Turn the Page Speaker Bios 2021

Author Talks Weekend (May 1-2)

Robyn Annear – Robyn is author of six books of history, including Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne, winner of a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 1995. She has also written Nothing But Gold: The diggers of 1852, and more recently, Nothing New: A history of second-hand. As a curator, Robyn has explored aspects of Melbourne and Victoria’s history in several exhibitions. She is a past member of the Library Board of Victoria and was one of the State Library’s inaugural Creative Fellows.

Maggie Baron – Maggie was a state forensic scientist for six years and a former convener and inaugural President of Sisters in Crime. She has judged both the Scarlet Stiletto and the Davitt awards. She chairs panels for sisters in Crime, was a speaker at its 2018 Law Week event and guest speaker at the Ned Kelly Awards in August 2018. Maggie is working on her first crime fiction novel.

Bill Bowtell – Bill is one of Australia’s foremost health policy strategists. For over four decades, Bill has served in many roles at the intersection of health, development and politics in Australia and internationally. As senior adviser to the Australian health minister, he was an architect of Australia’s world-renowned response to the emergence of HIV/AIDS. From 2005, Bill led the advocacy organisation Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase funding and support for the Global Fund. Since early 2020, Bill has written, broadcast and tweeted extensively on the Australian and international response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Garry Disher – Garry has published over 50 highly praised and widely translated books in a range of genres: crime thrillers, literary/general novels, short-story collections, YA/children’s novels, and writers’ handbooks. An experienced mentor and creative writing teacher, he has also toured internationally where his crime and YA novels have appeared on best-books-of-the-year lists and won awards. His latest titles are a literary novel, Her, the ninth Wyatt thriller, Kill Shot, and Peace, follow the prize-winning crime novel, Bitter Wash Road.

Monica Dux – Monica is a writer, commentator, and a columnist for The Age. She was a founding board member of the Stella Prize, and the Feminist Writers Festival. Previously, Monica researched history at the University of Melbourne, worked at Melbourne University Publishing and on The Monthly magazine. She is the author of Lapsed, Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting), co-author of The Great Feminist Denial, and editor of the anthology Mothermorphosis.

Tim Entwisle – Tim is a scientist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director. He took up the role of Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in 2013, and is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Botany at The University of Melbourne. He is an expert in freshwater algae and has a broad interest in all plants and related life forms. In 2014 Tim published Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia’s Changing Seasons, challenging the use of the traditional four seasons in Australia. Tim blogs (TalkingPlants), tweets, and looks for any opportunity to promote science, plants and gardens.


Leslie Falkiner-Rose – Leslie is a writer, digital content creator, former journalist, an author and a Director of Creative Clunes, which hosts the annual Booktown Festival. She is also on the festival programming committee and Chair of bookclubshub.com. In her day jobs, Leslie focuses on strategic communications and collaborative educational, social and cultural change initiatives. She holds a Masters in Philanthropy and Social Investment and is on the Advisory Board of the Master of Social Impact at Swinburne University. 

Andrew Fuller – As a clinical psychologist, Andrew works with many schools and communities in Australia and internationally, specialising in the wellbeing of young people and their families. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne. Andrew has been a principal consultant to the national drug prevention strategy REDI, is an Ambassador for Mind Matters and is a member of the National Coalition Against Bullying. He is the author of several titles including Tricky Kids and Beating Bullies.

Scot Gardner – Scot’s many books include Burning Eddy, which was short-listed for both the CBCA and NSW Premier’s Literary awards. He spends half the year writing and half the year on the road talking to mostly young people about his books and the craft of writing.

Ross Garnaut – Ross is the professorial research fellow in economics at the University of Melbourne. In 2008, he produced the Garnaut Climate Change Review for the Australian government. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Dog Days, Superpower and Reset.

Robert Gott – Robert has published many books for children, and is also the creator of the newspaper cartoon The Adventures of Naked Man. He is the author of the William Power series of crime-caper novels set in 1940s Australia, which includes Good Murder and The Serpent’s Sting, and of the Murders series, including The Holiday Murders, and The Orchard Murders.

Rosalie Ham – Rosalie is the author of four books, including the bestselling novels The Year of the Farmerand The Dressmaker, now an award-winning film. She holds a master of arts in creative writing and teaches literature.

