A

ABDI ADEN
TREVOR (Reg) ABRAHAMS
ANTHONY ALBANESE
JANNE APELGREN
STEPHANIE ASHER (Facilitator)
DAVID ASTLE

B

JOHN BARTLETT (Facilitator)
SHIRLEY BATEMAN
MARK BEASLEY (Facilitator)
MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE
ELISA BLACK

C

DR NICOLE CARVILL (Facilitator)
CHERYL CRITCHLEY (Facilitator)

D

GERRARD DANIELS (Facilitator)
MARK DI STEFANO
STEPHEN DOWNES (Facilitator)
ADELE DUMONT

E

HAZEL EDWARDS
JOHN ELDER (Facilitator)

F

PETER FITZSIMONS

G

SHANNON GARNER
RICHARD GLOVER
STAN GRANT
DAN GOLDING
ROBERT GOTT

H

LESLEY HARDING
NICOLE HAYES
DAVID HUNT

J

MEL JACOB

K

LYNNE KELLY

L

KATE LARSEN
CHIP LE GRAND
MARGARET LINLEY (Facilitator)

M

ROBERT MACKLIN
PROF LYN MCCREDDEN (Facilitator)
IAN MCDOUGALL
DR STEPHEN MCKENZIE
DR ROSS MCMULLIN
KAREN MIDDLETON
KEITH MOOR
SHIREEN MORRIS
ROB MUNDLE OAM

N

BRAD NORINGTON

O

DAVE O’NEIL

P

BRUCE PASCOE
KAZ PATON (Facilitator)
ANGELA PIPPOS
BEN POBJIE
GREG PYERS

R

NICOLAS ROTHWELL

S

WAYNE SANDERSON
ANGELA SAVAGE
JOANNA SAVILL
JASON SMITH
MARGOT SMITH
ALICIA SOMETIMES
STEREO STORIES

T

MARIA TAKOLANDER
MARK TEDESCHI AM QC
DR MATTHEW THOMPSON
HEATHER THREADGOLD (Facilitator)
RACHAEL TREASURE

V

LEENA VAN DEVENTER

W

LISA WALLER
LORNA WALSH (Facilitator)
FIONA WELSH (Facilitator)
MICHAEL WILLIAMS
TONY WILSON
ASHLEIGH WILSON

Y

DAMON YOUNG

Z

SOHILA ZANJANI

abdi

ABDI ADEN

Abdi Aden was forced to flee his home in Mogadishu due to Somalia’s shattering civil war. Separated from his family, he spent the next years doing what he could to do to survive in Romania before arriving in Melbourne alone. At this time he was just a young boy around 16 years old. He had no family and found it difficult without any support from friends.  Although his connection with the Australian system was disjointed, at the time he knew his link was to get involved.  After struggling his way through English language studies and secondary school, Abdi pushed himself further to be more engaged and give back to the country that he feels has supported him by following the career path of community development at a tertiary level. 

Abdi has worked with young people for the last 14 years as a youth worker. This gives him the chance to give back to the community by advocating for the rights of people who are from a disadvantaged background. 

He participated on the award-winning documentary ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’ and ‘Insight’ on SBS and has appeared in many newspaper articles with the goal to empower other refugees along with the community to show the possibilities. 

A highlight of his career was receiving the 2007 Victorian Refugee Recognition Award, and this year as the Refugee Council and Red Cross Ambassador.  He now spends a great deal of my time sharing his experiences and story as a motivational speaker for school and youth groups, workplaces and organisations. Abdi was very proud to release his memoir in May this year, entitled Shining: The Story of a Lucky Man.

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TREVOR (Reg) ABRAHAMS

Trevor (Reg) Abrahams is the Indigenous Protected Areas Project Co-ordinator for Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative Corporate Services. Uncle Reg manages the Wurdi Youang property and is regenerating local indigenous grasses to the area and providing a place for ongoing Wathaurong cultural learning.

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anthony-albanese

ANTHONY ALBANESE

Anthony was re-elected the Member for Grayndler at the July 2016 election and is currently the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and the Shadow Minister for Tourism.

Anthony has been a Member of Parliament since 1996 and believes strongly in the need for Government to invest in local communities. This includes Federal Government investment in public transport to address the issue of urban congestion.

Following the election of the Federal Labor Government in November 2007, Anthony became the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, and Leader of the House of Representatives.

Anthony was named Infrastructure Minister of the Year for 2012 by London-based publication Infrastructure Investor and in 2010 was named Aviation Minister of the Year for producing Australia’s first ever Aviation White Paper.

In June 2013, he became Deputy Prime Minister, and also took on additional responsibility as Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Anthony is committed to growing our communities in regional and metropolitan areas and believes infrastructure and transport have a crucial role to play in achieving this.

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JANNE APELGREN

Janne Apelgren (pictured left, with co-author Joanna Savill) grew up in a food loving family where both parents cooked – though she wonders if her Swedish father pickling herring in a laundry bucket actually counts as ‘cooking’.

A career journalist, she has edited The Age Good Food Guide and Epicure’s food section. She began her career with a cadetship at The Age, reporting on politics, transport, and corruption before discovering the joys of editing – putting words, pictures and designs together to create something alluring. She’s worked for newspapers and magazines around Australia. She and Joanna Savill have been friends and colleagues for 10 years.

Janne lives with her husband – journalist, editor and dining companion Bruce Guthrie – in Melbourne, and has two adult children. Though Melbourne is home she has lived and worked in Sydney, Los Angeles and New York. Her greatest career achievement: “Turning the things I love into the things I do for a living”.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Was it Care of the Australian Horse and Pony by MI Clarke which I pored over as a child? (And had the pleasure of encouraging Di Gribble to republish, decades later). Was it Gerald Durrell’s Corfu trilogy, which taught me I wasn’t the only one who loved nature, and sunshine, and beaches and creatures? Was it Nancy Milford’s Zelda, which taught me real lives can be as intriguing and incredible as fictional ones? Or was it a cookbook…yes….from Jean Bowring and Margaret Fulton to the Australian Women’s Weekly (a haggard copy of which I still use, with my mother’s handwritten recipes and margin notes contained within). The latter came close, but of course I’d have to say, it was The Age Good Food Guide. As a young journalist and dedicated diner, I was there when it was born in the late 70s, and pored over it every year to find out the latest and the best. Thirty years later, during a particularly difficult period of my life, I was offered the job of editing it. I was incredibly grateful for the work, and to land what was for the next six years a dream job on a book I’d loved for decades. 

