Writers A-D


Jane Adams

Adams webJane Adams catalysed Australia’s farmers’ market movement and chairs the national association. An occasional food writer, she grows fruit trees on a Sydney balcony and agists chickens on a vineyard.

Session: 32

Abdi Aden

Aden webAbdi Aden was a teenager when he arrived in Melbourne as a refugee to begin a new life.  Abdi's world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia's vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost four months, they arrived in Kenya - of the group he'd set out with, only five had survived. After finding his way to Romania, then Germany, Abdi was eventually settled in Melbourne. Abdi went on to complete secondary education and later university. He became a youth worker, was acknowledged with the 2007 Victorian Refugee Recognition Award and was featured in SBS television’s second series of Go Back to Where You Came From.
Abdi’s memoir Shining: The Story of a Lucky Man has just been published by Harper Collins. He is married to the daughter of British immigrants and has three young sons.

Sessions: 8, 29, 44, 113

Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen.

Sessions: 3

Sarah Armstrong

Armstrong webSarah Armstrong’s first novel Salt Rain was shortlisted for several awards including the Miles Franklin Award. His Other House (Pan Macmillan) is her second novel. Before moving to the Byron area to write, Sarah lived in Sydney and worked as a current affairs radio journalist at the ABC, where she won a Walkley Award. She lives in Mullumbimby with her partner, the writer Alan Close and their young daughter.

Sessions: 51, 111

Emma Ashmere

Ashmere webEmma Ashmere’s short stories have won awards and appeared in various publications including The Age, Griffith Review, Sleepers Almanac and Etchings.
She has worked in arts and university administration, and as a researcher on several books about Australian gardening history, and women and empire. She has a PhD in English from La Trobe University investigating the use of marginalised histories in fiction, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide.
These days she lives in northern New South Wales. Her first novel The Floating Garden is published this year.

Sessions: 19, 64, 115

Emily Zoey Baker

Zoey Baker webEmilie Zoey Baker is an award-winning poet, international slam champion and spoken-word performer who has toured the world. She teaches poetry in schools and has been published widely.

Sessions: 39


Paul Barclay

Barclay webPaul has produced countless stories over more than twenty years for an array of programs on virtually all ABC radio networks.  From time to time you will see him appearing on ABC TV, and when circumstances permit, he has produced radio documentaries for ABC RN.

Sessions: 50, 63, 87

Caroline Baum

Caroline Baum is Editorial Director of Booktopia, Australia’s largest online bookseller, for which she writes the monthly newsletter The Buzz.
A respected journalist and broadcaster, Caroline has worked as Features Editor of Vogue Australia, Founding Editor of Good Reading magazine, Presenter at ABCTV and Foxtel and Executive Producer at ABC Radio National as well as contributing to major national media including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Monthly, The Hoopla, Slow magazine, etc.,
In 2014 her memoir fragment Waltzing the Jaguar , originally published in the anthology My Mother My Father (Allen and Unwin) was included in Best Australian Essays 2014.
In 2015 Caroline was awarded the Hazel Rowley Fellowship for Biography.

Sessions: 15, 77, 80

Jonathan Biggins

Jonathan Biggins is a playwright and satirist, perhaps best known for co-creating the Sydney Theatre Company’s Wharf Revue for the last fifteen years. He also wrote the plays Australia Day and The State of the Tasmanian Economy; co-wrote the musicals Living in the ‘70s and The Republic of Myopia and with Phil Scott wrote a new libretto for Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera Australia. He has written several books, including The 700 Habits of Highly Ineffective Parents and iKevin. He was a regular columnist with Farifax’s Good Weekend Magazine for seven years and still contributes when inspiration strikes.
As an actor he has worked for all the state theatre companies, with credits including Travesties, Ying Tong and The Venetian Twins. As a director his recent credits include Noises Off for STC, Orpheus in the Underworld for OA and the national tour of Australia Day. He also won a HelpmannAward for his direction of the musical Avenue Q.

Sessions: 50, 103, 110

Emily Bitto

Emily Bitto lives in Melbourne. She has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Heat, Harvest, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Literary Review. Her debut novel The Strays was shortlisted for The Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction and The Glenda Adams for New Writing, longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award for a first-time published author and won The Stella Prize. The manuscript of The Strays was also shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Emily is an obsessive reader, music fan, cook and dog-carer (having fostered 11 rescue dogs in one year).
She and her partner own and operate several successful bars and cafes including Wide Open Road in Brunswick and Heartattack and Vine in Carlton.

