakness. Weight loss is merely
symptomatic of the greater psychological problem.’
Biting Anorexia is unique in that much of it was written while the
author was in the grips of the condition. Recovery is the hardest,
most challenging and most confusing part – and the one least
written about. This book tracks her slow progress out of the illness.
Lucy says: ‘To challenge an eating disorder, or any mental illness,
is to wage a prolonged, painful and devastating war … it is the
most confusing and emotionally draining part of the illness.’
‘Lucy’s brave struggle to reclaim her life from an eating disorder provides a graphic yet poetic insight into the pain and suffering experienced by sufferers of eating disorders and will no doubt provide a positive incentive to others – to both those already in treatment and to those who are struggling to take that first step.’
–Claire Vickery, CEO/Founder, The Butterfly Foundation.
‘In her raw and compelling account of the experience of anorexia nervosa, Lucy strips away all grandiosity or pretension … her cautious, tentative steps towards recovery should inspire not only those currently trapped by the illness or its relapses, but also families who all too often have their deep trauma minimised and trivialised.’
– Amanda Jordan, Chief Executive Officer, Eating Disorders Foundation.
Melinda Hutchings is a media commentator, author, speaker and mentor on the topic of body image and teen issues. She is the author of four books and is passionate about empowering young people to face and overcome challenging issues and to recognise their enormous potential to create a happy and fulfilling future.» Read more about Melinda Hutchings
Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, writer 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
Cool Australia founder Jason Kimberly is an eco-warrior, globally renowned photographer, adventurer and founder of the online environmental resources, Cool Australia and Our Cool School.» Read more about Jason Kimberly
Anneli is an enthusiastic and energetic presenter who is comfortable in the school room and the board room.
She speaks on a variety of topics – from empowering girls and women through financial independence to having the courage to pursue your passions.
Anneli also runs half day and full day workshops teaching workplace teams how to write powerfully and persuasively, and she addresses corporate audiences on how to capture and keep readers’ attention.» Read more about Anneli Knight
Judith Lanigan brings a wealth of performance experience and circus skills to her public speaking. She is entertaining, unusual and memorable.» Read more about Judith Lanigan
Michelle Law is an award-winning writer and screenwriter whose previous speaking engagements include TEDx events, Woodford Folk Festival, writer’s festivals, ABC radio and The Project. Her stories and essays have been widely anthologized and her films have screened nationally at festivals and on the ABC.» Read more about Michelle Law
Sophie Li, daughter of renowned ballet dancer and author Li Cunxin was born profoundly deaf. Unable to benefit from regular hearing aids, Sophie became one of the first children in America to receive a cochlear implant, during the time when there was fierce scepticism in the US about its capability and success. With implants in both ears, Sophie worked hard on her speech and hearing, attending a mainstream school and pushing herself to extraordinary lengths – such as learning the violin, cello and piano, speaking in Mandarin Chinese and performing Ballet, Jazz and Tap.» Read more about Sophie Li
Erin Vincent is a highly respected journalist who has worked both here and in the US for publications such as The Australian, Marie Claire,The Sunday Telegraph and America’s biggest selling publicationPeople Magazine. She is also the author of the acclaimed memoir Grief Girl: My True Story that is now in its seventh printing in the US and was named a New York Public Library’s Best Book for 2007.» Read more about Erin Vincent
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 currently holds five World Records. 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 – just to mention a few of her milestones.
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 story of inner strength, persistence, and learning to overcome insurmountable obstacles shows audiences that with a commitment to a goal, and belief in oneself, anything is possible.» Read more about Tammy van Wisse
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
Rosie is a highly energetic and passionate facilitator, whose experiences in working with youth communities have bolstered her strong sense of compassion and understanding towards fellow young people. With her sister Lucy she founded Project Rockit, a school-based program aimed at building youth leadership, citizenship and resilience by tackling the issue of bullying in school communities.
See also Project Rockit
Rosie was recently awarded the title of ‘Role Model of the Month’ by Girlfriend Magazine, in recognition of her commitment to empowering young women. In 2010, she was awarded first place in the Victorian Business Icon Awards, an intensive social entrepreneurship competition adjudicated by leading Australian business innovators. She also rocked out at the 2010 Cyber-Racism Summit in Sydney, wowing major corporates with her genuine understanding of youth online culture.
