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Festival Favourites

The Arts

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

» Read more about The Arts

Abdi Aden

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Steven Amsterdam

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Steven Amsterdam has been writing for decades, producing everything from speeches for the Tokyo Auto Show to little artsy dance reviews in free weeklies. His most recent book, What the Family Needed (Sleepers, 11/2011) was a chosen as a Great Read by Women’s Weekly. Already the book has been called “exhilarating” by The Australian and “strange and marvellous territory” by The Monthly. His first book, Things We Didn’t See Coming won The Age Book of the Year, was longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award, and has been printed to acclaim in the US and the UK this year, with French and Dutch editions. It has been selected for the VCE reading list for 2011 and 2012. He works as a palliative care nurse on some days and works on his next book on other days.

» Read more about Steven Amsterdam

David Astle

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Max Barry

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Max Barry is an Australian who pretended to sell high-end computer systems for Hewlett-Packard while secretly writing his first novel, Syrup. In fact, he still has the laptop he wrote it on because HP forgot to ask for it back, but keep that to yourself. He went on to publish Jennifer Government and Company. His fourth book, Machine Man, is due in 2011 and is based on a real-time interactive serial Max wrote and delivered online one page per day.

» Read more about Max Barry

Myke Bartlett

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Myke Bartlett is a journalist and critic whose debut novel, Fire In The Sea, won the 2011 Text Prize. When not writing fiction, Myke writes on politics, movies, pop culture and rock music. His work has been published in The Age, Dumbo Feather, Overland, Triple J Magazine, Metro, Cream Magazine and The Big Issue, among others.

» Read more about Myke Bartlett

Jon Bauer

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Tony Birch

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Tony Birch is a writer of short fiction, novels and essays. He is also an educator and teacher of writing and history.

» Read more about Tony Birch

Jane Clifton

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Jane Clifton is the genuine show-business all-rounder. Actress, singer and, more recently, published crime novelist, Jane is often asked if there is anything she can’t do, to which she simply replies ‘Ballet and making money.’

» Read more about Jane Clifton

Oslo Davis

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Hanifa Deen

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Hanifa Deen is an award-winning author and social commentator with extensive public speaking experience. Audiences all around Australia, at writers’ festivals, conferences, seminars and debates have heard her speak on a range of topical and literary subjects. A former History and English literature teacher, Hanifa can also guide secondary students to a better understanding of Australian curriculum themes of The Making of Australia, Identity, Belonging and Australian social history. Her aim is to inform and entertain.

» Read more about Hanifa Deen

Mary Delahunty

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Sean Dooley

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Daniel Ducrou

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Daniel Ducrou’s first novel, The Byron Journals (Text Publishing, 2010), tells the story of an eighteen-year-old classical musician from Adelaide who goes off the rails on a schoolies trip to Byron Bay.

» Read more about Daniel Ducrou

Nick Earls

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Nick Earls is the author of twelve novels and two collections of short stories. Two of his novels have been adapted into feature films, and five have become stage plays.

» Read more about Nick Earls

Adam Elliot

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Amy Espeseth

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Born in rural Wisconsin, Amy Espeseth immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s and lives in Melbourne. A writer, publisher and academic, Amy lectures in both writing and publishing at NMIT.

» Read more about Amy Espeseth

Arabella Forge

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Arabella Forge is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), television presenter and food writer. She is the author of the cookbook Frugavore: How to Grow Your Own, Buy Local, Waste Nothing and Eat Well (Black Inc 2010) which has been published and distributed throughout Australia and the USA. Arabella presents a regular segment on food and gardening for Channel 10’s Love to Share Food and is a spokesperson for The Markets of Melbourne.

» Read more about Arabella Forge

Anna Goldsworthy

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Dave Graney

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Dave Graney is a wise guy from the showbusiness scene. He hails from South Australia, but now lives in Melbourne and has been a musician his entire career. Dave writes and performs his own music, as well as composing tracks for film, television and theatre. He is an accomplished performer and has kept his live band Dave Graney and the mistLY together for more than twenty years, still playing nationally. Dave has won several ARIA awards and a gold record. Dave is also passionate about writing, and is the author of 1001 Australian Nights

» Read more about Dave Graney

Tanya Ha

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Belinda Hawkins

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Barry Heard

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Robert Hillman

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Robert Hillman has published more than sixty works of fiction and non-fiction. His books feature in school libraries all over Australia and his autobiography, The Boy in the Green Suit, won the 2005 Australian National Biography Award. His publications cover sports, Australian history, nation building, Young Australian achievers, and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers

» Read more about Robert Hillman

Lia Hills

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Lia Hills is a poet, novelist and translator. Her work has been published, performed, and translated both locally and internationally, and focuses on sources of meaning.

