2015 Speakers


Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the award-winning & internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books for both adults and children. Her books for adults include ‘The Wild Girl’, the love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy-tales; ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy-tale; and the bestselling fantasy series ‘Witches of Eileanan’ Her books for children include ‘The Gypsy Crown’, ‘The Puzzle Ring’, and ‘The Starkin Crown’ Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy-tale retellings at the University of Technology, Sydney.


[in alphabetical order]

Goldie Alexander

Goldie Alexander’s short stories articles and 80 plus books for adults, young adults and children are published both here and overseas. Her historical fictions for young readers include: “My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove” (First Fleet, 1790) “Mavis Road Medley”(Melbourne, 1933), “The Youngest Cameleer” (discovery of Uluru, 1873), “Gallipoli Medals” ( past and present), “Body and Soul: Lilbet’s Romance”(Melbourne 1938) , “That Stranger Next Door” (Melbourne 1954), and “My Holocaust Story: Hanna” (Warsaw Ghetto 1939). She facilitates creative writing workshops, and mentors emerging authors. My website is www.goldiealexander.com.

Nicole Alexander

Nicole is the author of four bestselling Australian Fiction novels: ‘The Bark Cutters’, ‘A Changing Land’, ‘Absolution Creek’ and ‘Sunset Ridge’. ‘The BarkCutters’ was shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award in 2011. Nicole’s novels have been praised for their authenticity and rich historical detail, much of which is drawn from primary source material in the form of family archives dating back 140 years. Nicole’s novels, poetry, travel, writing and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, America, Singapore, New Zealand, Germany & Canada. Nicole’s fifth novel, ‘The Great Plains’ will be published November 2014. Her website is www.nicolealexander.com.au.

Jean Bedford

Jean Bedford is the author of the short-story collections ‘Country Girl Again’, and ‘Colouring In’ (with Rosemary Creswell), the novels ‘Sister Kate’ (about the Kellys), ‘A Lease of Summer’ (set in PNG before Independence), ‘Love Child, If With a Beating Heart’ (about Clare Clairmont and the Shelleys), ‘Now You See Me’, and three detective novels. She has been widely anthologised, has edited several short story and essay collections and has been the judge of major literary awards, including the Vogels/Australian Award and the Kibble Award, as well as being an assessor for Australia Council literary grants. She taught Creative Writing for many years, is a member of the Board of Directors of the New South Wales Writers’ Centre and is the co-Editor, with Linda Funnell, of the online journal the ‘Newtown Review of Books’: newtownreviewofbooks.com.au

Jesse Blackadder

Jesse Blackadder is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women in history, and very cold places. She is the author of five novels for adults and children, including Chasing the light (Fourth Estate 2013) a fictionalised retelling of true story of the first women to reach Antarctica, which she wrote as part of a Doctor of Creative Arts. Jesse won the 2011-12 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship and the 2012 Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism for her Antarctic work. Her previous novel, The Raven’s Heart, was set in 16th century Scotland and based on the story of her Blackadder ancestors. Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Historical Fiction (USA 2013), the 2013 Golden Crown prize for dramatic fiction, the bronze medal for historical fiction in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (USA 2013) and the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Development Award (2010), The Raven’s Heart was published in Australia in 2011 by Fourth Estate and internationally in 2012. Jesse has been a writer-in-residence in Alaska, Antarctica, outback NSW, Varuna, and Byron Bay. Her website is www.jesseblackadder.com

Marg Bates

Marg Bates is a voracious reader who has reviewed hundreds of novels on her blog, ‘The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader’. She also one of the founders of the ‘Historical Tapestry’ blog and provides a monthly round up of historical fiction for the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge.

