With only a week to go the inaugural Addi Road Writers’ Festival is assuming final shape. You will find below a list of all the confirmed guests. Panel themes and times will be announced on Monday.
Created and hosted by the Addison Road Community Organisation, the event will take place here at the Centre in Marrickville on Saturday, May 1st from 12 to 6pm. Hell, maybe we might rumble along till 7pm depending on how things go! There’s a beautiful open green area outside, so if the weather holds sunny and cool, bring a picnic blanket. We will make sure you can hear the talks and the music both inside and outside the hall. Entry is free on the day.
A few weeks ago this festival did not exist; it was just a fleeting thought. I spoke to friends. They spoke to friends. Addi Road had the spirit to run with it. The whole thing took off from out of nowhere.
I’m reminded of the great Leonard Cohen ‘The Guests’, a portrait of a lavish party and a song poem to the transmigration of the souls as the living make their not-so-easy and beautiful way into eternity. Each person making a mark or giving something essential of themselves along the way.
One of the impacts of COVID-19 has been to make us all more mortally aware, as well as highlight the virus of inequality that underlines everything from labour relations and social injustice to racism and so many failing systems and structures in our society. People want change; unity and change. Artists, musicians, writers and storytellers are often in contact with these forces – and most able to help us see or feel them, and even rise above them, now or later.
I’m hoping the guests to this place and time will bring all that and more, each in their own way – and that you will enjoy their company, as fellow guests, as we all pass through the day into the night.
– Mark Mordue
Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2021
“All at once the torches flare
The inner door flies open
One by one they enter there
In every style of passion …”
– The Guests by Leonard Cohen
Ali Whitelock’s latest poetry collection, ‘the lactic acid in the calves of your despair’is published by Wakefield Press and her debut collection,‘and my heart crumples like a coke can’(also Wakefield Press) has a forthcoming UK edition by Polygon, Edinburgh. Her memoir,‘poking seaweed with a stick & running away from the smell’was launched to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK in 2009. She has appeared & read at festivals & events in Australia, Ireland & Scotland including The Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 & 2019.www.aliwhitelock.com
For the last eight years Colin Hesse has presented a weekly program on Radio Skid Row 88.9FM covering local politics and culture. For a decade Colin was a member of Solidarity Choir, touring the UK and Ireland in 2001. Colin has worked across a wide variety of jobs including working in factories making beer taps and ink, packing boxes of stainless steel cook wear, and a dozen years on the NSW Railways doing everything from cleaning toilets, shunting trains, operating signal boxes to selling tickets. All these skills are now redundant. Colin has also worked in the former Commonwealth Employment Service, as a union organiser in universities, a speechwriter in the NSW Parliament, and is currently a second term Councillor on Inner West Council and member of The Greens.
David Brophy is a historian of China at the University of Sydney, a frequent commentator on Australia-China Relations, and the author of the forthcoming China Panic: Australia’s Alternative to Paranoia and Pandering (Black Inc.). In his academic work he specialises in the history of Xinjiang and the Uyghurs. His first book was a history of Uyghur nationalism (Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia-China Frontier, Harvard), and he has recently published a translation of a work of 18th century Sufi literature from Xinjiang, entitled In Remembrance of the Saints (Columbia University Press).
Eliza Jean Scott
Eliza Jean Scott is a performer, musician and theatre maker. Their practice lies at the intersection of film, music and live performance. Currently, Eliza is fascinated in physicalizing sound in order to explore the language of the unsaid in the body. Eliza uses loop pedals; creating soundscape and playing with audio trickery in recorded and live performance. At the beginning of 2021, Eliza performed, wrote and directed in a successful run of their one person show, pollon, at 107 Projects. They look forward to continuing to write, collaborate and make new work.
Ian is a writer who prefers shade to sunshine. His favorite sport isn’t cricket or rugby, but people watching, so he transplanted himself to New York City over three decades ago. Since then, his articles have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. Until recently, he was the New York correspondent for Sydney’s Neighbourhood Paper. Ian also has worked extensively in advertising, for clients such as Barclays, Ricoh and Deloitte. His latest media foray is in television, and he hopes to begin production later this year on a darkly comedic limited series set in New York’s subway.
Jacinta Fintan is the author of CUT: 10 Years of the Stencil Art Prize which releases in May 2021. The book explores her journey as founder and director of the Prize, and the road to building a global community of stencil artists. Jacinta also runs a public art agency The Wall Station and is producing a street art festival in Canberra this November.
Jack Marx is a journalist, blogger and author, who has won the Walkley Award for his feature I Was Russell Crowe’s Stooge’. His books include Australian Tragic: Gripping Tales from the Dark Side of our History and Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright. He is currently based in Broken Hill working on a non-fiction murder tale. He can sometimes be found posting online, rummaging around in the world of current and not-so current affairs, strange thoughts, fringe theories and utterances commonly left unuttered.