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 stephanie-asher

STEPHANIE ASHER (Facilitator)

Stephanie Asher is a well-regarded senior strategist and corporate communications professional with a 25-year career in public relations and management consulting. An acknowledged specialist in sustainability strategy, annual reporting and brand and organisational positioning, Stephanies blue-chip clients include BHP Billiton, GE Money, South32 and national icon Australia Post. She is well-versed in managing within complex public, private and not-for-profit environments, working at both a creative and strategic level. In her role as editor of several books, Stephanie has a personal passion for committing to action and generating long-term ethical approaches to living and working. A regular radio commentator and News Corp columnist, Stephanie has a depth of experience and knowledge that appeals to a broad audience. Stephanie is a former director of Barwon Regional Waste Management Group and Bethany Community Support and a current Board member of the Committee for Geelong.
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DAVID ASTLE

David Astle is a full-time word nerd. Regular crossword solvers will recognise his initials every Friday in The Age and SMH, short for Don’t Attempt. David was also the dictionary man on SBS’s Letters & Numbers, and a regular broadcaster on 774 ABC Melbourne. He’s the author of such verbal titles as Puzzled, Riddledom and Cluetopia, plus the kids’ book, Wordburger (How To Be A Champion Puzzler in 20 Quick Bites).

For his third book, One Down, One Missing, David worked alongside Senior Constable Joe D’Alo, a member of the Lorimer team that hunted down the killers of policemen, Gary Silk and Rodney Miller, in 1998. In contrast, David’s fourth book Offbeat offers an eccentric blend of travel and trivia in his first foray into travel writing.

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JOHN BARTLETT (Facilitator)

John Bartlett is a writer, reviewer, teacher, interviewer and blogger. His non-fiction features were inspired by his years of working in the Philippines and focus on human rights. His works featuring refugees are ‘stories about the impact of repression on the human spirit’, and all his non-fiction works have been widely published in Australian newspapers and magazines.

John is the author of the novel Towards a Distant Sea, based on his Philippine experiences during Martial Law, and a collection of short stories, All Mortal Flesh, published in 2009. His recent novel Estuary, set partly in The Coorong at the Murray mouth, was released in 2013 and is about a search for identity through discovery of the past. It investigates what belonging and otherness mean in contemporary Australian society. Estuary is currently being developed as a possible TV miniseries.

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shirley-bateman

SHIRLEY BATEMAN

Shirley Bateman is the Reader Development Team Leader at Melbourne Library Service. From 2011 – 2015, she was the New Libraries Project Librarian, curating the collections for the City of Melbourne’s three newest libraries: Southbank Library, Library at The Dock and Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre.

Shirley is passionate about reader-centred library services. In 2015, Shirley was awarded a Melbourne City of Literature travel grant. She investigated the ways in which libraries in Edinburgh, Dublin and Norwich work with their City of Literature offices. She also looked at audience development for literature. 

In 2005, she was awarded the Margery C Ramsey scholarship from the State Library of Victoria. In 2006, she undertook a study tour of the UK, researching reader development in public libraries.

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MARK BEASLEY (Facilitator)

Mark as Manager of the Geelong Heritage Centre Collection & Services touches and interacts with the recorded history and heritage of the Geelong & wider Barwon Region nearly every day, something he cherishes given his passion for all things historical. 

Mark has undertaken research for and appeared in several Australian and International television programs, including Who Do You Think You Are Australia (SBS), Can We Help You (ABC TV) and Tony Robinson’s Time Walks.

Mark has researched and co-published several works about the history of the local community football club where he once played, a club that had its beginnings dating back to the mid 1880’s. Mark also plans to one day soon publish a work based on his ongoing research into what he believes, is a fascinating locally connected story, involving an early 19th century running of the greatest horse race in Australia – The Melbourne Cup.

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MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is on Parole and Nothing Here Needs Fixing. Maxine’s short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014) won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction. Maxine was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelists for 2015, as well as being shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. A collection of Maxine’s poetry Carrying The World, her memoir The Hate Race, and her first children’s picture book The Patchwork Bike will be published in 2016.

Maxine was born in Sydney in 1979, her mother grom Guyana, her father from Jamaica. The family lived in the outer suburbs of Sydney, a place of hostility and anxiety for Maxine due to her race. She studied law and arts at Wollongong University, majoring in creative writing, anti-discrimination law and human rights. One of the reasons Maxine became a writer was because when she was growing up, she didn’t see herself in the stories they read at school. Maxine says, “the desire to add to the plethora of voices of the Australian experience, as well as to precipitate social change, is the driving force behind my work”. The Hate Race explores the racism and everyday injustice that are so prevalent in our country.

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ELISA BLACK

After finally settling on a career in journalism, Elisa completed her post-graduate study at the University of South Australia before moving to Brisbane where she covered sports in newspapers. After working in magazines and feature writing, Elisa returned to Adelaide to work as an entertainment reporter and then a health and family reporter for a weekend newspaper.

Elisa’s recently published The Anxiety Book: A True Story of Phobias, Flashbacks and Freak-Outs and How I Got My Inner Calm Back explores the anxiety she has been dealing with for most of her life. In an attempt to manage it, Elisa has tried numerous medications and therapies, as well as yoga and meditation. Finally she made an exciting discovery that has the potential to make life better for millions of people around the world with similar conditions.

Combining science and memoir, Elise offers hope that anxiety can be managed, and that it doesn’t have to dominate one’s life.

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NICOLE CARVILL (Facilitator)

Dr Nicole Carvill is a Geelong based psychologist, presenter, author and mother. She is passionate about helping children and adults to understand how they learn best and to assist them to gain the skills they need to thrive. Nicole has presented for the Pearson Academy on understanding the impact of working memory and attention on learning and life and has worked within a Multi-disciplinary Autism Assessment Team under guidance of Dr Richard Eisenmajer at Gateway Support Services.
Nicole was awarded PhD scholarship to research how to support people caring for a child, parent or partner with additional needs as a result of an intellectual disability, mental illness or age and has worked as a Clinician within the Behaviour Intervention Support Team, Disability Services [DHS].

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Cheryl Critchley head shot 2014

CHERYL CRITCHLEY (Facilitator)

Cheryl Critchley has been a journalist for 31 years, including 21 at the Herald Sun. Now freelancing, Cheryl has a strong interest in psychology and wrote two pre-teen novels and books on parenting and AFL football fans before turning to crime. Her 2015 book Why Did They Do It?, co-authored with leading psychologist Dr Helen McGrath, analysed the personality disorders of 10 notorious Australian killers and was highly commended at the 2016 Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards. Cheryl is also investigating the controversial Facilitated Communication technique, which was developed in Melbourne during the 1970s with children who had severe physical and intellectual disabilities and sparked furious and ongoing international debate about whether it works.

Cheryl is now working on a book with Wild Dingo Press about the life of Walsh Street police shootings victim Damian Eyre.

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GERRARD DANIELS (Facilitator)

Gerrard Daniels, Manager of Digital Services for Geelong Regional Libraries, is accountable, amongst other things, for making sure that emerging technology is a part of the dynamic offer within Geelong Regional Libraries. With daily involvement in the realms of virtual reality, gaming, 3d Printing and scanning, Gerrard, a self-confessed technophile, has a pretty good gig.
Some of his work includes:
Stereoscopic 3D images of Geelong and region from the early 1900’s and their conversion to virtual reality,
Raspberry Pi kits and support has been provided for a public user group,
Gaming and virtual reality, as story telling mediums, have received more prominence in the Library and the community.
Gerrard has been a gamer since the days of the commodore 64 and Atari 2600 and still gets an unjustifiable amount of screen time with a young family and study under way.

