Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 takes place on Saturday 14 May. We begin at 12 midday and end at nightfall.
Two venues are being used at the community centre. Twelve panels, over 30 writers in conversation and another ten ‘hot spots’ with speakers, musicians, visual storytellers and spoken word artists on stage for ten minutes only to enliven the festival even further.
Your MCs for the day
Miriam Hechtman is a writer, poet and producer. She is the founder, host and creative director of POETICA, a live poetry and music initiative and presenter producer of WORDSMITH – the poetry podcast. She is also the editor of The Alphabet of Women (Ginninderra Press 2022) and a regular contributor to various literary and commercial journals. Miriam also partnered with photographer Harry Borden on SURVIVOR – A Portrait of the Survivors of the Holocaust. www.movingtrainsproductions.com
Geoff Forrester (and his alter-ego Tug Dumbly) is a poet and performer who has worked extensively in radio, venues and schools. He has been resident-poet on ABC radio (Triple J and ABC 702), and released two spoken-word CDs through the ABC. His awards include the Banjo Paterson Prize for Comic Verse (twice), and Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup (thrice). His poems have appeared in major publications and he has many shortlistings for prestige awards. In 2020 he won the Borranga Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection, Son Songs, came out in 2018. He likes photography and nature, especially cicadas.
Kween G is an MC, hip hop artist and community advocate. She has been a cross-cultural facilitator for events including the Sydney Festival, Africultures Festival, Ethics Centre IQ2 debate, Marrickville Festival and the Women’s Scream International Poetry Festival. Kween has developed and delivered music workshops across the Northern Territory and NSW. Kween currently sits on the advisory panel of the Australian Women in Music Awards. She joined the Addi Road Community Organisation Board in March 2020. Kween brings her consciousness-raising hip hop spirit to the occasion.
Dina Petrakis has spent most of her working life in the Asia Pacific region. Flying in helicopters through the Solomon Islands, supporting educational initiatives in Vanuatu and teaching incarcerated adults in NSW have been career highlights. She is currently leading an ethnic community services organisation at Addi Road.
Panellists, writers, performers, poets and storytellers
Safdar Ahmed is a Sydney-based artist/musician and academic who has just released his debut graphic novel, called Still Alive. Safdar’s art deals with Islamophobia in Australia among other things like an autobiographical insight into his bi-racial Indian Muslim upbringing. He is also a recipient of the Walkley journalistic award for his comic on the Villawood detention centre. Safdar is also in a heavy metal band called Hazeen, they smash racist cakes during their performance. Safdar’s comic : https://tinyurl.com/yc5vcwt9. Portrait of Safdar by Jin Hien Lau.
Mridula Amin is a Photojournalist and Reporter with the ABC in the Sydney newsroom. She has received three Walkley awards for her long-form feature and visual work and was named the 2021 Walkleys Young Australian Journalist of the Year. Mridula has created visual stories for international publications including The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. She is currently on a one-year hiatus from the ABC completing a teaching fellowship with Google News Lab to train other journalists before returning to the ABC in 2023.
Rosanna Barbero is CEO of Addi Road. She has worked for decades in the global south in women’s rights, gender and trade issues and the impact of neoliberalism on HIC (Heavily Indebted Countries). Her work has been in the sectors of community resources rights, women’s rights, food sovereignty, agrarian reform, and labour and migration rights. She has worked in solidarity with grassroots movements, unions and activists on the building of alternative systems that challenge IMF and World Bank policies. Her work at Addi Road is in the area of food, racial, gender, climate and economic justice.
Johnny Barker is a photographer/journalist whose street photography is based around Central Station and Surry Hills. He has a collection that sits with the City of Sydney Library, and has won numerous photography competitions. His work has become more impressionistic as he searches to find the essence of the subject, rather than simply record the moment. His slideshow ‘How Many Roads’ previews an exhibition of the same name being held at the StirrUp Gallery in association with Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022.
