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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
Jackie was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.
Jackie’s writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.» Read more about Jackie French
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
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
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
Author, educator, actor and broadcaster, David has over a quarter of a century of experience in education, having headed English departments and run workshops for students and professional development for teachers. He has authored novels and developed curriculum resources that are sold nationally and internationally. He has an engaging presentation style encouraging active participation where possible.» Read more about David McLean
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
Mariam Issa is a visionary storyteller and delivers a story of determination and strength that is uniquely inspirational.
As an author and renowned speaker, Mariam tailors her talks to the interests of her audiences, and has spoken about a wide variety subjects including leadership, community building, culture and diversity, gender issues, social justice, social inclusion and cohesion, as well as advocacy on FGM.» Read more about Mariam Issa
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Craig has spent the past 30 years employing, working with and mentoring thousands of teenagers in his many Subway stores. His book 28 Tips for Teenagers Life Skills That Fast Track Success takes a caring employers look at a range of skills that Craig believes are important in the transition from school to the workforce and beyond. He highlights areas that may need improvement coupled with some ‘old fashioned tips’ that can help teenagers reach their own full potential.
Craig’s message is a positive one that has resonated very well not only with teenage audiences but also parents and teachers. He speaks in a simple straightforward way with lots of fun stories and examples from the workplace.» Read more about Craig Goddard
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
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
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
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
Dr Lee Kofman spent ten years researching issues around body image and visible difference. She is also an author and editor of seven books. In her most recent book, the critically acclaimed memoir Imperfect, she tells her story of growing up while suffering anguish about her body that was severely scarred during multiple childhood surgeries, and later in life raising a child with albinism. Drawing on Lee’s experience and research, Imperfect also explores how we can live a fulfilled life in an ‘imperfect’ body.
Lee is also a passionate and versatile teacher. She used to teach social sciences across three major universities, and for the last 13 years she has been regularly teaching a wide range of writing workshops all around Australia. She is a candid, engaging and warm speaker about body image, visible differences, parenting and the art of writing. She also often discusses migration, having written extensively about her two migrations: from Russia to Israel, and later to Australia. And she is an experienced panel moderator, who has interviewed many well-known Australian and international authors. She speaks regularly at literary festivals, libraries, bookshops and in the media.» Read more about Lee Kofman
Coming to Australia at the age of 7 with her family as a refugee, Sumaya and her family were settled in the suburb of Brighton East, a predominantly Caucasian suburb. She started at a nearby primary school, the only English she knew having learnt from Sesame Street. Her experiences of being bullied and ostracized in school caused her to develop social anxiety and a diminished self-worth which she wouldn’t know about until into her mid to late 20s. She connects with students from schools all over the country on topics of bullying and overcoming it, body image issues and integrating as a refugee.» Read more about Sumaya Harare
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
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
Professor Marcia Langton is one of Australia’s most important voices for Indigenous Australia. She first became an Indigenous rights activist at Queensland University in the 1970s, and since then has worked with the Central Land Council, the Cape York Land Council and for the 1989 Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody.
In more recent times, Professor Langton has become an academic and now works at Melbourne University. Professor Langton has received many accolades, including an Order of Australia, and has authored several books. In 1999 Professor Langton was one of five Indigenous leaders who were granted an audience with the Queen to discuss the proposed recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution. She is also a frequent guest on the ABC’s Q&A show.» Read more about Marcia Langton
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
Danielle Binks is a literary agent and author of middle-grade and young-adult fiction books. She is a passionate ‘youth literature advocate’ who champions Australia’s national youth literature and writes compelling contemporary stories for young people.» Read more about Danielle Binks
Cofounders of PROJECT ROCKIT, Lucy and Rosie Thomas have dedicated their lives to making the world better for young people. The pair launched PROJECT ROCKIT when they were fresh out of school and restless for change on issues of bullying, hate and prejudice. Over a decade later, PROJECT ROCKIT is a thriving social enterprise, reaching hundreds of thousands of students and serving as a cyber safety partner to major social media platforms. Rosie and Lucy regularly appear in the media and have received numerous awards honouring their work.
Although three years apart, the Thomas sisters hold a shared vision that has translated into a strong social impact. They have both received Order of Australia medals, been named by UNICEF among 12 Digital Champions for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age and are recipients of the global Family Online Safety Institute’s award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Online Safety.’ Together the duo sit on a range of boards including Facebook’s Global Safety Board, Twitter’s Global Trust and Safety Council and the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s Online Safety Consultative Working Group.» Read more about Lucy and Rosie Thomas: PROJECT ROCKIT
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