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MARK DI STEFANO

Mark Di Stefano is BuzzFeed’s political editor based in Australia. He is a former ABC News reporter. Mark regularly appears as a political commentator on ABC’s Insiders, Channel 10’s The Project and on Sky News.

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STEPHEN DOWNES (Facilitator)

Stephen Downes never really wanted to be a doctor, even after he found himself with a medical degree. Instead, he worked in radio, public relations and as a writer and creative director in medical advertising before getting a Masters in marketing. He has consulted and lectured in marketing, advertising and brand management for the past decade, currently at the University of Melbourne, and has written regularly on marketing matters for Crikey.com.au.
In recent years, Stephen has been a regular presenter of the segments “Touch My History” and “Melbourne’s Burning” and hosted the history program “Batmania” on 3RRR-FM. He blogs about history at “The Ham Historian” and has collaborated with Melbourne Songwriter Charles Jenkins and his band The Amateur Historians on their show and album “The Past in Never Where You Think You Left It”.
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ADELE DUMONT

Adele Dumont was born in France and moved to Australia before her first birthday. At 24, after studying Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, Adele spent two and a half years teaching English at the Christmas Island and Curtin immigration detention centres. What was initially supposed to be four weeks of volunteering turned into a lengthy stay with a dozen journals full of her experiences. From these came No Man is an Island, published in July, in which Adele works to not only individualise asylum seekers, but also to “show that their suffering is only one aspect of their identities”.

No Man is an Island describes the strong friendships Adele made in the detention centres and through her narration offers an honest look at the issue of asylum seekers in Australia. Adele now lives in Sydney’s inner west.

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HAZEL EDWARDS

Hazel Edwards is best known for her picture book series There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake (1980). The musical adaptation Hippo! Hippo! is currently touring nation-wide.

Hazel has written 200 books for adults and children including the recent and controversial f2m: the boy within and Hijabi Girl. Other titles include Authorpreneurship and Writing a Non Boring Family History.

The recipient of a 2001 Antarctic Fellowship, Hazel carried out research on an expedition to Australia’s Casey Base in Antarctica, and has published Antarctic themed stories in multi-media.

Hazel’s works are published in the UK, USA and Asia, and she was the first Nanjing International Cultural Exchange author ambassador with dual language projects. In 2013 she was awarded an OAM for services to Literature.

Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author is her unconventional memoir, and her workshops and talks include tips for non-boring writing of memoirs and family histories.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The most significant non-fiction title would be Susanna de Vries’ Blue Ribbons and Bitter Bread when I realised how many Australian women like Joice Nankivell Loche had untold heroic stories, and how a writer historian like de Vries made those stories accessible. Then I read and recommended to friends all her other titles.

 john-elder

JOHN ELDER (Facilitator)

John Elder was a senior writer with The Sunday Age for 21 years. He now writes science stories for The New Daily and is working on a book about birds and the meaning of life.

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peter-fitzsimons

PETER FITZSIMONS

Peter FitzSimons is a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, and a busy events and motivational speaker. He is the author of over twenty-seven books, including TobrukKokodaBataviaEurekaNed KellyGallipoli and biographies of Douglas Mawson, Nancy Wake‚ Kim Beazley‚ Nick Farr-Jones‚ Les Darcy, Steve Waugh and John Eales, and is one of Australia’s biggest selling non-fiction authors of the last fifteen years. Peter was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations.

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shannon-garner

SHANNON GARNER

Shannon Garner is first and foremost a mother to two beautiful children. She is also a wife, a surrogate, and a writer, passionate about the craft of storytelling. Shannon lives in a seaside town on the New South Wales north coast in a timber cottage complete with a white picket fence.

Shannon started concentrating on her writing in 2009 when her first child was born. Her writers’ group encouraged her to delve into non-fiction after the birth of a surrogate child she carried for a gay male couple from Sydney, and with that, her first memoir Labour of Love was born. Labour of Love is an uplifting story that delves into the courage and hope needed to give such a gift as well as the emotions that bubbled to the surface along the way.

Shannon now helps women online who are embarking on their own surrogacy journeys, and has started writing her first fiction novel – a family saga to span numerous decades set in both England and Australia.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza – this book has changed my life and given me the tools to handle stress and my emotions, breaking free of bad habits and literally becoming a new person. It has allowed me to facilitate great changes and wonderful experiences and for that I am forever grateful. I now meditate daily and have found that I am much calmer, more centred and loving the opportunities coming into my life. 

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richard-glover

RICHARD GLOVER

Richard Glover is the author of more than a dozen books – most recently Flesh Wounds, described as “a comic romp for anyone whose parents were not what they ordered”. His books have also been published in Poland and Italy and one of his earlier titles The Mud House – “the story of building a mud-brick house in the middle of nowhere with no power tools” has been published in a new revised edition this year. Richard has written a number of stage shows including the popular Breast Wishes.

Richard has written two short novels for children and a version of the Dag’s Dictionary for kids. He has written a weekly humour column for Fairfax newspapers and websites for over 20 years and currenlty presents the Drive show on 702 ABC Sydney, and the comedy show Thank God It’s Friday on ABC local radio.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. I love the clash of tones in Bryson’s writing – sincerity combined with cynicism, comic flourishes combined with historical tales. And all with a great talent for pulling the carpet from beneath the reader in a way that creates sudden and enjoyable laughter.

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STAN GRANT

Stan Grant is a Wiradjuri man. A journalist since 1987, he has worked for the ABC, SBS, and the Seven Network and, since 2013, as the International Editor for SKY News. From 2001 to 2012 he worked for CNN as an anchor in Hong Kong, before relocating to Beijing as correspondent. As a journalist, he has received a string of prestigious international and Australian awards. In 2015, he published his bestselling book Talking to My Country, and also won a Walkley award for his coverage of indigenous affairs. In 2016 he was appointed to the Referendum Council on Indigenous recognition

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dan-golding

DAN GOLDING

Dan Golding is a critic and academic, and the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne, and is a lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology.

Dan’s series A Short History of Video Games was broadcast on ABC Radio National, and he has been published and cited in a wide range of publications from Time to The Australian to Meanjin. His games blog for Crikey.com.au won him the Best Games Journalist Award at the IT Journalism ‘Lizzie’ Awards. Dan is a contributing editor for Metro Magazine, and his research interests include media history, video games, early cinema and art history.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Alex Ross’ The Rest Is Noise is the non-fiction book that has been the most influential in my life because of the way it makes complexity totally accessible and adventurous. It’s ostensibly about some of the most ‘difficult’ music ever written, and yet it comes across as dynamic and wholly real, while not erasing its intellectualism and cultural significance. I loved music anyway, but this changed the way I saw how you could talk about such things.