Prue Batten

A former journalist from Australia who graduated with majors in history and politics, Prue Batten is now a historical fiction writer who is also a farmer, dog owner, gardener, kayaker and embroiderer. Initially a writer of historical fantasy, in 2012 her third novel, ‘A Thousand Glass Flowers’, won a silver medal with the Readers’ Favorites USA Annual Book Awards. In the same year, her first historical fiction, ‘Gisborne: Book of Pawns’ (Book One of The Gisborne Saga), was awarded an honourable mention in the Golden Claddagh Book Awards USA. Set within the turbulent twelfth century the same book received an honourable mention in the RONE Awards USA in 2013. ‘Book of Pawns’ and ‘Book of Knights’ (Book Two of the saga) have ranked in the Top 100 of biographical fiction on Amazon.co.uk since July of 2013. ‘Book of Kings’, the third and final novel in the trilogy, ranked in the Top 100 of biographical fiction in the UK within its first 24 hours of publication and all three books continue to rank unbroken. She is currently working on her new novel, ‘Tobias’, the story of a twelfth century minstrel and a broken life, due to be released in 2015.

Jane Caro

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. She is in high demand as a speaker and conference facilitator. She has two grown daughters and she and her husband divide their time between their home in suburban Sydney and a cattle property in the Upper Allyn. Her second novel ‘Just a Queen’, the sequel to her first ‘Just a Girl’, will be published in April 2015. She is currently working on a memoir for Pan MacMillan called ‘Plain Speaking Jane’ which will be her eighth book. She writes regular columns for Mt magazine and Sunday Life. In 2013 she created, wrote and presented a 6 part radio series for ABC Life Matters For Better, For Worse. In 2015 this series will be recreated as a 4 part TV special on ABC Compass. Jane appears regularly in the media including Sunrise, Weekend Sunrise, The Gruen Transfer and Planet, Q&A, The Drum and The Project.

Deborah Challinor

Deborah Challinor is the author of eleven bestselling historical fiction novels, two works of non-fiction about the Vietnam War, and a young adult novel to be released in 2015. In 2010 she moved from New Zealand to Newcastle, NSW, to write a series of novels set in 1830s Sydney about four convict girls, inspired by her own family history. The first two books in this series have been published – ‘Behind the Sun’ and ‘Girl of Shadows’ – the third, ‘The Silk Thief’, will be released at the end of 2014, and the fourth, ‘A Tattooed Heart’, will follow in 2015. Deborah has a Ph.D in history, has written an opinion column and feature articles for newspapers, edited special publications and books, and has taught researching and writing historical fiction at university for several years. She writes full time. In the same year, her first historical fiction, ‘Gisborne: Book of Pawns’ (Book One of The Gisborne Saga), was awarded an honourable mention in the Golden Claddagh Book Awards USA. Set within the turbulent twelfth century the same book received an honourable mention in the RONE Awards USA in 2013. ‘Book of Pawns’ and ‘Book of Knights’ (Book Two of the saga) have ranked in the Top 100 of biographical fiction on Amazon.co.uk since July of 2013. ‘Book of Kings’, the third and final novel in the trilogy, ranked in the Top 100 of biographical fiction in the UK within its first 24 hours of publication and all three books continue to rank unbroken. She is currently working on her new novel, ‘Tobias’, the story of a twelfth century minstrel and a broken life, due to be released in 2015.

Sherryl Clark

Sherryl Clark’s first children’s book, ‘The Too-Tight Tutu’, was published in 1997, and she now has more than 60 published books. Her titles include a number of Aussie Bites, Nibbles and Chomps, and novels. Her YA novels are ‘Bone Song’, published in the UK in 2009, and ‘Dying to Tell Me’ (KaneMiller US 2011, Australia 2014). Her historical novels for middle grade readers include Pirate X (UQP) and the Rose series (Our Australian Girl). Meet Rose was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s History Awards in 2012, and the YABBA and KOALA children’s choice awards in 2013. Her new novel, ‘Jimmy’s War’ (Do You Dare, Penguin), is set in Yarraville in WWI and will be released February 2015. Her books have been published in Australia and overseas, including the USA, UK, Spain, Mexico and China. Sherryl teaches creative writing at Victoria University TAFE. Her website is www.sherrylclark.com

Craig Cliff

Craig Cliff is the author of ‘The Mannequin Makers’, “a superb novel of parental obsession and the lure of the unattainable” (The Hoopla), and the story collection ‘A Man Melting’, which won Best First Book in the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In 2013 he took part in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife and daughter.

