Artist Bios 2022

Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly is an organiser and artist committed to social and climate justice, based on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, ‘Australia’. Alex has worked in film, theatre, communications and troublemaking in many forms. This includes taking part in blockades from Jabiluka in Australia to la zad in France, collaborating on the Indigenous Language and Theatre project Ngapartji Ngapartji, and curating the Something Somewhere Film Festival.

BOOK NOW | Panel | A Brave New Future

Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer, poet and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on ABC 774 and Radio National. She has appeared in ABC TV’s Sunday Arts and ABC News Breakfast. She was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and was writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental. Alicia has two poetry collections, kissing the curve and Soundtrack and her poems have been in Best Australian Poems, Overland, Southerly, Westerly and many more. She has performed her spoken word at many venues, festivals and events around the world. Alicia has co-edited From the Outer (Black Inc, 2016) alongside Nicole Hayes. She is also one-sixth of The Outer Sanctum.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Short and Sharp

BOOK NOW | Poetry Session

Alicia Sometimes
Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is an acclaimed Australian writer, novelist, storyteller, and human rights activist, and the recipient of the 2021 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. His books include Jewels and Ashes, Café Scheherazade, Scraps of Heaven, Sea of Many Returns, The Fig Tree, Violin Lessons, and The Fighter. His most recent book, The Watermill, was published in March 2020. He is a long time-activist with PEN International, and the patron of PEN Melbourne. A long-time refugee advocate, his awards include the 2013 Voltaire Prize for Freedom of Expression, and the 2017 Australia Council Fellowship for Literature. His most recent story. ‘The Man who Loved the Persimmon Tree’, was published the summer edition of Meanjin in December 2021.

BOOK NOW | In Conversation | Arnold Zable

Honorary Professor Barry Golding AM is a local (Kingston) resident. A passionate and widely published author and researcher about older men’s learning and wellbeing in community settings, Barry’s international research speciality involves community Men’s Sheds. Former Australian penny farthing racing champion (x3), regularly riding through Clunes these days in retirement on a ‘safety bicycle’ or walking in the local bush on the ‘Great Dividing Trail’ he helped found.

BOOK NOW | Panel | DRIVE 

Barry Golding
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.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Book Clubs and Reading Groups

Bradley brings his connections and skills to the offering. He is often frustrated by aspects of the changing publishing process and limited opportunities in the market for new voices and believes every writer should write first and not be bogged in or overwhelmed by sales and marketing processes that are expensive and time wasting to writers. He designed the agency using the hybrid model of collective authors contributing small amounts to the overall benefits of the groups marketing and promotional values, allowing for higher brand development for all authors in the community.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Independent Publishing

Sponsor: BOOK NOW |  Panel | 5 minutes each. Independents Authors via Bradshaw Publishing 

Bradley Shaw
Bryan Andy

Bryan Andy (he/him) is a Yorta Yorta man from Cummeragunja – an Aboriginal village on the Murray River. Bryan is a freelance writer, radio broadcaster and theatremaker. He has been published by lonely Planet, NITV, The Guardian and Meanjin. He is an arts event producer and is the Convenor of OutBlack – an LGBT social support and advocacy group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Victoria.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Short and Sharp

 

Carmel Bird grew up in Tasmania, and her most recent book, Telltale, has a certain Tasmanian focus. Telltale is a memoir written during the early stages of the pandemic. Carmel has published eleven novels and nine collections of short fiction. She edited The Penguin Century of Australian Stories, and The Stolen Children – Their Stories. She is a winner of the Patrick White Literary Award.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Up close and personal

 

Carmel Bird
Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper’s most recent book is the bestselling The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire. The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premiers’ Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two acclaimed novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement. She lives in Melbourne with her partner and her two sons.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Up close and personal

Don Farrands was born in Melbourne, and he is the grandson of the stretcher bearer in the book. ‘True Stories: Courage and Compassion, A Stretcher Bearers Journey’.  This is the true story of a young Australian soldier whose life of opportunity was challenged by trauma and salvaged by strength. Nelson Ferguson, from Ballarat, was a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front in France in World War I. He survived the dangers of stretcher-bearing in some of Australia’s most horrific battles. The story of this Anzac will stir your soul.