Sessions: 9, 40, 77, 89, 97

Jesse Blackadder

Dr Jesse Blackadder is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women, animals and very cold places. A winner of literary awards in the USA and Australia, she is the author of three adult novels, including Chasing the light: a novel of Antarctica (which she wrote as part of her doctorate) and two children’s novels, the most recent being Paruku The Desert Brumby. Jesse was the 2011/12 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow and has been a writer-in-residence in Alaska, Antarctica, outback NSW, Varuna, and Byron Bay.

Session:  19, 56, 102

Anna Bligh

In March 2009 Anna made history, becoming the first woman to lead a party to victory in a State election in Australia. Born in Queensland in 1960, Anna grew up mainly on the Gold Coast. She graduated from the University of Queensland in 1980 and worked in the community sector and the public service before entering Parliament as the Labor member for South Brisbane in 1995. She joined the shadow ministry the following year and became a minister in 2001. She held several senior portfolios, before becoming Deputy Premier in 2005, and Premier in 2007. After losing the election in 2012, she stepped down and is now the CEO of the NSW YWCA.
Anna writes of that historic time in her memoir Through the Wall.

Sessions: 55, 61, 88, 110



Gregg Borschmann

Gregg Borschmann is one of Australia’s most experienced journalists specialising on the environment. Gregg started his career in print on The Age newspaper in Melbourne in 1974 under the esteemed editorship of Graham Perkin. “As a pimply faced cadet, I was allowed to have long hair – but mistakes or sloppy reporting were not tolerated. I also learnt that journalism could be about more than just fair and fearless reporting. The Age started a successful campaign to ‘Clean up the Yarra’. It was an early lesson about caring for country”.
He’s since work in Federal politics as a media advisor to former Labor Senator Graham Richardson. He’s also recorded two major environmental oral history collections for the National Library of Australia.
Gregg has lived for more than 20 years in the sandstone and eucalypt big gorge country of the Blue Mountains. By walking the land, he got to know his country with his heart, as much as his head - so it’s not surprising that he’s just purchased his fifth pair of Australian made leather walking boots. He keeps his old Akubra hats, but not his boots.
Gregg is currently Environment Editor for the Fran Kelly Breakfast program on ABC RN.

Sessions: 38, 46, 57, 105

James Bradley

James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels, Wrack, The Deep Field and The Resurrectionist, all of which have won or been shortlisted for major Australian and international literary awards, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and The Penguin Book of the Ocean.
In 2012 he won the Pascall Prize for Australia’s critic of the year. His most recent book is the novel, Clade. He blogs at cityoftongues.com

Sessions: 67, 107, 111

Honey Brown

Honey Brown lives in country Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two children. She began writing in 2000 and is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels. Before settling down to raise a family she worked and lived in various remote places throughout Australia. She spent her childhood in Campbell Town, Tasmania, growing up in the convict built “Mill House”.
Better suited to the world beyond the classroom, Honey left school in year 11. Some of the more memorable jobs she recalls over the years include her time working as a barmaid at the infamous Kalgoorlie pubs, caretaking an isolated Trout Farm in the Snowy Mountains, and scallop shucking in tropical North Queensland.
Active and a keen bushwalker, a life-changing blow came for Honey in her late-twenties when she was involved in a farm accident. The resulting spinal injury left her confined to a wheelchair. Honey turned to writing as a way back from the trauma and the depression that followed.
Candid about the tough road back from acquiring a disability, Honey now focuses her energy on writing, traveling with her family and engaging in the promotional side of being a popular novelist.

Sessions: 48, 108


Phil Brown

Phil Brown is a Brisbane journalist and author. He is arts editor of The Courier-Mail and has  a popular weekly 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 and essays widely in the mainstream press and literary journals including Meanjin and Griffith Review. He is the author of two books of verse - Plastic Parables and An Accident in the Evening. His book of humorous travel stories, Travels with My Angst was short-listed for the Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Award at the 2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Any Guru Will Do was the second in his memoir series.