Peter Corris

Peter Corris has been a university teacher, researcher and journalist. He has written more than 70 books of fiction (see www.petercorris.net) – crime novels, historical novels and spy novels. His 15 historical novels include the eight-book Browning series, ‘The Journal of Fletcher Christian’ and ‘Naismith’s Dominion’. He has written a prize-winning history of boxing in Australia and several co-authored autobiographies, including a best seller on the late Professor Fred Hollows and ‘Damned if I Do’ (2013) with Dr Philip Nitschke. He lives in Sydney with writer and editor Jean Bedford and is a regular columnist and reviewer with the ‘Newtown Review of Books’: http://newtownreviewofbooks.com.au

Barbara Gaskell Denvil

Barbara Gaskell Denvil has been a writer all her life. Born in Gloucestershire, England, she soon moved to London and quickly built up a career publishing numerous short stories and articles while also working as a literary reviewer and critic for ‘Books and Bookmen’, a literary editor, publishers’ reader, and television script writer. She then spent many hot and colourful years sailing the Mediterranean and living in various different countries throughout Europe. When her partner died, she moved to rural Australia where she still lives amongst the parrots and wallabies, while writing full time. With a passionate interest in the late medieval and Tudor periods of English history, she has now published three novels set in this era. ‘Satin Cinnabar’ is self-published on Kindle, while ‘Sumerford’s Autumn’ and ‘The King’s Shadow’ are published in Australia by Simon and Schuster, and are available both online and in all Australian bookshops. All three are novels of adventure, mystery and romance with a strict adherence to historical accuracy.

Irina Dunn

Irina is the Director of the ID Editing and Publishing Consultancy, which provides services for individual authors seeking help with their publishing projects. She is also Director of the Australian Writers’ Network, which promotes a wide range of literary events, and Director of ID Consultancy, which provides teaching and educational resources for migrants and refugees.

Wendy J. Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn is an Australian author and playwright who has been obsessed by Anne Boleyn and Tudor History since she was ten-years-old. She is the author of two Tudor novels: Dear Heart, How Like You This?, the winner of the 2003 Glyph Fiction Award and 2004 runner up in the Eric Hoffer Award for Commercial Fiction, and The Light in the Labyrinth, her first young adult novel. While she continues to have a very close and spooky relationship with Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder, serendipity of life now leaves her no longer wondering if she has been channelling Anne Boleyn and Sir Tom for years in her writing, but considering the possibility of ancestral memory. Her own family tree reveals the intriguing fact that her ancestors – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their own holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Wendy is married and the mother of three sons and one daughter – named after a certain Tudor queen, surprisingly, not Anne. She gained her Doctorate of Philosophy (Writing) from Swinburne University in 2014. www.wendyjdunn.com

Colin Falconer

Born in north London, Colin worked for many years in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has been a novelist for the last twenty years, with over 40 works published widely in the UK, US and Europe. His books have been sold in translation in 23 countries. He travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz. He also completed a nine hundred kilometre walk of the Camino in Spain. He did not write for over five years but returned to publishing in 2010 with the release of “The Silk Road’, followed by ‘Stigmata’ and most recently ‘Isabella Braveheart of France’. www.colinfalconer.org

Vashti Farrer

Vashti Farrer writes for adults and children, fiction and non-fiction, often with history as a background. Her latest non-fiction book is – ‘Ellen Thomson – Beyond A Reasonable Doubt?’ (Halstead Press) which tells of the only woman ever executed in Queensland (1887). Her article, ‘The Only Woman’, based on the case, won the non-fiction section of the inaugural New England Thunderbolt prize for Crime Writing in 2013. Vashti has had over 60 adult short stories published and won five major short story awards. Her articles have included the Gallipoli peninsula and British military executions in WWI and her 26 children’s books cover topics such as child convicts to Van Diemen’s Land, the Eureka Stockade, Cook’s charting of the east coast of Australia, Waler horses in the Boer War and WWI, carrier pigeons in WWII, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the lead up to Federation, the first Melbourne Cup and the Home Front in WW II.