Rosie is also dynamic member of the Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse community, contributing to core programs such as Very Special Kids Camp, Empowerme and Camp Diversity. In particular, as a past-coordinator of ‘MAX,’ the organization’s youth led leadership program, Rosie led a team of 15 young people to deliver a week-long residential seminar designed to MAXimise the potential of its young participants.
But it’s not just youth work that excites Rosie. Rosie is a talented singer and drama buff, jumping at any opportunity to perform! Her highlight performance was opening the Independent Primary School Heads of Victoria Association biennial concert with her musically talented sister, Lucy.» Read more about Rosie Thomas
Lucy Thomas is a highly creative and innovative youth professional, whose imaginative take on life is at the core of her ability to connect with young people in a credible and meaningful way. With her sister Rosie she founded Project Rockit, a school-based program aimed at building youth leadership, citizenship and resilience by tackling the issue of bullying in school communities.
See also Project Rockit
On finishing school, Lucy pioneered Family Life Agency’s responsive anti-bullying program, Knock Out Violence, presenting interactive sessions to over 5,000 students. She has since designed extensive workshops, seminars and residential programs around issues such as bullying, leadership, anger management and drug and alcohol awareness for Family Life and other organizations including Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse and Rotary International.
In 2010, Lucy made her international debut as a speaker at the U.S. National ‘Stop Girl Bullying’ Conference in Texas, during which she appeared on primetime CBS news. During the same year, Lucy was also named winner of Anthill Magazine’s “30 under 30,” an awards scheme set up to recognise 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours.
As a Melbourne University graduate, Lucy has completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts (honours) and Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Her artistic background, together with a solid professional grounding within the youth development and community sector, has given her the precious ability to creatively engage young people through a variety of learning styles.» Read more about Lucy Thomas
Australiaʼs most well known mountaineer is a veteran of pioneering routes in remote regions of the Himalaya but is best known for his attempts of Mount Everest on two very different, pioneering expeditions. Remarkably he reached the summit on both occasions, without the use of bottled oxygen and in a style and substance of a class way beyond the realm of guided ascents so popular in recent times.» Read more about Tim Macartney-Snape
Jamie Mackenzie is one half of an intrepid duo who set out to see the entire world from the seat of a bicycle. Armed only with an open mind and a thirst for adventure, Jamie and his cousin departed their homes on a unique mission to cycle on every continent without the use of an airplane. They called the journey Free Wheels East. With little money and no training or know-how, they set out from England to forge an unbroken line around the earth’s surface…to everyone else it seemed like an impossible journey.» Read more about Jamie Mackenzie
Aquatic Scientist Sheree Marris is one of Australia’s youngest environment ambassadors. She is committed to educating the community about their responsibilities in water preservation, marine life and other environmental issues such as recycling. Among her many accolades, she was Young Australian of the Year (Victoria) in 2002.» Read more about Sheree Marris
From dragging sleds to the North Pole to sailing tiny yachts to Antarctica, Matt McFadyen has been there and done that. At the age of 29 Matt has spent the last decade pushing himself to his physical and mental limits while exploring some of the most remote parts of the globe.» Read more about Matt McFadyen
Breathtaking and often hilarious, Russell’s entertaining stories and photos of his adventures will inspire anyone with an ounce of wonder dust in their pants and the courage to say ‘yes’ to the big ‘what if’ that lies out there for all of us.» Read more about Russell McGilton
Kate (left) is best known for her one-woman stage comedy show The Debutante Diaries. In the show Kate brings an entire school community to life as they plan their Year 11 debutante ball, pitting adult disaffection against teenage angst, with hilarious results.» Read more about Kate McLennan
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
After thirteen years as a detective in the NSW police force, P.M. Newton decided to take a leap into the unknown and seek a different path, one that did not involve constantly meeting people for the first time on the worst day of their life. Since then she has travelled to Timbuktu, written about music in Mali, studied Buddhist philosophy in India, taught English to Tibetan monks and written a critically acclaimed novel.» Read more about P.M. Newton
Ever wondered what it is like to work in a disaster zone? Krissy Nicholson speaks passionately about her experience as an aid worker in some of the biggest disasters the world has seen. From the Boxing Day Tsunami and Pakistan Earthquake, to post conflict Northern Uganda and PNG Cholera outbreaks.» Read more about Krissy Nicholson
PROJECT ROCKIT is Australia’s youth-driven anti-bullying and leadership organisation that empowers young people to stand up and lead change – in school, online and beyond. The team has worked with over 100, 000 young people in workshops across Australia and have earned the reputation as the student-favourite in anti-bullying programs. They believe in creating a world where respect thrives over bullying, prejudice and judgment and all young people are free to realise their potential.
