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Abdi’s world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, and joined another 300 heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost three months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya – of the group he’d set out with, only five had survived.» Read more about Abdi Aden
Clue by clue, chapter by chapter, David Astle’s Puzzled meanders through the maze of a cryptic crossword, showing you the dark secrets and wondrous tricks of wordplay. ‘He’s the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords,’ says award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.» Read more about David Astle
Luke Atkins is an ultra-endurance runner and personal safety expert. Luke has represented Australia in both taekwondo and endurance running competing all over the world from Mongolia to the USA.
Luke seamlessly draws the link between the mental toughness required to run for more than 24 hours non-stop and the daily grind. His concept that life is an endurance race has proven to be especially valuable for VCE students and corporate groups.
As a sponsored athlete in the Under Armour Australia team in Worlds Toughest Mudder and the General Manager of Hall’s Taekwondo his ideas on leadership and team work are invaluable.
As a martial arts instructor for over 15 years Luke has developed structured personal safety sessions for schools and corporate audiences.» Read more about Luke Atkins
Amal Awad is a journalist, author and screenwriter who is focused on issues of society, religion and popular culture. She is the author of four books and is involved in several screenwriting projects. Amal is also a public speaker and has produced and presented for ABC Radio National.» Read more about Amal Awad
Oslo Davis is an illustrator and cartoonist who has drawn for magazines and newspapers worldwide. As a satirist, Oslo has a particular interest in drawing the foibles and ridiculousness of modern day life.» Read more about Oslo Davis
Mary is a writer, award winning ABC Journalist and former Education Minister. She is National Director of Writing Australia and Chair of Orchestra Victoria. She was the first female solo prime time TV newsreader in Victoria, and the first female Planning Minister in Victoria.» Read more about Mary Delahunty
Sean Dooley has written for TV comedies like Full Frontal, Hamish and Andy and Spicks and Specks, is author of books such as The Big Twitch and Cooking with Baz, and is currently editor of Australian Birdlife magazine. He was also the national birdwatching champion, holding the record for seeing the most birds seen in one year. Sean Dooley is the Birdman.» Read more about Sean Dooley
Adam Elliot is not only an Academy Award ™ winning Animator, but also one of Australia’s funniest, unique and most refreshing corporate speakers and entertainers. Adam has given his inspiring and motivating presentations to hundreds of groups all over the world.» Read more about Adam Elliot
Clementine Ford’s take on social issues is bold, brave and entertaining. She inspires and challenges people of all ages in equal measure.» Read more about Clementine Ford
Adam Ford is a poet and zinemaker who lives in Chewton, in Central Victoria. He loves showing people how easy it can be to start making zines or writing poetry themselves.» Read more about Adam Ford
Sean aims to give parents, teachers and students greater insight and the practical tools to foster health and wellbeing along with academic and sporting achievement.» Read more about Sean Fyfe
Morris is one of Australia’s most successful and experienced children’s authors. As a speaker he uses the mix of humour and emotion found in his best-selling books. His sessions are informal, interactive and fun. Sharing the secrets of his writing room, Morris leaves students informed and inspired, as well as equipped with tools for their own adventures in literacy and creativity. And he brings his own sandwiches.» Read more about Morris Gleitzman
Anna Goldsworthy is a prize-winning classical pianist and writer. She an engaging speaker and performer, and is passionate about bringing the lessons of classical music to the widest possible audience. She is Artist Director of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.» Read more about Anna Goldsworthy
Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate. More hip than hippie, she makes sustainability and science easier to understand and is known for her TV shows, including ABC’s Catalyst and the SBS series Eco House Challenge.» Read more about Tanya Ha
Fiona has been writing and performing for Australian stages and screens for many years. She wrote and co-starred on the ABC sketch comedy show, Flipside, as well as on channel nine’s sketch comedy series, Comedy Inc – The Late Shift series 5 and on all three series of the Network Ten sketch comedy series SkitHouse. She has also written and directed numerous shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.» Read more about Fiona Harris
Belinda Hawkins has reported on national and international events for ABC TV and SBS TV for almost 30 years, filing from countries as diverse as Nigeria, Eritrea, Cuba, Germany and Russia. For the past twelve years she has been a senior journalist with ABC TV’s Australian Story program. Her documentary work has been recognised with a raft of awards, among them a Walkley award, seven Quill awards, four New York Festival Medals and four United Nations Media Peace Awards. She started her working life as high school teacher in country Victoria.» Read more about Belinda Hawkins
Justin Heazlewood is an award-winning triple-threat of writer, musician & comedian. As The Bedroom Philosopher he has appeared on Triple J & ABC TV, releasing three albums including the ARIA-nominated Songs From The 86 Tram. The video for Northcote (So Hungover) earning nearly half a million hits. In 2014 his first non-fiction book Funemployed, about being an artist in Australia, was an indie-hit, earning praise from artists and industry alike. In 2015 an 8-part series was commissioned for RN.