BOOK NOW | True Stories: Courage and Compassion, A Stretcher Bearers Journey

Don Farrands QC
Don Watson

Don Watson is one of Australia’s most acclaimed writers and thinkers. He is an award-winning author, a former speechwriter, a historian and a satirist. His many books include Caledonia Australis, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PM, Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language, American Journeys and The Bush. In 2010 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Excellence in Literature.

BOOK NOW | In Conversation | Don Watson

Douglas Gellatly lives at Clunes. He is the author and narrator of  ‘Mount Zero’, the Wimmera trilogy, which is available worldwide in ebook and serial podcast formats. Topically, it is a story of four men in the Wimmera between 1975 and 2010.

BOOK NOW | Panel | DRIVE

Douglas Gellatly
Eliza Hull

Musician, writer and disability advocate, Eliza Hull is changing how the world views disability. Eliza is the editor and creator of ‘We’ve Got This – stories by disabled parents’ out now through Black Inc which features 25 disabled parents from around Australia. She is a panellist and speaker and has spoken at the Human Rights Convention ‘Free and Equal,’ for the NDIS, DARU, Brunswick Music Festival, The Wheeler Centre and the Changes Music Conference. Watch Eliza as a panellist on ABC’s Q&A. Eliza has a children’s book coming out in September 2022 titled ‘Come over to my House’ co-written with highly esteemed children’s author Sally Rippin.

BOOK NOW | Panel |  We’ve got this

Fiona Scott-Norman is a writer, comedian and cabaret director who lives in inner-city Melbourne with her eight heritage bantam chickens. Fiona got her first flock in 2012, jumping on board the backyard chicken train without a clue what she was doing. Three flocks, two visits from Ms Fox, and one disastrous restocking (where all the chickens HATED each other) later, she’s seasoned. Chickens aside, Fiona has had a long, shimmering career as a writer, social commentator and arts journalists. She has written for The Age and The Australian, as well as for TV comedies Back Berner and Comedy Company, and has also written three books.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Living and Growing – making the most of the earth

BOOK NOW | Happy Hour | We need a good laugh! Presented by Triple R

Fiona Scott-Norman
Gary Foley

Gary Foley is an Australian Aboriginal Gumbainggir activist, academic, writer and actor. He is best known for his role in establishing the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972 and for establishing an Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern in the 1970s. He is currently a Professor of History at Victoria University. Foley also co-wrote and acted in the first indigenous Australian stage production, Basically Black.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Blackfellas do some truth telling

 

Professor Ian Lowe AO is uniquely qualified to tell this story, following a long career in universities, research councils and advisory groups. Lowe is the author of several books, including Living in the Hothouse (Scribe, 2005), A Big Fix (Black Inc., 2005), A Voice of Reason (UQP, 2010), Bigger or Better? (UQP, 2012) and The Lucky Country? (UQP, 2016). He is also the author of a 2006 Quarterly Essay on the prospects for nuclear power in Australia, and a ‘flip book’ with Professor Barry Brook, giving the two sides of the argument.

BOOK NOW | Panel | A Brave New Future

Professor Ian Lowe
Jacinta Parsons

Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, radio maker, writer, and public speaker. She currently hosts Afternoons on ABC Melbourne delivering a popular mix of art, culture and ideas. 

Jacinta has lived with Crohn’s disease for over 20 years and is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association and speaks and writes about the impact of living with chronic illness. She is also an active member of the arts & music community and is a board member for Melbourne disability theatre company, Rollercoaster. Unseen is her first book.