Margaret Hickey – Margaret’s work has been shortlisted and has won awards including the Grace Marion Emerging Writer’s prize and the Victorian Regional Writing prize. Her plays have been performed both in Australia and internationally.  Margaret holds a PhD in Creative writing, specialising in depictions of landscape in Australian literature. Her new novel, Cutters End will be published later this year.

Derryn Hinch – Derryn is a journalist, broadcaster, author and ex-crim. The former newspaper editor hosted the current affairs program HINCH TV after several years on Radio 3AW.  Derryn has been jailed twice, fined, and spent five months under house arrest for his campaigns against suppression orders for sex offenders. He launched Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party in 2016 and was elected as a federal senator for Victoria. He now writes and appears as a commentator for various media outlets.

Karina Kilmore – Karina is a writer and newspaper journalist with more than 30 years’ experience. Under the byline Karina Barrymore, she covered almost every major business scandal and financial event since the 1987 global share market crash and has written for both Australian and international publications. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, was shortlisted for the Unpublished Manuscript Award at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2017. She is currently working on her second book.

Katherine Kovacic – Katherine is a Melbourne-based writer, art historian and former veterinarian. Her debut novel, The Portrait of Molly Dean, was shortlisted for the 2019 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, and is the first of three books in the Alex Clayton art mystery series. Her new ‘true crime novel’, The Schoolgirl Strangler, tells the shocking story of a serial killer targeting young girls in 1930s’ Melbourne.

Ramona Koval – Ramona is a writer, journalist, broadcaster and editor. She is an Honorary Fellow at the centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne. She presented Radio National’s Book Show for several years and has written for Australian print media and many international literary publications. She is the author of By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life. Her latest book of interviews is Speaking Volumes: Conversations with Remarkable Writers. Her most recent book is Bloodhound: Searching For My Father.

Sue Lawson – Sue is a former teacher and journalist, who spent nearly 20 years in radio. Her books, including Pan’s Whisper and Freedom Ride, are recognized for the sensitive way they explore the complexities of adolescence. Sue also writes with Boonwurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Muir, creating books that explore and celebrate Australia’s First Nations’ people and their rich culture and history. Aunty Fay and Sue’s books include Nganga and Respect.

Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald – Erin is the author and photographer of Modern Mending, and shopkeeper, copywriter and photographer at modernmending.com. She has 20 years of journalism experience, most recently as editor of Slow magazine.

Maya Linnell – Maya found her feet in journalism before segueing into public relations and now fiction writing and blogging for Romance Writers Australia. Wildflower Ridge was her debut novel and gathers inspiration from her rural upbringing and the small communities she has always lived in and loved. Since then, Maya has written Bottlebrush Creek and her third novel, Magpie’s Bend, will be published in June 2021.

Fiona Lowe – Fiona has been a midwife, a sexual health counsellor and a family support worker; an ideal career for an author who writes novels about family and relationships. She spent her early years in Papua New Guinea, where without television, reading was the entertainment and it set up a lifelong love of books. A recipient of the USA RITA® award and the Australian RuBY award, Fiona’s books are set in small country towns and feature real people facing tough choices and explore how family ties impact on their decisions.

Elizabeth McCarthy – Elizabeth has worked as a producer and presenter in radio for 20 years. She produces the 3RRR Breakfast show and reviews books on 3RRR and ABC Radio Melbourne. In 2019 she was the convenor of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, and from 2013–2017 she anchored 3RRR’s books and writing show, Multi-Storied. She has previously worked as a music reviewer, and during 2000’s she was the drummer and co-lyricist for Melbourne swamp-rock band, The Muddy Spurs.

Sean O’Beirne – Sean is a bookseller and critic, after studying arts, law and acting. A Couple of Things Before the End is his first book.

J.P. Pomare – J.P. Pomare is an award-winning writer who has had work published in journals including Meanjin and Mascara Literary Review. He has hosted the On Writing podcast since 2015, featuring bestselling authors from around the globe. His first novel, Call Me Evie, won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. This was followed by In The Clearing, and then Tell Me Lies, which was a #1 Audible bestseller.

