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Damon Young combines a love of ideas and language with a fun, entertaining style. And lots of superhero t-shirts.» Read more about Damon Young
Jessica Walton is a queer, disabled writer and speaker. They co-wrote an episode of Get Krack!n focused on disability, which aired on ABC in 2019. They are the author of graphic novel Stars In Their Eyes, with artwork by Aśka (Fremantle Press 2021) and Introducing Teddy, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson (Bloomsbury 2016). Jess also has two short stories for teens and kids published in Australian anthologies Funny Bones (Allen and Unwin 2019) and Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press 2018), as well as poetry in a few anthologies, magazines and journals.» Read more about Jessica Walton
Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet and broadcaster. She regularly appears on ABC radio talking books and culture and is often touring with her poetry. She has also appeared on ABC TV’s Sunday Arts, News Breakfast, Recovery and SBS’s Nomad program. Alicia was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that toured extensively in planetariums around the world.» Read more about Alicia Sometimes
Tasneem is a whole lot of parts, symbolising the hybrid identity of today’s global citizen, which she speaks to with sheer wit. She is an East African born, Indian origin, Bendigo raised, Melbourne loving, daughter, mother, middle-child, karaoke swooning, sleep deprived, vertically challenged, feminist, Muslim, exhausted, activist – and she won’t compromise on any of those titles.» Read more about Tasneem Chopra
Shabnam is a driven community development practitioner who is passionate about cultivating true partnerships between communities and structures of power to create lasting solutions and social change.
She grew up as a Hazara Afghan refugee in Pakistan before arriving in Australia at the age of 15. Inspired by her own experience of forced displacement, she is a strong advocate for meaningful participation of refugees in addressing the complex challenges of resettlement, inclusion, and belonging.
Shabnam has founded and led multiple initiatives in Australia and abroad supporting refugees and host communities. She is part of a small national team at the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) working to establish a holistic community-led refugee sponsorship program in Australia, building community capacity to welcome newcomers. She is the inaugural Chairperson at the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG), a refugee-led organisation creating spaces for effective elevation of voices with lived experience in key decisions, policies, and discourse about refugees.
A Director at the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Shabnam also serves on multiple government advisory boards influencing policy design and program delivery to devise unique solutions for the unique challenges and opportunities facing refugee and migrant communities in Australia. She is an emerging leader in the Afghan Australian community and since the fall of Kabul in August 2021 has been one of the leading voices behind the Action for Afghanistan campaign.
She was recently inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her tireless work in promoting refugee rights, social cohesion, meaningful diversity and inclusion. Fun fact about Shabnam: she is also a former Karate champion with multiple national and international titles to her name.» Read more about Shabnam Safa
James, an experienced and multiple award-winning filmmaker spent 15 months in a Cambodian jail, charged with espionage. He has compelling stories to tell about his experiences and the lessons he learned from them about resilience and how happiness can be experienced in even the most difficult and horrific of circumstances.» Read more about James Ricketson
Astrid is a bibliophile. She is the host of The Garret: Writers on Writing and has interviewed more than 200 of Australia’s most prominent writers. In 2023 she began a PhD at the University of Melbourne exploring potential and perceived barriers to publishing and selling climate fiction in Australia.
She regularly moderates and participates in panels at literary festivals, and you can read her book reviews in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Future Women, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, Australian Book Review and Australian Foreign Affairs.
She is one half of Bad Producer Productions, an independent podcast network specialising in arts and sport (she represents the Arts part). Astrid also teaches in the Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT University and sometimes judges literary prizes.
Astrid is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She served on the Victorian Disability Advisory Council advising the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers (2019 to 2022). She the former Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival (2019-2022) and the former Deputy Chair of Writers Victoria (2014-2018).
In 2021 Astrid contributed to the anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia and made her debut appearance on Q+A in 2021. She previously received grants from the Australia Council for the Arts (2017 and 2018) and The Copyright Agency (2017 and 2019).
Before embarking on this creative storytelling career, Astrid was an economics and policy consultant for almost a decade. She specialised in climate and social policy, and to this day she is trying to figure out how stories can help to save the planet.
Astrid is a member of Mensa Australia.» Read more about Astrid Edwards
As a journalist and author with more than 40 years experience working in Australia, Asia, Europe, the United States and Middle East, David Leser is a compelling speaker, able to weave the personal with the universal in moving ways that help shift our thinking.» Read more about David Leser
Ren is a national award-winning spoken word artist and English teacher who merges her love of both arts into active, engaging and empowering writing workshops and performances.
See more at Ren’s website here.» Read more about Ren Alessandra
Mick Elliott is an author, illustrator, TV producer, screenwriter, literacy ambassador and professional mischief-maker. As well as multiple best-selling books, Mick has written and produced acclaimed children’s TV programmes for Nickelodeon, the Sesame Workshop, Channel TEN and the ABC.» Read more about Mick Elliott
Sue Whiting is an acclaimed children’s and YA author and editor who has worked in publishing for twenty years. Sue has written numerous books for a variety of age groups, including the bestselling Missing, the award-winning The Book of Chance and a number of CBCA Notable Picture Books. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country.» Read more about Sue Whiting
Jess is an author and illustrator from Melbourne. Drawing quite literally from a day job at Melbourne Museum, Jess loves sharing stories about nature and encouraging students to draw the world around them.
Bradley Christmas is the author of young adult novel Saltwater Boy, a coming-of-age story exploring themes of family, conservation and reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations peoples. Away from his writing desk, Brad is often found performing with bands Copperline and the Gin Palace, as well as touring with acts from Boney M to Steve Kilbey (the Church).» Read more about Bradley Christmas