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Enlivened libraries

Abdi Aden

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Abdi’s world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, and joined another 300 heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost three months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya – of the group he’d set out with, only five had survived.

¬Ľ Read more about Abdi Aden

David Astle

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Clue by clue, chapter by chapter, David Astle‚Äôs Puzzled meanders through the maze of a cryptic crossword, showing you the dark secrets and wondrous tricks of wordplay. ‚ÄėHe‚Äôs the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords,‚Äô says award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

¬Ľ Read more about David Astle

Oslo Davis

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Oslo Davis is an illustrator and cartoonist who has drawn for magazines and newspapers worldwide. As a satirist, Oslo has a particular interest in drawing the foibles and ridiculousness of modern day life.

¬Ľ Read more about Oslo Davis

Mary Delahunty

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Mary is a writer, award winning ABC Journalist and former Education Minister. She is National Director of Writing Australia and Chair of Orchestra Victoria. She was the first female solo prime time TV newsreader in Victoria, and the first female Planning Minister in Victoria.

¬Ľ Read more about Mary Delahunty

Demet Divaroren

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

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.

¬Ľ Read more about Demet Divaroren

Sean Dooley

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Sean Dooley has written for TV comedies like Full Frontal, Hamish and Andy and Spicks and Specks, is author of books such as The Big Twitch and Cooking with Baz, and is currently editor of Australian Birdlife magazine. He was also the national birdwatching champion, holding the record for seeing the most birds seen in one year. Sean Dooley is the Birdman.

¬Ľ Read more about Sean Dooley

Tanya Ha

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate. More hip than hippie, she makes sustainability and science easier to understand and is known for her TV shows, including ABC’s Catalyst and the SBS series Eco House Challenge.

¬Ľ Read more about Tanya Ha

Belinda Hawkins

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Belinda Hawkins has reported on national and international events for ABC TV and SBS TV for almost 30 years, filing from countries as diverse as Nigeria, Eritrea, Cuba, Germany and Russia. For the past twelve years she has been a senior journalist with ABC TV’s Australian Story program. Her documentary work has been recognised with a raft of awards, among them a Walkley award, seven Quill awards, four New York Festival Medals and four United Nations Media Peace Awards. She started her working life as high school teacher in country Victoria.

¬Ľ Read more about Belinda Hawkins

Justin Heazlewood

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Justin Heazlewood is an award-winning triple-threat of writer, musician & comedian. As The Bedroom Philosopher he has appeared on Triple J & ABC TV, releasing three albums including the ARIA-nominated Songs From The 86 Tram. The video for Northcote (So Hungover) earning nearly half a million hits. In 2014 his first non-fiction book Funemployed, about being an artist in Australia, was an indie-hit, earning praise from artists and industry alike. In 2015 an 8-part series was commissioned for RN.

His 10-part Get Up Mum radio series based on his cassette recordings of himself as a kid was aired Radio National’s Life Matters. You can listen to the series here.

In 2020 Justin gave a witness statement and presented at the launch of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. He is an ambassador for the Satellite Foundation who offer support for children of parents with a mental illness.


¬Ľ Read more about Justin Heazlewood

Robert Hillman

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Robert Hillman has published more than sixty works of fiction and non-fiction. His books feature in school libraries all over Australia and his autobiography, The Boy in the Green Suit, won the 2005 Australian National Biography Award. His publications cover sports, Australian history, nation building, Young Australian achievers, and the plight of refugees and asylum seekers

¬Ľ Read more about Robert Hillman

Anna Krien

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Anna Krien is an award-winning Melbourne-based journalist, essayist, fiction writer and poet. Her book Night Games: Sex, Power & Sport, won the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year in the UK, and is being developed into a television mini-series. Other publications include Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests, Booze Territory, Quarterly Essay 66: The Long Goodbye: Coal, Coral and Australia’s Climate Deadlock and Quarterly Essay 45 Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals. 

Anna’s debut novel Act of Grace was published in October 2019 and shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

¬Ľ Read more about Anna Krien

Benjamin Law

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist and screenwriter. He is the author of two books: the black comedy memoir The Family Law (2010) and the travelogue Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). The Family Law has been translated into French and is currently being developed for television. Gaysia was published in India in 2013, with the US and other territories to follow in 2014. Both of his books were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards, and he is currently working on his third.

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David Nyuol Vincent

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

David Nyuol Vincent is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He was trained as a child soldier in Ethiopia and lived as a refugee in Kenya until he was twenty-six. Since rebuilding his life here in Australia, David has become an advocate for refugees and the Sudanese community and he is a Victorian Human Rights Youth Ambassador and a People of Australia Ambassador. He also helped to set up an all-Sudanese refugee football team, the Western Tigers, in the Brimbank soccer league. David is a true humanitarian and is committed to achieving peace for his people in Sudan.

¬Ľ Read more about David Nyuol Vincent

Claire Madden

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator and next-gen expert, fluent in social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers.  Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them.

Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.

¬Ľ Read more about Claire Madden

Tristan Miller

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Tristan Miller has had an incredible story, for such a regular guy. He dealt with a number of life’s highs and lows, before finally losing his dream job at Google in the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. Instead of laying down, he turned his life into an amazing adventure by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, in 42 countries, on all 7 continents!

¬Ľ Read more about Tristan Miller

Andrew Rule

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Since starting on a country newspaper in 1975, Andrew Rule has worked on three metropolitan newspapers and in both radio and television production. He has written, co-written, edited and published many books, including the Underbelly true crime series and the Chopper series, which inspired the successful feature film. He hosts a regular fortnightly spot on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast called In The Rule World.

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Michael Robotham

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Michael Robotham is an internationally celebrated crime writer whose books have been translated into 25 languages and sold more than six million copies around the world.

