Wergaia and Wemba Wemba writer Susie Anderson's poetry and non-fiction writing about art, artists, memory, place and love has been published widely in print and online. Selected publications include Archer Magazine, Artist Profile, Artlink,
un magazine, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. In 2018 she was a runner-up in the Overland Poetry Prize and awarded the Emerging Writers Fellowship at State Library Victoria; in 2019 she was awarded a Writers Victoria Neilma Sidney travel grant and undertook a residency with Overland Literary Journal. In 2020 she edited the online journal Tell Me Like You Mean it Volume 4 for Australia Poetry and Cordite Poetry Review. In 2021, she was a black&write! fellow and her debut poetry collection 'the body country' was released in 2023. She was born in 1989 in the regional Victorian town Horsham and now lives on Boon Wurrung land.
Tony Birch is the author of three novels: The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and four short story collections: Father’s Day, The Promise, Common People, and Dark as Last Night, which won the 2022 NSW Premier’s Literary Award Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, was shortlisted for the 2022 ABA Booksellers Choice Awards: Nielsen Adult Fiction Book of the Year, and was longlisted for the 2022 Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award. He has published two poetry collections: Broken Teeth and Whisper Songs, which was also longlisted for the 2022 Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.
Shannon Burns is a writer, critic and academic from Adelaide. His work has appeared in the Monthly, Meanjin, Australian Book Review and the Sydney Review of Books. His first book is the memoir, Childhood.
W. H. Chong is a well-known Australian book designer, and an artist whose preferred media are drawing and painting. He is also a published poet and writer on art. His instagram is an ongoing project of depicting the people he encounters. In 2013 Chong was inducted into the Australian Book Designers Hall of Fame. He lives in Melbourne. Chong has designed books for Text Publishing since its inception, but he has also been making other art all that time. The 300 portraits in his 2023 book, Portraits, are taken from drawings and paintings he has made over the last five to ten years and are a chronicle of Melbourne's creative scene.
Jessie Cole's 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 critical acclaim. Staying, a memoir, was longlisted for the 2019 Colin Roderick Award and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. She lives in northern New South Wales. With Desire, Jessie Cole has written an unabashed, thrilling exploration of the very nature of desire, a story about vulnerability and strength, loss and regeneration. A memoir of the body, Desire is a visceral book in which feeling and longing are laid bare.
Rhett Davis writes fiction that lies somewhere between the real and the unreal. He has published short stories and non-fiction widely, and his debut novel, Hovering, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2020. Hovering was published by Hachette Australia in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Readings New Australian Fiction Prize. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and a PhD in Creative Writing from Deakin University. Rhett has lived in several places but always finds his way back to Geelong/Djilang, on Wadawarrung land, where he lives with his partner and two talkative cats. He’s currently working on his second novel.
Katerina Gibson is a writer and a bookseller living in Naarm. Her stories have appeared in HEAT, Granta, Overland, The Griffith Review, New Australian Fiction, among other places. Katerina is a 2023 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her debut short story collection Women I Know won the 2023 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Jordan Gould &
Jordan Gould is a Peek Whurrong man from Warrnambool, Victoria. He performs Welcome to Country ceremonies at corporate and private gatherings. He is passionate about teaching and talking to groups about culture, language and reconciliation.
Richard Pritchard - a New Zealand-born Samoan man - has had a dream of writing books since he was a teenager. His passion for visual storytelling has led him to work in graphic design, film, animation, commercials and video games.
Their chapter books for children, Wylah the Koorie Warrior #1 (2022) and #2 (2023), starring a hero for the ages and her mega-funny megafauna friends, have been a mega-hit across the country.
Hilary Harper loves radio's ability to connect people through storytelling, a practice which transcends time, space and football codes. She has 30 years' experience in radio, and has been at the ABC since 2005, covering everything from current affairs to traffic reporting, books, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food. Hilary is curious about everything that affects us throughout our lives. Her own life goal is to one day own enough bookshelves. She currently presents Life Matters on RN. She returns to the Port Fairy Literary Weekend as a presenter.
Katherine Kovacic is the award-winning author of many short stories and books, including the Alex Clayton art mysteries and the TV-to-page adaptation of Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries. Katherine's latest book, crime thriller Seven Sisters, was published by HarperCollins Australia in January 2023, and Australia's Dogs (NLA Publishing) a richly illustrated celebration of the dog in Australian life, was released in May this.