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ROBERT GOTT

Born in Queensland and currently residing in Melbourne, Robert Gott is the author of more than 90 non-fiction books, mostly for children. He is also the author of six historical crime novels for adults, two of which have been shortlisted as Best Crime Novel in the Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Fiction.

Robert’s historical crime is studiously researched and deals with such issues as racism, sexism and homophobia while being careful not to “overwhelm readers with an avalanche of research”. Robert’s The Port Fairy Murders unearths problematic aspects of our nation’s past, including anti-semitism and fascist sympathisers in the 1940s.

Robert is also the creator of the long-running cartoon in The Age newspaper, The Adventures of Naked Man.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The most influential non-fiction work from my childhood isn’t one book, but the volumes in the Arthur Mees Children’s Encyclopaedia. These hardcover volumes arrived each month to our house in Bundaberg in Queensland and they were a revelation. They were filled with art, poetry, science, history, geography – the works. I have no doubt that it was these books that excited in me my love particularly of reading, writing, art and history. I am profoundly grateful to my parents for taking on what must have been a considerable financial impost in order to buy this set of encyclopaedias.

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LESLEY HARDING

Lesley Harding has worked as a curator for the past twenty years, holding curatorial positions at the Arts Centre, Melbourne and National Art School, Sydney before joining Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne in 2005, where she presently works. She has written several books on Australian art and social history, including Cubism & Australian Art (with Sue Cramer), Sunday’s Kitchen: Food and Living at Heide, Sunday’s Garden: Growing Heide, and the recently published double biography Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed (all with Kendrah Morgan). Her most recent exhibition is the collaborative project O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith: Making Modernism, on display at Heide from 12 October 2016 to 19 February 2017, before travelling to Brisbane and Sydney.

Most influential non-fiction book:

I have two answers to this question, as my younger (teenage) self was beguiled by Albert Facey’s memoir, A Fortunate Life – a book both compelling and unpretentious, and a lesson in writing plainly and sincerely. The other, T.J. Clark’s Farewell to an Idea: Episodes in the History of Modernism, has most influenced my professional life. It is a textured, learned and unexpectedly intimate account of modern art and politics, and while I don’t aspire to write like Clark, or necessarily always agree with him, his capacity for deep and perceptive analysis remains an inspiration.

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NICOLE HAYES

Nicole Hayes is the author of two novels, The Whole of My World and One True Thing. One True Thing won the Children’s Peace Literature Award, is a CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers, and has been shortlisted for the 2016 WA Premier’s Literary Award. Most recently, Nicole co-edited an anthology of writing, From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It, with Alicia Sometimes. Alicia and Nicole are two-sixths of the ground-breaking all-female AFL podcast The Outer Sanctum, which was instrumental in bringing to light the Eddie McGuire / Caroline Wilson controversy earlier this year. Nicole’s work on this issue was featured in the Griffith Review and the Guardian.

Nicole is an Ambassador for the Stella Prize Schools Program which promotes Australian women’s writing to young people, and runs writing workshops for different organisations and schools around Australia. She has just completed her new novel, A Shadow’s Breath, which will be published by Penguin Random House in 2017.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The one non-fiction book I have read over and over is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which, unlike most books about writing, manages to be both engaging and useful. Part memoir and part writing manual, King’s advice is concise, sharply observed, and practical, taking a warts-and-all approach to how to write well, while still succeeding in providing inspiration and motivation. It’s my favourite reference tool for my own writing and for running writing workshops for all of the above reasons but also because it’s very funny.

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DAVID HUNT

David Hunt is an unusually tall and handsome man who likes writing his own biographical notes. David is the author of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Indie Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted in both the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Australian Book Industry Awards. True Girt, the sequel, was published in October 2016. His first children’s picture book, The Nose Pixies, was also published in 2016. David has a birthmark that looks like Tasmania, only smaller and not as far south.

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MEL JACOB

Mel Jacob is an experienced journalist and scriptwriter, and is now also the author of a memoir: In Sickness, In Health and In Jail. In Sickness is the humourous and moving account of what happened to “a close, loving middle-class family when the father is unexpectedly thrown in jail”. Mel had been happily married for fourteen years when her husband was suddenly incarcerated. Exploring single-parenthood as well as the stigma surrounding jail, In Sickness, In Health and In Jail offers a “funny and touching account of grief and love and forgiveness”.

Mel’s articles and personal stories have appeared in The Good Weekend, Sunday Life, Radio National, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Australian Museum, Kidspot and fbi radio. She was a finalist for Best Comedy Riverina Short Film Festival 2004, and in 2011 her manuscript Mother of the Year was short-listed for the Harper Collins Manuscript Development Award.

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LYNNE KELLY

Lynne is a science writer, currently working as an Honorary Research Associate at LaTrobe University. She has a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology, and has spent decades in teaching.

Lynne has published three popular science books; a novel, Avenging Janie; and ten books for schools.

Her most recent book, The Memory Code, was written with the assistance of an Arts Victoria grant. Using traditional Aboriginal Australian songlines as the key, Lynne has identified the powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world. In The Memory Code, Lynne shows us how we can use ancient techniques to train our memories today. She says that The Memory Code arose from the experience of writing fourteen earlier books as well as working in a variety of disciplines.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Chaos: making a new science by James Gleick (1987). I found Chaos incredibly exciting for two distinct reasons. The ideas were really new and very exciting and reading it was almost like a spiritual experience as it made me see the world so very differently. Just as exciting was the way James Gleick showed me, as a fledgling science writer, that you can write science as a narrative with the human stories woven through, making a book thoroughly readable and yet still convey the science accurately. That was a revelation.

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KATE LARSEN

Kate is a writer, poet and arts manager with more than 15 years’ experience in the not-for-profit, government and cultural sectors in Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom. Kate is passionate about the arts (and, of course, about her first love: writing). Her alter ego (Katie Keys) publishes a tiny little poem every day on Twitter.
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CHIP LE GRAND

Chip Le Grand is a journalist with The Australian newspaper who writes about sport, politics and crime. His first book, The Straight Dope, is a story about all three. An inside account of the Essendon drug scandal, it won last year’s Walkley Book Award and The Australian Sports Book of the Year.

Which non-fiction book has been the most influential in your life and why?

Paul Kelly’s Triumph and Demise. Kelly’s masterful book about the Rudd/Gillard years inspired me to apply the same journalistic rigour to the drug scandal that engulfed the Essendon and Cronulla football clubs and write The Straight Dope.

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Margaret Linley

MARGARET LINLEY (Facilitator)

Margaret is a journalist, writer and presenter with a strong interest in memoir. Her weekly columns with the Geelong Advertiser (almost a decade’s worth) have charted her own life; a selection of this writing is published as Caterpult: A Life in Columns. Margaret has been books editor and arts reporter at that newspaper. She has a weekly drive-time radio program on Bay 93.9 with co-host Daryl Reader. Margaret is currently working on a trilogy with co-author Margaret Clark.

She has studied comedic memoir writing and spent time in a writers’ room working on a sitcom pilot at Chicago’s Second City. She has also studied improv at New York’s Magnet Theatre.

