Writers L-R


Sophie Laguna

Sofie Laguna’s many books for children have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, and in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. She has been published in the United States, the United Kingdom and in translation in Europe and Asia. In 2008 Sofie published her first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong. It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. One Foot Wrong was published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom, and screen rights have been optioned.
Sofie Laguna won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Eye of the Sheep.
Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband and their young sons.-

Carmen Lawrence

Lawrence webAfter training as a research psychologist at the University of Western Australia and lecturing in a number of Australian universities, Dr Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both State and Federal levels for 21 years. She was at various times W.A Minister for Education and Aboriginal affairs and was the first woman Premier and Treasurer of a State government.  She shifted to Federal politics in 1994 when she was elected as the Member for Fremantle and was appointed Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women.  She has held various portfolios in Opposition, including Indigenous Affairs, Environment, Industry and Innovation and was elected national President of the Labor Party in 2004. She retired from politics in 2007.
She is now Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Change in the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia and Chair of the Australian Heritage Council.

Sean Leahy

Sean Leahy is the political cartoonist for The Courier-Mail in Brisbane. He began his cartooning career while still at high school on the suburban weekly The Darling Advertiser. The following year his cartoons also became a regular feature of The West Australian making him, at seventeen, the youngest metropolitan daily political cartoonist in Australia.

Joan London

London webJoan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier's Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgameshwon the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier's Literary awards. Joan London's books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age is her third novel.

Tory Loudon

Loudon webTory Loudon is the Head of Events and Programs for the Guardian Australia. She has worked with a number of Australia's leading cultural institutions such as Sydney Opera House, CarriageWorks and Australia Council on the Arts on audience development and engagement programs. Ironically, Tory is a luddite however she is learning fast about digital media platforms and finding new ways to engage readers.

Julian Louis

Julian is a theatre director, curator and performerand currently the Artistic Director of NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts), a leading regionally based theatre company. He is passionate about creatingplayful, site specific and physical theatre works that engage communities into the creation and presentation of the work. For NORPA Julian has been responsible for the creation of Railway Wonderland (performed on Lismore’s disused railway station), My Radio Heart (a co-production with Urban Theatre Projects),Open House (a circus work performed in a residential house in Lismore),Engine, The Bloody Bride and Not Like Beckett (2007). Julian curates a contemporary program, made up of original productions (through NORPA’s Generator program), national and international touring works and community cultural events.
Julian is the director of The 13-Storey Treehouse(2013).
Photo by Kate Holmes



Zanni Louise

Louise Zanni webZanni Louise is a children’s author living on the North Coast. She blogs at My Little Sunshine House.
Zanni connected with one of Australia’s biggest publishing houses through her blog community, which led to her first children’s book contract. Zanni runs blogging courses and private consultations around Byron Bay. She also hosts creative retreats on the North Coast. Her first book Too Busy Sleeping is released by Little Hare this September. Her website is http://zannilouise.com

Angelo Loukakis

Loukakis webAngelo Loukakis has written a variety of fiction, including The Memory of Tides and Houdini’s Flight. He is Executive Director of The Australian Society of Authors.

Tim Low

Low webTim Low is a well-known biologist and prize-winning author of seven books. His latest book, Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World, won General Non Fiction Book of the Year at the 2015 Australian Book Industry Awards, the first nature book ever to do so. An earlier book, Feral Future, inspired the formation of a national NGO, the Invasive Species Council, which Tim spoke about at the 18th Global Biodiversity Forum in Mexico. Tim writes articles for the likes of the Weekend Australian magazine, Australian Geographic and Wildlife Australia.
When he is not writing he works as an environmental consultant, for clients that have included the federal and state governments, on topics including climate change impacts and invasive species. He has discovered new lizard species, and helps run the Christmas Island Bird week each year. His latest book brings together insights about ecology gleaned from field time on six continents. The Sydney Morning Herald has described Tim as a ‘classic Australian scientific stirrer’.

