Addi Road Writers’ Festival Program

Saturday, May 1st

12pm – 7pm


The day at a glance 


  1. Blood on the Tracks / rock ‘n’ roll lives (12.00pm)
  2. Bush Medicine and Cultural Heritage / Uncle Jimmy Smith (1.00pm)
  3. Songbirds and Broken Wings / finding freedom (1.00pm)
  4. Lawyers, Puns and Money / art, literature and the law (1.55pm)
  5. “May Day! May Day!” / voices below the line (2.40pm)
  6. Covid, the Uyghurs and Taiwan / how do we talk about China in public today? (3.30pm)
  7. Out of Reach / mysterious translations (4.20pm)
  8. Breaking the News / changing our media (5.15pm)
  9. In Focus / Samuel Watson’s ghost voices (6.10pm)
  10. The Last Poets / the unacknowledged legislators of the world (6.20pm)


Addi Road Writers’ Festival takes place this coming Saturday afternoon, May 1st. See below for precise times and how we hope to roll on the day!

We are holding the event inside our Gumbramorra Hall on the grounds of the community centre here in Marrickville. There is a beautiful open area outside the hall where people can picnic and relax. We will have a PA set-up with a speaker placed outside so people can hear the talks, poetry and music wherever they wish to be.

It is a family-friendly and pet-friendly day, but please understand that some panels will be of an adult nature in content or language. A bar will be operating. Coffee and vegetarian meals will be available from Koshari Korner, our Egyptian street food vendor. Come join us. Entry is free.



Disabled-access and regular parking available on site;

On the 428 bus Canterbury/Newtown/Martin Place route;

12-minute walk from Stanmore Railway Station.



Addi Road Writers’ Festival

the unabridged program follows,
jam-packed, ready to rock,
come on and kick out the jams,
have a geezer, it’s the bees knees,
it’s the real thing, it’s on the fly.
and it’s all happening here …
aww just scroll down
and have a look see






Acknowledgement of Country

by Aunty Joan Quinlan


Welcome to Addi Road 

by Mark Mordue



Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)

Eliza Jean Scott is fascinated by physicalizing sound in order to explore the language of the unsaid in the body. They use loop pedals and ‘audio trickery’ to create their remarkable soundscapes. 

Eliza Jean Scott. Photo by Yannick Jamey.




Mark Mordue. Photo by Hugh Stewart.

Mark Mordue. Photo by Hugh Stewart.


1. Panel / BLOOD ON THE TRACKS – rock ‘n’ roll lives (40 min)

Biography is a risky art. All the more so when writers venture into rock ‘n’ roll. Our authors discuss their encounters with Nick Cave, Paul Kelly, and The Easybeat’s Stevie Wright.

Chair/Mark Mordue: author, Boy on Fire – The Young Nick Cave.

Stuart Coupe: author, Paul Kelly: The Man, The Music and the Life in Between.

Jack Marx: author, Sorry: The Wretched Tale of Little Stevie Wright.





(5 min break)






Uncle Jimmy Smith is offering a special introduction to bush medicine and cultural heritage. Please join him as he takes a group around the grounds of the Addison Road Community Centre to help you understand what is alive, healing and present here. Meet Uncle Jimmy outside the main glass entrance to Gumbramorra Hall near Koshari Korner Food Van.


Uncle Jimmy Smith






Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)



Hotspot / Ali Whitelock – poetry (5 min)

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.



3. Panel / SONGBIRDS AND BROKEN WINGS – finding freedom (35 min)

Murray Cook worked as a music teacher at Long Bay Gaol for 21 years before becoming Program Coordinator of Community Restorative Centre’s Songbirds Songwriting /Art / Theatre. Lo Carmen has released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the Americana/alt country/indie rock vein and will publish a memoir next year paying tribute to the singular women who have inspired her.

Murray Cook: Program Coordinator, Songbirds Songwriting/Art/Theatre

Lo Carmen: Musician, actor and writer


Murray Cook

Lo Carmen. Photo by Karin Catt.



(5 min break)





Miles Merrill, Word Travels

Hotspot / Miles Merrill – poetry (5 min)

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.



4. Panel / LAWYERS, PUNS AND MONEY – art, literature and the law (35 min)

These lawyers will try and make puns whilst talking about lawful restrictions on free speech (Ross), the joys and pitfalls of publisher’s advances (John) and answering any questions you might have. Why can’t a rapper just sample someone else’s music without their permission? What if my fictional character is based on a real person? What are some of the issues to watch out for in a publishing contract? How do restrictions on what we can say, such as laws against hate speech/racist slurs, affect artistic practice? How do ancient publishing laws apply to modern communication platforms like social media?

John Corker: former CEO, Australian Pro Bono Centre

Ross Duncan: former Senior Lawyer, ABC

Ross Duncan


John Corker


(5 min break)





Hotspot / Warren Roberts – YARN Australia  (10 min)

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.