This is the third time Margaret has been involved in Word for Word and it’s something she looks forward to each year.

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ROBERT MACKLIN

Robert Macklin was born in Queensland and educated at University of Queensland and the Australian National University. He has worked as a journalist at the Courier-Mail, The Age and The Bulletin, and was associate editor of the Canberra Times until 2003.

He is the author of 27 books, including Dark Paradise, Hamilton Hume and four works focusing on the SAS and Australia’s Special Forces: SAS Sniper, Redback One, SAS Insider and Warrior Elite. He lives in Canberra.

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PROF LYN MCCREDDEN

Lyn McCredden is a Professor of Literary Studies at Deakin University, leading a group of 25 highly talented and infectiously creative types who are experts in Children’s Literature, Literary Studies, and Creative Writing. Having taught in a number of other Australian Universities, and been visiting professor of Australian Literature at Freie Universität Berlin, Lyn is proud to say that the Deakin University literature group is a great team, both in teaching and scholarship.

Lyn was proudly born in Geelong, and her fields of expertise include Australian poetry and fiction, Indigenous writing, gender, and literature and the sacred.

Her publications include:

Tim Winton: Earthed and Sacred (forthcoming 2016), Tim Winton: Critical Essays, 2014, Luminous Moments: the Contemporary Sacred, 2010, Intimate Horizons: the Sacred in Australian Literature, 2009, Bridgings: Reading Australian Women’s Poetry, 1996, and James McAuley, 1992.

Most influential non-fiction book:

My favourite non-fiction book would have to be Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978).

This is a complex, paradigm-shifting, majestic book which helped to establish a new way of thinking in the Humanities. Called “deconstruction”, or “poststructuralism”, this new thinking has shaped millions of words of debate and reflection around the nature of language and literature. It made me weep, wake up, challenge myself, and set me in new directions.

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IAN MCDOUGALL

Ian McDougall is a Founding Director of ARM Architecture. He is respected nationally for his work in architecture and urban design. He has been a publisher, teacher and writer on architecture and the city throughout his career, and is currently an Adjunct Professor at RMIT and Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Adelaide.
Ian has directed high-profile projects including the Shrine of Remembrance redevelopment, Melbourne Recital Centre, MTC Southbank Theatre and, of course, the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
Ian is a major supporter of the Melbourne arts community. He sits on the Melbourne Festival Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of Lucy Guerin Inc Dance Company.
In 2001, Ian was awarded a Centenary Medal for his contribution to Australian Architecture. He won the 2016 Gold Medal, the highest honour awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects, with ARM’s other founding directors Howard Raggatt and Stephen Ashton.

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DR STEPHEN MCKENZIE

Dr Stephen McKenzie is a researcher, lecturer and writer with years of research, teaching and clinical experience in many areas of psychology including depression, dementia, substance abuse and mindfulness. He has written several books including Exisle’s Mindfulness at Work (2013) and with Craig Hassed, Mindfulness for Life (2012). Stephen lectures in psychology at Melbourne’s Monash University and is the Course Convenor for the research units of a new fully online psychology fourth year course, the Graduate Diploma of Psychology – Advanced. Stephen is also a lecturer in statistics for medical students at Deakin University, and is the author of Vital Statistics, Elsevier (2013).

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DR ROSS MCMULLIN

Ross McMullin is an award-winning historian and biographer, and an engaging and entertaining speaker. His main research interests are Australian politics, Australia’s role in World War I, and sporting history. He has written extensively about these topics in his books, in chapters of multi-authored books, and in numerous articles for newspapers and periodicals. 

His books include the acclaimed ALP centenary history The Light on the Hill, and another political history So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and the World’s First National Labour Government.

Dr McMullin’s best-known book is Pompey Elliott, a life-and-times biography about the celebrated Australian general who commanded a brigade at the battle of Fromelles. Another biography, Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, was commended by the judges of the National Biography Award. His most recent book, Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation, was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the National Cultural Award.

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KAREN MIDDLETON

Karen Middleton is Chief Political Correspondent for The Saturday Paper. Her first book, An Unwinnable War – Australia in Afghanistan was published in 2011. Previously Chief Political Correspondent for SBS Television, Karen has worked in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery since 1989 and served as its president for four years.

Karen is an experienced television, radio and newspaper commentator, appearing regularly on ABC TV’s political talk show Insiders. She is Canberra based, and a freelance contributor to ABC Radio, Monocle24 Radio UK and Radio New Zealand.

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KEITH MOOR

KEITH MOOR is Insight Editor of the Herald Sun.

He won Australia’s top journalism award, the Walkley Award for news reporting, in 1986. He won the coveted award for his coverage of the kidnap of two Victorian aid workers in Pakistan.

The first of his five true crime books was on the life and crimes of Australia’s most wanted man, Calabrian Mafia boss Robert Trimbole. The book, Crims in Grass Castles, was published in 1987.

Keith co-authored the true crime book Mugshots, which was published in August 2003, followed by Mugshots2 in 2006.

Keith won the News Limited Specialist Writer of the Year Award in 2007.

His book Crims in Grass Castles was re-printed and updated with new chapters in 2009.

Keith’s fifth book, Busted – The Inside Story Of The World’s Biggest Ecstasy Haul And How The Australian Calabrian Mafia Nearly Got Away With It, was published in June 2016.

Most influential non-fiction book

The non-fiction book that most influenced me – and resulted in me writing similar true crime books, was Cuckoo by Andrew Rule, which was published in 1988 and covered the crimes of Mr Stinky.

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SHIREEN MORRIS

Shireen Morris is a lawyer, senior policy adviser and constitutional reform research fellow at Cape York Institute, Noel Pearson’s constitutional recognition adviser, and co-editor of The Forgotten People: liberal and conservative approaches to recognising indigenous peoples (MUP, 2016).

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ROB MUNDLE OAM

Rob Mundle is an internationally recognised author, competitive sailor, journalist and community leader. Rob is about to release his sixteenth book, Under Full Sail – the story of the spectacular clipper ship era of the mid-1800s when the ancestors of millions of today’s Australians arrived for either the gold rush or simply to start a new life. This book is the sixth in a series structured around Australian maritime history: the others are Bligh – Master Mariner; Flinders – The Man Who Mapped Australia; Cook – From Sailor to Legend; The First Fleet and Great South Land. All achieved best seller status.

Of Rob’s previous books, the international best seller, Fatal Storm – the Story of the Tragic 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race – is his most famous title. Published in six languages, it has sold more than 200,000 copies – a remarkable achievement for its category in publishing.