» Read more about Lia Hills

Kate Holden

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Penny Woodward

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Penny has been growing, writing about and photographing edible and useful plants for more than thirty years. After seven books and countless articles and talks, her passion for her subject is undiminished. She contributes regular articles and photographs to her website and to the ABC’s Organic Gardener Magazine and Essential Guides, as well as appearing on radio in gardening talk back shows.

» Read more about Penny Woodward

Fiona Wood

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Fiona Wood is the author of Six Impossible Things, Wildlife and Cloudwish. Six Impossible Things was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year, Older Readers in 2011. Wildlife won the CBCA Award in 2014 and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. Cloudwish won the CBCA Award in 2016, and the 2016 Indie Book Award for YA fiction. It was also shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award, and the ABIA Award. Her books are published internationally. All three books are Junior Library Guild Selections in the US. Before writing YA fiction, Fiona worked as a screenwriter. She lives in Melbourne with her family.

» Read more about Fiona Wood

Tony Wilson

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Michael Hyde

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Michael’s novels for young adults, Hey Joe, MAX and Tyger Tyger have experienced critical success and continue to be widely read and taught in many schools. Hey Joe – about the Vietnam War, the movement against it and the sixties in Australia – was named as a Notable Book in the 2004 CBC Awards. Many of his short stories for younger readers are published in the Trend/Awesome Series including the popular titles: The Footy Coach from Hell, Seal Saves the Island and How I Got a Girlfriend. Michael also edited two senior anthologies for the Australian Association of English Teachers (AATE), Hunger (CBC Notable Book 2004) and The Girl who Married a Fly (CBC Notable Book 2002). Both anthologies feature popular YA Australian writers (including Michael) and like his novels, enjoy significant sales. Michael’s Change the Game series – choose-your-own-adventure sports books became overnight favourites with young readers, 20,000 + copies being sold in one year.

» Read more about Michael Hyde

Sammy J

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Toni Jordan

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Toni Jordan’s debut novel, the international best-seller Addition, was published in 2008 and shortlisted for both the Barbara Jefferis award and the ABIA best general fiction book, longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and won best debut fiction in the 2008 Indie awards. Addition was published in 16 countries and has been optioned for film. Her second novel, Fall Girl, was published in November 2010 in Australia and will be published in 2011 in the UK, Germany, France and Taiwan.

» Read more about Toni Jordan

Bec Kavanagh

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Bec Kavanagh is a reviewer, freelance writer & YA fiction specialist. Bec founded A Thousand Words Festival, a festival which celebrated and encouraged the reading and writing of young adult fiction and now takes that knowledge and passion for books directly into schools where she can share more book love with more people! She has appeared at the Melbourne Writers Festival and AussieCon4 (the 68th World Science Fiction Convention), volunteers for Pigeons (a literacy organisation making exciting work in primary schools) and is polishing up her first manuscript.

» Read more about Bec Kavanagh

Cate Kennedy

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Cate Kennedy writes across most genres – fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Her short stories and essays regularly appear in magazines and literary journals. She is one of Australia’s most popular teachers of the short story form.

» Read more about Cate Kennedy

Jason Kimberly

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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 Knight

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Ramona Koval

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Ramona Koval is known for her wit and wisdom. Although she pursued studies in science, during her celebrated career as a broadcaster she made interviews with significant writers her signature. She presented The Book Show on Radio National for six years, before that, Books and Writing for thirteen years. She has written for newspapers and international journals, and had her interviews published in book form. Speaking Volumes: Conversations with Remarkable Writers, was published by Scribe Books to enthusiastic reviews. She is the editor of The Best Australian Essays, published by Black Inc.

» Read more about Ramona Koval

Anna Krien

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Anna Krien is a writer of the usual suspects – journalism, essays, fiction and poetry. Her debut book Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests was shortlisted for the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and she has been published in The Monthly, The Age, The Big Issue, The Best Australian Essays, The Best Australian Stories, Griffith Review, Colors, and Frankie. In 2008, she won the Val Vallis Poetry Award.

» Read more about Anna Krien

Benjamin Law

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Maria Tumarkin

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Maria Tumarkin is a Melbourne-based writer and historian, and a 2013-2014 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow. She is the author of three critically acclaimed books of narrative non-fiction, which explore some of today’s most pressing issues – identity, immigration, family, moral courage and trauma.

» Read more about Maria Tumarkin

Claire Madden

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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.

» Read more about Claire Madden

Shane Maloney

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Meg Mundell

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Meg Mundell is a novelist, journalist, short fiction writer and teacher who is passionate about the power of storytelling. Meg has taught journalism at the University of Melbourne and run creative writing workshops for young homeless people. She has a strong interest in creativity, social justice and sense of place.