David Leser


Leser-WebDavid Leser is a Walkely-award winning journalist who has worked in Australia, North America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia for the past thirty five years. He began his career on the Sydney Daily Telegraph in 1979 and has since worked as a feature writer for the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age, HQ magazine, the Bulletin, Good Weekend, the Australian Women’s Weekly, Italian and German Vanity Fair, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He is the author of six books and editor of Paul Kelly: The Essays, as well as Executive Producer of the 2012 award-winning documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me.
Born in Montreal and raised in Sydney, David moved to Byron Bay in 1999 before returning to live in Sydney in 2012. He has two daughters, Jordan, a singer-songwriter, and Hannah, a photographer.
His latest book – a memoir - To Begin To Know: Walking in the Shadows of my Father is published by Allen & Unwin.

Session: 4, 39, 95

Appearing: Saturday 2 August, 8.00-9.15, Byron Bay Community Centre, in conversation with Richard Clapton.

David Manne

Manne webDavid Manne is a human rights lawyer and migration agent, and Executive Director of the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC). He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. In January 2001, he joined RILC, which has been at the forefront of defending the rights, the dignity and the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.
David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia for seven years, and currently sits on a number of other non-government Boards, including the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee, and peak Government consultative bodies. He has also been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons.
David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Prize for Administrative and Human Rights Law, the Law Institute President’s Awards (2006 and 2011), and was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal in 2011.
David headed RILC’s legal teams in the recent successful High Court challenges in the cases of Plaintiff M61 (regarding the Government’s ‘offshore processing’ regime in Australia); Plaintiffs M70/M106 (the ‘Malaysia Solution’ case); Plaintiff M47 (challenging security assessment and indefinite detention of a refugee); Plaintiff M76 (regarding indefinite detention of a refugee on security grounds); Plaintiff M150 (challenge by a 15 year old unaccompanied refugee in relation to the Government’s attempt to bar permanent protection through a visa cap); and Plaintiff S89 (challenging a Government regulation designed to bar boat arrivals from permanent protection).

Simon Marnie

Simon Marnie presents Weekends on 702 ABC Sydney, a diverse programme that combines news, arts and lifestyle.
Simon has worked both behind the scenes and in front of the microphone as a producer or presenter for government, commercial and community radio. He has dabbled in television for ABC, SBS and on the Food Channel for LifestyleTV.
Whilst at home interviewing a broad range of people from Premiers, performers and Governors General to musicians and social representatives in his Sunday Brunch segment, Simon can weave gardening, home renovation and performance into his programme at the drop of a hat.
But when news breaks Simon was there, whether it was through the night for the events of September 11, the NSW Bushfires or on the streets of Goodna during the Brisbane floods.
For over 25 years Simon has enjoyed bringing the stories, the people and the news to audiences from his days at JJJ to now on 702 ABC Sydney.
One of Simon’s highlights in the last few years was at the BBWF in 2010 when he was able to ask Bret Easton Ellis why he was “such a sick #@%”  

Session: 1, 13, 40, 57

Appearing: Sunday 3 August, 12.00pm - 2.30pm, Literary Lunch and in conversation with Christine Manfield.

Kate McClymont


Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1981 with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and joined the Herald in 1985 as a graduate cadet. She later worked at the National Times followed by a two-year stint as a researcher at the ABC’s Four Corner’s progam before rejoining the Herald in 1990.
She is a five-time winner of journalism’s most prestigious award, the Walkley, including the Gold Walkley (with Anne Davies) for her coverage of the Bulldogs salary cap rorts. She was named the 2012 NSW Journalist of the Year for her investigations into the Health Services Union and the business activities of former NSW Labor minister, Eddie Obeid.
Kate is also the recipient of numerous other awards including six Kennedy awards, the Australian Shareholders’ Association award for excellence in financial reporting, The NSW’s Law Society’s Golden Quill award for excellence in legal reporting and Australian Racing Writer of the Year. She also won the 2012 George Munster Award (with Linton Besser) for Independent Journalism.
She was elected to the Senate of the University of Sydney in 2013



Richard McHugh

McHugh webAfter his unpublished novella about a love-struck teenager was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel prize in 1990, Richard McHugh completed his studies at Sydney and Yale, worked as an office angel in London and a Wall Street attorney in New York, and wintered with his partner and their baby in Utah.  They now live in Bronte with an unexpectedly large number of children.  When he is not driving two sons and two daughters around greater Sydney, he works as a barrister, makes photographs and writes.  Charlie Anderson's General Theory of Lying is his first novel.

