Michael Cathcart has been an ABC Radio National presenter since 2000, hosting Arts Today, Bush Telegraph, the RN Quiz, Books & Arts and The Stage Show. He’s also presented history shows for ABC TV and is an award-winning historian. Before he joined the ABC, he directed plays and lectured in Australian studies at The University of Melbourne.
Steven Conte’s debut novel, The Zookeeper’s War, won the inaugural Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction; it was also shortlisted for the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book and for the 2007 Christina Stead Award for Fiction. The novel was published in the UK and Ireland and translated into Spanish. The Tolstoy Estate is his second novel.
Kaz Cooke is a bestselling author and cartoonist whose books have informed and tickled readers for more than twenty years. Her books include Up the Duff, Babies & Toddlers, Girl Stuff 8–12, and Girl Stuff 13+ – all updated each year; the children’s picture books Wanda Linda Goes Berserk and The Terrible Underpants; and the novel Ada. With a background in journalism, she’s a mum who enjoys research, toast and having a good lie down.
Ross Garnaut 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 has authored many books; the latest book is Reset.
Nikki Gemmell’s new novel The Ripping Tree is a taut blend of suspense and historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of thirteen novels, including The Bride Stripped Bare, and four works of non-fiction, most recently her memoir of her mother’s death, After. Her books have been translated into twenty-two languages.
Tom Griffiths is a historian whose books and essays have won prizes in literature, history, science, politics and journalism. His books include Hunters and Collectors, Forests of Ash: An Environmental History, Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica and The Art of Time Travel: Historians and their Craft. He is an Emeritus Professor of History at the Australian National University.
Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. His first novel, Scrublands, was shortlisted for several awards and won the UK Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Debut Dagger Award. His second novel, Silver, was shortlisted for Best General Fiction at the Australian Book Industry Awards, and the 2020 ABA Booksellers’ Choice Book of the Year Award. His latest novel, Trust, was published in 2020. Chris lives in Canberra with his family.
Hilary Harper grew up in regional Australia and loves radio’s ability to connect people through storytelling, a practice which transcends time, space and football codes.
She has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and thirty years’ experience in radio. Hilary has been at the ABC since 2005 and has covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.
She is curious about everything that affects us through the different stages of our lives. Her own life goal is to one day own enough bookshelves. She presents Life Matters on RN.
The author of The Palace Letters, Jenny Hocking is emeritus professor at Monash University, Distinguished Whitlam Fellow at the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University, and Gough Whitlam’s award-winning biographer. Her appeal against the decision of the Federal Court in The Palace Letters case was upheld by the High Court on 29 May 2020.
Josie is a Year-12 student who has lived in Point Lonsdale for as long as she can remember. She was the inaugural Junior Mayor of Geelong. Josie is passionate about making meaningful social and environmental change, and unafraid to confront the facts. She is an avid literature student and loves living vicariously through the characters she reads, dreaming of travel and adventure.
Pip Kainey wrote Meeting My Mother as part of her Creative Writing Honours thesis, which explored the representation of trauma and ethics of truth-telling in life writing. It is inspired by a true story. Her short screen script City Foxes won Best Genre Fiction in Verandah 31 journal and she has had short stories published in Deakin University’s Imagine journal and PRJKTR digital magazine. She also wrote a collection of short screen scripts for Grace Acting Studios for use by their kids, tweens and teens classes. Her alter-ego, Pip May, lives and works in Barwon Heads with her family and dog.
Meg Keneally has always been fascinated by the ocean and history, in particular maritime history and archaeology. A former SCUBA diving instructor, Meg still spends as much time underwater as she can. Her solo novels, Fled and The Wreck, are historical fiction adventure stories. She is co-author with Tom Keneally of The Monsarrat Series of historical mysteries. She lives in Sydney.
Misha Ketchell is editor of The Conversation. He has been a journalist for more than twenty years and in previous roles he was founding editor of The Big Issue Australia and editor of Crikey, The Reader and The Melbourne Weekly. He worked for The Age in Melbourne as a reporter and feature writer and spent several years at the ABC, where he was a TV producer on Media Watch and The 7:30 Report and an editor on The Drum.