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BRAD NORINGTON

Brad Norington is a Sydney-based journalist with more than 30 years’ experience writing for The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is the author of three books focusing on contemporary Australian political issues and current events.
Brad’s latest book, Planet Jackson, explores the extraordinary corruption scandal inside the Health Services Union and its shady cast of characters, among them highly-publicised “heroine” Kathy Jackson and her now convicted former colleagues Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson.
Elegantly written, Planet Jackson is a dark morality tale marked by high drama and farce that unravels a history of staggering personal excess and misuse of other people’s money.
Over the years Brad has written extensively about politics and industrial relations. He was The Australian’s Washington correspondent during the first term of the Obama administration. Appointed The Australian’s chief reporter in Sydney on his return from the US, one of Brad’s first back-home assignments was to track the real story behind the HSU saga. His lengthy investigative series for the paper led to writing Planet Jackson.
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DAVE O’NEIL

Dave O’Neil has been in the business of comedy for over 20 years and is one of Australia’s most recognisable stand-up comics, having performed at 15 Melbourne International Comedy Festivals and at dozens of comedy clubs and festivals nationally.

On screen you will have seen Dave messing about on Adam Hills’ show In Gordon Street Tonight and Good News Week. He is probably best known for the honour of being the guest with the most appearances (over 50) on ABC TV’s ever popular Spicks & Specks. As well as his stand up and television career, Dave is a skilled radio broadcaster, and has been a part of successful teams on Nova 100 (with Kate Langbroek and Dave Hughes), Vega 91.5/Classic Rock FM (with Sean Micallef, Denise Scott, Chrissie Swan and Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson), and most recently on 774 ABC Radio in Melbourne and last December hosted national summer afternoons for ABC. He writes a fortnightly column for The Age, has written and acted in films (including starring alongside Eric Bana in ‘The Nugget’), and contributed to numerous sketch comedy shows. Dave’s observational humour, relatable nostalgia, affection for Australian suburbia and genuine humility has seen him become one of our most enduring and loved comic figures.

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BRUCE PASCOE

Bruce is an award-winning Australian writer, editor and anthologist.  He has written 33 books including novels, non-fiction and poetry. Bruce won the 2013 Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult fiction for Fog, a Dox, and the NSW Premier’s Award for Book of the Year 2016 for Dark Emu. He travelled to Ireland, Edinburgh, Mongolia, India, Washington and New York to talk about Dark Emu at Writers’ Festivals, Universities and Indigenous communities in 2015. He is a Bunurong, Yuin and Tasmanian man.

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Kaz Paton

KAZ PATON (Facilitator)

Kaz is the Manager for the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong and has been involved in many award winning projects in her time in local government. She is a 2012 Churchill Fellow.

Kaz has been a board member of many arts organisations. She was a founding board member of the Cultural Development Network of Victoria and is currently Deputy Chair of Regional Arts Victoria.

Before local government Kaz trained as an actor in Australia and the United Kingdom. She subsequently worked as an actor and in community theatre both in Australia and overseas including four years as producer, actor and teacher with the National Improvisational Theatre Company in New York.
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ANGELA PIPPOS

Angela Pippos is a journalist, TV/radio presenter, producer and published author. Best known for anchoring the sports segment on ABC TV News for almost a decade, Angela has moved her career in a more creative direction in recent years. Most of what Angela talks and writes about has a strong focus on gender equality. Angela writes sharp, thought-provoking columns about the culture of sport in The New Daily and is gearing up for the release of her second book in February 2017 titled Breaking The Mould: Taking A Hammer To Sexism In Sport.  Angela’s first television documentary, League of Her Own, explores the rise of women in the AFL from the grassroots up. It will screen on the Seven Network in the week leading up to the first AFL Women’s game in February 2017.  

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BEN POBJIE

Ben Pobjie studied history at the University of Western Sydney before his lust for glamour led him to comedy writing. He is known for his TV columns in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and political satire for New Matilda, Crikey and the ABC, among others.

He is the author of Error Australis, Super Chef and The Book of Bloke and has written for the TV shows Reality Check and The Unbelievable Truth. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, three children and a rising sense of panic.

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GREG PYERS

Greg Pyers is the award-winning author of more than 160 non-fiction books, three novels for children, and two historical fiction novels for adults. Most of his non-fiction titles are in the field of natural history.

In 2004, Greg won a Whitley Award from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW for Life in a Rock Pool, Gum Tree, Creek and Desert Dune. He has also been Highly Commended in the Primary Category of the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing. Greg won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his “outstanding (and ongoing) contribution to children’s environmental literature”.

Prior to becoming a full-time author, Greg was an educator in zoos. He has narrated and starred in educational programs for both children and adults, specifically in the fields of birdwatching, wildlife gardening, and native flora.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Two in the Bush. I was 11, fascinated with wildlife and hugely interested in writing, when my mother put this paperback in my hands. I was to discover a book about wildlife written with passion and humour, and it must have sparked something in me because I would years later be awarded a fellowship to Durrell’s Zoo in Jersey and write natural history books for a living.

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NICOLAS ROTHWELL

Nicolas Rothwell is the award-winning author of Belomor, Heaven & Earth, Wings of the Kite-Hawk, Another Country, The Red Highway and Journeys to the Interior.

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WAYNE SANDERSON

Wayne is ARM’s Technical Director. His specialty is complex and creative façades: he has a sophisticated understanding of structures, construction and constructability, which helps him collaborate with builders. Day to day, he thinks about waterproofing, pressure, thermal movements, materials, constructability and buildings’ life cycles. He negotiates with consultants, coordinates consultant information, building works and contract administration and manages the delivery of very large scale projects.
In his 17 years in practice, Wayne has developed complex design concepts, technologically advanced building cladding systems and landscapes integrated with buildings. He works on very large projects. Before Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, Wayne worked on ARM’s Victorian Desalination Plant. Prior to ARM, he worked with Bates Smart on the Melbourne Convention Centre and Federation Square.
He lived and worked in London from 1996–2000.

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ANGELA SAVAGE

Angela Savage is an award winning Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. After working as an au pair in France in the 80s, Angela completed an Arts degree at the University of Melbourne with Combined Honours in Criminology and the History & Philosophy of Science.

Her first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar (2006), won the 2004 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. All three of her Jayne Keeney PI novels were shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Awards, and The Dying Beach (2013) was shortlisted for the 2014 Davitt Award. Angela won the 2011 Scarlett Stiletto Award for her short story, The Teardrop Tattoos, published in Crime Scenes (Spineless Wonders, 2016). Angela runs writing workshops for adults and is currently studying for her PhD in Creative Writing at Monash University.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey by Isabel Fonseca (Vintage, 1996). I read this insightful and compassionate study of the Roma people while travelling in Eastern Europe in 1998, and it remains vivid in my memory. Fonseca finds the perfect balance between writing about her subjects and herself, and demonstrates how powerful and moving non-fiction writing can be.

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JOANNA SAVILL

Joanna Savill (pictured right, with co-author Janne Apelgren) has been writing about food since the early 1990s. She has also made TV shows about it (The Food Lovers’ Guide to Australia TV series). She’s authored articles for leading magazines, edited restaurant guides (The SBS Eating Guide, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide) and run a few food festivals, including Fairfax Media’s Good Food Month across four states and territories. But best of all, she has eaten some truly fabulous meals, often travelling many thousands of kilometres in the process.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Probably Dan Barber’s The Third Plate – at least in recent memory. And Thrive by Adriana Huffington, on a personal level!