Ethan Bell is a Wallabalooa man from the Ngunnawal Nation. He is an emerging artist and writer based on Dharrawal country Campbelltown. Ethan’s practice involves storytelling, production, and education. Ethan writes poetry to give insight into his life. His work has been published by Redroom Poetry, Magbala Books and Sydney Living Museums. He is currently an artist educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art and is studying a Bachelor of Arts at Western Sydney University.
Miro Bilbrough is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Dulwich Hill, Sydney. In the Time of the Manaraons, a memoir of her counter-culture New Zealand adolescence, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2021 and has been critically lauded. Her poetry has been widely anthologised, with her chapbook Small-time Spectre published by Kilmog in 2010. She has written and directed the short/feature films Floodhouse (2004), Being Venice (2012), which premiered at Sydney Film Festival, Bartleby (2001) and Urn (1995); and has a Creative Doctorate of Arts in screenwriting and screen studies from the Writing and Research Centre, Western Sydney University. Excerpts and trailers for her films can be viewed at www.mirobilbrough.com
Vanessa Berry lives and works on Gadigal land. She is the author of four books, including Gentle and Fierce, a memoir about human and animal relationships, and the award-winning Mirror Sydney, about change, memory and the urban environment. Her work on memory, places and objects also includes the long-running autobiographical zine I am a Camera, and her zines and illustrations have been exhibited at major Australian galleries. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney.
Ben Bohane is an Australian photojournalist and tv producer based in Vanuatu who has reported across the Asia Pacific region for the past 30 years. In particular he has focused on “kastom and conflict” in the Pacific for a variety of global media. He is the co-founder of the war photography collective degreesouth.photos and in 2019 was named the inaugural winner of the Walkley/Sean Dorney award for Pacific journalism. His several books include The Black Islands-Spirit and War in Melanesia. He is at work on a novel set in Bougainville entitled To Meet With Eternal Spirits.
Luke Carman is the author of An Elegant Young Man, which was awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing and shortlisted for ALS Gold Medal. In 2014 he was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist. His second fiction collection, An Ordinary Ecstasy, is due out in 2022.
Lo Carmen is an internationally acclaimed cult singer-songwriter. She has recently published Lovers Dreamers Fighters, her debut with Harper Collins; a loose weave memoir/cultural history with a focus on trailblazing women. Fellow musician Paul Kelly described it as “a hard won account of the mess, glory and risk of making art… And she writes like a river.” Lo Carmen has also written for The Guardian, SMH, Meanjin, Vogue and the Women of Letters anthologies.
Alyson Colquitt is an artist, youth worker and an advocate for incarcerated women and girls. Ally uses her own experiences overcoming addiction and incarceration to mentor young women in the ‘Healing From Within’ program at Women’s Justice Network. Ally has written for ‘The Guardian’ and been featured in ‘New York Times’ and ABC ‘Conversations’ Podcast.
Stephanie Convery is the inequality reporter at Guardian Australia. She was its deputy culture editor for five years, and previously the deputy editor at Overland magazine and a freelance writer and arts worker. Her first book is the critically acclaimed After the Count: The Death of Davey Browne (Viking), which was longlisted for the Walkley book award among others. She is also heavily involved in grassroots sport and is the vice president of Elsternwick Amateur Football Club.
Jack Ellis is a writer and musician who lives in Marrickville. His new novel, Home and Other Hiding Places (Ultimo Press), was published in February 2022. He is also the author of The Best Feeling of All (2014). For the past 13 years, he has worked as a Family Mediator. This gives him a unique insight into family and relationship dynamics, and it has helped to shape his recent writing.
Henry Everingham is a former rock journalist, TV critic, graphic artist and rock singer who, ten years ago, dragged himself from the smouldering ruins of the Fairfax publishing empire and reinvented himself as a drug counselor. Methadonia is his first novel.