As an author Jack Sargeant has been described as “dangerously inspirational” (Six Degrees), his numerous books include Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film (2016), Against Control (2014), Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground (1995, 2007), and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (1997, 2008), among others. Primarily a curator of film, Jack also curates photography and art, and has a history of programming live music, spoken word, and performance events in Australia and Europe.
Janet Burstall helped to found the Living Incomes For Everyone (LIFE) campaign in July 2020, after JobSeeker had doubled the dole, and other government responses to COIVD-19 unexpectedly met people’s needs for the first time. LIFE’s 80+ endorsing organisations demand social security payments of a minimum of $550 a week; extension to people who had been excluded; an end to harassment of people on income support; secure homes for everyone; and well paid, socially useful, sustainable work that mitigates climate change. Janet has decades of experience in public sector union and socialist activism. She is editor of the Workers’ Liberty in Australia newsletter. She completed her Research Masters thesis in Political Economy in 2019, on minimum income policy. Her research seeks to bring a critique of twenty-first century capitalism to the labour and climate action movements.
John Corker has been a practising lawyer for 40 years who recently helped Mark Mordue extract himself from three publishing agreements and shoe-horned him into two new ones that led to publication of Mark’s new book, “Boy on Fire”. John was part of the team that established Imparja Television in Alice Springs in the late ‘80s and the National Indigenous Television Service (NITV) in 2007. He was also General Counsel for the Australian Broadcasting Authority where he got to cross examine Kerry Packer. Most recently he was the CEO of the Australian Pro Bono Centre.
Kelly Van Nelson
Kelly Van Nelson is the bestselling author of Graffiti Lane: A Poetry Collection and is represented by The Newman Literary Agency. Her short stories, non-fiction articles, and poems have featured in numerous international publications. She is the recipient of a KSP First Edition Fellowship funded by the Western Australian Government and is a prominent antibullying, domestic violence prevention, and mental health awareness advocate, leveraging the power of the spoken, written, and visual word to drive change in the world. In the spare time that she doesn’t have, you will find her hanging out on the open mic around Australia, performing poetry about social issues to raise cross-genre conversation amongst teens and adults. Those who know her well will vouch for the fact she is an outspoken Geordie who loves to eat British Monster Munch crisps as a distraction from her insomnia.
Lo Carmen has released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the Americana/alt country/indie rock vein and appeared in some of Australia’s best loved films. As a writer she has been published in The Guardian, Vogue, Meanjin, Neighbourhood and various anthologies. Her debut book out via Harper Collins in 2022, a loose weave memoir that explores the stories and the impact of a collective of singular women that have inspired her along the way.
Mark Mordue is the author of the biography Boy on Fire – The Young Nick Cave (HarperCollins / Fourth Estate, 2020). He has also published two poetry collections, Darlinghurst Funeral Rites (Transit Lounge, 2018) and Via Us: Poems From Inside the Corona (Riders on a Storm Books, digital only, 2020), and the loose-weave travel memoir, Dastgah: Diary of a Headtrip (Allen & Unwin, 2002). As a freelance journalist he has worked for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The Saturday Paper, Vogue, Elle and Rolling Stone in Australia, as well as Interview and Madison in the USA and The Word in the UK. He is the 2010 winner of the Pascal Prize: Australian Critic of the Year and a 1992 Human Rights Media Award (Print Category). Mark is currently Media and Communications Manager for the Addison Road Community Organisation. He is completing a novel manuscript and is about to start work on the sequel to Boy on Fire.
Originally from Chicago (birthplace of slams), Miles is a writer, performer, facilitator and event coordinator who combines poetry with theatre, experimental audio, hip-hop beats, stand-up and, occasionally, political confrontation. After 11 years of performing his own stories, poems and monologues, Merrill decided to offer opportunities to artists with similar passions and abilities. He founded Word Travels in Sydney in 2007. After having introduced poetry slam to Australia, Miles co-wrote and co-directed Slamming for the Sydney Festival and performed with UK DJ Billy Bizniz at the Sydney Opera House. Internationally, Merrill has performed in Krakow’s Audio Art Festival, and writers’ festivals in Bali, Beijing, Vancouver and Calgary. He reflects back on its beginnings when he was at university, where discovered a conservative mono-culturalism in the writing industry, with editors and publishers offering feedback like: “It’s excellent writing but not relevant to our audience.” Mlles had found that through performing his writing he reached audiences immediately. He got his own ideas and emotions recognised, applauded and supported. Merrill realised others were having similar experiences: never feeling heard, always waiting for permission to speak to an audience. This is why he set up and continues to run Word Travels.