Wayne Quilliam – Wayne is one of Australia’s pre-eminent Indigenous photographic artists, curators and cultural advisers. He has been awarded the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee’s Indigenous Artist of the Year, the Human Rights Media Award and the prestigious Walkley Award for photojournalism. Wayne has created and curated over 150 exhibitions throughout the world and been published in more than 1,000 magazines, books and newspapers. He is currently writing three children’s books, producing a coffee table book and developing a stage show bringing together Indigenous food, art and music. His work documents significant Indigenous events over the past 20 years, including the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and the 1967 Referendum anniversary.

Madeline Ryan – Madeleine is an Australian writer, director and author. Her articles and essays have appeared widely in both Australian and international publications. She is currently working on the screen adaptation of A Room Called Earth.

Stephen Ryan – Horticulturalist, author and broadcaster, Stephen started working in his father’s nursery at the age of ten and at the same time joined the Mt. Macedon Horticultural Society. By the age of 19 he was the president and still is to this day. A passionate plant collector, Stephen hosted ABC Television’s Gardening Australia for three years and he regularly broadcasts gardening programs and contributes articles on horticulture for magazines. He has published three books on rare plants, and he is currently writing a book on the development of his own garden. Stephen is the newly appointed Patron for the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria.

Alli Sinclair – An adventurer at heart, Alli has lived in Argentina, Peru and Canada, climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, worked as a tour guide in South and Central America and has travelled the globe. She enjoys immersing herself in exotic destinations, cultures and languages and her books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers.

Jane Sullivan – Jane is a Melbourne writer specialising in literary journalism. She has worked for The Age as a reporter, feature writer and editor of various sections, including the books pages. She won the inaugural Australian Human Rights Award for journalism. At present she writes ‘Turning Pages’, a Saturday column, and features about books and writing for The Age. She has written two novels, The White Star and  Little People. Her latest book is Storytime, about growing up with books.

Leah Swann – Leah is an award-winning fiction author, journalist and speechwriter. Her debut novel, Sheerwater, was published in 2020. She’s also the author of Irina: The Trilogy and Bearings, a collection of stories.

Adrian Tame – Adrian has worked as a writer, journalist and broadcaster in Australia and internationally. He worked for Truth newspaper for several years as a reporter and news editor. He is the author of The Matriarch, a biography of ‘Granny Evil’ Kathy Pettingill, Deadlier than the Male and co-author with F.P.J. Robotham, of Maralinga: British A-bomb, Australian Legacy.

Sandi Wallace – Sandi has written four rural noir thrillers in her Georgie Harvey and John Franklin series set in the Daylesford area – Tell Me Why, Dead Again, Into the Fog and Black Cloud. She won the 2015 Davitt Award Readers’ Choice for her debut novel, along with five prizes in Sisters in Crime’s Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

Lyn Yeowart – Lyn is a professional writer and editor with more than 25 years experience in writing and editing everything from captions for artworks to speeches for executives, along with poetry, fiction and non-fiction books, and textbooks. Lyn’s debut novel, The Silent Listener, is set in the dark, gothic heart of rural Australia and is loosely based on events from her childhood.


Maryanne Vagg – Maryanne has spent more than a decade working in senior cultural and public programming roles. She developed and delivered Literati, the Gold Coast’s first literary festival and worked with the Geelong Regional Library Corporation, to develop and expand a broad range of public programs. In 2014, she created Geelong’s first major literary festival, the Word for Word National Non-fiction Festival. Maryanne is currently the Coordinator of the Box Hill Community Arts Centre.


Book Clubs Weekend (May 29-30)

Lindy Cameron

Lindy is an independent publisher and author of the Kit O’Malley PI trilogy Blood Guilt, Bleeding Hearts and Thicker Than Water, as well as Golden Relic, Redback and Feedback. She is currently working on series of historical-adventure novellas. She’s also co-author (with her sister Fin J Ross) of the true crime collections Killer in the Family and Murder in the Family. Lindy is a founding member and current president of Sisters in Crime Australia, and the Publisher of Clan Destine Press.

Angela Crocombe

Angela is the shop manager at Readings Kids. She is also the author of two books on sustainable living, A Lighter Footprint: A Practical Guide to Minimising your Impact on the Planet and Ethical Eating: How to Make Food Choices That Won’t Cost the Earth.