BOOK NOW | Panel |  We’ve got this

Jacqui Katona, a Djok woman, from the Kakadu area of the Northern Territory is an Aboriginal advocate. She has worked for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Stolen Generations Northern Territory and assisted her family to prevent uranium mining at Jabiluka in Kakadu National Park. With Yvonne Margarula, of the Mirrar , she shares the Goldman Environmental Prize for Island Nations 1999. She is currently completing her graduate law degree at the University of Melbourne and works at Moondani Balluk Institute located at Victoria University.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Blackfellas do some truth telling

 

Jacqui Katona
Jane Willson

Jane Willson publishes books across the lifestyle space with a focus on food, but also wide interests in the world beyond. Irrespective of subject, she seeks out authors with a point of view and an appetite for compelling storytelling. Around that, she builds ambitious fit-for-purpose design. Jane is the Melbourne representative of Sydney-based Murdoch Books, a division of Allen & Unwin, the biggest independent publisher in Australia. She has worked with authors ranging from Matthew Evans to Adam Liaw, Analiese Gregory, Danielle Alvarez and Josh Niland. Murdoch has a long-established footprint in the UK, and relationships with publishers across Europe and the US, where its books are well received and widely sold.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Independent Publishing

Jeremy Hopkins is a singer, drummer, composer, lyricist, voice-over artist, actor and musical director. Based in Melbourne, Jeremy has worked across the Australian arts landscape, including contemporary music, circus, cabaret and the voice-over sector. He is a wordsmith, a comic, a crooner, a beautiful ensemble player, and a deeply creative composer.

BOOK NOW | Panel |  We’ve got this

Jeremy Hopkins
Jill Teschendorff

Local resident and avid gardener, Jill Teschendorff, wrote Grow Wild because when she and her husband were revegetating their 24-hectare block in Glenlyon, Jill realised there were gaps in people’s knowledge of local plants and how they provide habitat and food for native animals. Her beautiful book is published by Wombat Forestcare, and it aims to empower people to include indigenous plants in their gardens and provide the special habitat needed by our local wildlife in Hepburn Shire.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Living and Growing – making the most of the earth

Jock Serong is the author of two novels, Quota and The Rules of Backyard Cricket. He lives and works on the far south-west coast of Victoria and is also the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly. We caught up with Jock to talk criticism, crime writing and the contract between reader and writer.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Life of Crime, Tall Tales and True

Jock Serong
J.P. Pomare

J.P. Pomare is an award-winning writer whose work has been widely published. His debut novel, Call Me Evie, was critically acclaimed and won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. Pomare’s novels In The Clearing and The Last Guests were critically acclaimed bestsellers, while his novel Tell Me Lies was a #1 Audible bestseller and was shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel and the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. The Wrong Woman is his fifth book.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Life of Crime, Tall Tales and True

Justine Sless (BA) (MA) is an author, comedian & Kvetcher in the Wry.

Justine teaches, writes, researches, and performs stand-up comedy. She has 20 plus years’ experience across the arts, education, non-profits, and health as a community worker – creating events, festivals, markets and employment education pathways. Justine is a ‘professional listener…’ really, she is! She is based in Melbourne Australia.

BOOK NOW | Happy Hour | We need a good laugh! Presented by Triple R

Justine Sless the Mistress of Mirth
Katherine Kovacic

Katherine Kovacic has written short stories, true crime and crime fiction. Her debut novel, The Portrait of Molly Dean, was shortlisted for the 2019 Ned Kelly Awards for Best First Fiction, and is the first of three books in the Alex Clayton art mystery series.
Katherine frequently lives in her head with her characters but generally maintains a physical presence in Melbourne.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Life of Crime, Tall Tales and True

Writer, editor and all-round communicator. Kerrie O’Brien is a senior writer, culture, at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

BOOK NOW | In Conversation | Arnold Zable

 