So what are you waiting for? Join the anti-bullying movement!» Read more about Project Rockit
Michelle Nouri was born in Prague and raised in Baghdad where she and her family lived through the Iraq-Iran conflict. After being abandoned by her father, she briefly returned to Prague, and at age eighteen Michelle moved to Italy seeking a better life. After learning Italian, Michelle built a successful career in the Italian media, working in both television and print, covering the lives and issues of immigrants in Italy.» Read more about Michelle Nouri
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
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
Dr Leslie Cannold is an author, teacher, ethicist and commentator. Her books include the What, No Baby? which made the Australian Financial Review’s top 101 books list. Her first novel, The Book of Rachael, has been reprinted twice by her Australian publisher Text and will be published in 2014 in the United States and the UK. Leslie is often noted as one of Australia’s leading thinkers. She has been listed alongside Professor Peter Singer, Professor Gustav Nossal and Inga Clendinnen as one of Australia’s top 20 public intellectuals, and named in 2012 among Australia’s top ten most influential thinkers. In 2011 she was named Australian Humanist of the Year.» Read more about Dr Leslie Cannold
Born in Vietnam in 1974 Bic Walker escaped war torn Vietnam at the age of four. Bic’s experience as a refugee was the catalyst for her first Book A Safe Place to Live. This autobiographical children’s book recounts her experience in fleeing Vietnam with her family in 1979 on a tiny boat bound for freedom. The events that transpired are the stuff of Hollywood movies: attacked by pirates and left drifting in the open ocean without fuel, the family were finally rescued by a Canadian oil tanker. Bic and her family were transported to Malaysia where they waited for six months before being taken to Australia.» Read more about Bic Walker
Trace Balla works with people of all ages and abilities to inspire their creativity and awareness of the wonders of the natural world and the ample stories that surround us. Her book Rivertime is about appreciation of nature, facing challenges, not needing so much, and connecting with the earth. Trace can discuss and show slideshows and offer activities with varying focus, such as; sketching in nature, cartooning, book layout, making mini books, story catching and making combining words and images.» Read more about Trace Balla
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
Courtney Collins is the author of The Burial, inspired by the life of a female bushranger. Shortlisted for The Stella Award, The NSW Premiers’ Award and the Dobbie, it is currently being developed as a feature film. Courtney is a regular contributor to ABC Arts online and is at work on her second novel.» Read more about Courtney Collins
Anne Edmonds is one of Australia’s most exciting new stand up, character and banjo-playing comedians. From naughty kid at school to performing at the New York Comedy Festival, Anne has a story to tell about a winding road to success.» Read more about Anne Edmonds
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
Daniel Witthaus has spent the past two decades challenging homophobia one cuppa at a time in schools, rural communities and, occasionally, developing countries like Sri Lanka, Poland and Indonesia. He is the author of Beyond Priscilla: one gay man, one gay truck, one big idea… (2014), Beyond ‘That’s So Gay!’: Challenging homophobia in Australian schools (2010) and the Pride & Prejudice educational package (2002, 2012) – which won three Tasmanian schools Human Rights Week awards.
In 2013 Daniel founded the National Institute for Challenging Homophobia Education (NICHE), which focuses on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in regional, rural and remote Australia. NICHE has had success with both the YourStory cartoon series and the oi! challenging rural homophobia campaign.» Read more about Daniel Witthaus
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
Mike is a survivor of one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. His story of courage, determination and pure resilience will inspire, educate and entertain!» Read more about Mike Rolls
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
Luke S. Kennedy was formerly an obese alcoholic and drug addict. He was leader of a street fighting and graffiti crew. Luke came close to death numerous times and also nearly killed others in street battles. He was stabbed on two separate occasions; once in the lung and the other time in the head.
Luke captivates his audience after his first sentence and then takes them on a ‘journey’ of how his life turned from an innocent, happy childhood to violence and drugs. He then shows how he got out of that life and now runs a successful business helping others both physically and emotionally. After his total turn around Luke won a State Title in boxing.» 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
Tony Nicholls is an accomplished live broadcast journalist who has held roles over the last ten years with the ABC, SBS and Network Ten, covering state, national and international stories.