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JASON SMITH (Facilitator)

Jason Smith is the Director of Geelong Gallery. Formerly the Curatorial Manager of Australian Art at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, he has worked in the art museum sector for 25 years and is an internationally recognised director and curator.
He was previously Director and CEO of Heide Museum of Modern Art from 2008 to 2014, Director of Monash Gallery of Art from 2007 to 2008, and Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria from 1997 to 2007.

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MARGOT SMITH (Facilitator)

Margot Smith is currently a Councillor on the Surf Coast Shire Council and lives in Anglesea. She retired from a 30 year career in retail nearly in 2011 and aside from her Council activities, she is also a Director of RSPCA Victoria and Regional Kitchen and most importantly a Director of the Geelong Regional Library Corporation.

Margot is an avid reader, walker, golfer, cyclist and a big fan of Opera and classical music. She is also a keen traveller and always looking for the next big adventure and foodie experience.

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ALICIA SOMETIMES

Alicia is a writer, poet and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on ABC 774 and Radio National talking books, film and culture. She had her own books and writing show on 3RRR for thirteen years and was a 3RRR morning Breakfaster in 2015. She has also appeared in ABC TV’s Sunday Arts and News Breakfast. She was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that toured in many planetaria around the world. Alongside Nicole Hayes, she has edited a book of Aussie Rules footy stories called From The Outer for Black Inc. www.aliciasometimes.com

Most influential non-fiction book:

The most influential non-fiction book would be Cosmos by Carl Sagan. This book was written to compliment the 1980 TV series with the same name. It was poetic, full of history, science and always with eternal optimism. Lines like these: ‘There was a time before television, before motion pictures, before radio, before books. The greatest part of human existence was spent in such a time. Over the dying embers of the campfire, on a moonless night, we watched the stars.’ It started a life long interest in science communication and astrophysics.

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STEREO STORIES

Stereo Stories is a collaboration of writers and musicians. The writers narrate short memoirs inspired by a song; the musicians weave in and out of each writer’s narration, gradually revealing the song.
The writers for Word for Word 2016 are Lucia Nardo, Alan Attwood, Stephen Andrew, Darren ‘Smokie’ Dawson, Paul Bateman, Maria Majsa, Zoe Krupka, Vin Maskell.
The musicians, sometimes playing solo, sometimes as a band, are Salvatore Romita (piano accordion), Jack Gramski (vocals, guitar), Stephen Andrew (vocals, guitar), Peter Maskell (vocals, guitar), Rob Gador (bass), Anthony Shortte (drums, percussion).
Audiences can expect stories of love, humour and pathos, with doses of pop, country and rock. Stories, in stereo.
Stereo Stories’ first performance was at the 2014 Williamstown Literary Festival. It’s most recent was at the 2016 Write Around the Murray Festival in Albury in September.

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MARIA TAKOLANDER

Maria Takolander was the winner of the inaugural Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, and her stories have been published both nationally and internationally. Her short-story collection The Double (Text 2013) was supported by a $25,000 Australia Council grant, was a finalist for the 2015 $30,000 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award,’ and was named one of the year’s best books by various forums including The Australian. She is also the author of two full-length collections of poetry, The End of the World (Giramondo 2014), which was reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Ghostly Subjects (Salt 2009), which was shortlisted for a Queensland Premier’s Prize. She is currently finishing a novel for Text Publishing, funded by a $40,000 Australia Council grant. She is an Associate Professor at Deakin University in Geelong, Victoria.

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MARK TEDESCHI AM QC

Mark Tedeschi AM QC is the Senior Crown Prosecutor for New South Wales. He has prosecuted many of the most significant criminal trials in New South Wales over the last 30 years. Mark’s literary output includes two true-crime books: Eugenia: a true story of adversity, tragedy, crime and courage; and Kidnapped: the crime that shocked the nation.

In 2013, Eugenia was shortlisted in the Australian Book Industry Awards and the Australian Crime Writers Association Ned Kelly awards. Kidnapped has recently been shortlisted for the Ned Kelly awards.

Mark is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Art School in Sydney and a Trustee of Sydney Grammar School. In 2009 he was appointed as an Italian Cavaliere, and in 2013 he was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia (AM).

His next book Murder at Myall Creek will be published by Simon & Schuster in November.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The non-fiction book that has been the most influential in my life is Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi. It played a big role in my decision to become a prosecutor.

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DR MATTHEW THOMPSON

Dr Matthew Thompson is the author of MAYHEM, a blistering ‘documentary in writing’ about Australia’s most notorious bandit and prisoner, Christopher ‘BADNE$$’ Binse. He has also written two acclaimed books of international reportage: My Colombian Death and Running with the Blood God.

Dr Thompson has worked and written for a range of newspapers and magazines, has edited book manuscripts, and has produced radio documentaries, most recently about rebel domains of the southern Philippines.

Born in Portland, Oregon, USA, Dr Thompson now lives in Dungog, New South Wales, where he is a part-time firefighter and rescue operator. Dr Thompson is a Doctor of Creative Arts, with his dissertation examined by New York University’s Director of Literary Reportage, Robert Boynton. He is a Conjoint Fellow at the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle.

Dr Thompson tells his students that if they wholeheartedly embrace writing then there will be casualties.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The longer version:

It hurts to not choose Joyce Carol Oates’ On Boxing, William L Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Anonymous’ Go Ask Alice (which I thought was nonfiction when I read it), Tony Tanner’s City of Words, John Updike’s Hugging the Shore, Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs, Adrienne Miller’s Esquire’s Big Book of Great Writing, Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae or so many other road-worn books from my collection, but I’m picking Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Why? Because the anthology’s title piece taught me that a person stripped back to eyes, ears, soul, daring, endurance, imagination, a disciplined disregard for convention and a notebook could make great and lasting art of life.

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HEATHER THREADGOLD (Facilitator)

Heather Threadgold is an anthropologist living in Geelong.  Heather’s research is split between two distinct genres of cultural anthropology: Indigenous living space, stone arrangements and monuments and street art culture.

For the past 13 years Heather has been researching Wathaurong (Wadda Wurrung) Living Space in Victoria, highlighting the meanings of stone arrangements and stone monuments as tools in defining landscape, seasonal movement, burial sites and meeting places. Natural resources provide the understanding of living spaces for the Wadda Wurrung people with the rich and diverse range of landscapes within their country from rivers and lakes, coastlines, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and most importantly the volcanic plains that stretch from Warnambool to Geelong. This region holds remnants of permeant living spaces incorporating ancient stone huts, stone arrangements, fishing traps and gardens, an important factor in Heather’s work. 

Heather also works alongside street artists and records street art festivals such as the Benalla Wall to Wall Festival. The outcome of this fieldwork aids in the continuation of funding and community alliance between councils, committees, curators and artists in regional Victoria.

Heather is also Library Officer at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, writer and artist.