Bestselling rural fiction author, Maya Linnell, gathers inspiration from her rural upbringing and the small communities she has always lived in and loved. Kookaburra Cottage is her fifth novel, following Paperbark Hill, Magpie’s Bend, Bottlebrush Creek and Wildflower Ridge. A former country journalist and radio host, Maya also blogs for Romance Writers Australia, loves baking up a storm, tending to her rambling garden and raising three bookworms.
Rachael Mead is a writer living on unceded Peramangk country in South Australia. She’s had an eclectic life, working as an archaeologist, environmental campaigner and seller of books both old and new. Rachael’s work has been widely published in Australia and internationally, including four collections of poetry. Her debut novel, The Application of Pressure, was released by Affirm Press in May 2020 and her second novel, The Art of Breaking Ice, was released earlier this year.
For over 20 years Robyn has worked seasonally as a ship-based tour guide in Antarctica, Svalbard, East Greenland, the Norwegian coast and wild Scotland. Her numerous visits to Svalbard in the High Arctic inspired her new 2021 novel Cold Coast. At home in Tasmania, Robyn guides nature-based treks, writes, tutors and mentors students of creative writing.
Matt Neal is an award-winning ABC reporter, as well as being an author, musician (The 80 Aces, Doctor & The Apologies), songwriter, podcaster, film reviewer, blogger (Movies8MyLife), screenwriter and playwright. He grew up on dairy farms in south-west Victoria and still lives in the region with his family in Warrnambool. He co-wrote his first book, Bay of Martyrs, in 2017, and his podcast Can You Believe It? has been explaining the unexplained since 2019. He returns to the Port Fairy Literary Weekend as a moderator.
Factual writer by day, novelist by night, Gina Perry is an award-winning author, science historian and former psychologist whose feature articles, columns, essays and short stories have been published in newspapers and magazines including The Age, The Australian, Cosmos and New Scientist. Gina is author of two books of non-fiction, the acclaimed Behind the Shock Machine and The Lost Boys, both of which tell behind-the-scenes stories of two of psychology's most iconic experiments. Her co-production of the ABC Radio National doco Beyond the Shock Machine won the Silver World Medal for a history documentary in the 2009 New York Festivals radio awards, she was runner up for the Bragg UNSW Prize for Science Writing in 2013 and her work has been anthologised in Best Australian Science Writing (2013 and 2015). Her debut novel My Father the Whale (Harper Collins, 2023) was shortlisted for the 2021 Harper Collins Banjo Prize.
Dr Yves Rees (they/them) is a writer, historian and podcaster based in Naarm/Melbourne, on unceded Wurundjeri land. Yves is a Lecturer in History at La Trobe University, the co-host of Archive Fever history podcast, and author of the memoir All About Yves: Notes from a Transition (Allen & Unwin, 2021). They are also co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2022) and Transnationalism, Nationalism and Australian History (Palgrave, 2017). Their next book Travelling to Tomorrow will be published by NewSouth in 2024. Rees was awarded the 2020 ABR Calibre Essay Prize, a 2021 Varuna Residential Fellowship and the 2018 Serle Award. Their essays and criticism have been published in the Guardian, The Age, Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review, Meanjin, Griffith Review and Overland, among other publications.
Jock Serong’s six novels - Quota, The Rules of Backyard Cricket, On the Java Ridge, Preservation, The Burning Island and The Settlement - have received the ARA Historical Novel Prize, the Colin Roderick Award, the Ned Kelly Award for First Fiction and, internationally, the inaugural Staunch Prize (UK) and the Historia Award for Historical Crime Fiction (France). The Settlement is his latest novel. He lives with his family and is part of the local surfing community on the southwest coast in Victoria. He is part of the organising committee of the Port Fairy LIterary Weekend.
Jayne Tuttle is the author of Paris or Die and My Sweet Guillotine. Paris or Die was developed into a solo theatre show in 2021, and has been performed since in venues throughout Victoria including La Mama. Jayne is a graduate of Melbourne University, the National Theatre Drama School and the Lecoq Theatre School in Paris. She is a long-term resident of the Centre les Récollets and is a 2023 lauréate of the Ville de Paris. She has received writing fellowships from Varuna, the La Napoule Art Foundation and Bundanon. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She co-owns The Bookshop at Queenscliff in coastal Victoria.
Ben Walter is one of Australia’s most widely-published contemporary writers of literary short fiction. His stories have been produced for Radio National, and have appeared in Meanjin, Overland, The Saturday Paper, Lithub, Best Summer Stories, Westerly and a range of other periodicals. In his collection, What Fear Was, Walter combines beautiful, mesmerising writing with surreal discomfort and absurdist hilarity to completely upend the idea of an Australian short story.