Chris Foley

Chris has had a lifelong commitment to history and to education – with history being a window to the human soul, and education being the mechanism by which human stories and insights are communicated and challenged. After beginning his professional career as a school-teacher and in allied fields, Chris moved into the field of organisational memory. For many years he has assisted organisations to understand and improve themselves by more efficient management of their own memory. Increasingly he is returning to his roots through his own website – www.historyclicking.com – through which he shares historical insights and supports individuals and organisations build their own online presence to convey their stories. As part of own commitment to lifelong learning, Chris holds undergraduate degrees in political science and sociology, and postgraduate degrees in Education, History and Information Management & Systems. His website is www.historyclicking.com

Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the award-winning & internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books for both adults and children. Her books for adults include ‘The Wild Girl’, the love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy-tales; ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy-tale; and the bestselling fantasy series ‘Witches of Eileanan’ Her books for children include ‘The Gypsy Crown’, ‘The Puzzle Ring’, and ‘The Starkin Crown’ Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy-tale retellings at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Linda Funnell

As editor and publisher Linda Funnell has specialised in fiction and has worked with novelists as diverse as Colleen McCullough, Belinda Alexandra, Diane Armstrong and Geraldine Brooks. She is also co-editor, with Jean Bedford, of the free online review the ‘Newtown Review of Books’ www.newtownreviewofbooks.com.au

Dr Rachel Franks

Dr Rachel Franks is an educator, librarian and popular culture researcher based in Sydney, Australia. Rachel is the Area Chair, Biography and Life Writing and the Area Chair Fiction for the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand. She is also a Member of the New South Wales Readers’ Advisory Services Working Group. She has delivered numerous conference papers based on her research in the areas of crime fiction, food studies and information science. Her work can be found in various books, journals and magazines as well as on social media. Rachel was a guest at the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Kelly Gardiner

Kelly Gardiner is a writer, editor and educator. Her latest book, ‘Goddess’, is a novel based on the remarkable life of the seventeenth century French swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny. Her previous books include ‘The Sultan’s Eyes’ and ‘Act of Faith’, historical novels for young adults set during the time of the English Civil Wars and the Inquisition. Both books were shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and ‘Act of Faith’ was also shortlisted for the Gold Inky Award. Her books for younger readers are the ‘Swashbuckler’ adventure trilogy – ‘Ocean Without End’, ‘The Pirate’s Revenge’ and ‘The Silver Swan’ – set in Malta during the Napoleonic invasion, and a picture book, ‘Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas’. Kelly has worked on newspapers, magazines and websites, and her articles, poems, book reviews and travel writing have appeared in journals, magazines and newspapers as diverse as ‘Marie Claire’, ‘New Idea’, and ‘Going Down Swinging’. She works at the State Library of Victoria, and has a PhD in creative writing and MA in Australian literature.

Sulari Gentill

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill set out to study astrophysics, ended up graduating in law, and later abandoned her legal career to write books instead of contracts. She grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW, which she shares with her young family and several animals. Sulari is author of the award-winning ‘Rowland Sinclair Mysteries’, a series of historical crime fiction novels set in the 1930s about Rowland Sinclair, the gentleman artist-cum-amateur-detective. The 1st in the series ‘A Few Right Thinking Men’ was shortlisted for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book. ‘A Decline in Prophets’, the 2nd in the series, won the Davitt Award for Best Adult Crime Fiction. ‘Miles Off Course’ was released in early 2012, ‘Paving the New Road’ was released in late 2012 and was shortlisted for the Davitt Award for best crime fiction 2013. ‘Gentlemen Formerly Dressed’ was released in November 2013. ‘And A Murder Unmentioned’ will be released in November 2014. Under the name S.D. Gentill, Sulari has released ‘The Hero’ Trilogy, a fantasy adventure series: ‘Chasing Odysseus’, ‘Trying War’ and ‘The Blood of Wolves’.