Sessions: 59, 61, 86

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne began her career in journalism as a cadet with The Age. After working in the United States and Britain, Jennifer moved to television as a reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday program, then 60 Minutes – before hosting her own ABC radio programme and later joining one of Australia’s biggest publishing houses, Reed Books, as publishing director. 

In 1999, Jennifer returned to television for Lateline, 7.30 Report and anchor and reporter at Foreign Correspondent. At The Bulletin magazine she won national awards for columnist of the year and story of the year. Ten years ago she launched the Book Club on the ABC - and still hosts the show, writes a monthly book column and appears in a range of newspapers and magazines.

Sessions: 11, 51, 101

Robyn Cadwallader

Robyn Cadwallader’s first novel The Anchoress (2015) about a medieval woman who shuts herself away for her entire life in a tiny cell was published in the UK, US and Australia to universal acclaim.
Geraldine Brooks says: Robyn Cadwallader does the real work of historical fiction, creating a detailed, sensuous and richly imagined shard of the past. Elizabeth Gilbert is also a fan: I loved this book, and I loved meeting Robyn. I think this is a fantastic book club read. Robyn’s short stories and poems have appeared in Australian journals including Wet Ink, Westerly, and Famous Reporter, and her first collection of poetry, I painted unafraid, was published by Wakefield Press in 2010. In 2011 her short story, The Day for Travelling, won the Marjory Graber-McGinnis Short Story Award. Formerly an academic at Flinders University, Robyn now lives among vineyards outside Canberra.

Sessions: 19, 30


Jeni Caffin

Jeni has worked with words and ideas for most of her life, notably as Director of the Byron Bay Writers Festival and International Program Director of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival.

Sessions: 17, 73, 99


Jane Camens

Jane Camens is working towards a PhD at Griffith University. She founded Hong Kong’s international literary festival in 2001 with Sri Lankan writer Nury Vittachi.
After completing an MFA in Writing at Vermont College in the USA, and receiving an MA at the University of East Anglia, UK, she returned to Australia and founded the Asia Pacific New Writing Partnership, an international collaboration of universities, literary organisations and others interested in supporting new writing from the region.
Jane won the 2010 Fish Publishing Short Story Prize.

Session: 25


Edna Carew

After graduating Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh, Edna Carew worked in London as a teacher and translator before moving to Sydney in 1974 and switching career paths from working with languages to a job in the finance sector. She later joined the staff of The Australian Financial Review, becoming financial markets editor. As a journalist and author Edna has written on topics ranging from interpersonal relations and sexual health, travel, health, politics, business, finance and economics. She has also been a frequent radio commentator.
Her many books include the best-selling Fast Money and Language of Money series, Paul Keating, Prime Minister and Westpac, the bank that broke the bank. In recent years Edna has concentrated on writing company histories, including Fast Forward, a history of the Sydney Futures Exchange, Brambles, Working its way around the World, and First Port, Future Port, the history of Sydney Ports Corporation. National Market, National Interest, published in 2007, tells the remarkable story of the drive to unify Australia’s securities markets.

Sessions:  2, 49, 113

Jane Caro

Caro-webJane Caro is an author, journalist, broadcaster, columnist, multi-award-winning advertising writer and social commentator. She appears weekly on Weekend Sunrise, Gruen Transfer and Sunrise. She has also appeared on The Drum, Q&A, The Project, Daily Edition, Mornings on 9, Studio 10 and Today. Jane has created, written, presented and co-produced a six-part ABC radio series, which she is now rewriting for ABC Compass as a four-part TV series: For Better, For Worse

She writes regular monthly columns for Mt (Management Today) Magazine and the Sun Heralds Sunday Life. She is also in demand as a speaker, workshop facilitator and MC. Her most recent books are Destroying the Joint: Why women have to change the world (UQP, 2013) and Just a Queen (UQP, 2015), the sequel to her first young adult novel, Just a Girl (UQP, 2011).
Sessions: 6, 19, 55, 112


Barrie Cassidy


Barrie Cassidy started out in journalism as a cadet reporter with the Border Mail in Albury. In the 47 years since, he has been a court reporter and police roundsman, a political correspondent, program host, newsreader, radio broadcaster and foreign correspondent. He has worked for the Shepparton News, the Melbourne Herald, the ABC, The Australian and Network Ten, as well as in Washington and Brussels.
For the past 13 years he has been host of the ABC’s highly respected political discussion program Insiders, and until recently, host of the sports equivalent, Offsiders. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he was senior press secretary to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and then ultimately his political adviser.
Private Bill is his third book. The Party Thieves, a bestseller that traced the rapid demise of Kevin Rudd, was published after the 2007 election. An Ocean of Cricket was written with his son Adam, and captured in words and stunning photographs the emergence of cricket in the South Pacific.