Minh Bui Jones
Minh Bui Jones is the founder and editor of Mekong Review. He was the founding editor of The Diplomat and American Review. He’s been a journalist for thirty years, having worked for SBS-TV, the Sydney Morning Heraldand Asia Times Online. He was on the judging panel of the Epigram Southeast Asia Fiction Prize and a judge of the Moore Prize 2021 (this is a literary prize run by the Moore Foundation).
Miriam Hechtman is an Australian writer, producer and poet. She is the founder and creative director of Poetica, a live poetry and music initiative and co-presenter and producer of WORDSMITH – the poetry podcast. She is also the creator and editor of The Alphabet of Women (Ginninderra Press 2021). An avid traveller, currently Miriam is based in Sydney with her husband and two daughters. www.movingtrainsproductions.com
Mitchell Tolman (b.1989.) is a Sydney poet, writer, musician/ composer. He’s the lead singer of Australian punk band LOW LIFE who recently performed at the Sydney Opera House. He’s the author of the LOW LIFE LYRIC BOOK & the 3NDLES5: SYDNEY BASS lyric book. He’s written poetry for Louis Vuitton and established himself as an important voice for Australian music and the Australian suburban narrative. He’s currently working on a collaborative poetry book with MONT ICONS co-hosts, Mahmood Fazal (Walkley award winner) and TOTAL CONTROL lead singer/ DIY publisher Daniel Stewart.
Molina is an experienced commercial lawyer and the, the first Indian born to be elected the Vice President of the Law Institute of Victoria in 162 years of its history. She sits on various boards including the Graduate House of the University of Melbourne, Good Shepherd Aus NZ, Gymnastics Victoria and the AFL South East Commission and the Asian Australian lawyers Association. Molina is also a member of the Football Federation of Victoria Tribunal and the founder of the organisation Multicultural Women in Sport. Her work in diversity and inclusion in sport and law has led to meaningful changes in the area, particularly for women of colour. As Lead Victorian Convenor of the Asian Australian Alliance, she has campaigned against COVID 19 related violence against Asians and the report on racism is being widely used by various organisations worldwide to tackle this issue.
Murray Cook is a Maroubra-based Marine Biologist/Musician who is now coordinator of Community Restorative Centre’s Songbirds: Prison Songwriting/Art and Theatre Program. He has formerly performed, recorded and toured internationally with Midnight Oil, Warumpi Band, Mixed Relations, Menatal as Anything, Leah Purcell and Marlene Cummins. He worked as a music teacher at Long Bay Gaol for 21 years before all NSW prison teachers were made redundant by Premier Mike Baird. He has since written and implemented the Songbirds songwriting workshop programs across the state, from Silverwater to Broken Hill, and was a speaker at the International Conference for Arts and Mental Health in 2019.
Ross Duncan is a lawyer and a writer. As a senior lawyer with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for three decades, he has advised on all the complex legal issues facing publishers, and across a diverse range content including Four Corners, 7.30, The Chasers War on Everything, docu-dramas and true crime podcasts. Ross has taught media law at UTS and University of Sydney. He has produced a variety of journalism, as well as short fiction. His novel, All Those Bright Crosses, is published by Picador. He was in house lawyer and contributing writer for Neighbourhood newspaper and website.
Samuel Watson is an (Ab)original ghost writer. His late father, Sam Watson was a black panther who wrote the award-winning novel The Kadaitcha Sung (Penguin Publishing).
Samuel lives and writes in his hometown of Brisbane, descending from Munanjali and Germanic heritage. He has authored over a dozen collections of poetry, primarily inspired by the oral traditions of spiritual lore passed down from his elders. Like Samuel’s verse his ghost stories are set in the southern suburbs of Brisbane city. He has enjoyed success recently in the pages of the Griffith Review, Flock (UQP), Westerly and the Chicago Quarterly Review. Notable accolades include the 1999 David Unaipon Award for Emerging Indigenous Literature, The Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. the 2004 New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year and the 2018 Patrick White Literary Prize …. Samuel is also the only poet to have his work featured on the International Space Station as part of an exclusive commission for the Japanese Aeronautical Exploration Agency
The year of 2021 finds him currently completing his first collected book of ghost stories and also signed to a commission for Sydney’s Red Room with Norway’s Sami author Sigbjorn Skaden. Samuel is proud to be a University of Queensland Press author.