Maxine Mckew

McKew webFollowing the success of her political memoir, Tales from the Political Trenches, published in 2012, Maxine McKewʼs new book Class Act looks at some of the most important questions in Australian education. For the past two years Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.
Maxine Mckewʼs background is in journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as Lateline and 7.30 Report. Her work has been recognised by her peers and she is a recipient of both Logie and Walkely awards. When she left broadcasting and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood, and later for infrastructure and local government.
Maxine now lives in Melbourne where she continues to work on a range of activities at the University of Melbourne. She is a director of three not for profit boards, Per Capita, the John Cain Foundation and Playgroup Australia.

George Megalogenis

george megalogenis  photo credit aaron francisGeorge Megalogenis is a Walkley Award winning author and journalist with three decades' experience in the media. The Australian Moment won the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Non-fiction.

Caro Meldrum-Hanna

Caro Meldrum-Hanna is an investigative reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners. She began at the ABC in 2006, first in radio then branching into TV as the only videojournalist for the Sydney newsroom. Prior to joining Four Corners in 2014, Caro reported for the ABC’s nightly current affairs program, 7:30 from 2011 – 2013, where she was nominated for six Walkley Awards, winning two.

Miles Merrill

Merrill webMiles Merrill writes and performs poems, monologues and stories for venues and festivals internationally. His productions: Word Travels Festival, The Night Words Festival, and Slamming won outstanding critical acclaim. Merrill directs the national performing writers' program: Australian Poetry Slam. He is also Creative Director of the literary arts association Word Travels. He publishes on CD, DVD, online and in print, most notably in the Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, but is best experienced live. www.milesmerrill.com www.wordtravels.info

Rusty Miller

Miller webRusty published the first alternative free newspaper in Byron Bay in1973, has produced the Byron Guide since 1984 and recently co-wrote two books on surfing history, Turning Point I and II.

Rosemarie Milsom

Milsom webRosemarie Milsom is the founding director of the Newcastle Writers Festival, which is in its fourth year. The 2015 recent festival attracted 130 writers and an audience of 5000. She combines the role with that of senior feature writer at the Newcastle Herald. Rosemarie has been a journalist for 20 years, mostly with Fairfax Media. She has been a section editor at The Sun-Herald and features editor at Sunday Life magazine. Her work has also been published in Vogue, Medical Observer and Qantas’ in-flight magazine The Australian Way. In 2012, she was awarded Journalist of the Year at the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Northern NSW Media Awards.  She has also been a finalist in the United Nations Association of Australia’s Peace Media Awards and the Kennedy Awards for Excellence in NSW Journalism. In 2014, she received the MEAA’s NSW Regional Feature Award for her profile of Australian golfer Jack Newton.
Rosemarie lives in Newcastle with her husband, fellow journalist Ben Drzyzga, and her three children.  

Liane Moriarty

Moriarty webLiane Moriarty is the Australian author of six internationally best-selling novels, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and the number 1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.
The Husband's Secret has sold over three million copies worldwide, was a no. 1 UK bestseller, an Amazon Best Book of 2013 and is set to be translated into over 40 languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights.
With the launch of her most recent novel, Big Little Lies,which has sold over one million copies in the US alone, Liane became the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Film and television rights have been acquired by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon who will both take roles in the production.
Writing as L.M.Moriarty, Liane has also written a children’s book series, The Petrifying Problem with Princess Petronella, The Shocking Trouble on the Planet of Shobble and The Wicked War on the Planet of Whimsy.
Liane lives in Sydney with her husband, son and daughter. You can find more at www.lianemoriarty.com  

Antonia Murphy

Murphy webAntonia Murphy is an award-winning magazine journalist, author and adventurer. Her short stories, essays and travelogues have appeared in Sail magazine, Cruising World and Latitude 38.
Since graduating from Columbia University with a completely impractical degree in European History and Comparative Politics, Antonia has earned her living as a doll designer, union stagehand, Internet geek, and yacht chef. She spent three years managing the Young Performers Theatre in San Francisco, where she taught playwriting and storytelling to children ages 3-14. She has also backpacked across Central America, chopped peppers for Thomas Keller, broken down sets for Aerosmith and run a youth hostel at the bottom of the world.
In 2005, Antonia and her husband Peter embarked on a sailing adventure through Mexico, Central America and Ecuador, then across the Pacific to the Galapagos Islands and French Polynesia. After two splendid years of boat vagrancy, they docked in New Zealand to start a family.
Today, they find their adventures on land. Antonia and Peter live with their children on a 12-acre farm in Purua, a district of Whangarei, New Zealand. There, they raise a rotating cast of farm animals, including chickens, roosters, ducks, goats, alpacas, cows, and sheep. Antonia also makes her own raw milk cheeses and an obscene quantity of homemade wine. Chaos ensues.
Antonia’s debut memoir, Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer was published by Text (Aus/NZ) and Gotham Penguin (USA/Canada) in January, 2015.