His 10-part Get Up Mum radio series based on his cassette recordings of himself as a kid was aired Radio National’s Life Matters. You can listen to the series here.
In 2020 Justin gave a witness statement and presented at the launch of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. He is an ambassador for the Satellite Foundation who offer support for children of parents with a mental illness.
» Read more about Justin Heazlewood
Tony Wilson has written two hilarious satirical novels about celebrity and tabloid media. He is also the author of five picture books, and has worked successfully on television (Race Around the World and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever!), radio (Triple R’s Breakfasters) and print media (The Age and The Monthly).» Read more about Tony Wilson
Sophie Cunningham worked in publishing for twenty years before becoming the Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She is well known for her work as the editor of Meanjin, and is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) as well as the non-fiction Melbourne.» Read more about Sophie Cunningham
Shane Horsburgh is a re-definer of masculinity, constantly challenging the accepted interpretation of what a ‘real man’ is and how this view impacts our everyday lives. From counter-terrorism operative to author, educator and sometime stage actor, Shane’s inspirational and engaging style helps young men become better students, friends, partners and husbands. He has been engaged to speak at the National Press Club and TEDx to national and international audiences.» Read more about Shane Horsburgh
The author of The Shortest History of China, Linda Jaivin is one of Australia’s most versatile writers. Her work spans history, biography, memoir, travel, humour, eroticism, social issues (her novel The Infernal Optimist is set in an immigration detention centre), China studies, literary translation and cultural commentary. Her first novel, Eat Me, was a bestseller here and translated into more than a dozen languages abroad. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio and wrote and presented a Radio National Earshot program on the subject of privacy called Nothing to Hide and a four-part series on the state of arts criticism in Australia, Situation Critical, for RN’s Arts Hub. As an Australia Reads ambassador, Linda proudly champions books and reading. She also mentors emerging writers through the Australian Society of Authors and is an editor of the China Story Yearbook, produced by the Australian National University Centre for China in the World and a film translator, subtitling Chinese films including Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine and Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster and Zhang Yimou’s Hero.
The Shortest History of China will also be published in the US, UK and in a number of translations including Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, Greek and Bulgarian.» Read more about Linda Jaivin
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’s debut novel Act of Grace was published in October 2019 and shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.» Read more about Anna Krien
Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist and screenwriter. He is the author of two books: the black comedy memoir The Family Law (2010) and the travelogue Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). The Family Law has been translated into French and is currently being developed for television. Gaysia was published in India in 2013, with the US and other territories to follow in 2014. Both of his books were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards, and he is currently working on his third.» Read more about Benjamin Law
Marathon swimmer, Tammy van Wisse has swum one-and-a-half times around the planet, setting six world records – five of which are still current. She has swum the English Channel twice (the success rate is only seven percent), is the only person to have swum Bass Strait and spent three and a half months submerged in the mighty Murray River – to highlight the river’s environmental importance.
Armed with the same energy and dedication as she has put into her incredible swimming career, Tammy brings a truly unique and inspiring presentation that entertains as it informs, and inspires as it motivates.
Tammy’s never-give-up world champion stories are enlightening, entertaining and powerfully motivating. She shares her secrets and strategies of how to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles showing audiences that with a commitment to a goal, and a belief in oneself – anything is possible.
Chris is an Australian and British professor of Earth science and author of three popular science books. Chris is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales, where he and his team are focusing their efforts on finding lessons from the past.
Chris investigates past and future climates, how people have responded to change, and recent human evolution and migration. He does this in a hands-on fashion: he digs down into the ice of Antarctica for core samples, the depths of a volcanic crater, or searches for Hobbit fossils (seriously!) across Indonesia. He has stories to tell and bring to life.
Chris has earned a reputation as scientist who can demystify and articulate, for any audience, exactly what it is that a scientist does for a living. His enthusiasm shows us not only why he pursues these interests, but points out what we stand to gain through scientific education.» Read more about Chris Turney
Anne E Stewart is an acclaimed storyteller with an international reputation. A versatile performer Anne has the energy and voice to engage any audience. Her focus is on the shared stories of Australia honouring Indigenous, Celtic, Asian and World stories.
Anne has told stories in some of Australia’s major cultural institutions, art galleries and libraries as well as on ABC radio and TV. She has been invited guest at Storytelling festivals throughout Australia, the UK and in Mexico and Colombia. Anne is a consummate MC with the ability to create shows tailored to audience needs.» Read more about Anne E. Stewart
Trent Southworth is a former NSW Police Officer with over fourteen years policing experience, including eight years employed in the Youth Liaison role. In his role, Trent worked closely with numerous government and non government agencies to identify youth related initiatives such as underage drinking programs, truancy, road safety, drug programs, and bullying.