Sarah Krasnostein is a writer. Her latest book is Believer. She is admitted to legal practice in Australia and America, and holds a doctorate in criminal law. She is the author of The Trauma Cleaner, which won the Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction, the Australian Book Industry Award for General Non-Fiction, the Dobbie Literary Award, jointly won the Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, was longlisted for the Walkley Book Award and was shortlisted for the National Biography Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature and the Wellcome Book Prize (UK).
Sarah has over a decade of experience in arts and literature broadcasting at the ABC’s RN. She was a producer on RN’s Books and Arts and most recently on The Book Show. She has made features for The History Listen and Hindsight and produced and presented the series Animal People on RN.
Sofie Laguna is the author of four novels for adults, most recently Infinite Splendours. Her second novel for adults, The Eye of the Sheep, won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her many books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. Sofie continues to write for both children and adults, and lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two sons.
Local writer Marion Lennox is the author of 120 romance novels, with millions of copies published in over 130 countries and thirty languages.
She has twice won the Romance Writers of America International Rita Award for best traditional romance novel and has been awarded the Romance Writers of Australia Romance Book of the Year three times and is in their Hall of Fame.
Judith Lucy is the bestselling author of The Lucy Family Alphabet (winner of an ABIA for best biography) and Drink, Smoke, Pass Out. She also happens to have performed numerous one-woman shows (most recently the acclaimed Judith Lucy Vs Men) and the recent smash hit Disappointments, with good friend Denise Scott; won numerous awards (including the 2017 Melbourne Comedy Festival’s People’s Choice Award); created two ABC TV series (Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey and Judith Lucy is All Woman) and one ABC podcast (Overwhelmed and Dying); and swum with whales. Her latest book is Turns Out I’m Fine.
Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist, and the author of twenty-two books, including eight novels. His non-fiction writing covers social analysis, psychology, communication and ethics. He has had a sixty-year career in social research and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for twenty-five years. He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and of the Royal Society of New South Wales and has been awarded honorary doctorates by five Australian universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015 and is currently an honorary professor in the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra.
Born in Perth, David McAllister joined The Australian Ballet in 1983 and was promoted to principal artist in 1989. During his time with the company, he danced many principal roles, including those in The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Coppélia, Manon, La Sylphide, John Cranko’s Onegin and Romeo and Juliet, and Jirí Kylián’s Stepping Stones; in 1985, he won bronze at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow.
Liz McGrath is a local artist and teacher who has taught at primary, secondary and special schools. Liz worked for many years as a freelance illustrator, and now enjoys teaching and community art projects, often working with GenU, the Bluebird Foundation and for local government.
Liz’s illustrations have been used in a range of publications, especially those that deliver health and environmental messages to the community. Her distinctive work can be seen in books, brochures, kits, newsletters, signs, murals, posters and postcards.
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Alex Miller is one of Australia’s most lauded authors. His latest book, Max, is a tribute to his friend Max Blatt. Alex is twice winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and in 1993, he was the overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for The Ancestor Game. He has won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction twice for Conditions of Faith and Lovesong. He was awarded the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2012.
Rick Morton is the author of the bestselling memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt and is an award-winning journalist. He has recently published two new books: On Money and My Year of Living Vulnerably. He is now a senior reporter for the Saturday Paper and regularly appears on television, radio and panels across both the ABC and commercial networks discussing politics, the media, writing and social policy.
Susan’s ancestry is Woolwonga and Gurindji from the Northern Territory. She has extensive experience working with First Australian communities nationally and internationally. Susan previously held the positions of Executive Producer of ABC’s Indigenous Programs Unit and Head of Production, NITV, a division of SBS.
Today Susan uses her expertise to work with mainstream organisations and communities in the provision of cultural competency and immersion sessions as well as social planning processes. Susan is part of the group known as the Stolen Generations and has lived experience of the trauma associated with removal, loss, dispossession and disconnection. She is one of the founding board members of the PTSD Australia New Zealand (Fearless Outreach) organisation, board member of the New South Wales Indigenous Chamber of Commerce as well as many community committees in the Northern Sydney Region.