Bianca Nogrady

Nogrady webBianca is a freelance science journalist, broadcaster and author, who is yet to meet a piece of research she doesn’t find fascinating. Over a decade of freelance reporting, she has written for national and international publications, covering everything from nanomedicine and quantum physics, to the particulars of penis size, and the oldest fossilised human poo.
She is author of The End: The Human Experience Of Death, which attempts to answer the question, “what is death like?” and examines the final hours and minutes of life from a multitude of perspectives. Despite earning her ‘deathy’ mantle, she would rather not die any time soon.
Bianca is also co-author of The Sixth Wave: How To Succeed In A Resource-Limited World, with Dr James Bradfield Moody.

Mandy Nolan

Nolan webMandy Nolan is as an outrageously entertaining stand-up comedian who has leapt into print with three humorous memoirs, the latest of which is Home Truths. However, Mandy is a Renaissance woman whose talents extend beyond the written word. She is a journalist and columnist with multiple publications including the Byron Shire Echo, Echonet and The Hoopla. Her paintings have been exhibited in art exhibitions. Mandy has performed stand-up comedy for more than 25 years, and she passes on this knowledge to younger, aspiring comedians through workshops she runs.
Mandy is also a committed humanitarian and feminist with a strong passion for the environment. Her early training as a vocational teacher for adults with disabilities means she stands up for those less fortunate, such as the elderly who suffer from dementia. In conjunction with her husband, Prof John Stevens, she developed a program called ‘StandUp for Dementia’ that uses humour to help elderly sufferers of dementia. The research was published in the international peer review journal DEMENTIA.
Her TEDx talk on the topic is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3okdyBNoB2k. You can find out more about Mandy’s current projects at www.mandynolan.com.au.

Chigozie Obioma

Obioma webChigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria, and has lived in Cyprus, Turkey, and now in the United States where he completed an MFA at the University of Michigan. A recipient of multiple Hopwood Awards in fiction and poetry, he was a 2012 OMI fellow at Ledig House International Writer’s Colony in New York. His short fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, Transition, amongst others. Starting in the fall of 2015, he will be an Assistant professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fishermen is his first novel.

Kerry O'Brien

Kerry O’Brien is the former editor and host of The 7.30 Report on the ABC and the present host of the current affairs show Four Corners. He is one of Australia’s most respected journalists, having been awarded six Walkley Awards during his career.




Mick O'Regan

oregan_webMick O'Regan is a local freelance journalist and media consultant who's had a long association with the Byron Bay Writers Festival.




Jacqui Park

Park webJacqui Park is an Australian journalist and editor and CEO of the The Walkley Foundation for journalism where she leads the Walkley innovation program and is creative director for the flagship Storyology summit. In more than a decade as regional director for the International Federation of Journalists Asia Pacific, Jacqui has been responsible for leading a team of experts in press freedom advocacy and media support work from the Pacific to Afghanistan. She is also the founding editor of The Walkley Magazine: Inside the Media in Australia and New Zealand.

Cate Paterson

Paterson Cate PanMacmillan webCate Paterson joined Pan Macmillan as Commissioning Editor for Fiction, both adult and children's, in 1996. Before becoming Publishing Director in 2010, Cate acquired and continues to work with authors such as Matthew Reilly, Andy Griffiths, Markus Zusak and Liane Moriarty.

John Pickrell

Pickrell webJohn Pickrell is an award-winning journalist and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine. He has worked in London, Washington DC and Sydney for publications including New Scientist, Science, Science News and Cosmos. John’s articles can also be found online and in print at BBC Wildlife, National Geographic, Scientific American and the ABC. He has been a finalist in the Australian Museum’s Eureka prizes three times, won an Earth Journalism Award and featured in The Best Australian Science Writing anthology in 2011 and 2014. John studied biology at Imperial College in the UK and has a Master of Science in taxonomy and biodiversity from London’s Natural History Museum.

