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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

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

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

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 talks for a living. Actor, broadcaster, panelist, guest speaker, M.C., writing coach and registered civil celebrant, Jane is a story-teller – even when she sings she’s telling a story. Her by-line is ‘here to help’ – with an entertaining speech, hosting an awards night, moderating a debate, writing a wedding or funeral or just inspiring you, by example, to get started on that book you’ve been meaning to write.

» 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

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

Demet Divaroren

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Demet Divaroren was born in Adana, Turkey, and migrated to Australia with her family when she was six months old. She is the author of Living on Hope Street, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for Writing for Young Adults and was shortlisted for a 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her writing has appeared in Griffith Review, The Age Epicure, The Big Issue, Island Magazine, From the Outer and Best Summer Stories. Demet appears as a panellist, guest speaker and workshop leader at literary festivals, universities and schools across Melbourne and teaches creative writing at Victoria Polytechnic.

» 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 twenty-six books for adults, teenagers and children. Two of his novels have been adapted into feature films, and five have become stage plays. His books have won awards in Australia, the UK and US. He has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Queensland.

» 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

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

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

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 nominated for numerous awards, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

» Read more about Lia Hills

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, author and musician.

A proud nerd, he abandoned his law degree to travel the world and sing funny songs for a living. You may have seen him on TV, at a festival, or as one half of the man/puppet duo Sammy J & Randy.

» Read more about Sammy J

Toni Jordan

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Toni Jordan is the author of four novels. The international best-seller Addition was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Fall Girl was published internationally and has been optioned for film, and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, was shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts was shortlisted for the Voss Literary Award and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Toni has been widely published in newspapers and magazines and teaching creative writing at Faber Academy. Her most recent novel, The Fragments, was published in November 2018.

» 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

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

Anna Krien

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

Anna Krien is an award-winning Melbourne-based journalist, essayist, fiction writer and poet. Her book Night Games: Sex, Power & Sport, won the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year in the UK, and is being developed into a television mini-series. Other publications include Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests, Booze Territory, Quarterly Essay 66: The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia’s Climate Deadlock and Quarterly Essay 45 Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals. 

Anna is currently working on a collection of short stories, which is due to be published mid-2018.

» Read more about Anna Krien

Benjamin Law

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.

Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.

» Read more about Claire Madden

Shane Maloney

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

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 the Chopper series, which inspired the successful feature film. He hosts a regular fortnightly spot on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast called In The Rule World.

» Read more about Andrew Rule

Michael Robotham

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

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 Reality Recap of Australian Histoy Error Australis and the upcoming Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. He is the resident satirist for Medium and TV writer for the Saturday Age, he co-hosts the 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

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 has co-written a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1. The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Prize. You can listen to Clare’s Radio National podcast, Shooting The Past here. 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’.

Maree’s ingenious typography has caught the attention of international design bodies with her book Spellbound: Making Pictures with the A-B-C winning the coveted Bologna Ragazzi 2017 Special Mention Prize in Italy. (She’s the first Australian to win this prize since Shaun Tan 10 years ago.) It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards.
An earlier book Alphabet City Zoo also won a Distinction Prize in Korea’s Nami Concours Awards in a field of entries from 149 countries.

» Read more about Maree Coote

Jacinta Halloran

Author, Education Consultant, Social Commentator

As a GP specialising in youth mental health and a budding family therapist, Jacinta understands the particular issues and challenges that often concern young people during their secondary school years, and would be delighted to speak to secondary students on a variety of topics, including:

  • Optimising mental health
  • Dealing with stress
  • How to manage your family
  • Hormones and mental health

A firm believer in the psychological benefits of both reading and writing fiction, Jacinta also has experience in running writing workshops that focus on creative writing as an aid to better mental health.

Her latest novel, The Science of Appearances, a coming-of-age story of adolescent boy and girl twins in 1950s Australia, is the perfect springboard to talk about the highs and lows of adolescence and the perennial theme of ‘nature and nurture’.

» Read more about Jacinta Halloran