Sonya Voumard is a widely published non-fiction writer and teacher with a background in political and arts journalism. She spent more than 20 years as a journalist working for major newspapers and magazines, including eight years writing fulltime for the Age. This led her to long form non-fiction writing and publication in literary journals including Meanjin, Griffith Review and Island. She holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts and a Masters in Professional Writing (both) awarded at UTS where she taught non-fiction writing and journalism part time for 9 years until 2014. She has written three published book-length works, including a novel (Political Animals, 2008, Ginninderra Press) and two works of creative non-fiction. Her second book The Media and the Massacre (2016, Transit Lounge) was long listed for a 2017 Stella Award and a 2018 Nita B Kibble Literary Award. Her third book Skin in the Game, The Pleasure and Pain of Telling True Stories was published by Transit Lounge in March, 2018. Her new memoir, completed in 2021, is titled Tremor.
Stephanie Smee left a career in law to work as a literary translator from French into English. Her most recent translation is of Joseph Ponthus’s award-winning prose poem, On the Line: Notes from a factory (Black Inc., Head of Zeus, 2021). Her translation of Hannelore Cayre’s The Godmother (Black Inc., Old Street, 2019) won the CWA Dagger for Crime Fiction in Translation and her translation of Françoise Frenkel’s rediscovered WWII memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head (Vintage, 2017, Pushkin Press, 2018) was awarded the JQ-Wingate Prize. She remains constantly astounded at her good fortune in being able to work with the words of such talented authors.
Stuart Coupe is an author, journalist, publicist, record label founder, artist manager and radio broadcaster. His books include The Promoters, Gudinski: The Godfather Of Australian Rock’n’Roll, Roadies and most recently Paul Kelly: The Man, The Music And The Life In Between. He also worked with Tex Perkins on the memoir Tex. Coupe presents two weekly radio shows – the nationally syndicated Dirt Music (from 2SER) and Wild Card on FBi. In between he does a crazy amount of publicity work for independent Australian music artists.
Tug Dumbly is a poet and performer who has worked widely in live venues, schools, and radio. He set up and ran a couple of seminal spoken-word nights in Sydney, including the legendary and drunken Bardflys. He has performed his poems, songs and monologues as a long-term resident poet on ABC radio (Triple J, ABC 702), as well as writing and recording for radio his ABC-syndicated culture and current affairs satire The Tug Report. He has released two spoken-word CDs through the ABC – Junk Culture Lullabies and Idiom Savant – once won the Spirit of Woodford storytelling award, twice won the Banjo Paterson Prize for Comic Verse, and three times won the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup. His work has appeared in various publications including the Australian, the Canberra Times, Southerly and the Australian Poetry Journal, and also the spoken word anthologies Shortfuse and Solid Air. He has been short-listed several times for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and also twice for the Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize. In 2020 he won the Borranga Poetry Prize, and was runner up in the WB Yeats Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection, Son Songs, came out through Flying Islands Books in 2018. He likes Nature and photography.
Uncle Jimmy Smith
Uncle Jimmy Smith is an Aboriginal educator and cultural practitioner. Jimmy comes from Erambie mission outside the town of Cowra, New South Wales. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Education and a Masters in Education (Aboriginal Studies) and has extensive experience in teaching Aboriginal art, culture and heritage in Australia and abroad. In his role as a cultural practitioner, Jimmy’s scope and breadth ranges from early childhood, primary, high school to university, TAFE and community groups. He has worked with the Australian Museum, EORA TAFE Redfern, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the AECG and other agencies that employ him as a cultural educator.
Warren Robert is a proud Thunghutti and Bundjalung man who founded YARN Australia in 2007. He has extensive experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities having worked for NGO’s and universities, as well as local, state and federal government. Warren has been fortunate enough to work alongside esteemed elders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which has encouraged him to reflect on the importance of respecting cultural protocols.
Vivienne Moore started Welfare Alliance last year to help those in need of assistance with their Centrelink claims. Her experience of listening to hundreds of stories of people experiencing fear, desperation and shame at the situation they found themselves has furthered an idea to use her own personal story – and the stories that are told to her – as an instrument of change. Vivienne would like to connect the wider public with the real life struggle and human side of life on welfare in Australia. Prior to starting Welfare Alliance, Vivienne worked as a medical researcher; but a chronic long term illness forced her to retire. The message she wants to convey is that this can happen to anyone – and the government may not be there to support you. A very common story throughout Covid – and now with rates of payments being reduced to an unlivable amount – is the growing problem of homelessness and hunger in the community. Action and protesting current policies is needed.
Wendy Bacon has been an journalist for more than 50 years in alternative, independent and mainstream journalism. She was previously the Professor of Journalism at UTS and Director of the Australian Centre for Independent journalism. She worked for Nine, Fairfax and SBS and has reported for Crikey, New Matilda and City Hub. These days she continues to practice as a voluntary journalist including on her own blog wendybacon.com
Panel themes and times can be found here