Robert Drewe was born in Melbourne on January 9, 1943, but from the age of six, when his father moved the family west to a better job in Perth, he grew up and was educated on the West Australian coast.
The Swan River and Indian Ocean coast, where he learned to swim and surf, made an immediate and lasting impression on him. At Hale School he was captain of the school swimming team and editor of the school magazine, the ‘Cygnet’. Swimming and publishing have remained interests all his life On his 18th birthday, already wishing to be a writer but unsure ‘who was in charge of Writing’, he joined The West Australian as a cadet reporter. Three years later he was recruited by The Age in Melbourne, and was made chief of that newspaper’s Sydney bureau a year later, at 22.
Sydney became home for him and his growing family, mostly in a small sandstone terrace in Euroka Street, North Sydney, where Henry Lawson had once lived.
Robert Drewe became, variously, a well-known columnist, features editor, literary editor and special writer on The Australian and The Bulletin. During this time he travelled widely throughout Asia and North America, won two Walkley Awards for journalism and was awarded a Leader Grant travel scholarship by the United States Government.
While still in his twenties, he turned from journalism to writing fiction. Beginning with The Savage Crows in 1976, his books include the widely translated and acclaimed A Cry in the Jungle Bar, The Bodysurfers, Fortune, The Bay of Contented Men, Our Sunshine, The Drowner, Grace and The Rip, as well as a prize-winning memoir, The Shark Net, and the non-fiction Walking Ella.
Fortune won the fiction category of the National Book Council Award, The Bay of Contented Men won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the best book in Australasia and South-East Asia, and The Drowner made Australian literary history by becoming the first novel to win the Premier’s Literary Prize in every State. It also won the Australian Book of the Year Prize, the Adelaide Festival Prize for literature and was voted one of the ten best international novels of the decade. The Shark Net won the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction, the The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Prize and the Vision Australia Award.
Our Sunshine was made into an international film, retitled Ned Kelly, directed by Gregor Jordan and starring Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and Naomi Watts. The Shark Net was adapted for an ABC-BBC-produced international television mini-series and a BBC radio drama. The Bodysurfers, also became a successful ABC and BBC TV mini-series and was adapted for radio and the theatre.
The Bodysurfers and Our Sunshine have been republished internationally as Penguin Modern Classics. More recently he has published a second memoir, Montebello, and two books of humorous sketches, The Local Wildlife and Swimming to the Moon. His new novel, Whipbird will be published in 2017.
Robert Drewe is also the editor of two international short-story anthologies, The Penguin Book of the Beach and The Penguin Book of the City, and edited Best Australian Stories in 2006 and 2007 and Best Australian Essays in 2010. He has been a Sydney Morning Herald film critic, and his play, South American Barbecue, was first performed at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre in 1991.
Awarded a special Australian Artists’ Creative Fellowship by the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating, he has also received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Queensland, and an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Western Australia. He has lived and worked in San Francisco and London and been writer-in-residence at the University of Western Australia, LaTrobe University in Melbourne, the South Bank Centre at Royal Festival Hall, London, and at Brixton Prison in London.
Robert Drewe’s latest book of short stories, The True Colour of the Sea, will be launched by Margaret Throsby at the 2018 Byron Writers Festival.
Tristan Bancks tells stories for the page and screen. His books for kids and teens include Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention,the Tom Weekly series, and Nit Boy.Ginger Meggs, Tristan’s 100th anniversary book of short stories, is based on characters created by his great-great uncle, Jimmy Bancks, in 1921. His books have won and been shortlisted for many awards, including a Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour Book, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, ABIA, YABBA, KOALA, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Queensland Literary Awards. His new release for July 2022 is Cop & Robber, a nailbiting crime story for age 10+.
Tristan is a writer-ambassador for literacy non-profit Room to Read. He is currently working with producers to develop a number of his books for the screen. He’s excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create. You can find out more about Tristan’s books, play games, watch videos, join his Young Writer’s StorySchool and help him try to change the world at tristanbancks.com
Susan Wyndham is a freelance journalist, book reviewer, event moderator, awards judge, and writer. She is a former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and long-time journalist for the Herald and The Australian. Her books include Life in His Hands: the true story of a neurosurgeon and a pianist, and My Mother, My Father: on losing a parent.
Sarah was a journalist at the ABC where she won a Walkley Award. She’s written three novels, including Salt Rain which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Big Magic is her first novel for children and its sequel will be out in 2023. She lives in Mullumbimby with her partner, the writer, Alan Close and their young daughter.
Matthew Condon has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and for almost a decade has been investigating crime and corruption in Queensland. He interviewed disgraced former Queensland Police Commissioner Terry Lewis for over three years and had exclusive access to Lewis’ private papers. That research became Condon’s bestselling true crime trilogy – Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers and All Fall Down.
Most recently he has been investigating the fatal Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub firebombing in Brisbane in 1973. His book on the subject is The Night Dragon. In 2020/21 he released a podcast – Ghost Gate Road – on the subject. It went to #1 on both the Australian and New Zealand Apple podcast charts.
Matt currently works as a feature writer for the Weekend Australian Magazine and is an Associate Professor at Griffith University where he teaches journalism. In 2019 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the community.
Indira Naidoo is one of Australia’s most popular broadcasters and authors. During her thirty-year award-winning journalistic career, she has hosted and reported for some of the country’s most distinguished news and current affair programs, including the ABC TV’s Late Edition and SBS TV’s World News, and she is currently the host of ABC Radio’s Weekend Nightlife. She is a sought-after speaker and facilitator, and is an ambassador for Sydney’s homeless crisis centre the Wayside Chapel.
Erik Jensen is the editor-in-chief of Schwartz Media and founding editor of The Saturday Paper. He is the author of Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen, On Kate Jennings and The Prosperity Gospel. His latest book is a collection of poems, I Said the Sea Was Folded. Jensen has won the Nib Prize for Literature and been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the Walkley Book Award. He has written for film and television. The film adaptation of his first book won the Critics’ Prize at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
David Leser is an award winning journalist who has worked in Australia, North America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia for the past 43 years.
He won a Walkely award for feature writing for his expose of Alan Jones called Who’s Afraid of Alan Jones and has been a Walkley finalist on three other occasions, as well as the recipient of a human rights commendation for journalism and three other national magazine awards for feature writing.
David is the author of 7 books, including a memoir To Begin to Know: Walking in the Shadows of My Father which was shortlisted for the 2015 National Biography Award. He is also editor of Paul Kelly: The Essays (2012), as well as Executive Producer of the award-winning Australian documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me.
David’s most recent book Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing, published in 2019, explores the history of patriarchy and misogyny in the context of the #MeToo movement.
Born in Montreal, David is a senior contributing writer to Good Weekend magazine and also works as a public interviewer, guest lecturer, writing mentor, and speech writer. He has two daughters, Jordan, a singer-songwriter, and Hannah, an academic, and lives in Sydney.