Sessions: 12, 15, 34


Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan is a political journalist for Guardian Australia. She co-writes the Guardian's #politicslive blog from the Canberra press gallery. In another life, Gabrielle writes her Bushmail blog from a farm west of Canberra. In 30 years of journalism, she has covered NSW parliament and federal parliament for The Australian. She has also worked at the ABC, The Daily Telegraph and The Hoopla as well as writing books on history, war and food.

Sessions: 88, 104

Jennifer Clement

Jennifer Clement grew up in Mexico City, Mexico. She studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. From 2009 to 2012, Clement was president of PEN Mexico and her work focused on the disappearance and killing of journalists. Clement’s books have been translated into 24 languages.
Clement is the author three novels: Prayers for the Stolen, A True Story Based on Lies (finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction) and The Poison That Fascinates. She also wrote the acclaimed memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat and NYC in the early 80’s) and her books of poetry include: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin);Newton’s Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems.
Prayers for the Stolen was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Book ,First Selection for National Reading Group Month's Great Group Reads and appeared internationally on many “Best Books of the Year” lists, including The Irish Times. The novel was also a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, winner of theGran Prix des LectricesLyceenes de ELLE 2015, National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature and was honoured with The Sara Curry Humanitarian Award.
Jennifer Clement is a member of Mexico’s prestigious “SistemaNacional de Creadores” and, along with her sister Barbara Sibley, is the founder and director The San Miguel Poetry Week.

Sessions: 11, 30, 47

Beccy Cole

Beccy Cole is known for her hugely entertaining live shows and songs that are beloved by people of all ages. She has won nine Golden Guitars and seven songwriting awards, amongst other accolades. Her work has taken her around Australia, to small country towns, the Top End and the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and to Iraq, where she performed for Australian troops.

Behind this amazing success is the shy girl with a dream; the artist who has forged a creative life and worked incredibly hard to do it; the mother whose son is at the centre of her world; the fiercely loyal friend; the devoted daughter and granddaughter. There's also the woman who has looked for love, who's had her heart broken and now finds it filled with joy.
Heartfelt and honest, Poster Girl is the inspirational memoir of a strong woman who epitomises the authentic spirit of country music, and of Australia.

Sessions: 79, 88, 98

Appearing: The Cowgirl and The Showgirl, Friday 7.30pm, Byron Theatre



Matthew Condon

Matthew Condon is a prize-winning Australian novelist and journalist currently on staff with the Courier-Mail’s Qweekend magazine. The two-time winner of the Steele Rudd Award for short fiction, his novels include The Motorcycle Café, The Pillow Fight and The Trout Opera. His non-fiction titles include Brisbane and Fear, Faith and Hope: Remembering the Long Wet Summer of 2010-2011. His latest book, Jacks and Jokers, continues the explosive investigative account about former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis, which he began in Three Crooked Kings. In 2015 he will release the conclusion to this trilogy, All Fall Down. Three Crooked Kings was the winner of the 2013 John Oxley Library Award, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards and Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year.

Sessions:  14, 43, 69, 75


Michael Cooney

Michael Cooney is the Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre. He was previously Speechwriter to Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Senior Adviser at the HR Coombs Policy Forum, Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and was Principal Policy Advisor to Federal Labor Leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham.

Sessions: 99, 114

Tim Costello

Tim Costello is one of Australia’s most sought after voices on issues of social justice, leadership and ethics. Since 2004 Tim has been CEO of World Vision, Australia’s largest international development agency.  Trained in economics, law, education and theology, Tim has practised law, served as a Baptist minister, and has been active in church and community leadership, local government and national affairs.
In 2012 Tim published Hope: Moments of Inspiration in a Challenging World. This collection of travel tales, anecdotes and reflections expresses Tim’s experience that hope and optimism are often found in the most unexpected places.

