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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 an acclaimed memoir, Shy. Her book 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, an MC, an event curator, a media consultant and a public speaker. I am also a musician and I perform regularly as a soprano and clarinettist.

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.

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 and recording songs with my former partner Paul Kelly.

Where have your works been published?

Shy is published by Text Publishing; my essays and articles and short stories have been published in a huge range of different publications, including The Age, The Washington Post, Meanjin literary magazine and The Sleepers Almanac; my radio programs and features have been broadcast on ABC Radio National, 774 ABC Melbourne, Radio Australia and Triple J.

What are you passionate about?

Justice, social change, self-actualisation and self-efficacy, 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 many years ago, or MCing various public events, or talking about my memoir Shy 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 a deeply personal book about shyness (or social anxiety, as the psychologists call it) and I would love to share the knowledge I have gleaned in that process with as many people as possible, so that the distress experienced by shy people can be lessened, and the understanding of shyness by non-shy people can be deepened.


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