Trent assisted in the implementation and monitoring of the State Governments Young Offenders Act, which targets all young offenders aged between 10 and 18 years of age. Through his experience in the NSW Police, Trent witnessed first-hand the importance of ongoing education of young people in today’s society.
Since leaving the Police, Trent has developed and facilitated numerous seminars for students, teachers, parents and community groups Australia-wide.» Read more about Trent Southworth
Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator and next-gen expert, fluent in social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers. Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them.
Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.» Read more about Claire Madden
Shane Maloney is a popular novelist. His books have been published in the US, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Finland and Tasmania.» Read more about Shane Maloney
John Marsden is the author of titles including So Much to Tell You, Letters From the Inside, and the much celebrated Tomorrow series, adapted for film in 2010. From a childhood at a deeply conservative paramilitary school with strict standards and a culture of rugby and rowing, John developed a passion for reading, writing and education at an early age. So far has published fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults and adults and has founded the Candlebark School in Victoria.» Read more about John Marsden
Tristan Miller has had an incredible story, for such a regular guy. He dealt with a number of life’s highs and lows, before finally losing his dream job at Google in the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. Instead of laying down, he turned his life into an amazing adventure by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, in 42 countries, on all 7 continents!» Read more about Tristan Miller
Ellen has been National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, one of Australia’s largest non-profit climate organisations. During her leadership, the organisation grew from a handful of friends wanting to change the world to a national organisation with over 80,000 members and the ear of politicians and business leaders due to it’s quirky and innovative campaigns.
Ellen has become one of Australia’s leading commentators and campaigners on the issue of climate change. Since leaving the AYCC in late 2012 she has worked in politics, as Campaign Manager for Simon Sheikh’s Senate campaign in the ACT (mobilising thousands of volunteers and just missing out on a Senate seat) and as a Senior Campaigns Advisor for Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.» Read more about Ellen Sandell
Since starting on a country newspaper in 1975, Andrew Rule has worked on three metropolitan newspapers and in both radio and television production. He has written, co-written, edited and published many books, including the Underbelly true crime series and the Chopper series, which inspired the successful feature film. He hosts a regular fortnightly spot on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast called In The Rule World.» Read more about Andrew Rule
Michael Robotham is an internationally celebrated crime writer whose books have been translated into 25 languages and sold more than six million copies around the world.
Born in country NSW, he began his career as a journalist and went on to write for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.
In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK.
Michael’s first psychological thriller, THE SUSPECT, caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002 and was sold into more twenty languages in less than three hours. It later became only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.
In 2015, Michael’s novel, LIFE OR DEATH, won the coveted Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger award for the year’s best novel, beating Stephen King and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) who were on the shortlist. He has also twice won Australia’s Ned Kelly Award for best novel and the Australian Book Industry Award for best fiction in 2018 for THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS.
A six-part TV series based on THE SECRET SHE KEEPS has been made for Channel 10 and will screen in early 2020 with an international cast.» Read more about Michael Robotham
Alice Pung OAM 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 OAM
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
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. Its sequel, The Unbroken Line, was described as “a taut and intelligent thriller.” Both were optioned as a TV series. Each novel was also selected to be part of the State Library of Victoria’s Summer Read by a panel of judges in the year they were released. Alex toured regional Victoria on behalf of the Library as part of these events.
His latest novel, The Paris Collaborator, a mystery thriller set in 1944 in German-occupied Paris, is released in May 2021.» Read more about Alex Hammond
Angela Pippos is a journalist, TV and radio presenter, columnist and author of The Goddess Advantage – One Year in the Life of a Football Worshipper. It’s as much about love, loyalty, stuffed tomatoes and Greek mythology as it is about Australian rules football.» Read more about Angela Pippos
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, The Fifth Estate, now in its third year. She is a former editor of The Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia. Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.» Read more about Sally Warhaft
Claire Dunn is a writer, journalist, educator, barefoot explorer and author of My Year Without Matches, the memoir of her extraordinary journey living in the bush for a year learning wilderness survival skills. Her latest book is Rewilding the Urban Soul, a memoir about searching for the wild in the city, set for release in June 2021.» Read more about Claire Dunn
Sian Prior is probably best known as an ABC radio presenter, a columnist and critic for The Age, and a musician. But this accomplished public performer is also the author of an acclaimed memoir, Shy. Her book solves the riddle of how someone who has grappled for decades with debilitating social anxiety has nevertheless managed to carve out a series of successful careers in the public eye.» Read more about Sian Prior
Maxine Mckewʼs background is in journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as Lateline and 7.30 Report. Her work has been recognised by her peers and she is a recipient of both Logie and Walkely awards. When she left broadcasting and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood, and later for infrastructure and local government.