R.W.R. McDonald (Rob) is an award-winning author, a Kiwi and Queer dad living in Melbourne with his two daughters and one HarryCat. His debut novel, The Nancys, won Best First Novel in the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Awards, as well as being a finalist in the Best Novel category. It was shortlisted for Best First Novel in the 2020 Ned Kelly Awards, and Highly Commended for an Unpublished Manuscript in the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. His second novel, Nancy Business, was a finalist for Best Novel in 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Rob returns to the festival this year with his first book for children, Happy Millionth Birthday.
Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and bestselling author of 23 books, including The Good Life, The Art of Belonging and his latest non-fiction, The Kindness Revolution. Hugh's captivating 2023 novel, The Therapist, explores some of the deepest yearnings of the human heart.
Robert Gott was born in the Queensland town of Maryborough in 1957, and lives in Melbourne. He has published many books for children, and is also the creator of the newspaper cartoon The Adventures of Naked Man. He is the author of the William Power series of crime-caper novels set in 1940s Australia (Good Murder, A Thing of Blood, Amongst the Dead, and The Serpent’s Sting), and of the Murders series (The Holiday Murders, The Port Fairy Murders, The Autumn Murders, and The Orchard Murders). In his latest novel, Naked Ambition, Robert explores a collision of art, politics, religion, and gender in present-day Australia.
Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was named in Readings Top Ten Fiction Books of 2016 and her bestselling The Mother Fault was longlisted for the 2021 ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year and shortlisted for the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Kate teaches creative writing and co-hosts The First Time podcast – which features conversations with Australian writers – and is currently undertaking a PhD in creative practice at RMIT University. Kate lives in Hurstbridge on Wurundjeri lands, with her partner and two children. Kate’s third novel is The Hummingbird Effect, released this year.
Josephine Rowe is the author of three story collections and a novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal. Her story collection Here Until August was shortlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize. In 2022, she was in residence at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Centre at the New York Public Library, researching a new novel.
Andrea Rowe is a best-selling, award-winning children’s author. Her debut picture book Jetty Jumping (Hardie Grant) won the 2022 Children’s Book Council of Australia, Picture Book of the Year for Early childhood and Shortlisted for the 2023 Australian Speech Pathology Book of the Year. Its follow-up Sunday Skating has been released in Australia, and internationally in 2023, as well as her soon-to-be-released Little Worlds eco-exploring board book series with illustrator Hannah Sommerville. A skilled storyteller, Andrea features in Teacher, Teacher, an anthology with Affirm Press and is the winner of the 2020 Hal Porter Short Story Award, and Highly Commended for the Mulga Bill Writing Award 2023, and the 2022 Newcastle Short Story Award.
Hayley Scrivenor is a former festival director and the author of Dirt Town, which was published internationally in 2022 and quickly became a #1 Australian bestseller. The novel has been shortlisted for multiple national and international awards. In 2023, it won the ILP John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ+ Mystery and the ABIA for General Fiction Book of the Year. Hayley has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong and lives on Dharawal country, on the east coast of Australia.
Olivia Coates is an early childhood professional and children’s author living and writing on Gunditjmara land, in South West Victoria. Her debut picture book Shadow Wall, illustrated by Anastasia Buknina, was released in May this year. Olivia’s second picture book is a new collaboration with Samantha McLelland and is expected to hit shelves in early 2025. Olivia is a nature enthusiast who finds inspiration everywhere, but particularly her local beach and countless anecdotes from life on a dairy farm.
Karen Ginnane is a Melbourne-based author for middle grade and young adult readers. Penguin Random House Australia published her debut novel, When Days Tilt, in July 2021 and the sequel, When Souls Tear, in July 2022. These historical fantasy adventures, set in Victorian London and a parallel city, are part of The Time Catchers series. Karen self-published ahead of the curve at the age of ten in her home town of Perth in W.A. Since A Horse Named Ginger was released, Karen has been variously employed as a freelance copywriter, a marketing director for Paramount Pictures in London, a grain weigh-bridge operator in rural W.A., a swimming teacher, a life model, a deckhand in Chile and an English teacher in Japan. She also once taught a Catholic nun how to bellydance.
Michael Winkler is the author, co-author and editor of numerous books. Winkler won the Calibre Essay Prize in 2016 for ‘The Great Red Whale’, an essay about Uluru, relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, mental illness and Moby Dick. His journalism, short fiction, reviews and essays have been widely published and anthologised. His 'exploded non-fiction novel' Grimmish was published by Puncher & Wattman in 2022 and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Michael returns this year to the PFLW as a Moderator.