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Demet Divaroren

Author, Inspirational Speaker

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.

Where were you born?

I was born on a couch in a small village in Adana, Turkey and migrated to Australia with my parents when I was six months old.

What other jobs have you had?

Hard ones, easy ones, tiring ones…so many! I have been a receptionist (a dreamy one!), a car rental representative, sales and marketing co-ordinator, a spruiker for a two dollar shop, mail officer…all invaluable jobs that have helped me realise my dream of being a writer.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Love, friendship, belonging, family, the many layers of the human connection, migration and displacement and the complexities of human emotions.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Being shortlisted for the Vogel Literary Award in 2008 was so surreal, it was a heads up from the universe that I was on the right track.

Standing in the Varuna kitchen in 2005 listening to Creative Director Peter Bishop talk about the opening chapter of my first novel Orayt? (which was only 10 000 words old!) with such enthusiasm it made me believe.

Co-editing and working with so many inspiring writers who shared their stories in the Coming of Age anthology.

What are you passionate about?

Change, justice, acceptance. I believe in the power of words to connect and inspire and the importance of raising and owning our voices to make a difference. I am passionate about identity and belonging and exploring what it means to be Australian.


Demet was super engaging and inspiring. I sat in both sessions at Sydenham and it was obvious she wasn’t delivering a prepared lecture to the students which was fantastic. The presentations were organic and differed depending on the questions the students were asking. Her PPT was merely a conversation starter. I’ve heard nothing but good comments from all students and teachers who attended the events. It was a brilliant experience.”
—Birgitte, Copperfield College, April 2021

Thank you so much for coming into Buckley House to talk to us about your life in Turkey. I have learnt so much from you and I am very excited to learn more about the Muslim culture. I learnt a lot like when you were born. I can not believe your mother had you at such a young age and I can’t believe she started working at a cotton field at the age of twelve years old. I found it very interesting, you talking to us about what you celebrate in Turkey and what types of things you wear.

—Grade 4 student, Buckley House, Ivanhoe Grammar School, March 2015

Demet was amazing with the students, and I loved the messages she was giving the students.  It was exactly what we were after.  I think you initially recommended Demet – a brilliant choice.  Thankyou.

—R.Clarke, Building Harmony Project, Windermere Child & Family Services, October 2014

Demet was fantastic! She was very warm with the students and they seemed engaged throughout her presentation. She didn’t read off the PowerPoint which was great and had a very good understanding of the brief I gave her for the event.

—E.Notely, St Monica's College, May 2014

Demet was wonderful. The way she shared her story with the children was great. They all really enjoyed her talk, and learnt some important lessons about respect. I spoke via phone with Demet the week before she came and passed on the understandings for our unit and it was evident that she was well prepared and had taken into consideration what we were trying to get the students to think about.
We will be looking to have Demet speak to our next cohort of Year 4 students next year. Many of the students are reflecting on her story when we discuss some of the key questions and understandings of our unit. She has certainly made an impression!

—T.Braddy, Ivanhoe Grammar School, March 2014

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