Tony was born and raised in Melbourne but like most journalists got his break in the country, when Macquarie Regional Radio in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales gave him a radio news job. From there he followed a path through television news with Network Ten in Canberra, and finally back to Melbourne.
» Read more about Tony Nicholls
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
Sarah Ayoub is a journalist and author. Her work has appeared in Marie-Claire, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Sunday Style, Girlfriend, CLEO and more. Sarah attended a mono-cultural school from Kindergarten to year 12 and the culture shock she experienced out in the real world inspired her to write her debut novel about race, identity, gender and belonging. She has spoken at schools and writers festivals across the east coast of Australia and appeared on TV and radio discussing her work and the social/cultural issues she covers. She has taught Journalism at the University of Notre Dame and is passionate about teens and seeing diversity in the arts. She blogs about writing, wanderlust and her inspirations at www.sarahayoub.com» Read more about Sarah Ayoub
Donna Campisi is marathon runner with heart, and with a difference. At eight years old, she survived a stroke and doctors said she would never walk or talk again. At fourteen, she was in a critical condition and diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1.
In 2012, she set her own challenge: a campaign called Run Donna Run. She planned to go from being able to run only 30 steps in November, to completing a marathon in October the following year.
Her success raised funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, inspired a great many followers, and proved “there is no such thing as can’t”! Donna is a woman who takes a challenge and believes it is achievable when broken into ‘baby steps’ and having the right mindset. She explains with confidence “Don’t just take opportunities when they come. Make opportunities!”» Read more about Donna Campisi
Growing up the eldest son of a prominent politician, Melbourne-based Nick Bracks was already accustomed to the spotlight when he was offered a contract with American Crew in 2009. His profile grew quickly and before long, Nick branched out from modelling to become a prime time television favourite.
It was during his acclaimed appearance on Channel Seven’s Dancing with the Stars (according to Nick the most nerve wracking experience of his life) that he found a way to advocate for the cause closest to his heart: mental health awareness.» Read more about Nick Bracks
David is a multi-award-winning writer from Queensland. In 2015, David published his funny, sad and serious memoir How to Be Happy, which tackled an adolescence of depression, anxiety and sexual confusion head on. He’s regularly requested for his hilarious and inspiring talks.» Read more about David Burton
Tommy Dassalo is a comedian, podcaster and writer. He has performed comedy around the world since he was 16 and is the co-host of The Little Dum Dum Club – one of Australia’s most successful comedy podcasts. His story of surviving cancer as a child and ending up as a comedian is poignant, inspirational and hilarious.» Read more about Tommy Dassalo
Julia is the author of the recently released memoir, Breakfast, School Run, Chemo, chronicling life as a mum of four daughters, living with stage four bowel cancer. Since her diagnosis, she has learned how to live her best and most authentic life, despite great adversity and speaks around the issues of a terminal cancer diagnosis, living in the moment, learning how to stop glorifying busy, going after your dreams, body confidence issues, and believing in yourself. She has also written several articles, for Fairfax Media’s Essential Baby.» Read more about Julia Watson
Cheryl Koenig’s embrace of life shines through as she delivers inspirational presentations on a variety of issues close to her heart. Cheryl’s talks have a lasting impact on her audiences.» Read more about Cheryl Koenig
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
Ruth Clare the author of the memoir, Enemy: A Daughter’s Story of How Her Father Brought the Vietnam War Home. Inspiring and engaging, she draws on her former career as an actor, and the years she spent in therapy, to speak with honesty and insight about the impact of growing up with violence and neglect, developing resilience in the face of adversity, the importance of authenticity, how becoming a parent was way harder than she imagined, and the importance of fighting against the voices that say you are not good enough.
Ruth recently delivered a speech for Child Protection Day in Kiama, read her deeply moving speech here.» Read more about Ruth Clare
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
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
In the world of youth motivational speakers Nathan Hulls is a breath of fresh air. He speaks from the heart about issues that are real to young people today. Nathan can relate because he has faced adversity, suffered loss, endured disability and achieved great success.
Nathan connects with youth with humour and relevant stories of his own teenage years, but more than that he has a knack of connecting with each young person’s heart with a powerful message of hope, peak performance mindset and a tool kit for success.» Read more about Nathan Hulls
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
Osamah Sami is an award winning actor, author, screenwriter, director and comedian. He is also a struggling Muslim and a failed cricketer.» Read more about Osamah Sami