Martine Murray is an acclaimed Australian author and illustrator whose work has been translated into more than 20 different languages. She has a long involvement in the arts, including, dance, theatre, circus and film making. Her first novel The Slightly True Story of Cedar B Hartley was included in the White Ravens international list of outstanding children’s books, and was shortlisted for the Victorian, NSW, Qld Premiers Awards and the CBC Award. She has won the Queensland Premiers Award for How to Make a Bird and again for The Slightly Bruised Glory of Cedar B Hartley. She was shortlisted for the Prime Ministers Award for Mannie and the long brave day, the CBCA for Molly and Pim and the millions of stars and she was awarded two honour books from the 2018 CBCA shortlist, Marsh and Me and Henrietta and the Perfect Night. She has made appearances at literature festivals across the country and overseas, has taught writing at RMIT and currently for the Faber Academy in Melbourne and has recently released an adult novel, The Last Summer of Ada Bloom, with Text Publishing.
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Dr Jonica Newby is a science reporter, author, TV presenter and director, best known for her two decades on ABC TV’s popular weekly science program Catalyst. She has twice won the Eureka Award, Australia’s most prestigious science journalism prize, and is a recipient of a World TV Award. Her most recent book is Beyond Climate Grief.
Pauline Nunan is the President of the Queenscliffe Literary Festival. A former teacher, she was involved in international education as a university marketing and recruitment manager. Pauline is an avid reader and a passionate ballet lover. She has travelled widely and recently moved permanently to Queenscliff and is delighted to be living in such a vibrant and interesting community.
Kate O’Donnell is a writer, editor and bookseller specialising in children’s and young adult literature. She has a BA in History and French from The University of Melbourne and studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. Her first novel, Untidy Towns, was shortlisted for the Indie Book Award and the Readings Young Adult Book Prize in 2018. This One is Ours is her second novel.
Pauline Parker is the Treasurer of the Queenscliffe Literary Festival. Pauline Parker has been a teacher, university tutor and lecturer, an Australian Volunteer in The Maldives, a dish pig and, currently, a passionate bookseller. Pauline spent many years working to improve teaching capacity in NT remote community schools and is an enthusiastic reader of all First Nations writing. Having published a book based on her PhD, Pauline is once again focusing on her own writing as she continues to read widely in her current position.
In 2011, Favel Parrett’s career was launched with her critically acclaimed debut Past the Shallows, which was sold internationally, shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Her next novel, When the Night Comes, was also critically acclaimed and further consolidated Favel’s reputation with booksellers and readers. Favel’s short stories have been published in various journals including Island, Griffith Review and Wet Ink. There Was Still Love is her third novel.
JP Pomare’s first novel, Call Me Evie, was critically acclaimed and won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. He has since published two further novels: In The Clearing and Tell Me Lies. He hosts the long-running podcast On Writing.
He was born in New Zealand and lives in Melbourne with his wife.
Best known as a judge and co-host on MasterChef Australia, Preston appeared in eleven series of the ratings juggernaut. In 2020, Matt hosted a new cooking series for Channel 7, Plate of Origin.
Matt has released seven bestselling cookbooks, which have been published in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Portugal. He is rated as one of the top media personalities for social media engagement in Australia with almost 1 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Alice Pung is an award-winning writer, editor, teacher and lawyer based in Melbourne. Her latest novel is One Hundred Days. She is the bestselling author of Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter and the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her first novel, Laurinda, won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Hannie Rayson is an award-winning Australian playwright, screenwriter and newspaper columnist. She is the author of sixteen plays including Hotel Sorrento, Life After George, Inheritance, Two Brothers and Extinction.
Hannie adapted her 2015 memoir Hello, Beautiful as a one-woman show, which she performed in thirty-seven theatres throughout Australia.
She is currently head writer on an international TV series.
Diana leads the Research and Publications Team at the Queenscliffe Historical Museum. She has written several books including Celebrating History: items from the Queenscliffe Historical Museum Collection, Parks and Reserves in the Borough of Queenscliffe: stories and history behind the public spaces, Queenscliff: the Harbour story and Queenscliff: the Botanic Gardens story. Diana is currently writing a new book on the Point Lonsdale story.
Jenny Seedsman has been acting since she was a child in Melbourne. She played Maureen in Full Dress’s production of Hannie Rayson’s Inheritance and appears regularly in Don Mackay’s Lux Radio Theatre. In 2018, she toured as ‘Marge’ in Hannie Rayson’s Hotel Sorrento for Hit Productions, and in 2019, she directed Kevin Summers’s Snub, at St Martin’s Theatre. Her TV credits include The Doctor Blake Mysteries, HBO’s The Leftovers, House Husbands, Blue Heelers, Neighbours, Stingers, Twentysomething, and so many others that she has forgotten half of them.