Kerrie O'Brien
Kim Kruger

Kim Kruger is a researcher with Moondani Balluk Academic Unit at Victoria University and an associate researcher for ARC Future Fellows, Dr Tracey Banivanua Mar (LaTrobe University) and Dr Kalissa Alexeyeff (University of Melbourne) with their projects ‘Melbourne in the Pacific’, and ‘Labour Circuits in the South Pacific’.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Blackfellas do some truth telling

Lee Kofman is the author of five books, including creative nonfiction works Imperfect (2019, Ventura Press) and The Dangerous Bride (2014, Melbourne University Press), and co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (2016, Ventura Press), an anthology of prominent Australian memoirists. Her short works have been widely published in Australia, UK, Scotland, Israel, Canada and US, including in Best Australian Stories, Best Australian Essays, Griffith Review, Malahat Review and Creative Nonfiction. 

BOOK NOW | Panel | Up close and personal

Lee Kofman
Lisa Leong

Lisa Leong is the host of ABC Radio National’s This Working Life. Lisa is a former intellectual property & technology lawyer (Melbourne, London, New York) whose purpose as a broadcaster, media commentator and business consultant is to help people find the sunshine in work, in relationships and in themselves. Her work and ‘unique approach’ has been the subject of a Harvard Case Study and my TEDx talk: ‘Can robots make us more human?’. Lisa is a graduate of the Customer-Focused Innovation program of Stanford University’s GSB and the Stanford d.school, the Australian Film Television & Radio School, and the University of Melbourne Law School. Her superpowers are curiosity, creativity and delivering key messages by way of song.

Lisa Leong & Monique Ross – This Working Life – Live Improv 123 Fail! | FREE EVENT |

Martine Murray was born in Melbourne and now lives in Castlemaine in Victoria. She is an award-winning children’s novelist and illustrator. The Last Summer of Ada Bloom is her first novel for adults.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Self-Publishing: how to get your story out there

Martine Murray
Maryrose Cuskelly

Maryrose Cuskelly is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. Her book Wedderburn: A true tale of blood and dust (Allen & Unwin, 2018) was longlisted for Best Debut and Best True Crime in the 2019 Davitt Awards. She is also the author of Original Skin: Exploring the marvels of the human hide (Scribe, 2010) and The End of Charity: Time for social enterprise (with Nic Frances, Allen & Unwin, 2008), which was the winner of the Iremonger Award.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Life of Crime, Tall Tales and True

Melissa Manning is a Melbourne-based author. Her debut interlinked story collection, Smokehouse, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, and was shortlisted for the USQ Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Short and Sharp

Melissa Manning
Millie Ross

Millie Ross is a professional horticulturist, garden designer, writer and broadcaster. An innovative gardener with an unconventional approach, Millie specialises in creative construction, sourcing local, low-cost materials and using plants in unusual ways.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Living and Growing – making the most of the earth

Monique Ross is a journalist, writer, editor – and certified Nature and Forest Therapy guide. She worked across ABC News Digital and ABC Radio National for more than a decade, covering everything from federal politics to terrorist attacks and natural disasters. She loves helping people surface and share the stories they have within them. At the end of 2020 she branched out (pun intended), retrained, and founded Heartwood Nature Bathing. Her gentle sensory immersion walks support the health, happiness and healing of both people and the planet. Monique has co-written This Working Life with Lisa Leong.

Lisa Leong & Monique Ross – This Working Life – Live Improv 123 Fail! | FREE EVENT |

Monique Ross
Nat Bartsch

Nat Bartsch is an ARIA-nominated, multi-award-winning pianist and composer based in Melbourne. Her soothing lyrical music explores the space between classical, jazz and children’s genres. She releases music for both ABC Jazz and ABC Classic.

Nat is best known for her lullabies, played across the world by people of all ages–from the birthing suite to the final hours of life. This music was first released as Forever, and No Time At All in 2018, followed by her jazz-reinterpretation Forever More, in 2020.  In 2021, Nat released her critically acclaimed neo-romantic album, Hope, for piano, string quartet and electronics. The album captures her experience of the Black Summer bushfires and Covid-19 lockdowns.