Following the success of her political memoir, Tales from the Political Trenches, published in 2012, Maxine McKewʼs new book Class Act looks at some of the most important questions in Australian education. Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.
Maxine now lives in Melbourne where she continues to work on a range of activities at the University of Melbourne. She is a director of three boards, Per Capita, the John Cain Foundation and the State Library of Victoria.» Read more about Maxine McKew
Shamini Flint is an engaging, witty and inspirational speaker. She holds audiences of any age spellbound with tales of growing up in Malaysia and travelling the world in search of an identity (or at least a good curry). Her ability to discuss important issues in an accessible way is unparalleled.» Read more about Shamini Flint
One of the very first to identify the contemporary rise of Melbourne’s cultural and place power, Maree Coote is an energetic inspirational speaker. Her unique understanding of her topic (Melbourne) is made accessible through her command of history, culture, art and design for a wide variety of audiences. According to Philip Adams, “Melbourne never had a more ingenious ambassador.” Coote’s first book The Melbourne Book: A History of Now is in its fourth edition after 12+ years in print, and has been dubbed ‘Melbourne’s Bible’.
Maree’s ingenious typography has caught the attention of international design bodies with her book Spellbound: Making Pictures with the A-B-C winning the coveted Bologna Ragazzi 2017 Special Mention Prize in Italy. (She’s the first Australian to win this prize since Shaun Tan 10 years ago.) It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards.
An earlier book Alphabet City Zoo also won a Distinction Prize in Korea’s Nami Concours Awards in a field of entries from 149 countries.
Luke S. Kennedy is one of Australia’s most sought after Speaker for Primary Schools, High Schools, Staff PDs, Community & Parent events, Corporate sessions, and prisons. Through his unique approach, strong ability to connect with any audience, & his thrilling story – he hits home with some deep topics & creates big mindset shifts for all demographics. After most of his talks & workshops, he’s told by organisers that it’s the best presentation they’ve seen.
Luke adapts his story and content for Primary schools and most of Luke’s schedule are re-bookings from past schools and organisers eager to have him return. Feedback received later by attendees, students, parents, and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive!
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.
Luke uses his “Breathtaking” story to inspire deep, lasting change, and self-awareness, for a wide range of audiences, from primary schools, high schools, businesses, events, and even prisons. For eight years of his life, Luke was an obese alcoholic and drug addicted thug (Luke PG’s Story & Content for Primary Schools). 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, even happy at times, but on the inside his thoughts would haunt him. He was incredibly scared, depressed, anxious, paranoid, and was obsessed with what others thought about him.
Through on the edge of your seat stories, Luke now connects deeply with any demographic. It doesn’t matter what the demographic is though, he’s found that all suffer from the same internal battles; worrying what people think, living up to labels/expectations, social awkwardness, anxiety, dealing with past trauma, and not knowing who they really are or where to fit in. Luke’s talks have proven to help in all of these areas.
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
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
Nicole is a fashion historian: an award-winning writer, educator and retailer, the author of two books and curator of perhaps the largest collection of Australian fashion in the world.
She has presented talks and workshops around Australia.» Read more about Nicole Jenkins
Aviva Reed is a visual ecologist, illustrator and collaborator on the Small Friends book project; a series of science-adventure storybooks created by artists, writers, scientists and educators that explores symbiotic relationships between microbes and larger forms of life.» Read more about Aviva Reed
Ron is a much loved and highly respected Victorian Indigenous educator, storyteller and musician. He is in demand as a speaker, sharing his knowledge of Indigenous culture with passion, honesty and humour.» Read more about Ron Murray
Industrial designer, hack engineer, DIY aquaculturalist and illustrator Stephen Mushin collaborates with scientists, and engineers in underground workshops to solve ‘elephant in the room’ scale ecological problems.» Read more about Stephen Mushin
Jake Wilson is a freelance writer whose film reviews appear weekly in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax Media publications. His book Mad Dog Morgan, a critical study of the film of the same name, was published in 2015 as part of the Australian Screen Classics series.» Read more about Jake Wilson
Ruth Clare is the author of the award-winning memoir, ENEMY (Penguin, 2016), a three-time TEDx speaker and lived experience mental health coach. In addition to writing for publications such as The Age, Elle, Meanjin and The Good Weekend, Ruth is working on a memoir based on her late life diagnosis with ADHD. Ruth explores serious topics related to mental health, resilience, courage, identity and authenticity using humour and a knack for entertaining developed during her years as a professional actor.