Born in country NSW, he began his career as a journalist and went on to write for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were Sunday Times bestsellers in the UK.

Michael‚Äôs first psychological thriller, THE SUSPECT, caused a bidding war at the London Book Fair in 2002 and was sold into more twenty languages in less than three hours. It later became only the fifth ‚ÄúInternational Book of the Month‚ÄĚ, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries.

In 2015, Michael’s novel, LIFE OR DEATH, won the coveted Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger award for the year’s best novel, beating Stephen King and Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) who were on the shortlist. He has also twice won Australia’s Ned Kelly Award for best novel and the Australian Book Industry Award for best fiction in 2018 for THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS.

A six-part TV series based on THE SECRET SHE KEEPS has been made for Channel 10 and will screen in early 2020 with an international cast.

¬Ľ Read more about Michael Robotham

Liz Porter

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Liz Porter is a freelance journalist best-known for her prize-winning books about¬† ‚Äúthe real CSI‚Ä̬† – the way forensic science is used to solve crime. Based in Melbourne, she is a former award-winning legal affairs reporter for The Sunday Age.

¬Ľ Read more about Liz Porter

Ben Pobjie

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Ben Pobjie is the author of the Reality Recap of Australian History Error Australis and Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. He is the resident satirist for Medium and TV writer for the Saturday Age, he co-hosts the comedy podcast Gather Around Me, and is a regular voice on ABC radio,Triple R and 3CR as well as writing occasionally for TV.

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Clare Wright

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Professor Clare Wright is an award-winning historian, author, broadcaster and public commentator who has worked in politics, academia and the media. Clare holds a PhD in Australian Studies from the University of Melbourne and an MA in Public History from Monash University and is currently a Professor of History at La Trobe University.

Her best-selling first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans (Text) met with both critical and popular acclaim. Her best-selling second book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (Text), was based on a decade of archival research into women’s role in the Eureka Stockade. The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka won the 2014 Stella Prize and the NIB Literary Award (and People’s Choice Award) and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the NSW Premier’s History Awards, the WA Premier’s Literary Awards, the Victorian Community History Awards, and long-listed for a Walkely Award.

 We Are the Rebels, a Young Adult version of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, was published by Text in 2015 and has been shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book Council Awards.

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is currently being developed into a ten-part television drama series with Ruby Entertainment and Hollywood screenwriter/producer, Anne Kenney.

Clare’s latest book is the best-selling You Daughters of Freedom (Text), published in October 2018.  It is the second book in her Democracy Trilogy. You Daughters of Freedom was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, and is currently shortlisted for the Australian History Association’s Margarey Medal for Biography.

Clare has worked as a political speechwriter, university lecturer, historical consultant and as a broadcaster in both radio and television.

She is a popular public speaker and has presented numerous keynote addresses and dinner talks at academic conferences, AGMs, Writers Festivals, book stores and community and corporate events. Clare is a former Director on the Board of the The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.

Clare’s thought-provoking essays, reviews and opinion writing have appeared in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Conversation, Overland, Crikey and Meanjin as well as leading national and international scholarly journals.

Clare researched, co-wrote and presented the acclaimed television documentary, Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote, which first screened on ABC1 in June 2012.

Clare created and co-wrote the four-part documentary series, The War That Changed Us, for Electric Pictures and ABC1. The series premiered on 23 August 2014 as part of the ABC’s centenary of WW1 programming. The War That Changed Us won an ATOM Award for Best Documentary and was nominated for a Logie for Most Outstanding Factual Program.

Clare is the writer and host of the ABC Radio National history series and podcast, Shooting the Past and co-hosts the history podcast, Archive Fever.

As a freelance historical consultant, Clare’s clients include Sovereign Hill Museums Association, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka and many television production companies. She runs her consultancy practice as Done Gone Productions.

For Clare’s scholarly outputs, see here.

In 2020, Clare was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours list for ‚Äúservices to literature and to historical research‚ÄĚ.

Clare is currently Professor of History and Principal Research Fellow in the History Program at La Trobe University. She holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for the project Red Dirt Dreaming: A New History of Australian Mining.

¬Ľ Read more about Clare Wright

Alex Hammond

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

Critically acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Alex Hammond’s debut novel¬†Blood Witness¬†was shortlisted for the 2014 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Novel. Its sequel,¬†The Unbroken Line, was described as “a taut and intelligent thriller.” Both were optioned as a TV series. Each novel was also selected to be part of the State Library of Victoria’s Summer Read by a panel of judges in the year they were released. Alex toured regional Victoria on behalf of the Library as part of these events.


His latest novel, The Paris Collaborator, a mystery thriller set in 1944 in German-occupied Paris, is released in May 2021.

¬Ľ Read more about Alex Hammond

Maree Coote

Author, Illustrator, Speaking Out

One of the very first to identify the contemporary rise of Melbourne‚Äôs cultural and place power, Maree Coote is an energetic inspirational speaker. Her unique understanding of her topic (Melbourne) is made accessible through her command of history, culture, art and design for a wide variety of audiences. According to Philip Adams, ‚ÄúMelbourne never had a more ingenious ambassador.‚ÄĚ Coote‚Äôs first book The Melbourne Book: A History of Now is in its fourth edition after 12+ years in print, and has been dubbed ‚ÄėMelbourne‚Äôs Bible‚Äô.

Maree’s ingenious typography has caught the attention of international design bodies with her book Spellbound: Making Pictures with the A-B-C winning the coveted Bologna Ragazzi 2017 Special Mention Prize in Italy. (She’s the first Australian to win this prize since Shaun Tan 10 years ago.) It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year awards.
An earlier book Alphabet City Zoo also won a Distinction Prize in Korea’s Nami Concours Awards in a field of entries from 149 countries.

¬Ľ Read more about Maree Coote