Posie Graeme-Evans

Six novels in and Posie now thinks of herself as a writer. It wasn’t always so. 30 obsessional years in TV as a director, series creator and producer (and sometime Executive, having been Director of Drama for the Nine Network in its glory days) meant she lived a very different life and loved it. In 2002, Variety Magazine named her as one of “Twenty Significant Women in Worldwide Film and Television” in its annual survey. In that same year her first book, “The Innocent” was published by NY based Simon and Schuster and her first album of songs came out with Sony Music. That came after she was awarded the inaugural Screen Producers of Australia “Independent Producer of the Year” for her body of work and her series, “McLeods Daughters” topped the ratings and swept the pool at the Logies. It was all a bit of a blur. Now, living between Cygnet and Sydney, she writes her books in a rebuilt Pickers Hut and loves that too. Quieter. But less crazy. Or that’s what she likes to think. Posie is a former board member of a number of organisations and associations, most recently The Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She currently serves on the Board of Screen Tasmania & is the Chair of The Tasmanian Writers Centre Board.

Alison Green

Alison Green is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pantera Press. Pantera Press is a boutique book publisher passionate about shaping Australian writing culture by discovering & nurturing talented new Australian authors who write great stories, fostering debate, and educating the next generation of Australian readers and writers through their good books doing good things program. Alison is also a director of the New South Wales Writers’ Centre, sits on both the Australian Publishers Association’s Independent Publishers Committee and the SJWF Writers’ Festival Committee, and is very active in Philanthropy Australia’s New Gen program

Natalie Grueninger

Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, who lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006. Natalie has been working in public education for the last eight years and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children. In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching this period. Her first non-fiction book, co-authored with Sarah Morris, ‘In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn’, was published by Amberley Publishing and released in the UK in late 2013. Natalie and Sarah are currently working on book number 2 in the series, ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII’. Her website is www.onthetudortrail.com.

G.S. Johnston

G.S. Johnston is an author of two historical novels, ‘The Skin of Water’ and ‘Consumption’, noted for their pithy complex characters and well-researched settings. In one form or another, Johnston has always written, at first composing music and lyrics. After completing a degree in pharmacy, a year in Italy re-ignited his passion for writing and he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Feeling the need for a broader canvas, he started writing short stories and novels. The latest novel, ‘The Cast of Troppmann’s Hand’, has taken many years to write. Inspired initially by an exhibition of phrenology death masks at the Musée d’Orsay in 2001, a tributary of ideas led to the stream of the story. His website is www.gsjohnston.com

Toni Jordan

Toni Jordan was born in Brisbane and graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Science. She has worked as a sales assistant, molecular biologist, quality control chemist and marketing manager. Her debut novel, ‘Addition’, was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award and long-listed for the Miles Franklin in 2009, and has been published in sixteen countries. Her second novel, ‘Fall Girl’, was published in 2010 and her latest, Nine Days, in 2012. Toni lives in Melbourne.

Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly is the author of three Australian historical novels, ‘Black Diamonds’, ‘This Red Earth’ and ‘The Blue Mile’. Her fourth novel will be published in 2015. All of Kim’s novels explore Australian social and political history, from celebrated national myths to dusty forgotten corners, across a broad and colourful canvas of romantic adventure. She is otherwise known as Kim Swivel, a book editor, and ghost-writer of the acclaimed World War II memoir of Ernest Brough, ‘Dangerous Days’. She lives on a small property just outside the heritage village of Millthorpe in the Central West of NSW, where the ghosts are friendly and the wild colonial veranda poles are excellently preserved.

