Nicolas Brasch is a writer, teacher, workshop facilitator and festival director. He is the author of more than 400 books (mainly for children and young adults), several of which have won Australian and international awards. He also teaches professional and creative writing at Swinburne University; presents workshops and seminars on writing and storytelling; facilitates business writing workshops; runs a corporate writing business; is Festival Director of Melbourne Jewish Book Week; the founder of Writing 101 (online workshops) and is
undertaking a PhD.
Shannon Burns is a writer and critic from Adelaide. His work has appeared in the Monthly, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books and Best Australian Essays 2017. His memoir, Childhood (Text) was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the Age Book of the Year.
Mary Ryllis Clark
Mary Ryllis Clark is a writer and historian. She is the author of several books, including In Trust – the first forty years of the National Trust in Victoria, Timbertop – Celebrating 50 Years and Loreto in Australia. She also wrote ‘Historic Victoria’, a fortnightly column in The Age from 1992-2005 and A Tear in the Glass – Nina Stanton’s Life Journey through the Fine and Decorative Arts. Her latest book is Turning Points – 25 Remarkable Australians and the moments that changed their lives. Mary believes, with Philip Pullman, that ‘after nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’
Paul Dalgarno is a journalist and author. His books are Prudish Nation (2023), A Country of Eternal Light (2023), Poly (2020), and And You May Find Yourself (2015). Born and raised in Scotland, where he worked as an editor and features writer, he immigrated to Australia in 2010, where he was a launch editor and deputy editor of The Conversation.
Michelle de Kretser
Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Sydney. Her fiction has won numerous awards, most recently the UK’s 2023 Folio Prize for Fiction for Scary Monsters. Her works include The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case, The Lost Dog, Questions of Travel, Springtime, The Life to Come, and On Shirley Hazard. De Kretser has worked as an editor for Lonely Planet travel guides and was the founding editor of the Australian Women’s Book Review.
Melinda Hinkson is a social anthropologist with wide ranging interests. Much of her writing explores fault lines in settler colonial Australia. Her work is informed by three decades of research and friendships with Warlpiri people of Central Australia. She has authored and edited books on Warlpiri visual culture, on Aboriginal places of the Sydney region, on the lifework of renowned anthropologist WEH Stanner, on transformations in the governance of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, and the rupture of displacement. Since 2020, Melinda has been researching the future and history of food production in the Mallee/Millewa region. She is executive director of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies.
Wen-Juenn is a Malaysian Chinese poet living on Wurundjeri Country (Melbourne). In her writing, she is interested in gaps, leaks and spillage, which often take the form of place, memory, the body, and her family. Her writing has been published in Meanjin, Cordite Poetry Review, Going Down Swinging, among others, and has appeared in installations across Australia and New Zealand. She was awarded a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship for 2022 and is a current artist for the KINGS Artist Run Emerging Writers Program. She has performed at The Wheeler Centre’s ‘Next Big Thing’, for Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, and was commissioned by Meanjin to write and perform a response to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ at the University of Melbourne’s ‘Epic & Divine’ exhibition. Her writing has been highly commended in the Liminal x Panterra Press Non-Fiction Prize, the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize in New Zealand, and was runner up in the Meanjin x University of Melbourne Poetry Prize. She previously served as a poetry editor at Voiceworks.
Michael Winkler is one of Australia’s most versatile writers. His novel Grimmish was shortlisted for the 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the first and only time that a self-published novel has been shortlisted or longlisted. Grimmish was subsequently published by Puncher & Wattmann in Australia, Peninsula Press in the United Kingdom and Coach House Books in North America. A Spanish edition will be published before the end of 2023. Winkler won the Calibre Prize in 2016 for ‘The Great Red Whale’ an essay about Uluru, relationships between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, mental illness and Moby Dick. His essays have appeared in Meanjin, ABR, Griffith Review, Overland and Wet Ink. He was a judge for the 2022 Neilma Sidney/Overland Short Story competition and the 2023 Age Book of the Year.
Alice Zaslavsky is the award winning author of international best-seller and James Beard finalist In Praise of Veg, and cooking confidence un-locker The Joy of Better Cooking. Born in Georgia at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Alice grew up with a cuisine that reaches for the veg first; it’s no surprise then, that this is at the heart of her food philosophy, helping others across the world do the same through her books, radio & television work and columns. You’ll find her on the socials as @aliceinframes.
