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Open Right

Rebecca Starford


Rebecca is a committed and passionate teacher. She is also an engaging, open and refreshingly candid speaker about her debut memoir, Bad Behaviour, which explores bullying and aggression in an elite private school. Rebecca is currently an editor at Text Publishing, the co-founder and publishing director of Kill Your Darlings cultural magazine. She was also a founding member of the Stella Prize steering committee, a prize dedicated the celebration of Australian women’s writing.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne, and grew up in Williamstown, where I went to Williamstown Primary School until I was ten. It was a beautiful place to grow up, with many summers spent down at the beach.

What other jobs have you had?

All sorts! I’ve worked for the past ten years in the publishing industry (I was the deputy editor of Australian Book Review, the associate publisher at Affirm Press, and now I’m an editor at Text Publishing, as well as running cultural magazine Kill Your Darlings). But while I was at uni I worked all kinds of jobs – a waitress, a fish & chip cook, a paper-delivery girl, a tennis coach, even the chief choc-top maker at my local cinema!

What have been the highlights of your career?

The publication of Bad Behaviour has been the biggest highlight of my career to date – I still get a thrill every time I see the book in a shop, it’s wonderful! And founding Kill Your Darlings with my great friend Hannah Kent (who is also a writer, her debut novel is Burial Rites) – we started the magazine in our mid 20s, using our own funds, and it’s been a real joy to see it grow.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about discussing writing with people of all ages. Though Bad Behaviour is a memoir, and an experience-driven story – the chief idea the resonates most strongly is that all our behaviour is repeated from childhood, and that – for some people – can be a most destructive pattern. I’m fascinated by that! Given the book also recounts bullying during this year at boarding school, I’m passionate about talking to teachers, students and parents about this most serious issue – how we can better understand it, and how we can support the victims, and also the perpetrators – of this awful epidemic.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I was once an extra in Round the Twist. I appear, for about two seconds, in scene shot at my primary school, where we’re all surrounding Pete, who has turned into a chicken after being hypnotized by his sister, Linda. I really should have put that as a career highlight!

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