Rachel Le Rossignol

Rachel Le Rossignol likes to think of herself as a Renaissance woman, not because she writes and edits, acts and sings, but because she has made and likes to dress up in Renaissance (and Tudor) garb. A member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, she spends her weekends recreating history without the smelly bits. She works as a freelance editor in her business, Nightingale Writing, and lectures on research in Vietnam for Victoria University. Although long fascinated by Celtic history and myth, she is currently focused on writing contemporary plays, with her play ‘No Sequel’ recently taking out both the Judges’ Award and the People’s Choice Award at the Eltham Little Theatre’s 10 minute play festival. She also co-wrote the script for (and acts in) the enormously popular ‘Murder on the Puffing Billy Express’, an exciting night of theatre and fun on the historic Melbourne steam train. Rachel completed her PhD in creative writing in 2014, for which she wrote a speculative fiction Young Adult novel with environmental themes.

Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier was born and educated in Dunedin, New Zealand, and now lives in Western Australia. Her historical fantasy novels and short stories for adults and young adults have been translated into many languages and have won a number of awards including the Aurealis Award (four times), the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Prix Imaginales and the Sir Julius Vogel Award (three times.) Juliet’s novels and short stories combine history, folkloric fantasy, romance and family drama. Her lifelong love of myths, legends, folklore and fairy tales is a major influence on her writing. Juliet’s eighteen novels include the six-book Sevenwaters series, set in early medieval Ireland; the Bridei Chronicles, based on Pictish history; the Viking duoloy Wolfskin and Foxmask, and the Shadowfell series. She is currently working on the Blackthorn & Grim series for adult readers, combining elements of history, fairy tale and mystery. The first Blackthorn & Grim novel, Dreamer’s Pool, was published by Pan Macmillan Australia and Penguin USA late in 2014. As well as writing full-time, Juliet acts as a mentor to developing writers and presents workshops on the writer’s craft. She is a member of the Committee of Literary Advisors at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, and is a regular contributor to the award-winning blog, Writer Unboxed. Her website is at www.julietmarillier.com/. Juliet is represented by Russell Galen of the Scovil Galen and Ghosh Literary Agency. When not writing, Juliet is active in animal rescue. She shares her house with a small pack of waifs and strays. Juliet is a member of the druid order OBOD (The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

Sophie Masson

Born in Indonesia of French parents, and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the author of more than 60 novels for children, young adults and adults, published in Australia and many other countries. Her historical novel, ‘The Hunt for Ned Kelly’ (Scholastic Australia), won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature in the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, while her 2002 alternative-history novel, ‘The Hand of Glory’ (Hodder) won the YA category of the 2003 Aurealis Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Many of her titles have also been shortlisted for major awards, including for the Davitt Awards with her 2012 novel, ‘Moonlight and Ashes (Random House Australia, 2012) Her most recent titles are the historical novel for children, 1914 (Scholastic); contemporary novel for children,‘Emilio’ (Allen and Unwin); YA fantasy novel, ‘The Crystal Heart’ (RHA); a non-fiction book on the recent changes in authorship and the publishing industry, ‘The Adaptable Author: Coping with Change in the Digital Age’ (Keesing Press), and ‘Trinity: The Koldun Code’, (Momentum)first in an adult thriller series. Sophie has also written four popular YA romantic thrillers under the name of Isabelle Merlin. Under the name of Jenna Austen, she has also published two romantic comedies for tweens and early teens, ‘The Romance Diaries: Ruby’ (ABC Books/Harper Collins, 2013) and ‘The Romance Diaries: Stella’ (ABC Books/Harper Collins, 2013) Her first picture book, ‘Two Trickster Tales from Russia’, illustrated by David Allan, was published by Christmas Press in 2013. Sophie has also written several novels for adults: ‘The House in the Rainforest’ (UQP 1990); psychological thriller ‘The Hoax’ (Random House 1997); and historical fantasy saga, ‘Forest of Dreams’ (Random House 2001). Her historical novels for adults, ‘My Brother Will’, (2012) based on Shakespeare’s adolescence as seen by his brother Gilbert, and ‘Black Wings: A novel of the French Revolution’ (2013), were published as e-books by AchukaBooks (UK). Her adult thriller, ‘Trinity: the Koldun Code’, which has its roots deep in Russian history and myth, was published by Momentum Books in late 2014, with a sequel to come out in 2015. Sophie also released her collection of short stories for adults, ‘The Great Deep and Other Tales of the Uncanny’, as an e-book with Sixteen Press in 2012, and a non-fiction book on authorship, ‘By the Book: Tips of the Trade for Writers’, also as an e-book, with Sixteen Press in 2013. Sophie’s essays, articles and reviews have appeared frequently in print and online, in many different outlets. She has served on the Literature Board of the Australia Council, the Book Industry Collaborative Council, the Board of Directors of the Australian Society of Authors (as Chair and Deputy Chair), the Board of the New England Writers’ Centre (as Chair)and the committee of the New England and North West sub-branch of the Children’s Book Council of NSW (as President). Her website is at www.sophiemasson.org Blog: www.firebirdfeathers.com