She shares stories of hiding the trauma of her childhood, pretending everything was okay while she struggled alone with anxiety, perfectionism, shame and never feeling good enough, and how she finally got brave enough to share her experience with others. Weaving in polyvagal, mindfulness and breathing exercises, alongside cognitive approaches, Ruth simplifies complex ideas learnt on her own recovery journey and mental health studies, to deliver genuine insights and practical tools participants can immediately use in their own lives.
Ruth’s talks deliver a transformative experience for audiences, showing them how to stop being so hard on themselves and live with more calm awareness, self-compassion, optimism and confidence.
• Mental Health
• Resilience and overcoming adversity
• Neurodivergence and Identity
• Owning your stories and rewriting your life
Jessica Walton is a queer, disabled writer and speaker. They co-wrote an episode of Get Krack!n focused on disability, which aired on ABC in 2019. They are the author of graphic novel Stars In Their Eyes, with artwork by Aśka (Fremantle Press 2021) and Introducing Teddy, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson (Bloomsbury 2016). Jess also has two short stories for teens and kids published in Australian anthologies Funny Bones (Allen and Unwin 2019) and Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press 2018), as well as poetry in a few anthologies, magazines and journals.» Read more about Jessica Walton
Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet and broadcaster. She regularly appears on ABC radio talking books and culture and is often touring with her poetry. She has also appeared on ABC TV’s Sunday Arts, News Breakfast, Recovery and SBS’s Nomad program. Alicia was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that toured extensively in planetariums around the world.» Read more about Alicia Sometimes
Judy Horacek is an award winning Australian cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and writer. In 2004, she and Mem Fox created Where is the Green Sheep? which became an instant children’s classic, and winner of the CBCA Gold Medal for Early Childhood. She has since done four books of her own that she has both written and illustrated, and three other books with Mem, Judy is an experienced presenter in schools, both talking about her own work and helping children to make their own drawings and stories. Her classes are always full of laughter and fun, and her enthusiasm is infectious.» Read more about Judy Horacek
Tasneem is a whole lot of parts, symbolising the hybrid identity of today’s global citizen, which she speaks to with sheer wit. She is an East African born, Indian origin, Bendigo raised, Melbourne loving, daughter, mother, middle-child, karaoke swooning, sleep deprived, vertically challenged, feminist, Muslim, exhausted, activist – and she won’t compromise on any of those titles.» Read more about Tasneem Chopra
A charismatic,engaging, intellectually adventurous, deep thinker who also makes her audiences laugh. Talks accompanied by stunning National Geographic photography.» Read more about Robyn Davidson
Since publishing her first play at age seventeen, Alex (Lee) Miles has written for stage and screen, for brides, with the book Sixty Secrets for a Happy Bride, and for spys-in-waiting with eight Zac Power books. Using her background in theatre, Alex entertains with interactive workshops on writing and the Imagination Muscle. Her Starring Olive Black children’s series launched in 2017.» Read more about Alex Miles
Kay Perry is a teacher and examiner with decades of experience in the teaching of Literature and English at tertiary and senior secondary levels. She is the author of several study guides and is yet to respond to the advice to “put down that book and go outside”.» Read more about Kay Perry
Nathan’s unique blend of humour and sincerity is unanimously well received. He gains an immediate rapport with audiences via his dynamic storytelling and his work as a sports presenter on Channel 9 and Fox Sports having covered NBL & WNBL basketball, AFL footy, Big Bash Cricket, A-League Soccer, Super Rugby and Super Netball.
He retains ongoing engagement and captivation with laughter and entertaining interaction being underpinned by his raw authenticity and integrity. Nathan’s honesty in recounting stories of failure, rejection and grief from his own journey strike a chord with any audience.
15 years of experience as a speaker and working with youth equip Nathan with the ability to tailor the ideal presentation for your group. His current position as a Boarding Duty Master and Director of Basketball at St Ignatius College Riverview ensures he is on point with teen culture and trends.» Read more about Nathan Strempel
Liv is a passionate and engaging speaker with over 15 years of experience working across the corporate and non-profit sectors across both Australia and the US.
As a registered psychologist and qualified meditation teacher, her sessions bring a balance of science and practice and are interactive, fun and practical.
In her role as a mindfulness educator, she brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her sessions through sharing both her personal and professional experiences.» Read more about Liv Downing
Manal Younus is a writer, poet, performer, and creative producer. As a young, black Muslim woman of Eritrean origins living in Australia, Manal uses her art forms to create and explore her own identity and spark thought in the minds of the audiences and communities she engages with.» Read more about Manal Younus
Ally Watson is the founder and CEO of Code Like a Girl, a social enterprise that provides girls and women with the confidence and tools to take on the world of code and re-imagine the future of technology.
As one who has seen first-hand how traditional gender stereotypes have limited opportunity for women across society at large, she strives tirelessly each day towards breaking these biases.