Rick Feneley is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. Currently the deputy opinion editor at The Sydney Morning Herald, he has worked in various senior writing and editing roles for that masthead, including as its long-term night editor, and for which he spent several years focused on an investigation into Sydney’s gay-hate murders. He was also the editor of The Sun-Herald from 2010 to 2012. Rick has previously worked for SBS, where he established an investigations unit, and at The Daily Telegraph and The Australian. He was at The Northern Territory News and ABC radio in Darwin in the mid-1980s, when he covered the Uluru handover to traditional owners and the Chamberlain royal commission. Rick’s first novel, Sly, was published by Pan Macmillan in 1995. His latest novel, Life After Ted, is being considered by publishers.
Chris Fleming is Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University, where he is also a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir On Drugs (Giramondo:2019) and has written widely on literature, philosophy, and culture.
Craig Foster enjoyed a celebrated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo and 40th Captain. Currently with Stan, he is a well-known sports broadcaster with an 18-year, triple Logie winning career. Increasingly known for his moral courage in speaking out for minority and marginalised communities, he believes that it’s time for sport to live its slogans and grand statements by embedding internationally-recognised human rights into global sporting bodies. Craig is an Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility with Torrens University and he sits on the Multicultural Council of Australia. He works across a vast range of social programs from Indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence, climate action, gender equality and is particularly well known for his refugee advocacy. Craig is an ambassador for Amnesty Australia, the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Addison Road Community Organisation.
Eda Gunaydin is a Turkish-Australian writer and researcher interested in class, race and diaspora. Her essays and creative non-fiction can be found at Meanjin, Sydney Review of Books and The Lifted Brow. She has been shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award and the Scribe Non-Fiction Prize. She is currently Contributing Editor at Sydney Review of Books, and her debut essay collection Root and Branch was published this year.
James Jiang is a writer, editor, and recovering academic based in Melbourne/Naarm. His work has appeared in a variety of venues in Australia (Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books, Cordite Poetry Review, LIMINAL Review of Books) and abroad (Cambridge Quarterly, Ploughshares, Modernism/modernity). He is currently Assistant Editor at Australian Book Review.
Luke Johnson was born and raised in Young, NSW. He is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Wollongong, prize-winning author of the short-story collection Ferocious Animals (Recent Work Press, 2021), and treasurer of the Australian Short Story Festival. His writing has appeared in numerous Australian publications, including Griffith Review, Westerly, Southerly, Island, HEAT, Overland, The Lifted Brow and Going Down Swinging.
Locust Jones: My practice is about the world going mad. The World of News streaming into my head like a Tsunami of Images in a Bucolic Blue Mountains setting. I wait in my studio for the outside world’s Mass Media Maelstrom to filter through the airwaves, it’s unsettling vibe sets off a cataclysm that punctuates nerve endings causing a reaction, this reaction is drawing. The drawings are mostly long scroll-like timelines of events (up to 100 metres long). The method employed to create the works uses bamboo calligraphy sticks applying ink rapidly onto scrolls of cotton rag paper. I have my studio set up like a News room and I Interpret what I see and hear directly into drawings. I have exhibited extensively in Australia and around the world including Germany, USA and New Zealand. My practice extends into performance, sculpture and installation art. My work has been collected by many major institutions including AGNSW, NGA, the NGV and the National War Memorial Museum of Australia.
Adam Laerkesen is an Australian sculptor who creates hauntingly beautiful works that respond to his personal experiences of growing up in isolation in rural Queensland. Many of Laerkesen’s sculptures take the familiar forms of animals, tightly bound in cloth to create mysterious echoes of their former selves. The works are created from a variety of materials including wood, metal, cloth, flocking and found objects. His sculpture at Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 is called Precipice.
