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Open Right

Ailsa Piper

Author, Corporate, Inspirational Speaker, Speaking Out

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.

Where were you born?

I was born at the bottom of the world, on the edge of a great ocean, in Perth; but before my eyes could focus, I was taken to a place in the red desert of the north called the Gascoyne. It is the place where I learned to love solitude and walking.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Adventuring! The importance of connection, and the need to walk our own roads. The struggle to live a “good” life – however we choose to frame that. The foibles of being human. Walking – as metaphor but also as a way of life. Stories – the way they shape our lives, whether they are our own myths or the stories of others. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and how vital it is to be conscious of them. The imperative of living large and awake. Locating home – within and without self.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Feeling that the work I make—in whatever capacity—has moved and inspired people, and that it has encouraged them to expand.

What are you passionate about?

Living to our maximum creative potential – and breaking patterns. Actually, being sufficiently aware so that we don’t create patterns in the first place! I’m also committed to seeing the connections between us all on this crazy planet, and to practising gratitude.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Hmm. Were you a Neighbours tragic in the late nineties? Own up! Or maybe you were a theatregoer almost anywhere in Australia between 1980 and 2000. Or a walker around Melbourne’s bay, or Sydney’s harbour, or Tasmania’s Overland track, or on the Larapinta, or a camino road in Spain…

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

My mum used to say I walked before I crawled. I think that I’m still inclined to do that!


Just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you most sincerely for your contribution to what can only be described as one of most successful International Women’s day ever celebrated at Boorowa. Words cannot describe how deeply you touched so many with your story and how your presence and delivery left many in awe.  You are truly an inspiration and what a great pleasure it was to meet you!  Thank you so much for coming to Boorowa and sharing your journey with us, you have the whole town and region talking about the event!  Of course there is an open invitation for your return.  Again, thank you!

—W. Tuckerman, Mayor, Boorowa Council, Boorowa; March 2014

Where do I begin? You certainly were dynamic! We loved every minute of having your company and appreciate you rescheduling your life to suit our Women’s Day in Boorowa. Each year the ladies say – oh my gosh – how are you going to top that? I tell them they say that to me every year but you really will be a hard act to follow. I can not tell you how lucky we were to have had you. I prepared an article for the paper and found it difficult to do justice to the day. I actually had  a tear in my eye whilst I was writing it. How do I describe how it really was? You truly are an inspirational person and people hung on to your every word. We look forward to being in touch with you again.

—J. Hurley, Boorowa Tourism & Development Office, Boorowa; March 2014

[Ailsa] was superb!  Such an inspirational speaker, but also so ‘real’. Her personality comes across as so genuine and you can’t help but admire her as a person.  I had a lot of good feedback from the parents and teachers as well.  She resonated with quite a few of them who are closet ‘walkers’!  She’s probably the best speaker I’ve had here in terms of total presentation. There’s hardly any people I feel I truly ‘admire’ and she is now one of that few.

—T. Heine, Village School, Croydon North; April 2014

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