Sessions: 55, 60


Sibella Court

Sibella Court is an interior stylist, product designer, author, globetrotter & creative director and founder of The Society inc., a treasure trove of curiosities from her travels.

Session: 36

John Dahlsen


John Dahlsen is a contemporary environmental artist and author who studied at the Victorian College of the Arts. He won Australia’s oldest art award, the Wynne Prize, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2000 and has won other numerous awards. In 2004 his art represented Australia at the Athens Olympics.
He is a published author: An Artist’s Guide to a Successful Career was published by Common Ground Publishing in the US in December 2013. His mid-career memoir: An Accidental Environmental Artist, was published by Alpha Academic Press in the US, in November 2014. He exhibits and is represented in major public and private collections in Australia and internationally.
In 2014 John was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and travelled to Japan in January/February 2015 to work for 5 weeks with a master woodblock printer and created a limited edition series of 24 woodblock/digital fusion prints. He continued on to Amsterdam where he researched how Vincent van Gogh was influenced in his art by Japanese woodblock prints.
His environmental art examines the passage of time in the landscape and the place of humankind within it.
John is currently lecturing in visual art at Charles Darwin University, which is where he is also completing his PhD in environmental art.

Session: 73


Mark Dapin

 Mark Dapin spends every spare moment playing with words, whether he’s interviewing celebrities for newspapers, writing novels and short stories, composing funny columns about himself or recording history as seen through the eyes of those who were there. 

His first novel, King of the Cross (2009), won a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. His second book, Spirit House (2011), was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and very well reviewed both in Australia and the UK, where it was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.
His latest novel R&R (July 2015) is set in Vung Tau, Vietnam in the 1960s and follows two military policemen as they unravel the mysteries seething in this seedy portside town. The writing crackles with energy and there’s action and humour and pathos in spades. It’s a war novel that’s not set at the front but instead in the weird twilight zone of an R&R town, where the greatest danger to the soldiers is themselves.
R&R is inspired by the hours of research and interviews Dapin did for his well-received history book The Nashos’ War (2014) and his ongoing PhD studies in Military History at ADFA UNSW. Mark also edited the Penguin Book of Australian War Writing and the Penguin anthology, From the Trenches: the Best ANZAC Writing of World War One.
For more about Mark, please visit: www.markdapin.com

Sessions: 1, 13, 43


Gregory Day

Day Gregory webGregory Day is a writer, poet and musician whose debut novel The Patron Saint Of Eels won the prestigious Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 2006. Gregory's previous books include Trace (in collaboration with photographer Robert Ashton). His CDs include The Black Tower: Songs from the Poetry of WB Yeats, and The Flash Road: Scenes From The Building of the Great Ocean Road. He lives in Victoria.  His latest book is Archipelago of Souls.

Sessions:1, 34, 76


Terry Denton

Terry Denton has illustrated award-winning books such as The Paw and bestsellers such as the Just! and The Treehouse series written by Andy Griffiths. He’s also the father of three children and the owner of a back garden burial ground for dead pets.

Sessions: 106, 110

Sean Doherty

 Sean Doherty is the author of MP Untold: The Lost Stories of an Australian Surfing Legend.
He began his career in surf journalism in 1997 with Tracks magazine, and was editor from 2000 to 2008. His 2004 biography of Michael Peterson was the basis for a feature film. He has also written for the Sydney Morning Herald, and for Surfer and Surfing magazines in the United States. He is a native of Forster on the New South Wales north coast.

 Sessions: 85, 91

Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe’s novels, short stories and non-fiction have won national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, radio and theatre around the world.

He grew up on the West Australian coast, the setting for his memoirs The Shark Net and Montebello. His many novels include The Drowner, The Savage Crows, A Cry in the Jungle Bar, Grace, Our Sunshine and Fortune, which won the National Book Council’s prize for fiction, and the short-story collections The Bodysurfers, The Rip and The Bay of Contented Men, which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
The Drowner was the first book to win the Premiers' literary awards in every State, as well as the Adelaide Festival Prize. Our Sunshine was made into the international film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger, while The Shark Net and The Bodysurfers were adapted for ABC and BBC television mini-series.
The Bodysurfers, in print for the past 30 years, has been made an international Penguin Modern Classic. His latest published books, collections of his humorous columns in The Age and the West Australian, are The Local Wildlife and Swimming to the Moon.

Sessions: 17, 70