Recently decorated with an Order of Australia Medal, Watson is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur whose heartfelt motivation is to create innovative learning environments where every woman, from any background, feels included, inspired and capable in the world of technology.
Ally’s unique and refreshing insights and research on gender-diversity within the technology industry allows for the delivery of thought-provoking and action-inspiring presentations.» Read more about Ally Watson
Leonie Smith (aka The Cyber Safety Lady) is one of Australia’s leading Cyber Safety experts. She is passionate about empowering children, teens and adults to take positive, preemptive steps to stay safer online. She’s done the hard yards as a mum of 4. Leonie has spoken to thousands of students, teachers, parents, seniors and business, Australia wide. Her practical and sometimes technical solutions for online safety have been called life changing!
Leonie is now taking webinar bookings for 2022 to assist the parents of your school community in navigating the increase in online exposure during the current climate. We have interactive sessions developed to provide specific content to each of the following audiences:
This seminar is also suitable for anyone who is caring or working with children and young people who want an insight into digital parenting and young peoples digital world safety and balance.» Read more about Digital Families with Leonie Smith
Shabnam is a driven community development practitioner who is passionate about cultivating true partnerships between communities and structures of power to create lasting solutions and social change.
She grew up as a Hazara Afghan refugee in Pakistan before arriving in Australia at the age of 15. Inspired by her own experience of forced displacement, she is a strong advocate for meaningful participation of refugees in addressing the complex challenges of resettlement, inclusion, and belonging.
Shabnam has founded and led multiple initiatives in Australia and abroad supporting refugees and host communities. She is part of a small national team at the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) working to establish a holistic community-led refugee sponsorship program in Australia, building community capacity to welcome newcomers. She is the inaugural Chairperson at the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG), a refugee-led organisation creating spaces for effective elevation of voices with lived experience in key decisions, policies, and discourse about refugees.
A Director at the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Shabnam also serves on multiple government advisory boards influencing policy design and program delivery to devise unique solutions for the unique challenges and opportunities facing refugee and migrant communities in Australia. She is an emerging leader in the Afghan Australian community and since the fall of Kabul in August 2021 has been one of the leading voices behind the Action for Afghanistan campaign.
She was recently inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her tireless work in promoting refugee rights, social cohesion, meaningful diversity and inclusion. Fun fact about Shabnam: she is also a former Karate champion with multiple national and international titles to her name.» Read more about Shabnam Safa
Sophie Jamieson is a qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in food systems, nutrition and sustainability. Sophie is passionate about creating a healthy, fair and sustainable food system where people enjoy good food that makes people feel good, learn well, grow strong and succeed in sport.
Drawing on her vast experience in food, nutrition and sustainability, Sophie cuts through the noise to revel the key information and strategies her audience needs to make informed decision about what they grow and eat.» Read more about Sophie Jamieson
Bri Lee is an author, freelance writer, and speaker based in Sydney.
After graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts (Mandarin) degree in 2014, she was admitted to the legal profession early in 2017. Bri is now completing an MPhil in Creative Writing.
Her first book, a memoir called Eggshell Skull, was published by Allen & Unwin in June 2018. It explores sexism in the legal industry and justice system, and tells the story of how many barriers women—including Bri herself—face when trying to access justice. The book won several awards including the Biography of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. It also received several other listings, including being longlisted for The Stella Prize.
Bri is a well-known advocate for criminal justice law reform. She worked as a Research Assistant to Prof. Jonathan Crowe at Bond University where together they co-authored a paper detailing Queensland’s consent and ‘mistake of fact’ laws. After more than a year of campaigning their work was successful, and the Queensland Attorney-General referred the issue to the Law Reform Commission.
Bri’s second book, released in November 2019, is an essay called Beauty. In Beauty, Bri Lee explores our obsession with thinness and asks how an intrinsically unattainable standard of physical ‘perfection’ has become so crucial to so many.» Read more about Bri Lee
Having started her career as a comedian, Jo is a dynamic and entertaining speaker. She has presented to schools, universities, conferences, the corporate world, and community groups. Her areas of expertise are:
Scott Harris traveled the world solo with multiple disabilities to show us we can do anything we put our mind to. After a dirt bike accident in 2008, he spent three years at Epworth Rehabilitation learning to live with these disabilities and came out the other side with a completely new approach to life. He wrote the book Crashing Into Potential: Living with my injured brain, which tells the story of how he went from zero to hero despite being knocked down many times along the way.» Read more about Scott Harris
Chris is the author of Scrublands– the bestselling Australian crime novel set in a drought-ravaged town – and The River – an account of his journey through the Murray-Darling Basin.
