The 2017 Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival showcased an array of storytelling talent. More than 50 writers, journalists, illustrators and presenters brought stories to life in many forms. Below are the photographs and brief biographies of those who took part in 2017.
After fleeing civil war in Somalia, Abdi embarked on an incredible journey that saw him land in Melbourne. He arrived alone, aged 16. Abdi’s is a story of resilience and enduring optimism.
Stephanie Alexander AO is regarded as one of Australia’s great food educators. Stephanie’s fifth book, The Cook’s Companion is regarded as an Australian classic, and has sold 500,000 copies.
AK (Adam) Alliss has always had a love of reading, writing and human nature; he is currently completing his BSc. in Human Behavioural Studies (Psychology) and just released his first book Frame.
One of Australia’s much-loved children’s authors. His books have topped bestseller lists and garnered several awards, including six Australian Children’s Choice Book Awards. His works include the incredibly popular Specky Magee series.
Tim Baker is Australia’s favourite surfing writer, author of many best-selling surfing biographies and collected surf stories.
Based in Perth, Allan Boyd (the antipoet) has been delivering performance poetry and organising dynamic poetry arts and music events since 1995.
Bill Bunbury is an ABC radio producer with 40 years’ experience. He has won 5 Radio National and International awards for his radio documentaries and is the author of 12 books on Australian social history.
Jane Caro is an author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster, columnist, advertising writer and social commentator. She spent 30 years as an advertising writer and her creative work has won many national and international awards.
Tim Costello is one of Australia’s leading voices on social justice and global poverty and has been instrumental in ensuring these issues are placed on the national and international agenda.
Robert Drewe’s novels, short stories and memoirs -including The Drowner, Our Sunshine, The Shark Net, and The Bodysurfers‘ – have won national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, radio and theatre around the world.
Margot Edwards is a writer, storyteller, playwright and community artist, based in Margaret River since 1990, previously from NSW.
Laura Elvery is this year’s winner of the Margaret River Short Story Competition. Her work has been published in The Big Issue Fiction Edition, Kill Your Darlings, Award-Winning Australian Writing and Griffith Review.
James makes books for courageous kids. He writes and draws, gives talks and runs workshops. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.
Clementine is a Melbourne based writer, speaker and feminist thinker. She is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and is a regular contributor to The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Anna Gare is considered one of Australia’s most loved female celebrity cooks. Following her success on National television, Anna has written 3 cookbooks titled Homemade-simply delicious food, Eat in and the recently launched Delicious Everyday.
Vivienne ‘Binyarn’ Hansen is a Balladong Wadjuk Yorga woman from the Bibbulmun Nation, or Noongar people, of the south-west of Western Australia. She was also the first Indigenous member of the National Herbalist Association of Australia.
Sophie Hardcastle’s books include Running like China and Breathing Under Water. She has also written for various magazines and was recently named as one of Triple J’s ’25 Under 25 who are nailing it!’.
Julie-Ann Harper is the founder of award winning Pickawoowoo Publishing Group. She has co-author 47 educational titles in Small Business and has been honoured with the Australian Excellence in Educational Publishing Award.
John Horsfall holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Graduate Diploma in Education and a Diploma in Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine. While working at Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies, he co-wrote Noongar Bush Medicine.
David Hunt is the author of Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia, which won the 2014 Indie Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted in both the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Australian Book Industry Awards. True Girt, is the sequel.
Debbie has worked in the publishing industry for over 25 years. Having joined Ingram Lightning Source in 2014, she now enjoys assisting authors and publishers alike, make their books available, print on demand, for sale all over the world.
Sarina Lewis has lived and worked as a freelance food, travel and culture journalist in Australia for Vogue, SBS and Fairfax and has also worked overseas. Sarina’s writing finds its roots in her Anglo-Indian heritage.
Isabelle Li grew up in China and migrated to Australia in 1999. Her collection of short stories, A Chinese Affair, was published by Margaret River Press in 2016.
Joan London is an award-winning Australian author whose books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim, including Gilgamesh (2001), The Good Parents (2008) and The Golden Age (2014).
Brigid Lowry has a masters degree in Creative Writing. She writes poetry, essays, young adult books, and lists. Her latest title is Still Life with Teapot: On Zen, Memoir and Creativity.
James Lush is the founder and director of Lush Digital Media. With a Masters Degree in Psychology James started out at the BBC in the UK.
Donna Mazza teaches writing and literature at Edith Cowan University South West campus and has been a judge of the Margaret River Short Story Competition.
Alistair was born in the UK and now resides in Australia with his family. He is passionate about travel and is a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers.
Rashida Murphy has a Masters in English Literature and a PhD in Writing. In 2016 she won the Magdalena Prize for feminist research for her thesis which includes the novel The Historian’s Daughter.
Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most distinguished and respected journalists. He is the former editor, presenter and interviewer for the 7.30 Report, Four Corners and Lateline.
Niomi O’Hara loves to hear and share stories as the presenter of the Saturday Breakfast program for ABC South West.
Gillian started work at the ABC in 1996 in the newsroom as a cadet reporter, and worked in television, radio and online news and current affairs as a journalist for 15 years.
Michael Palin is well known as a member of Monty Python, he’s appeared in numerous films and has presented eight very successful travel series along with their accompanying books.
Anthony Pancia is a Margaret River based writer with an interest in news and current affairs but a strong preference for just going surfing instead.
Ian Parmenter is a noted food, wine and travel writer, and broadcaster; the founding Festival Director of Tasting Australia; and the former presenter/producer of the award-winning ABCTV series Consuming Passions.
Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong, Tasmanian, and Yuin man who has written more than 30 books. In 2016, Bruce’s most recent non-fiction book, Dark Emu, won the Book of the Year and Indigenous Writer’s Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Helena Pastor is a Dutch-Australian writer of memoir and fiction. She lives in Armidale and is the author of Wild Boys: A Parent’s Story of Tough Love (UQP, 2015).
Emily Paull is a writer of short fiction and historical fiction. She has been a Young Writer-in-Residence at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre.
Nicole has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea and now lives in the south-west of Western Australia. Bloodlines is Nicole’s first novel and was shortlisted for the 2014 TAG Hungerford Award.
Amanda Smith is passionate about food and wine and has worked in the hospitality industry as a chef, manager and trainer for over 30 years.
Stephen W. Starling wanders the world as a travel writer. His latest book, Three Harleys, Three Aussies, One American Dream, chronicles racing along the backroads of the USA searching for the real America.
Leslie Thiele is this year’s winner of the Southwest prize of the Margaret River Short Story Competition. Leslie loves reading books and writing stories. Sometimes she gets mixed up and scribbles ideas in the margins.
Josephine Wilson is the co-author of the performance/theatre work The Geography of Haunted Places, and author of the novel Cusp. Her latest novel is Extinctions.
William Yeoman is Literary Editor and arts writer for The West Australian newspaper. A keen amateur musician, he is also a regular contributor to classical music magazines ‘Limelight’ and ‘Gramophone’.
The Margaret River Cultural Centre was the main venue for the 2017 Readers and Writers Festival. Our exciting feature events and workshops were held at a number of locations in and around Margaret River.
For full access to some of the festival’s top writing talents, immerse yourself in the Festival Workshop Series to gain friendly tips and practical experience, whatever your writing passion may be.
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The 2017 Festival Program explores the art of storytelling in many forms and illustrates the importance of literature, discussion and critical thinking in shaping lives and perspectives.