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.
David Roland is a writer, speaker and psychologist (BSc Hons and PhD in clinical psychology). For more than twenty years David worked as a clinical and forensic psychologist in the treatment and assessment of clients ranging from children to adults, for the Children’s Court Clinic and the Criminal Court. He is an Honorary Associate with the University Centre for Rural Health, University of Sydney, and a founding member of Compassionate Mind Australia. He is an advisor to the Young Stroke Project with the National Stroke Foundation.
David’s latest book The Power of Suffering: Growing through life crises (Simon & Shuster, 2020) draws together the real-life stories of 11 incredible people who survived their crises and grew in transformative ways. David not only narrates these stories, but he also examines them through the lens of posttraumatic growth. He details how to be an ‘expert companion’ to someone going through crisis.
His memoir How I Rescued My Brain: a psychologist’s remarkable recovery from stroke and trauma (Scribe) describes how David implemented his own rehabilitation plan using neuroplasticity, psychology and social connection. This book was shortlisted for an ABIA award in 2015 and it was selected by Reading Well (UK) as a prescription book.
The Confident Performer (NewSouth) came out of David’s PhD research and his work with hundreds of performers, public speakers and examination takers. It has been used worldwide in performing arts teaching institutions.
David is published in Best Australian Science Writing 2015. He has been featured in the Sunday Express (UK), The Independent (UK), Rolling Stone, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, The Conversation and Wellbeing. He has appeared on ABC Television, Channel Ten, ABC Radio and many international podcasts. In 2015, he was awarded the Stroke Foundation’s Creative Award. He has academic publications in the fields of performance anxiety and vicarious trauma.
Bundjalung woman Grace Lucas-Pennington is an editor specialising in fiction and poetry. She is currently the Senior Editor at State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing and Editing Project.
Daniel is host of RN’s The Art Show. Since majoring in painting at university, Daniel has worked as a journalist, broadcaster, and sound artist. He has been with the ABC since 1994, having worked across news and current affairs, including a stint as triple j’s news director. The Bundjalung and Kullilli man presented RN’s Awaye! for many years and leads the ABC’s Indigenous Radio Unit.
Adam van Kempen has been Festival Chair since 2018, is a lover of storytelling of all forms and is enormously proud to be a part of the festival team. He also serves on the board of Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre and in his spare time, is the Principal of BvK Solicitors Attorneys.
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.
Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the publisher and founding editor of Griffith Review and Professor of Media and Culture in of the Griffith University Centre for Social and Cultural Research. She is a non executive director of The Conversation and chairs its Editorial Advisory Board.
She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the award-winning operas Black River and Going Into Shadows.
She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year. She is a thought leader on media and culture and an accomplished public speaker and facilitator.
She has served on the board of directors of the ABC, Grattan Institute and Copyright Agency, and chaired the Australian Film TV and Radio School, Queensland Design Council and National Cultural Policy Reference Group and is a member of advisory boards with a particular focus on education, journalism, innovation and culture.
Her new book, Idea of Australia: The Search for the Soul of the Nation (Allen & Unwin) will be published in January 2021.
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.
Zacharey Jane is a writer, teacher and artist. In her career she has been a singer, go go dancer, hansom cab driver, nanny, barista, scuba diver, horse trainer, film technician, scenic artist, interior stylist and fashionista, among other occupations.
She is tour manager and MC for Writers on the Road, the Byron Writers Festival regional tour. Zacharey is the author of two works of fiction and sundry short stories and articles.
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.
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.
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
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.