Dang Lan is a multi-instrumentalist and performer of Vietnamese popular and folk music. Toby Martin is a Western rock musician and songwriter, best known as the singer in Youth Group. Lan and Toby met while working on Songs From Northam Avenue (Urban Theatre Projects) five years ago and have been friends and musical collaborators ever since. Together they have been working on new songs – songs about journeys to and from Australia, and complicated feelings about home, longing and displacement – as well as traditional Vietnamese songs given a new twist. These songs represent a meeting point between Lan and Toby’s two musical traditions. They have performed together at Carriageworks, Casula Powerhouse, NGV, and at Lunar New Year celebrations. They are currently working on an album. [Portrait photo by Lyndal Irons]
Jin Hien Lau is a proponent of the values of narrative across all forms of media and practices. He believes that in order to tell a good story, you must listen to a thousand better ones from everyone and everywhere first. Based in Sydney but a frequent collaborator on projects across Asia, Jin has applied his craft to fields ranging from prints, comics, illustrations and animations. Jin’s comic: https://iamnotavirusaustralia.org.au/jin-hien-lau/
Tanya Lee is the founder of The CorriLee Foundation named after her grandmother Corrie. Tanya has been working in the charity sector for nearly 30 years, working alongside many charitable organisations like Kids Helpline, SANE Australia, Lou’s Place, Rally4Ever, Dying with Dignity and Unharm. Tanya’s primary focus is intra-familial Child Sexual Abuse where she puts on fundraisers, events, talking forums and most notably the No Laughing Matter podcast series featuring Susie Porter, Jean Kittson, Adam Hills, Craig Foster, Rev. Bill Crews and many others.
Barbara Licha says her past work involved painting and graphic approaches to drawing that involved pen and ink. Inspired by her drawings, the Polish-Australian artist began to experiment in the studio with sculpture, initiating the process of creating figures with chicken wire. She soon realised, “the figures did not need clay or plaster.” And that something more interesting was happening, “a sense of three dimensions with the lines. It’s like placing a drawing into the space.” For more on Barbara and her sculptures: https://cityhubsydney.com.au/2020/02/barbara-licha-in-progress/
Angelique Lu is a reporter and producer for the ABC. She began her career at the BBC as a News Journalism Trainee in 2015 and worked as a reporter, producer and newsreader at the BBC in Belfast and London. She returned to Australia in 2017, where she worked at ABC Radio Sydney, the NSW state newsroom and the central west in Orange. She has also worked as a researcher on two publications for the UN.
Belinda Lopez is a documentary audio maker, writer and researcher whose poetry, essays and features have been published in Australia and internationally. Belinda’s manuscript based on anthropological and historical research with West Papuan communities in Indonesia was shortlisted for the Vogel Literary Award. Several documentaries have also been recognised by the United Nations, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International, among others. As the daughter of Spanish migrants who left a dictatorship to come to Australia, Belinda’s work has always been driven by a commitment to democracy, and fascination with the stories we tell each other, and those we cannot, through history, as nations, in families, and more.
Craig McGregor (1933 – 2022) was a prize-winning journalist, author and educator. He wrote 26 books including two novels, collections of short stories, books of essays, a memoir, a book on Bob Dylan and several books on Australian society. He won two Walkley Awards for his feature profiles. He was known as one of the outstanding social commentators of his generation and a genuine trailblazer as a journalist. Our media panel ‘Breaking the News’ is dedicated to his memory.
Uncle Wes Marne is a Bigambul Elder best known for his storytelling and work as an advocate and champion for Aboriginal youth and families across the Greater Sydney Region. In Through Old Eyes – Poems by Uncle Wes Marne we have the chance to celebrate his 100th year just a few weeks after the anniversary of his birth, 25 April 1922. Uncle Wes’ book is also proudly signals the relaunch of BLACKBOOKS®️as a publishing house.
Vivienne Moore started the Welfare Alliance last year to help those in need of assistance with Centrelink claims. What has grown from her experience of listening to hundreds of stories of people experiencing fear, desperation and shame at the situation they find themselves is an idea is to use her personal story and the stories told to her as an instrument of change. To connect people with the real life struggle and the human side of the welfare in Australia. Prior to starting the welfare alliance Vivienne worked as a medical researcher but retired due to a chronic long term illness. The clear message she wants to convey is this can happen to anyone – and the government may not be there for support. A very common story throughout Covid and again now with welfare payments being reduced to an unliveable amount. The problems of homelessness and hunger are being seen at higher and higher rates; action and protesting policy is needed.
