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Open Right

Sian Prior

Author, Corporate, Entertainer, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development, Speaking Out

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 two acclaimed works of non fiction, ‘Shy: a memoir and ‘Childless: a story of freedom and longing’ (shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year in 2022). Her first memoir ‘Shy’ 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.

What other jobs have you had?

I have worked as an environment campaigner, a model, a trade union arts-worker (I founded and conducted the Victorian Trade Union Choir), a radio reporter and presenter, a newspaper journalist, a TAFE and university teacher, a writing mentor, an MC, an event curator, a media consultant and a public speaker.

What themes are recurring in your work?

A commitment to ‘good causes’ – to being (and feeling) helpful; creativity; communication; education; working for institutions whose goals and aims I believe in. Sharing personal stories, and helping others to share theirs.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Shaking Nelson Mandela’s hand when the choir I founded – the Victorian Trade Union Choir – sang for him at the Melbourne Town Hall; presenting a range of ABC radio arts programs; meeting a couple on an island off the coast of East Timor who were visiting the local ecotourism village because they’d heard my radio program about it; publishing my first book; coming to the end of my PhD in Creative Writing; performing with my vocal quartet The Westgarth Ensemble.

Where have your works been published?

‘Shy: a memoir’ and ‘Childless: a story of freedom and longing’ are published by Text Publishing; my essays and articles and short stories have been published in a range of publications, including The Age/Sydney Morning Herald, The Washington PostMeanjin literary magazine and The Sleepers Almanac; my radio programs and feature documentaries have been broadcast on ABC radio.

What are you passionate about?

Justice, social change, promoting self-confidence and self-actualisation, education, creativity, music, and above all helping people to live happier, less anxious, more fulfilled lives.

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may have seen me doing some television spots for the ABC, or MCing various public events, or talking about my two memoirs in the media, or interviewing authors at writers festivals, or hovering in the foyers of theatres where I’ve been reviewing plays and operas. Or you’ve heard me on the radio or read my words in the newspapers.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have written two deeply personal books; one about about shyness (or social anxiety, as the psychologists call it) and one about being involuntarily childless. I would love to share the knowledge I have gleaned with as many people as possible, so that the distress experienced by shy people (and involuntarily childless people) can be lessened, the understanding of those two topics can be deepened.

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