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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
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.» Read more about Claire Dunn
David Hunt is a writer, historian and children’s book author. He is the best-selling author of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Indie Award for Best Non-Fiction Book. The sequel, True Girt, was shortlisted for the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing and David’s narration was shortlisted for Audiobook of the Year at the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards.» Read more about David Hunt
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
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.
Leah Kaminsky is a family physician and an award-winning author of eight books.» Read more about Dr Leah Kaminsky
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