Mark Mordue is a writer, editor, journalist and poet. He is the author of the biography Boy on Fire – The Young Nick Cave (HarperCollins Australia, 2020). He has also published the poetry collection Darlinghurst Funeral Rites (Transit Lounge, 2018) and the travel memoir Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip (AllenandUnwin, 2001). He is the winner of a 1992 Human Rights Media Award and the 2010 Pascall Prize: Australian Critic of the Year. His novel There’s No Telling will be published in 2023; with the second volume of his Nick Cave biography project to follow in 2024. Mark is Addi Road’s Media and Communications Manager and, together with Sheila Ngoc Pham, Artistic Director of Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022.
Meg O’Shea is a comic and sometimes animation artist based in Sydney. She makes largely autobiographical and non-fiction work. Her work deals with her identity as a Korean adoptee and the navigation of racial identity in Australia and Korea. She has been published by multiple international online comic portals and is working on a long-form autobiographical comic. Meg has recently lived in Korea until COVID hit and misses fresh Makgeoli (potent Korean rice alcohol). Meg’s comic: https://megoshea.com/pyeongtaek/
Norman Erikson Pasaribu was born in Jakarta in 1990. His first short story collection Hanya Kamu yang Tahu Berapa Lama Lagi Aku Harus Menunggu (Only You Know How Much Longer I Should Wait) was shortlisted for the 2014 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Prose. His debut poetry collection Sergius Mencari Bacchus (Sergius Seeks Bacchus) won the 2015 Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Competition, was shortlisted for the 2016 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry and named by Tempo as one of the best poetry collections of that year. His latest book, Happy Stories, Mostly was longlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize.
Tom Patterson studied engineering and has worked in Australia and Europe. His first book, Missing was published by Allen & Unwin in February 2022. An extract of Missing won a Walkley Award. He lives in Sydney with his partner and two children.
Sheila Ngoc Pham is a writer, editor and producer. She writes for a wide range of literary and mainstream publications, and was a finalist for the 2021 Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. She was a co-producer of Tongue Tied and Fluent, an audio documentary series for ABC RN, which was awarded a 2021 ABU-UNESCO Together for Peace Media Award. Sheila previously held digital and editorial roles at the ABC and is currently undertaking a PhD at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation. She is an Artistic Director of Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022.
Felicity Plunkett is an award-winning poet and critic. Her poetry collections are Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009), Seastrands (Vagabond, 2011) and A Kinder Sea (UQP, 2020). Felicity was Poetry Editor with University of Queensland Press for nine years and edited the anthology Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and is a regular reviewer and essayist. Her latest essay is ‘Plath Traps’, published by Sydney Review of Books.
Bronwyn Rennex is a writer, artist and arts professional. Her first book, Life with Birds, will be released by Upswell Publishing in June 2022. She graduated from the University of Sydney with an MA in Creative Writing in 2021, receiving the Dr Colin Roderick Award for her thesis. Her poetry has been published in Cordite Poetry Review and her photographs have been exhibited widely and are held in private and public collections. Until 2017, she was Co-Director of Stills Gallery in Sydney, where she worked with some of Australia’s most celebrated artists.
Paul van Reyk is a food writer and historian. He is the author of True to The Land: A History of Food in Australia published by Reaktion in 2021. Paul has been published in Petit Propos Culinaires, Gastronomica and Divine magazine, and has presented at Symposiums of Australian Gastronomy. He also self-published a facsimile copy of his grandmother’s recipe book, The Recipe Book of Ada de la Harpe.
