Alan Close has been writing for over forty years, during which time he has published fiction, poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction. He has written widely in the national print media, including a column on men and relationships for Good Weekend magazine.
His most recent book is Before You Met Me: A Memoir Of One Man’s Troubled Search For Love. He edited the anthology Men Love Sex, which remains a benchmark of men writing about love, sex and relationships. He lives in Mullumbimby and earns a living working on other people’s manuscripts and as a writing mentor and teacher, both face to face and online.
Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media: print, radio and television.
Having done her cadetship at the Age and worked on UK’s Fleet Street, she was a founding reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday programme and spent some 12 years traveling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent. She was publishing director of Reed Books, morning presenter on ABC radio, won national awards as interviewer and columnist for the Bulletin and, in May 2006, returned to TV to create the country’s first televised Book Club, which ran on the ABC for 11 years until December 2019.
Alongside books, Jennifer’s favourite pastime – far too serious to be called a hobby – has since the age of two been the playing of games. Including quizzes, cards, board games, and crosswords (physical and electronic). To be invited to become the first Australian host of Mastermind – a show she grew up watching, of course – is the realisation of a dream she didn’t know she had. Jennifer hosted series two of Mastermind plus Celebrity Mastermind in 2020.
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!’
Debbie Lee is Senior Manager, Content Acquisition and Business Development, Ingram Content Group. Formerly an Academic Publisher, she now assists publishers of all shapes and sizes, from indie authors, to small presses and multinationals, with their print on demand, ebook and global distribution needs.
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.
Jo Chandler is an award-winning journalist, author, editor and journalism educator. Her focus is on explanatory reporting across interconnected topics: climate; science; environment; health; human rights; aid and development. Her latest work, in Griffith Review 77: Real Cool World, draws on years of reporting Antarctic science to explore urgent questions of global heating and geopolitics.
Over the past 20 years, Jo has also filed from Africa, Afghanistan, rural and regional Australia and, frequently, Papua New Guinea. She’s working on a series on climate justice in the Pacific, supported by the Walkley Foundation’s Sean Dorney Fellowship.
Her work has earned distinctions including Walkley and Quill awards, the UNSW Bragg Prize for Science Writing, the George Munster Award for Independent Journalism and the ACFID Media Award. Formerly a staffer at The Age, her stories have appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Atlantic,The Monthly, Griffith Review, ABC Radio National, Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald, Cosmos, The Weekend Australian Magazine, New Scientist and Undark.
She is the author of a book tracking climate fieldwork, Feeling The Heat (2011 MUP). She works as a senior lecturer at the Centre for Advancing Journalism. Her journalism archive can be found at www.jochandler.com.au.
Dr Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer based at the Australian National University. She is an internationally recognised expert in Australian and Southern Hemisphere climate variability and change who has authored over 100 scientific publications. Between 2018 and 2021, Joëlle served as a lead author on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on the Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report – a global, state-of-the art review of climate change science.
As a media ‘go to’ climate change spokesperson, Joëlle spends a lot of time translating science for the public. Her general audience writing has appeared in The Monthly, The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review and Harper’s Bazaar. She is also a scientific advisor to the Climate Council of Australia; an independent body providing expert advice to the public on climate change and policy.
In recognition of her extensive public engagement, Joëlle received the 2019 AMOS Science Outreach Award, a national science communication prize awarded by the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS), Australia’s peak professional body for climate science.
Karen Middleton is a political journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in covering national and international affairs for print and broadcast media, based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Canberra. Karen is the Chief Political Correspondent for Schwartz Media’s The Saturday Paper and the author of two books, An Unwinnable War – Australia in Afghanistan’ (2011) and Albanese – Telling it Straight (2016).
A regular contributor to ABC radio, ABC TV’s Insiders and The Drum and Network Ten’s The Project, she is a correspondent for Radio New Zealand, Monocle24 radio London and Turkey’s international TV network TRT World and has contributed to the BBC and The New York Times.
During a decade with SBS Television, Karen undertook three military embeds as a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Before that, she was among the Australian media contingent in Washington DC covering then Prime Minister John Howard’s official visit when terrorists attacked on September 11, 2001.
A long-time volunteer with refugees, Karen is also deeply committed to indigenous reconciliation and veterans’ support. She is a former Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery president and a Churchill fellow. The University of Canberra awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2020. And she sings a bit, on the side.
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.
Sarah Wilson is a multi-New York Times and Amazon best-selling author, podcaster, thought leader, minimalist, philanthropist and climate advisor. She founded the international I Quit Sugar movement, wrote the New York Times bestsellers I Quit Sugar and First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, which Mark Manson described as “the best book on living with anxiety that I’ve ever read”.
Sarah is the author of another 11 cookbooks that sell in 52 countries, and her most recent book This One Wild & Precious Life recently won a Gold Nautilus Award and has been seen on USA Today’s hottest releases along with The Washington Post’s 10 New Books Spotlight.
Sarah Wilson has been ranked in the top 200 most influential authors in the world. She has been variously described as “the climate queen”, “an expert on misinformation” and “f*cking wild” (Russell Brand!).