BOOK NOW | Panel |  We’ve got this

Nicole Haddow is a Victorian-based journalist and author of the forthcoming book The Ethical Investor. She is also the author of Smashed Avocado: How I Cracked the Property Market and You Can Too, which is now also available as a highly successful podcast. She was the executive property writer for the Australian Financial Review.

In Conversation | The Ethical Investor

Presented by The Courier

Nicole Haddow
Ogy Simic

Ogy Simic is the Advocacy Manager at the ASRC. Since arriving in Australia as a refugee he has worked as a campaigner at every level – from grassroots community organising, for federal parliamentarians, for NGOs and as an elected representative himself.

Panel| Seeking Asylum – The Voices Australia Should Hear

 

Richard Gilbert has been involved in volunteer organisations since 1965, particularly in tourist railways and tramways. Richard has published three books and currently edits and produces a periodical magazine. He joined CCI in 2008 and has been on the Board since then. Richard held the Presidency for one term.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Self-Publishing: how to get your story out there

 

Richard Gilbert
Scott Ludlam

Scott Ludlam was a senator from 2008 to 2017 and served as deputy leader of the Australian Greens. He has also worked as a filmmaker, artist and graphic designer. This is his first book, the fruit of a life of activism, study and travel.

BOOK NOW | Panel | A Brave New Future

Sean O’Beirne grew up in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, and studied arts, law and acting. His first book, the satirical short-story collection A Couple of Things Before the End, was shortlisted for the QLD Literary Awards and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

BOOK NOW In Conversation | Don Watson

Sean O'Beirne
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.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Book Clubs and Reading Groups

Tess Brady currently lives in Clunes where she collaborates on several creative projects. Tess runs the print office of Snodger Media and 2020 collaborated with Catherine Gough-Brady on the short film 70+.  In 2021 Tess self-published The Noise of Empty Buildings, an ‘almost true’ story of my coming to Clunes and working with the team to set up Booktown. Tess was named as one of Melbourne’s 100 most influential, inspirational, provocative and creative people –The Age Melbourne Magazine (2011) – and in 2017 she won the Regional Achievement & Community Awards: Life Activities Clubs Victoria and Henry Carus & Associates Senior Achievement Award.

BOOK NOW | Panel | Self-Publishing: how to get your story out there

Tess Brady
The Gents

THE GENTS are a creative couple who have been living and working together for 17 years. They are Dale Campisi and Brady Michaels. Their combined work spans writing, photography, illustration, art, design and live storytelling. Since 2012, they’ve been gradually restoring a heritage property called Hunting Ground in Tasmania’s midlands, which was documented for a national television program which aired in 2019.

BOOK NOW | Panel | DRIVE

Tim Lynch is professor in political science and Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. In 2022-23, Tim will be Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Wyoming, researching ‘red state foreign policy.’ His latest book, In the Shadow of the Cold War: American Foreign Policy from George Bush Sr. to Donald Trump (Cambridge, 2020), has been called ‘a cogent, graceful, provocative account’ of its subject. Tim was co-creator and convenor of the sell-out 10 Great Books Melbourne Masterclass, 2014-20.

BOOK NOW | Panel | A Brave New Future

Tim Lynch
Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 Tony released two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.

Panel | Blackfellas do some truth telling

Wayne Marshall is an Australian writer and musician. Stories of his have appeared in Going Down SwingingIslandReview of Australian Fiction, and other places. His manuscript Frontier Sport is shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. He is the co-founder of the Peter Carey Short Story Award, and lives in the town of Bacchus Marsh with his partner and two daughters. 

BOOK NOW | Panel | Short and Sharp

Wayne Marshall
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 NOW | Panel | Up close and personal

BOOK NOW | Panel | Short and Sharp