Isolde Martyn

Historical novelist Isolde Martyn enjoys setting her novels in turbulent times such as the Wars of the Roses or the French Revolution. Her first novel won top awards in the USA and Australia. Her earlier career was in academia and she was a book editor before taking up writing full time. She is also the vice-chair and co-founder of the Plantagenet Society of Australia. Her latest novel The Golden Widows will be published in August 2014.

Diane Murray

Diane Murray is an interior architect, writer and sometime poet who has been totally seduced by the process of on line study. She completed her MA in Creative Writing in 2006 and is currently undertaking her PhD at Swinburne University on the subject of Marion Leathem, a pioneering Australian newspaper editor from the 19th Century. Her articles and short stories have been published in professional publications and online journals. Her short story, Jessie ,won the Woorilla Festival of Words and she is currently working on her first novel, Printers Ink, a biography in epistolary form and a collection short stories. Her research into Australian feminist history and the psychology of writing biographical fiction, is the subject of her exegesis and has generated an interesting and diverse range of subjects for investigation in the areas of fact versus fiction and transference, in the writing process. Diane was previously Deputy Chairman of the New South Wales Writers Centre and is a committee member of HNSA.. Her particular writing interests are epistolary fiction, biography, historical fiction, poetry, scriptwriting and young adult fiction. Diane believes her passion for online study and writing are worthy pursuits, proving that not all addictions are bad for you and words are less fattening than chocolate. Diane can be contacted on dimurray@rocketmail.com

Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell is a bestselling, internationally published children’s and YA author with a legion of loyal fans and a history of writing in her family that spans over 200 years. After studying Literature at Macquarie University, Belinda worked as a travel journalist, editor and technical writer. A few years ago, she began writing stories for her own three children – Nick, Emily and Lachlan. Her 21 books include ‘The Sun Sword’ fantasy trilogy as well as a newly-released Lulu Bell series for younger readers. She is also known for her collection of historical timeslip tales including ‘The Sequin Star’, ‘The River Charm’, ‘The Locket of Dreams’, ‘The Forgotten Pearl’, ‘The Ruby Talisman’ and ‘The Ivory Rose’, which have been recognised by various awards, including Honour Book KOALAS 2013; shortlisted KOALAS 2014, 2011, and 2012; CBCA Notable List; and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards.