Bill Collopy

Bill is a Melbourne-based author who has taught writing at Swinburne University and now works at CAE as Program Manager. His work has been published widely, including in Best Australian Stories, Overland, Dublin Quarterly and New England Review. As part of his role at CAE, he manages Australia’s largest book groups program.

Leslie Falkiner-Rose

Leslie is a writer, digital content creator, former journalist, an author and a Director of Creative Clunes, which hosts the annual Booktown Festival. She is also on the festival programming committee and Chair of bookclubshub.com In her day jobs, Leslie focuses on strategic communications and collaborative educational, social and cultural change initiatives. She holds a Masters in Philanthropy and Social Investment and is on the Advisory Board of the Master of Social Impact at Swinburne University.

Emeritus Professor Richard Freadman

Richard is an international expert on biography and autobiography. He is the author of several books and has published articles about life writing in relation to illness and disability. He is working on a collection of biographical and autobiographical narratives entitled The Coming of Age at Peconic in which aging, memory and dementia feature as important themes. He volunteers for Baptcare where he co-runs dementia life story workshops.

Heather Horrocks

Heather, senior citizen and book club member, had a career as a consultant on plain English and report writing. Now a queen-age crafter and nanna-technologist, she exhibits and collaborates on contemporary art installations. A life member of Footscray Community Arts Centre and recipient of a Ballarat Arts Foundation fellowship, she launched a solo exhibition in early 2020 titled ‘What’s Her Name’, exploring the place of women in art from a feminist perspective.

Toni Jordan

Toni has worked as a molecular biologist, quality control chemist, TAB operator and door-to-door aluminium siding salesperson. Her debut novel, Addition, was long-listed for the Miles Franklin award, was a Richard and Judy book club pick and won the Indie Award for best first book. Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Her most recent novel is the literary mystery The Fragments.

Pam Kershaw

Pam is a Melbourne-based writer who has worked for daily newspapers, trade publications, advertising agencies and in her own public relations company. Now semiretired, Pam collects books the way other people collect cars, shoes or wine. She’s been a member of four book clubs over the past two decades and for the past four years Pam has coordinated a neighbourhood book club in Collingwood, where six of the 11 members live on the same block.

Shay Leighton

Shay is a community organizer who founded the Tough Guy Book Club in 2012, a men’s book club organisation that focuses on encouraging reading, building camaraderie, fighting isolation, and improving mental health. After pouring drinks for 20 years in some of Australia’s most notorious bars, Shay’s seen the best and worst of what Australian men can be, and knows that more than sometimes, someone to talk to is what people really need. With a growing network of over 40 book clubs in Australia, the US and recently the UK, Tough Guy Book Club has become a noticeable and distinctive addition to many pubs.

Daizy Maan

Daizy currently heads up Deakin University’s start-up entrepreneurship initiative– SPARK Deakin for over 250 000 students and alumni. She co-founded Zana Consulting during her time in Tanzania, served as a delegate to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance in Argentina and was selected as a delegate for the Australia India Youth Dialogue in 2019. She hosts The Daizy Project, a podcast with entrepreneurs, leaders and change-makers focusing on living a purposeful life, and is currently writing her first book.

Kate Torney

Kate has been CEO at State Library Victoria since 2015. Prior to this, she spent six years as the Director of News at ABC, capping off a 20-year career there. Kate is the Chair of National and State Libraries Australia, and serves on the boards of Circus Oz, The Conversation and the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas. In 2020, she was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to broadcast media and to the cultural sector. 

Cora Trevarthen

Cora is a senior advisor and director. She contributed to both of Australia’s National Cultural Policy statements.  She is a passionate advocate for regional and literary Australia.

Maryanne Vagg

Maryanne has spent more than a decade working in senior cultural and public programming roles. She developed and delivered Literati, the Gold Coast’s first literary festival and worked with the Geelong Regional Library Corporation, to develop and expand a broad range of public programs. In 2014, she created Geelong’s first major literary festival, the Word for Word National Non-fiction Festival. Maryanne is currently the Coordinator of the Box Hill Community Arts Centre.