Maggie Stowers is a researcher at Queenscliffe Historical Museum. While restoring her 1880s Fisherman’s cottage, she uncovered relics and hidden stories about the early fishing families. She is passionate about preserving history, with a particular interest in the lives of women.
Jill is a Committee Member of the Queenscliffe Literary Festival. A communications expert, Jill has always had a passion for our environment and its inhabitants. She has been fortunate to spend the last twenty years working in environment-based organisations – fifteen years at the Australian Conservation Foundation in publications, volunteer management, community engagement, and fundraising, and five years at Bush Heritage Australia in fundraising and bequests.
Maria Takolander is a fiction writer, poet, scholar, reviewer and regular interviewer. She is the author of three books of poems, with a new collection, Trigger Warning, coming out in July 2021. Her debut book of short stories, The Double, was shortlisted for the Melbourne Prize for Literature, and she is now finishing a novel for Text Publishing. Her words can also be found on bronze plaques in the Geelong CBD and at the Royal Botanic Gardens. She is an Associate Professor in Writing and Literature at Deakin University in Geelong.
Nic Velissaris is a playwright, director and dramaturge. He has worked at a number of different professional theatre companies including the Melbourne Theatre Company, La Mama Theatre, Australian Theatre for Young People and St Martin’s Youth Arts. He has produced and directed shows in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Big West Festival. His plays include Brother Boy, What the Umbrella Did Next and Scrimshander. When not writing and directing, he works with fellow playwrights and new writers to develop their original work. He also teaches scriptwriting, multiplatform storytelling and writing for video games at several universities. This is where he first met Pip and helped her to develop Meeting My Mother as a part of her Honours at Deakin University. He believes that Pip’s work reveals an aspect of Australian society that has been very much overlooked and is looking forward to presenting this work for the Queenscliffe Literary Festival.
Emma Viskic is author of the critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series. Resurrection Bay won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards; it was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year and was shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger and New Blood awards. Its sequel, And Fire Came Down, won the 2018 Davitt Award for Best Novel. The third in the series, Darkness For Light, was published in 2020.
Kitty Walker lives in Point Lonsdale and is a respected communications, fundraising and strategy specialist with an extensive career working across the Australian not-for-profit sectors. She is currently Head of Strategy for the Reach Foundation. Kitty founded the Queenscliffe Climate Action Group in October 2019 after organising a series of community meetings to discuss the increasing, local impacts of the climate crisis. In December 2019, the Borough of Queenscliffe declared a climate emergency and committed to developing a response plan in partnership with the community.
Kitty is also a founding member of Point Lonsdale’s Lighthouse Arts Collective, which emerged from a shared desire to create diverse artistic experiences for the community.
Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter whose projects include the feature film Relic. His first book, The Nowhere Child, is one of Australia’s bestselling debut novels, and rights have been sold in seventeen international territories and been acquired for a major screen deal.
Christian’s second book, The Wife and the Widow, became an instant bestseller.
Christian lives in Melbourne with his wife, filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy.
Gina Wilkinson is an award-winning former journalist, foreign correspondent and documentary-maker who has reported from some of the world’s most intriguing and perilous places for the BBC and ABC, and other renowned public broadcasters. During two decades living and working in hotspots across the globe, she spent more than a year in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein. At that time, Iraq was virtually sealed off from the outside world, and Gina lived under tight surveillance. One of her closest Iraqi friends worked as a secret police informant, reporting on her every move. Gina now works in international development, supporting efforts to end poverty in the developing world. She lives in Melbourne. When the Apricots Bloom is her first novel.
Alice Zaslavsky is a food-literacy advocate, resident Culinary Correspondent for ABC News Breakfast and ABC Radio, and creator of Phenomenom, a free digital toolbox helping teachers slip more serves of fresh food into every subject. When she’s not on stage hosting international culinary talent, or on screen showing Australians how to find every shortcut to delicious food, she’s at home testing recipes and sharing insights online as @aliceinframes. In Praise of Veg is her second book.