Judith Nangala Crispin
Judith Nangala Crispin is a poet, artist and motorcyclist, living on unceded Yuin Country in Braidwood, on the Southern Tablelands. She is a descendent of the Bpangerang people of the Murray River and has strong ties with the Warlpiri community of Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert. Judith has published two collections of poetry, The Myrrh-Bearers (Puncher & Wattmann) and The Lumen Seed (Daylight Books). Judith was the winner of the 2020 Blake Prize and a poem she wrote about her dog is being blasted to the moon by NASA as part of the Polaris Lunar Codex project in 2024. Her third book, The Dingo’s Noctuary, will be published in late 2023.
Brigid Delaney is a speechwriter for an Australian Labor Party minister. She wrote a popular and widely read weekly column for The Guardian called ‘Brigid Delaney’s Diary’. She is the co-creator and associate producer of Netflix dramedy Wellmania, starring Celeste Barber and author of four books including Reasons Not to Worry, Wellmania, Wild Things and This Restless Life. She was the co-founder of the Mercy Campaign, an anti-death penalty movement, that advocated for clemency in death-row cases in Indonesia.
Anna Goldsworthy is Director of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, and an award-winning pianist, writer, and festival director. She is a founding member of Seraphim Trio, whose most recent recordings are the ARIA-award-winning Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds for Decca, with Paul Kelly, James Ledger, and Alice Keath, and the ABC Classics set Trio Through Time for ABC Classics. As a writer, Anna was awarded Newcomer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards for her debut memoir, Piano Lessons, released in Australia, North America, Germany, Korea and Vietnam, and shortly to appear in China. Her most recent book, the novel Melting Moments, was released in 2020. She is the author of several works for the stage, including the libretto of the Graeme Koehne’s opera A Christmas Carol. Anna has directed many festivals, including the 2022 Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s ‘She Speaks’ festival with Anne Cawrse, and the PianoLab festival with Anne Wiberg. In 2023, she performs throughout Australia with Seraphim Trio, and collaborates with musicians including Andrew Haveron and Konstantin Shamray. Her stage play, Welcome to Your New Life, we will be premiered by the State Theatre Company of South Australia in November this year.
Richard King is a British-born author, critic and poet. Since moving to Australia in 2001 he has been published in a range of newspapers and magazines, including 3 Quarks Daily (for whom he wrote a regular column between 2016 and 2018). He has also been published in The Best Australian Poems and the Best Australian Science Writing. Close to the Arena cooperative in Melbourne, he writes regularly for Arena Online and Arena’s quarterly magazine, focusing on the relationship between culture and technology. His first book On Offence: The Politics of Indignation (Scribe, 2013) was widely and positively reviewed by critics, with The Weekend Australian’s Geordie Williamson calling it ‘an extended essay of uncommon eloquence and brio.’ The late Clive James, an admirer of King’s writing, wrote the following on his personal website: ‘In any English-speaking newspaper, of whatever altitude, news and culture tend to be separated by a rabbit-proof fence, but Richard King has been given a free hand to make news out of culture, and without trivialising the second thing in favour of the first’. King’s website is bloodycrossroads.com. He lives in Fremantle with his wife and two children.
Adj. Professor Margo Neale is Head of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges, Senior Indigenous Curator and Executive Advisor to the Director at the National Museum of Australia. She curated major pioneering exhibitions such as the globally touring Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, the internationally touring exhibition, The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Images of Utopia and the national touring exhibition, Urban Dingo: The life and times of Lin Onus. Margo is a widely published author, co-author or editor of 13 books most notably the Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture and the First Knowledge series of adult and children’s series for Thames and Hudson.
Omar Sakr is the son of Arab and Turkish Muslim migrants. He is the acclaimed author of three poetry collections, including The Lost Arabs (UQP), which won the 2020 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Poetry, and a novel, Son of Sin (Affirm Press), published in 2022. His latest book is Non-Essential Work. He lives and works on Dharug land, where he was born and raised.
A selection of guest writers since 1994
Emilie Zoey Baker
Judith Nangala Crispin
Ali Cobby Eckerman
Jamie King Holden
Mary Jo Salter
Naomi Shihab Nye
Ellen Van Neerven