» Read more about Meg Mundell

Kirsty Murray

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Kirsty Murray is a multi award-winning author of nineteen books whose dynamic and inspiring presentations are guaranteed to send young people away itching to read more widely and to believe that they too can share their stories with the world. Kirsty is a 2017 nominee for the world’s most prestigious children’s literature prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, for her contribution to children’s literature.

» Read more about Kirsty Murray

Angela Savage

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Angela Savage’s crime novels are inspired by the six and a half years she spent living in South-east Asia in the late 1990s, working for the Red Cross on HIV/AIDS programs. Her love affair with Asia continues, and in 2008 she spent the year in Cambodia with her partner and their two-year-old.

» Read more about Angela Savage

Andrew Rule

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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 theChopper 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

Krissy Nicholson

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Michael Robotham

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Michael Robotham began his career an investigative journalist in Australia and the UK before becoming a ghostwriter, collaborating with the likes of Rolf Harris, Lulu, Geri Halliwell and Tony Bullimore to produce a dozen best-selling autobiographies. His psychological thrillers have been translated into 22 languages and have twice won the Ned Kelly award for best Australian Crime Fiction.

Michael has very limited availability, but we are always happy to look into any enquiry.

» Read more about Michael Robotham

Patrick O’Neil

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Patrick O’Neil is a 31-year-old travel writer, journalist, editor and author. His debut travel memoir, spanning six continents, was published by Penguin in 2009 and reprinted in 2010. In between overseas jaunts, he works editing news and writing headlines for The Age newspaper.

» Read more about Patrick O’Neil

Alice Pung

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Liz Porter

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Liz Porter is a freelance journalist best-known for her prize-winning books about  “the real CSI”  – the way forensic science is used to solve crime. Based in Melbourne, she is a former award-winning legal affairs reporter for The Sunday Age.

» Read more about Liz Porter

Ben Pobjie

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Ben Pobjie is the author of the Masterchef spoof Superchef, and the satirical collection Surveying the Wreckage. He is the resident satirist for New Matilda and TV writer for the Saturday Age, co-hosts comedy podcast Gather Around Me, and is a regular voice on ABC radio,Triple R and 3CR as well as writing occasionally for TV.

» Read more about Ben Pobjie

James Phelan

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Dr James Phelan is the bestselling and award-winning author of twenty-eight novels and one work of non-fiction. From his teens he wanted to be a novelist and he started his first novel aged 15. After high school he first tried his hand at a real job, studying and working in architecture before turning to English literature, spending five years at The Age newspaper, while obtaining an MA in Writing and then a PhD in Young Adult Literature.

His first published book was Literati (John Wiley & Sons), a series of interviews with Australia’s top literary figures. This lead to several publishers offering James publication for his fiction, and he signed with Hachette, who have  published five titles in the Lachlan Fox – an Australian investigative journalist – action thriller series, the Alone trilogy of Young Adult post-apocalyptic novels, and the Jed Walker series suspense thrillers: The Spy, The Hunted, Kill Switch, and Dark Heart. James has also written a fourteen-book adventure series for Scholastic, titled The Last Thirteen. This series, described as “The Famous Five meets Indiana Jones,” has won many Australian kids-choice awards, where it has sold over half a million copies since 2014.

James has been a full-time novelist since the age of 25, and spends his time writing thrilling stories and talking about them. As a highly sought after speaker across all education levels, James has spoken at festivals, schools, and universities all over the world. Each year James spends three months talking at schools in the USA. He is currently working on a Middle Grade series of funny illustrated novels, some picture books, thrillers, and YA work. James has sold over 4 million copies world-wide.

» Read more about James Phelan

Luke Ryan

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Clare Wright

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Clare Wright is a historian who has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and radio and television broadcaster. Her first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently co-writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Prize. Clare lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.

» Read more about Clare Wright

Alex Hammond

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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

Maree Coote

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

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’.

» Read more about Maree Coote

Carrie Tiffany

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Carrie Tiffany won the inaugural Stella Prize for her second novel, Mateship with Birds. Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, was shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Orange Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and won the 2006 Dobbie Award for Best First Book and the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction. Carrie spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in the Red Centre and now lives in Melbourne, where she works as an agricultural journalist.

» Read more about Carrie Tiffany

Louise Swinn

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Louise Swinn is the chair of the Stella Prize and editorial director of Sleepers Publishing. She was one of the founders of SPN, the Small Press Network. Her fiction and reviews have been published widely, including in the Age, Australian, Meanjin, and Best Australian Stories.

» Read more about Louise Swinn

Jacinta Halloran

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Jacinta Halloran was a founding board member of the Stella Prize. She is a GP and the author of two novels, Dissection and Pilgrimage. She has written on medical science for The Sunday Age, and her short stories have been published in New Australian Stories 2 and The Pen and the Stethoscope. Jacinta lives in Melbourne with her husband and three sons.

» Read more about Jacinta Halloran