Tug Dumbly, poet

Hotspot / Tug Dumbly – poetry (5 min)

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 … 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.



5. Panel / “MAY DAY! MAY DAY!”– voices below the line (30 minutes)

What stories go missing in our society? And even if we hear them, why are certain stories undervalued or denied authority? Our panellists look at social justice and a fairer society from the perspective of empowered storytelling. Unemployment, workers’ rights, poverty, racism … there’s a world hidden from view that many are fighting to bring in to the light.

Convenor/Colin Hesse: Radio Skid Row

Rosanna Barbero: CEO, Addison Road Community Organisation

Janet Burstall: Founder, Living Incomes for Everyone (LIFE) and #BreakthePovertyMachine

Molina Asthana: Lawyer, Lead Victorian Convenor of Asian-Australian Alliance

Vivienne Moore: Founder, Welfare Alliance

Vivienne Moore, Welfare Alliance



(5 min break)





Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)




– How do we talk about China in public today?  (40 min)

Was China responsible for the spread of Covid-19? Is China committing genocide against the Uyghurs? What is happening in Taiwan? These are just some of the questions making the news today, each of them opens up a can of worms of issues ranging from racism to propaganda, vested interests and censorship. So how do we talk about China without being accused of being its stooge or its foe?


Chair/Minh Bui Jones: Editor of the Mekong Review


David Brophy: David 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. 



 (5 min break)





Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)


Miriam Hechtman

Hotspot / Miriam Hechtman – poetry (5 min)

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.




7. Panel / OUT OF REACH –  mysterious translations (40 min)

How does expression and art make a journey between different forms? From French into English; from poetry into prose; from local humour and social protest into street art; from lyrical ideas into songs … aren’t we all hungry for the chance to express ourselves more freely and change form?

Chair/Jack Sargeant: writer and curator specialising in counter culture, independent and underground art, literature and film

Stephanie Smee: literary translator (French into English) – Joseph Ponthus’ On the Line

Jacinta Fintan: author, CUT: 10 Years of Stencil Art

Mitchell Tolman: writer, poet; musician; singer, Low Life

Mitchell Tolman


(5 min break)






Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)



Hotspot / Kelly Van Nelson – poetry (5 min)

Kelly Van Nelson  is the recipient of a KSP First Edition Fellowship funded by the Western Australian Government and is a prominent anti-bullying, domestic violence prevention, and mental health awareness advocate, leveraging the power of the spoken, written, and visual word to drive change in the world.



8. Panel/ BREAKING THE NEWS – changing our media (40 min)

How do we penetrate fake news in the media today? Is online ‘citizen journalism’ creating a new journalism? What is happening with the news from Canberra? How do we bring independence, complexity and narrative intelligence back to journalism? Is the mainstream media redeemable or being left behind?

 Chair/Colin Hesse: Radio Skid Row

Sonya Voumard: non-fiction writer, journalist and teacher. Her novel Political Animals was set in the Canberra press gallery. Her non-fiction books are The Media and the Massacre and Skin in the Game, The Pleasure and Pain of Telling True Stories.

Ian Keldoulis: has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar. Until recently, he was the New York correspondent for Sydney’s Neighbourhood Paper.

Wendy Bacon: former Professor of Journalism at UTS and Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism. Wendy is interested in developing ‘citizen journalism’ and freelances for CityHub and her own blog

Wendy Bacon


(5 min break)






Hotspot / Eliza Jean Scott – music (5 min)



9. In Focus: SAMUEL WATSON – ghost voices (10 min)

Samuel Watson is an (Ab)original ghost writer. Samuel lives and writes in his hometown of Brisbane, descending from Munanjali and Germanic heritage. He is the winner of 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. The year of 2021 finds him currently completing his first collected book of ghost stories.



10. Panel / THE LAST POETS – the unacknowledged legislators of the world (30 min)

What does poetry mean to us today? Where do we find it? On the page, in music lyrics, in hip hop, at spoken and slam poetry events? Poetry seems to be more alive than ever, from presidential inaugurations to street-level performances.

Convenor /Miriam Hechtman: founder, Poetica


Ali Whitelock: poet, the lactic acid in the calves of your despair (Wakefield Press)

Kelly Van Nelson: poet; anti-bullying, domestic violence prevention, and mental health awareness advocate

Mark Mordue: poet, Darlinghurst Funeral Rites (Transit Lounge)

Miles Merrill: slam poet, founder Word Travels

Tug Dumbly: poet, Son Songs (Flying Island Books)




7.00pm / Closing Time





Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2021 is an inaugural event organised by Addison Road Community Organisation in Marrickville. We thank all our poets, musicians, writers and speakers, and all those who attend. We also thank our Supporters for coming along for the ride  …





The Grifter Brewing Co.


Better Read Than Dead




City Hub/Inner West Independent