Now a full-time author, Chris was a journalist for more than 30 years, covering federal politics and travelling as a roving foreign correspondent.» Read more about Chris Hammer
Dr Matt Beard is a dad, husband and award-winning moral philosopher with experience helping people find meaningful, practical advice in the history of philosophy.
He is an accomplished speaker, broadcaster and facilitator who brings enthusiasm, rigour, humour and accessibility to his work.» Read more about Matt Beard
Meredith Gaston Masnata is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author, artist, wellness coach and speaker celebrating mindful, joyous and spirited living in a modern world.
Whilst exhibiting her artwork locally and abroad from a young age, Meredith graduated from The University of Sydney, majoring in Art History and Theory and Gender and Cultural Studies. Continuing her education as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach through IIN, New York, Meredith frequently features in the media, educational and corporate spheres inspiring wellbeing in daily life. She is a regular guest on ABC radio. Meredith’s twelve lovingly illustrated books are translated into various foreign languages and her artworks are collected worldwide.
Anna Snoekstra is the bestselling author of four novels, which have been published in twenty countries and translated into many different languages. She is also a screenwriter for film and television.» Read more about Anna Snoekstra
After many years spent gathering stories and tapping away in darkened rooms, Patrick has overcome his fear of public speaking and is now an accomplished performer – equal parts inspiring and entertaining – who isn’t afraid to explore the deeper motivations behind his stories. Patrick has a talent for engaging and involving his whole audience (even the kid at the back of the hall who doesn’t want to be there).» Read more about Patrick Guest
Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Research Fellow, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Material Culture and Art at the South Australian Museum, and an internationally recognised 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
Alice Bishop is from Christmas Hills, Victoria. Her first book A Constant Hum, tracks the lingering aftermath of Australian bushfire. It was recently shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and recognised in the Penguin Literary Prize. Alice’s work focuses on place, people and climate—often highlighting the quiet moments that make us who we are.» Read more about Alice Bishop
Lucy Thomas is the cofounder and CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, Lucy has dedicated her whole life to empowering school students to improve the world around them. She has personally worked with thousands of young people all over the world, from Wangaratta to Texas, Wollongong to Auckland, Atherton to Perth.
Hear the story of how a simple idea grew into an enduring social movement and leave the session with simple, safe and socially credible strategies for challenging (cyber)bullying. As a keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator, Lucy is a mighty force of kindness, equipped with the precious ability to creatively engage young people to generate positive social change.» Read more about Lucy Thomas OAM
Rosie Thomas OAM has been hungry for creating positive change ever since she can remember. She launched PROJECT ROCKIT with her sister when she was fresh out of high school, and 15 years on it has grown into Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, impacting half a million young Australians. In her role as CEO, Rosie serves on the Global Safety Advisory Boards of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is passionate about engineering a kinder digital world. 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
Nikki is known as Australia’s most honest author. Whether it’s her provocative novel The Bride Stripped Bare; After, her non fiction book about the euthanasia death of her mother, or her highly popular column in the Weekend Australian magazine (which tackles many issues pertinent to educators and students,) she gets the nation thinking. She’s also written two series of books for primary aged school children.» Read more about Nikki Gemmell
Rawah Arja is a passionate young Muslim author from Western Sydney whose work has featured at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, SBS Voices as well as the Sydney Review of Books. She teaches creative writing workshops at schools, specialising in reluctant readers and writers.» Read more about Rawah Arja
Astrid is a bibliophile. She is the host of The Garret: Writers on Writing and has interviewed more than 200 of Australia’s most prominent writers. In 2023 she began a PhD at the University of Melbourne exploring potential and perceived barriers to publishing and selling climate fiction in Australia.
She regularly moderates and participates in panels at literary festivals, and you can read her book reviews in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Future Women, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, Australian Book Review and Australian Foreign Affairs.
She is one half of Bad Producer Productions, an independent podcast network specialising in arts and sport (she represents the Arts part). Astrid also teaches in the Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT University and sometimes judges literary prizes.
Astrid is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She served on the Victorian Disability Advisory Council advising the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers (2019 to 2022). She the former Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival (2019-2022) and the former Deputy Chair of Writers Victoria (2014-2018).
In 2021 Astrid contributed to the anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia and made her debut appearance on Q+A in 2021. She previously received grants from the Australia Council for the Arts (2017 and 2018) and The Copyright Agency (2017 and 2019).
Before embarking on this creative storytelling career, Astrid was an economics and policy consultant for almost a decade. She specialised in climate and social policy, and to this day she is trying to figure out how stories can help to save the planet.