Warren Roberts is the founder of YARN Australia. “Australians are so passionate about progress and solving problems. Straight away they say ‘let’s find a solution’. They’re very solution-oriented. Projects, actions and to do lists. But they are not very relationship oriented.” His organisation believes in a more real and deeper dialogue, “creating relationships and intentional connections through storytelling between Original Sovereign Nations of Australia and all peoples of Mother Earth with a vision of unity for this continent of Australia.“ Warren brings that vision powerfully to life every time he speaks.
Simon Rosenbaum is Scientia Associate Professor in the Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health, UNSW Sydney. Simon is the president of the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and co-chair of the Olympic Refuge Foundation’s Think Tank on sport and humanitarian settings. His research addresses the intersection of mental and physical health, with a focus on exercise and lifestyle interventions. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and worked for the United Nations in Bangladesh as a mental health officer in the Rohingya refugee crises. Since 2019, Simon has been recognised by the Clarivate Highly Cited list for mental health, awarded to the top 1% of researchers in a given field worldwide. Simon is also the Founder of Addi Moves.
Anna Salleh combines a passion for journalism and music. In her long-standing role as an editor and journalist for the ABC, Anna produces online news, features and profiles on science, health and environmental topics, as well radio programs on a range of subjects. She is also a seasoned performer of bossa nova and related Brazilian music styles, and traced her own journey of musical discovery in a documentary called Brazil Calling. Her most recent project is Salleh Ben Joned: A Most Unlikely Malay, a moving two-part ABC series that explored the provocative life of her late father.
Claudia Taranto is a Walkley Award-winning senior producer with Radio National’s Earshot and The History Listen. She has been an audio storyteller for most of her life, producing many biographies for podcasting: Hosea Easton-Australia’s first black banjo player, The Cop and the Crim, Searching for Trough Man, The Last Jew of Essaouira. She previously headed up the RN shows 360documentaries and Street Stories, mentoring dozens of Australia’s radio and podcast producers. She taught First Nations broadcasters at James Cook University for a couple of years and also leads the Writers in Prison committee of PEN Sydney.
Simon Thomsen is an award winning food and travel writer, covering everything from the farmgate to plate for nearly 20 years. He co-edited six editions of the Good Food Guide, has been restaurant critic for the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph, appeared on Masterchef and Iron Chef Australia, and has worked as a chef and waiter. His perfect meal is sausages and mash.
Tiffany Tsao is a writer and literary translator. She’s written three books, the most recent of which is Under Your Wings, which was longlisted for the Ned Kelly Award and released in North AmerPrithica and the UK as The Majesties. She is the translator of Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s Happy Stories, Mostly and Sergius Seeks Bacchus. Their work together has been longlisted for the International Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Translation Prize.
Prithvi Varatharajan is a poet, essayist, and sometimes literary audio producer who lives in Melbourne. His debut collection of poems and prose, Entries, was published in 2020 by Cordite Books. His poems and essays have featured in journals such as Island, Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, Adaptation, Cultural Studies Review, and Peril, and his literary audio productions can be found on ABC RN and at Red Room Company. Prithvi holds an interdisciplinary PhD on ABC Radio National’s Poetica, and was a recipient of a 2020 Emerging Critics Fellowship at the Sydney Review of Books.
Michael West spent two decades working as a journalist, stockbroker, editor and finance commentator before striking out on his own in July 2016. After eight years as a commentator with The Australian and another eight years with the Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist and editor, Michael founded Michael West Media to focus on journalism of high public interest. West is a Walkley-award winner and Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences.
Wart says, “Howdee! I am a artist/performer/ writer/verb!I have been doing this for over 40 years. I also have mental health issues and take many drugs for this condition. Hmmm some good Some bad. This is a broad conversation we shall have.” Wart’s hardback book Past Wents, an exhibition collection of her paintings and poetry, is available through Apothecary Archive Publishing.
Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 is brought to you by Addison Road Community Organisation.
With thanks to Inner West Council for funding support.
And our partners The Grifter Brewing Co, Harry Hartog Bookseller, BLACKBOOKS®️, International Page and Stage, Cockatoo Comics and Giramondo Publishing.