Committee & Staff

Cr Margot Smith, Chair

Margot Smith is a Councillor on the Surf Coast Shire and Deputy Chair of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation. Prior to being elected to Council she had a career in retail with over 30 years in the Coles and Wesfarmers Groups. She loves reading and wishes she had the talent to be a writer.

Christine Heath

Beth King

Beth has 15 years of experience in event management – originally with arts festivals in Australia and Europe and now in the funeral sector. She is looking forward to how the Word for Word team will develop new ways for writers’ festival audiences to experience a deep connection with online sessions.

Sue Lawson

Sue Lawson’s books are recognized for the sensitive way they explore the exciting and heartbreaking complexities of adolescence. Her books include the award-winning Freedom Ride, and picture book, Respect, co-written with Boonwurrung Elder, Aunty Fay Muir. Fay and Sue create books that celebrate and explore Australia’s First Nations Peoples’ rich culture and history.

Martin Paten, City of Greater Geelong

Martin Paten is widely respected as a key national figure in the Australian arts and cultural sectors, having built solid arts industry relationships across urban, regional and remote Australia, and internationally, for 30 years. He previously directed the Castlemaine State Festival, held key roles with the City of Melbourne and was Director and CEO of the Footscray Community Arts Centre prior to taking up his current role as Manager, Arts and Culture at the City of Greater Geelong.

Deb Sansom, Geelong Regional Library Corporation

Deb oversees cultural programming and community engagement at the Geelong Regional Library Corporation. She has enjoyed a diverse professional journey in arts and cultural management, journalism, marketing and copywriting.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the author of three novels: The Road To Winter, Wilder Country and Land Of Fences. He is also an award-winning writer of short fiction, whose work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction, The Big Issue, The Victorian Writer and The Australian.

Emmett Stinson, Deakin University

Dr Emmett Stinson is a writer and critic. He is the author of Satirizing Modernism (Bloomsbury 2017) and Known Unknowns (Affirm Press 2010). He is a co-founder and past president of the Small Press Network and the Independent Publishing Conference. He also served on the Federal Book Industry Strategy Group. 

Rochelle Smith, Word for Word Festival Director

Rochelle Smith manages all aspects of programming, planning and delivery of the Word for Word Festival, Australia’s foremost literary event dedicated to showcasing non-fiction writing and ideas. A former journalist and public relations professional, Rochelle has a diverse background in writing, editing, marketing, administration, fundraising and event management.