Her passionate commitment to driving a global conversation on sustainability and climate change, mobilising individuals, businesses and Governments to make bold, fast change has seen her feature on Russell Brands’ Under the Skin podcast, ABC’s Q&A, and invited to deliver an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.
Previously Sarah was editor of Cosmopolitan Australia, host of Masterchef Australia and founder of the largest wellness website in Australia, IQuitSugar.com. In May 2018, Sarah closed the business and gave all proceeds to charity (and continues to do so from book title sales). She now builds and enables charity projects that “engage humans with each other”.
In her most recent book, ‘This One Wild & Precious Life: The Path Back to Connection in a Fractured World’ Sarah takes readers on a soul’s journey through the complexities of climate change, coronavirus, racial inequalities and our disconnection from what matters…back to life. Sarah hikes around the world with one day pack, meeting His Holiness The Dalai Lama, poets, philosophers, two nuns and a goat herder (!) who provide hopeful wisdom and vibrant solutions to arrive at what she feels is the true path through the despair…to our better world.
Sarah continues this conversation via her podcast Wild by Sarah Wilson, featuring interviews with Sia, marketing icon Seth Godin, Rutger Bregman, author of Humankind, and other philosophers, big thinkers, wild livers from around the world.
In February 2022 she goes on tour with Live Nation. Her Wild and Precious tour will take her message to concert hall stages around the nation!
Sarah is also a keynote speaker who has presented to New York Times, Microsoft USA, Google, Apple, the National Press Club in Canberra, National Australia Bank, IKEA, Monash University, RMIT, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and many more, solidifying her as one of the most influential and forward-thinking assets to like-minded brands globally.
Sunil Badami is a writer and broadcaster. He’s written for publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend, The Australian, The Monthly, The New Daily, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Art and Australia, Southerly, Island, Westerly and Meanjin. His work has been published in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays. He presented the national ABC Local Radio show Sunday Takeaway as well as writing, producing and presenting a number of documentaries for Radio National, and continues to appear regularly on ABC radio and TV. He teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney and is currently editing his once-lost first novel for publication. Find out more at www.sunilbadami.com
Trent Dalton is the author of Boy Swallows Universe (HarperCollins, 2018), a critically acclaimed international bestseller and winner of the 2019 Indie Book of the Year Award, the MUD Literary Prize, and the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing and the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. At the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards, the book won a record four awards, including the prestigious Book of the Year Award. Boy Swallows Universe has been published across thirty-four English language and translation territories. His second novel, All Our Shimmering Skies (HarperCollins, 2020) has also become a national bestseller. His latest book, Love Stories, was the #1 bestselling work of non-fiction published by an Australian author in 2021. Trent’s books have sold over 1 million copies across formats.
Since its publication in June 2018, Dalton’s critically acclaimed debut Boy Swallows Universe has become one of the most loved Australian novels of all time, breaking Nielsen Bookscan records to become Australia’s fastest selling debut novel ever. In 2021, the Queensland Theatre Company stage production of Boy Swallows Universe saw such demand for tickets, the season was extended three times, resulting in a sold-out six-week run at 100% capacity in QPAC’s Playhouse, seen by nearly 40,000 people.
Dalton is also a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a four-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year.
Anna Clark is a historian at the Australian Centre for Public History based at the University of Technology Sydney. She is the author of Making Australian History (Penguin, 2022) and has written extensively on history education, historiography and historical consciousness, including: Teaching the Nation: Politics and Pedagogy in Australian History (2006), History’s Children: History Wars in the Classroom (2008), Private Lives, Public History (2016), the History Wars (2003) with Stuart Macintyre, as well as two history books for children, Convicted! and Explored! Reflecting her love of fish and fishing, she also recently wrote The Catch: The Story of Fishing in Australia.
Alex Adsett is a literary agent and publishing consultant. She has twenty years’ experience working in the publishing and bookselling industry and has managed Alex Adsett Literary since 2008.
As an agent she specialises in genre and commercial fiction. She is focused on finding exceptional manuscripts for adults, young adults and children, including crime and mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, middle grade, picture books, and narrative non-fiction.
Alex represents a select stable of authors including Jodi McAlister, Marlee Jane Ward, Isobelle Carmody, Sasha Wasley, and Catherine Pelosi.
As a consultant, Alex offers strategic and commercial contract advice to authors and publishers, helping negotiate publishing contracts in line with industry standards.
She regularly speaks about copyright and contracts at conferences around Australia, and is often to be found on twitter at @alexadsett or via her website www.alexadsett.com.au.
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.
Jessie Cole is the author of four books. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim, with Portia Lindsay calling it a ‘fine and elegantly written novel’ in the Weekend Australian, and Naama Amram stating – ‘Deeper Water delivers on its title’s promise of immersion, sensuality, and the liminal … a compelling examination of our relationship with nature’ in the ABR.
Her work has also appeared in many Australian publications, including Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Good Weekend, Big Issue and the Guardian.
Jessie’s memoir, Staying, was released in 2018, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction & longlisted the Colin Roderick Award, with Tim Winton describing it as ‘a wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.’
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