Comedian, Author, Journalist, MC, Keynote Speaker, Humour Therapist & Educator: Mandy Nolan is a true renaissance woman and in the 2022 Federal election as Greens Candidate for Richmond she broke Antony Green’s model…and missed out by a whisker.
Nolan kicked off her comedy career supporting her heroes Whoopi Goldberg and Ertha Kitt and recently spied Ruby Wax laughing in the front row of her country hall gig. Wax later congratulated Nolan on being ‘hysterically funny.’
Moving to Byron Bay in the mid 90’s Nolan pioneered a thriving comedy scene growing seven regular comedy rooms and two comedy festivals in the region. Building industry from the ground up, Mandy has taught over 2000 people stand up comedy…including the Emmy Award winning Hannah Gadsby!
Her love of innovation saw her create Stand UP for Dementia a peer reviewed humour therapy for people with Dementia, the subject of her TEDx talk. She has also created comedy programs for people with lived experience of mental illness, people with disabilities and children. She currently presents Authentic You with Dr George Catsi – a Masterclass that hones narrative and powerful presentation for people wanting to improve their speaking.
As a comedian, along with Ellen Briggs she is one half of the national touring show Women Like Us. Garnering 5 star reviews at Adelaide Fringe Festival, a spot at Melbourne Town Hall for the International Melbourne Comedy Festival Upfront Gala the comedy team released their memoir collaboration of the same name: Women Like Us and continue to break new ground with their well loved show.
Mandy’s popular weekly column ‘Soapbox’ showcases polarising opinion pieces which are often the catalyst of conversation and debate, shining a fresh perspective on topical issues.
Mandy is also the host of International Award winning podcast The Split – produced by Mamamia – she is also one of their most in demand writers. She also writes opinion for The Sydney Morning Herald.
She has published 5 books and had Sydney Morning Herald’s Bruce Elder declare her ‘the country’s sharpest and wittiest comedic columnist’.
Oh, and by the way, Nolan is also the mother of 5 children, who she credits as the true source of her creativity. ‘When I had kids, everything else looked easy!’
Phil Brown is the Arts Editor of The Courier-Mail and has a popular column in the lifestyle magazine Brisbane News. He has written for a range of national and international newspapers and magazines and has published his poetry widely in the mainstream press and literary journals.
He is the author of two books of verse – Plastic Parables (Metro Community Press) and An Accident in the Evening (Interactive Press). His book of humorous travel stories, Travels with My Angst (UQP, 2004) was short-listed for the Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Award at the 2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Any Guru Will Do (UQP 2006) was the second in his memoir series.
From 1963 to 1970 he lived in Hong Kong where his father ran a construction company. His latest book, The Kowloon Kid (Transit Lounge) is a memoir of his family’s life in China and Hong Kong since the 1930s.
Nicole Abadee writes about books for Good Weekend and Australian Book Review and appears regularly as a moderator at writers’ festivals including Sydney Writers’ Festival, Adelaide Writers’ Week and Melbourne Writers’ Festival and other literary events at libraries and bookshops.
The State Library of New South Wales recently commissioned Nicole to do the Reflections Series, in which she interviewed Robert Drewe, Anna Funder and Markus Zusak about their bodies of work.
Nicole also has a books podcast, Books, Books, Books , in which she talks to Australian and international writers such as Helen Garner, Trent Dalton, Kate Grenville and Hilary Mantel about their latest books.
Nicole was a judge for the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.
Antony Funnell is a Walkley Award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and author. He presents the weekly podcast/radio program “Future Tense” on ABC Radio National. He has worked for many of Australia’s leading news and current affairs programs. Antony is co-author of the satirical novel So Far, So Good. His non-fiction work The Future and Related Nonsense was published by Harper Collins. He has contributed to numerous publications including Griffith Review, Australian House & Garden and the anthology Best Australian Science Writing.
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.
Nikki Gemmell is the bestselling author of 13 novels and four works of non-fiction, including The Ripping Tree, Shiver, After and The Bride Stripped Bare. Her latest book is Dissolve. Her books have been translated into 22 languages. She was born in Wollongong, New South Wales, and lived in London for many years, but has now returned to Australia. The French literary magazine Lire included her in a list of the 50 most important writers in the world – those it believes will have a significant influence on the literature of the 21st century. Gemmell also pens a weekly column for The Weekend Australian Magazine.
Bruce Pascoe is an Aboriginal Australian writer of literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays and children’s literature. He is the enterprise professor in Indigenous Agriculture at the University of Melbourne. He is best known for his work Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? which re-examines colonial accounts of Aboriginal people in Australia and cites evidence of pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and building construction by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Mirandi Riwoe’s The Burnished Sun, is a collection of short stories and novellas. Her novel, Stone Sky Gold Mountain, won the inaugural ARA Historical Novel Prize and the Queensland Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).
Hannah Kent’s first novel, the international bestseller, Burial Rites, was translated into over 30 languages and won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, and the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award. It was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Stella Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and is being adapted for film by Sony TriStar. Her second novel, The Good People was translated into 10 languages and shortlisted for the Walter Scott Award, the Indie Books Award for Literary Fiction, the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year and the Readings Prize. It is being adapted for film by Aquarius Productions. Devotion, her third novel, won Booktopia’s Favourite Australian Book, was shortlisted for an Indie Book Award and longlisted for the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year.
Her original feature film, Run Rabbit Run, directed by Daina Reid and starring Sarah Snook will be produced by Carver and XYZ Films.
Hannah is also the co-founder of Kill Your Darlings, and has written for The New York Times, The Saturday Paper, The Guardian, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, Meanjin, Qantas Magazine and LitHub. She lives and works on Peramangk country.
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.
Performing writer Miles Merrill brought poetry slams to Australia from Chicago. He is the spark for dozens of spoken word programs across the Asia-Pacific region. He has hosted an ABC TV special on poetry slams and performed solo at Sydney Opera House.
Merrill is the co-author of Slam Your Poetry- How to Write a Revolution. He publishes award- winning poetry in print, audio and video but he is best experienced live. Catch him touring music festivals, theatres, galleries, schools…everywhere, like Krakow’s Audio Art Festival and writers’ festivals in Singapore, Hong Kong, India…anywhere his word travels.
He is founder of the Australian Poetry Slam (APS), an international performing writers’ program, which sees about 1000 writers performing in 80 events across the Asia-Pacific every year. APS culminates annually in October with Story Week: a national performing writers’ celebration.
Merrill’s practice, as Creative Director of the literary arts organization Word Travels, focuses on empowering people from diverse and marginalized communities to share their stories and poems with the world. Through this role he has taught leaders of non-profits in places like Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to monitor and evaluate their impact.
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.
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.