Margaret Pomeranz

Pomeranz Margaret webA writer, critic and film lover, Margaret Pomeranz has been a household name in Australia for almost 30 years. Her on-screen partnership with David Stratton on The Movie Show (SBS) and At the Movies (ABC) is the stuff of legend.  Margaret started out as a writer for television, radio and film, and joined the newly established SBS in 1980 as writer/producer.  Awarded an Order of Australia in 2005, she is a past President of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been both President and Vice-President of Watch on Censorship.  
She has two gorgeous sons of whom she’s very proud and now a most beautiful daughter-in-law in Philippa.

Scott Prince

Prince webBorn in Mount Isa, Scott lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and two daughters and is a proud Kalkadoon man. Recently retired from the NRL, Scott led the Wests Tigers to a premiership victory in 2005 and also won the Clive Churchill Medal in the same year. Scott has played for the Gold Coast Titans, Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys. At the highest level, Scott has represented Australia, Queensland in the State of Origin and has also represented his people in the Indigenous All Stars. As an ambassador, Scott represents FOGS (Former Origin Greats) involving the Artie Academy, Gidgee Healing/Deadly Choices, James Frizelle’s Automotive Group and is also a director at Little Leagies, a rugby league and touch football development program for children.

Doug Purdie

Purdie webDoug Purdie started beekeeping a number of years ago when he read about the worldwide bee decline and decided to do his bit. He joined his local beekeeping association at Sutherland, before joining the NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association of which he is currently president.  He is the co-owner of The Urban Beehive and has published a bestselling book Backyard Bees published by Murdoch Books.  
Doug can be found on www.theurbanbeehive.com.au

Hannie Rayson

Rayson webHannie Rayson is a playwright and screenwriter. Her works—including Hotel Sorrento, Inheritance and Life After George—have been performed around Australia and internationally. She has been awarded two Australian Writers’ Guild Awards, four Helpmann Awards, two NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her play Life After George was the first play to be nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Hannie lives in Melbourne and her latest work is a memoir, Hello, Beautiful!

David Ritter

Ritter webDavid Ritter is the Chief Executive Officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific and a widely published commentator in politics, current affairs, history and law. Before his current role, David worked for Greenpeace in London on a range of global environmental issues including deforestation, over-fishing and climate change. David's most recent long essay is 'Man without a Face' in Griffith Review 47.
Prior to working for Greenpeace, David was a leading Indigenous rights lawyer, and is the author of Contesting Native Title (Allen & Unwin) and The Native Title Market (UWA Press). David holds honours degrees in law and arts from the University of Western Australia and masters with distinction in global politics from the London School of Economics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Law of the University of Western Australia and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney.

Michael Robotham

Robotham webMichael Robotham started his career as a journalist but then became a ghostwriter, writing many bestselling autobiographies in collaboration with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities. His thrillers have been translated into twenty-two languages and he has twice won Australia's Ned Kelly Award for best crime novel. He was shortlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2008 and was also shortlisted for the inaugral ITV3 Thriller Awards.

Noah Rosenberg

Rosenberg webNoah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Narratively, a platform devoted to original, in-depth and untold stories. Launched in New York in September 2012, Narratively was listed at number six among TIME Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2013.”
A print, video and multimedia journalist, Rosenberg was a spring 2012 fellow at The City University of New York’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times’ Metro desk and he has also written features, essays and breaking news for the National, Travel, Sports and Styles sections. Both his writing and photography have been featured on The Times’ front page, and he has also shot and produced documentary video for The Times, including helping the Metro desk pioneer its use of iPhone video reporting.
Previously, Rosenberg worked for Univision‘s Interactive Media division as a product manager, and spent the summer of 2010 in South Africa, where he was The Wall Street Journal’s video correspondent at the FIFA World Cup. While there, Rosenberg also took photographs and wrote human-interest pieces for The Wall Street Journal and GQ magazine. He has also produced, edited and reported on-camera for CBS’ Channel One News and written for New York magazine.