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RACHAEL TREASURE

Tasmanian born Rachael Treasure gets as excited about dung beetle activity in the soil as she does by beautiful writing. By combining her love for the land and the written word, Rachael sparked a publishing boom in 2002 when her first novel Jillaroo woke the world up to contemporary women’s stories beyond the city lights.

Rachael lives in Southern rural Tasmania and is a full time mother to two young humans and many eccentric animals. She has been dubbed an agricultural activist, feminine change-agent and literary pioneer and has worked as a rural journalist, radio broadcaster, truffle sniffer dog handler, professional wool classer, stock camp cook, drover, farm manager and working dog trainer. Her stories have inspired thousands of young and old rural non- readers to read and love books, and motivated students to choose a career in agriculture.

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LEENA VAN DEVENTER

Leena van Deventer is an award-winning game developer, writer and teacher from Melbourne, Australia. She has taught interactive storytelling at RMIT and Swinburne Universities, and is co-founder and director at WiDGET (Women in Development, Games & Everything Tech), a not-for-profit organisation supporting female game developers and women in IT.

In 2015 Leena won the inaugural “Pioneer Award” at the MCV Pacific “Women in Games Awards”, and in 2016 was nominated for “Woman of the Year.”

Leena has extensive experience with radio and public speaking, as well as having contributed to publications such as Crikey, The Big Issue, The Victorian Writer and Women’s Agenda. Alongside Dan Golding, she recently wrote a book called Game Changers on misogyny in videogames culture and online harassment. This year Leena will be a part of the very first “Games and Interactive” Advisory Committee for the Australian Writers Guild.

Most influential non-fiction book:

The most influential recent non-fiction book that comes to mind as having changed my life is Tara Moss’ “The Fictional Woman.” What I love about her work (apart from how well researched it is and how it’s a pleasure to read) is how Moss so eloquently manages to hit a tone that I think is really important in feminist work; to be able to present facts in a cool and calm manner while still not taking anyone’s bullshit. Many feminist writers can do eloquent rage beautifully, or righteous fury really well, and they are absolutely needed sometimes, but what I find really special about Moss’ voice is that she presents feminist arguments in a way that no reasonable person can argue with. So often feminist demands are abstracted or we’re told we’re asking too much, and Tara Moss has this way of putting it plainly that cuts through all of that. We want to be people, too, and it’s not too much to ask. That is an inspiration to me in a huge way, as it reminds me that realistically, we’re only asking for the basics. When activism feels like a Sisyphean effort, that reminder is like jet fuel.

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LISA WALLER (Facilitator)

Associate Professor Lisa Waller is the Head of Academic Group (Communication) at Deakin University, Australia. Her research centres on questions about how news shapes society, especially at the local level, but also in fields including the justice system and policymaking. She was a newspaper journalist for 20 years before becoming an academic.

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LORNA WALSH (Facilitator)

Raised in Effin, County Limerick, Ireland, Lorna Walsh is a recovering Marketing Manager and Literary entrepreneur. She loves a good story and has many of her own, as yet untold. She holds a Master of Communication and a BA, Professional Writing and Literary Studies, both from Deakin University. Lorna’s latest venture is Area 36 Communication, where she uses her communication skills to tell stories (and sometimes web content) for others.

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FIONA WELSH (Facilitator)

Fiona Welsh is Victorian editor of magazines and partnerships at The Herald and Weekly Times.
She has previously worked as production editor of the Sunday Herald Sun and was news editor at the Herald Sun.
Fiona spent more than a decade at the Geelong Advertiser, becoming the paper’s first female AFL reporter and first female sports editor.

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MICHAEL WILLIAMS

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre.
He is also the host of Blueprint for Living, a weekly show on RN.

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ASHLEIGH WILSON

Ashleigh Wilson has been a journalist for almost two decades. He began his career at the Australian in Sydney before spending several years in Brisbane, covering everything from state politics to the Hollingworth crisis to indigenous affairs. He then moved north to become the paper’s Darwin correspondent, a posting bookended by the Falconio murder trial and the Howard government’s intervention in remote Aboriginal communities. During that time he won a Walkley Award for reports on unethical behaviour in the Aboriginal art industry, a series that led to a Senate inquiry. He returned to Sydney in 2008 and has been the paper’s Arts Editor since 2011. He lives in Sydney.

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TONY WILSON

Tony Wilson is a bestselling author, broadcaster and speaker. His picture book The Cow Tripped Over the Moon was runner up in the CBCA book of the year, and he has an upcoming sporting series for upper primary kids called The Selwood Boys. On the non-fiction front, Tony has written features for Good Weekend and The Monthly, and his documentary The Galahs was a hit at the 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival. Tony has written two satirical novels relating to sporting celebrity and public manipulation by the tabloid media. Tony can sometimes be heard on ABC and SEN.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is the non-fiction that made me want to write. It’s the story of an Arsenal obsessive’s love affair with his football club, and spawned a genre of sports writing that I’ve aspired to be a part of. There are two pages in Fever Pitch about the ‘failed’ football career of Arsenal whipping boy Gus Ceasar, that are a perfect articulation of the tight rope of elite sporting success.

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DAMON YOUNG

Damon Young is a philosopher and writer. He is the author or editor of nine books in English and translation, including The Art of Reading, How to Think About Exercise, Philosophy in the Garden and Distraction. He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines, and is a frequent radio guest. Young is an associate of the University of Melbourne’s philosophy department, and won the AAP media prize for his work as a public intellectual. 

Most influential non-fiction book:

Any answer to this question is dodgy – books compete and collude to do their best work. But if I have to name one, it’s Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time. His portrait of everyday humanity, sketched with such (frustrating but charismatic) intricacy, continues to guide my observations. He reveals the deep, stretched existence behind the familiar ‘I’ of cognition. Heidegger was an idiosyncratic thinker and often contemptible man, but I can’t deny his influence. No jumping over my own shadow.

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SOHILA ZANJANI

Sohila Zanjani was born in 1955 in Tehran, Iran. After surviving a climate of emotional abuse and cultural misogyny which was the fate of the women of her family, she married an Iranian resident of Australia and migrated to Australia. She had four children with him and left their abusive marriage to bring the children up alone.

Sohila completed her graduate diploma in women’s studies at Victoria College in 1990 before joining Frankston TAFE for VCE – the only way to a law degree, which she subsequently also completed. Sohila is now a lawyer and business woman, the owner and director of Prime Law Brokers.

Scattered Pearls is Sohila’s memoir that spans over one hundred years – including the lives of her mother and grandmother. It explores the “injustice and abuse meted out by the men in their lives”, and the cultural misogyny found in both Iran and Australia. A Persian edition of Scattered Pearls has also been published. Sohila lives in Melbourne.

Most influential non-fiction book:

Babak is a book about a young Persian man who lived 1300 years ago. He stood against the invasion and rule of Persia (Iran) by Arabs. The book reminds me that still today there are many “Babak” inside and outside Iran who want freedom and democracy for the nation.

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