Johanna Nicholls

Johanna Nicholls comes from a theatrical family. She was a journalist and magazine feature writer in Sydney, Melbourne and London. In television she worked as a researcher/writer and Head Script Editor of Drama at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Johanna has lived in England, Italy and Greece. Her home is an 1830 convict-built sandstone cottage in Birchgrove, Sydney where she is currently writing her fourth Australian historical novel. Her first saga, ‘Ironbark’, was published by Simon and Schuster in Australia and New Zealand in 2009 and 2010. ‘Ghost Gum Valley’ was published in 2012 and 2013. ‘The Lace Balcony’ is her third novel to have been translated into German and published in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Dr Gillian Polack

Dr Gillian Polack is a Medieval historian and has PhDs in both History and Creative Writing. She researches how history and fiction interface and has a strong interest in how genre narratives operate. She has also been a reviewer, critic and non-fiction writer and an award judge. Gillian has two novels published (Ms Cellophane/Life through Cellophane was a Ditmar finalist) and has one forthcoming (Langue[dot]doc 1305). Sixteen of her short stories are in print and she has edited two anthologies (Baggage was a Ditmar finalist) and an historical cookbook. One story won a Victorian Ministry of the Arts award and three more were listed as recommended reading in international lists of world’s best stories. She has received two writing fellowships at Varuna, arts grants, and a Ditmar award for her work. www.gillpolack.livejournal.com Twitter: @GillianPolack

Felicity Pulman

Felicity Pulman is an award-winning author of numerous novels for children, teenagers and adults. Time-slip ‘Ghost Boy’ forms the basis of a special ‘Ghost Boy’ tour for schools at the Quarantine Station Sydney and is in pre-production for a movie. ‘A Ring Through Time’ invokes the brutal 2nd penal colony on Norfolk Island. ‘The Janna Chronicles’ (previously ‘The Janna Mysteries’) is a six-book medieval crime series published by Momentum through Jan-June 2015. ‘I, Morgana’ (Momentum) was Felicity’s first novel for adults, and she’s been awarded the inaugural Di Yerbury Writer’s Residency in the UK to research and write the sequel next year. www.felicitypulman.com.au

Pamela Rushby

Pamela Rushby is the author of over 200 books for children and young adults, as well as children’s TV scripts, documentaries, short stories and freelance journalism. Pam has been an advertising copywriter, pre-school teacher, and producer of educational television, audio and multimedia. She has won several awards, including the NSW Premier’s Ethel Turner Prize, three CBCA Notable Books – and a bag of gold coins at a film festival in Iran! Pam believes the strangest, most riveting, heart-breaking, laugh-out-loud stories aren’t fiction. They’re real. They come from history. And she loves tripping over unusual incidents from history – and then writing about them. Her website is www.pamelarushby.com

Elisabeth Storrs

Elisabeth Storrs has long had a passion for the history, myths and legends of the ancient world. Her curiosity piqued by an Etruscan sarcophagus depicting a couple embracing for eternity, she discovered the little known story of the struggle between Etruria and Rome, and the inspiration to write the ‘Tales Of Ancient Rome’ series. Elisabeth has experienced both traditional and self-publishing routes, recently securing a three book deal with Lake Union in America. This will see her books translated into seven languages. She is currently a director of the NSW Writers’ Centre. She is also one of the founders of the Historical Novel Society Australasia. http://elisabethstorrs.com


Louise Thurtell

Louise Thurtell has worked for a variety of publishing companies over the past 25 years and is currently a commercial fiction and non-fiction publisher at Allen & Unwin. While at Allen and Unwin, Louise is particularly proud of setting up Friday Pitch, the first electronic submission system at a major Australian publishing company. She has also been a pioneer of contemporary women’s rural fiction. A small selection of the authors Louise has published over the years includes: Peter Temple, Helen Brown, Nigel Marsh, Rae Morris, Thomas Keneally, Sara Douglass, David Darcy, Mark Bouris, Fleur McDonald, Christopher Koch, Danielle Hawkins, Therese Creed and Karly Lane. Louise is a past recipient of Australia’s premier award for editing, the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship. She receives invitations from all over Australia to give seminars to authors on writing, editing and finding a publisher.

Alison Green (Pantera Press)


Tara Wynne (Curtis Brown)


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