Astrid is a member of Mensa Australia.» Read more about Astrid Edwards
Dr Jodi Richardson is dedicated to elevating the mental health and wellbeing of others. She empowers parents, educators and other professionals with practical skills and techniques for maximising wellbeing and overcoming the inattention, overwhelm and avoidance that come with anxiety.» Read more about Dr Jodi Richardson
Dip Tch, BA, BSW, MAPP, FACEL
Chris is a trained teacher and social worker who has also completed the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology. She has over three decades of experience supporting organisations in the public and private sector to enhance functioning and develop wellbeing. Her work was recognized by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders for which she was awarded a fellowship.» Read more about Chris Daicos
Annie is a Global Educator, and a Teach Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassador.
Annie strongly believes that we are all global citizens and wants to share the mantra of “Think Globally, Act Locally.” By thinking globally, children learn empathy and cultural diversity. From there, Annie believes children and their teachers form connections and are more likely to take ownership and invent, innovate, and campaign for change.» Read more about Annie Woollard
Alex Dekker is a 21-year-old impact entrepreneur and change maker, reimagining food relief in Australia through the NFP organisation started just a year ago, Alex Makes Meals.
Nominated as the Victorian Young Australian of the Year 2021 as part of the Australia Day Councils’ highly lauded Australian of the Year Awards.
» Read more about Alex Dekker
Tarang Chawla is a speaker, writer and founder of Not One More Niki, working to end violence against women. He is a gender equality, human rights and mental health advocate who was named a Young Australian of the Year Finalist and listed as one of Australia’s Top 40 Under 40 Asian Australians.
As a journalist and author with more than 40 years experience working in Australia, Asia, Europe, the United States and Middle East, David Leser is a compelling speaker, able to weave the personal with the universal in moving ways that help shift our thinking.» Read more about David Leser
Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed) is one of Australia’s favourite and most trusted digital wellbeing experts. Through her ground-breaking research she provides specialist advice and solutions to today’s most pressing digital wellbeing issues for children and adults. Joanne is a popular presenter on TV, with over 10 years presenting digital wellbeing segments on Sunrise, Morning Show, Today Show and The Project. She has developed terms such as ‘sharenting’ and ‘zombie scrolling’ which have now entered everyday lexicon. Joanne is the creator of digital literacy and wellbeing education program TechClever, and her most recent book Life Mode On, was released worldwide in 2021.» Read more about Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed)
Mick Elliott is an author, illustrator, TV producer, screenwriter, literacy ambassador and professional mischief-maker. As well as multiple best-selling books, Mick has written and produced acclaimed children’s TV programmes for Nickelodeon, the Sesame Workshop, Channel TEN and the ABC.» Read more about Mick Elliott
Katrina Nannestad is an award-winning children’s author who writes humour, adventure, action, mystery and history. Katrina loves sharing her passion for stories, and encouraging others to read, write and find the joy in life.» Read more about Katrina Nannestad
Matthew Lin is a graphic designer and illustrator who has over 25 years experience — with the majority of that time in publishing, as well as advertising and promotional design.
Matthew began his career as a MAC operator in a small ad agency in Parramatta. After a year he moved on to be a designer and illustrator for Scholastic, then a senior designer/illustrator at Creata Promotion. He was an Art Director at Horwitz Publications and then Creative Director at Online Media Group. In 2004, Matthew decided it was time to go freelance and since then, hasn’t looked back!» Read more about Matthew Lin
Clem is an Autistic advocate, screenwriter and cultural critic who has relished getting in front of an audience ever since they were sent home from a Year 9 birthday party following a tour de force performance of twenty road safety PSAs. Clem is particularly passionate about Autism advocacy and loves to help debunk myths and misconceptions about Autistic people in the workplace, in education, and in general. With more than two decades’ worth of broadcasting and performance under their belt, Clem has extensive public speaking experience, and their screenwriting and standup comedy skills means that addresses delivered by them don’t tend to result in glazed eyes and rushes for the exit. Their various speaking engagements have covered everything from gender liberation to Autism to cult cinema. Clem is also an experienced host and emcee, having chaired panel discussions and hosted Q&As for a wide variety of events and organisations, including Melbourne International Film Festival, Cinema Nova, AFI/AACTA, Festival Of Dangerous Ideas, Melbourne Writers Festival and Amaze.» Read more about Clem Bastow
Personal finance journalist, author, and mother of two teenage girls, Michelle Bowes believes the solution to overcoming the money challenges women face is for them to start learning about money – and putting good habits in place – as soon as they start earning it, in their very first casual job.
Her mission is to teach all teenage girls how to be money queens, by showing them how to avoid the gaps, traps and mishaps and giving them the tips and tools they need to rule their money.» Read more about Michelle Bowes
Katrina Marson is a criminal lawyer, author and advocate. She is an expert in relationships and sexuality education as a means of protecting against sexual violence and safeguarding sexual wellbeing, and is an empowering and inclusive speaker.» Read more about Katrina Marson