Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 returns on Saturday 14 May, back bigger and bolder this year.

• 30+ writers, poets, journalists and artists across 12 panels

• Short, sharp ‘hotspots’ of thought and energy from 10 solo speakers and performers of music, spoken word

The festival starts at midday with an Acknowledgement of Country and rolls on through till twilight, when we’ll end the day with a special event led by Bigambul Elder Uncle Wes Marne who is celebrating his 100th birthday and the publication of ‘Through Old Eyes’, a book about his life and poetry.

Our theme this year is ‘New Lines’. New lines of conversation and inquiry. New lines in how we might live better, from responding to inequality to answering existential and aesthetic hungers within us. New lines, literally, from authors, poets, musicians, journalists and social justice activists. New lines, too, that might separate us from all the bullshit and division we’ve been wading through.

New lines in what storytelling can be – and what it can do for us.

Mark Mordue and Sheila Ngoc Pham, Artistic Directors, Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022

Brought to you by Addi Road and Inner West Council



Join us 12-6.30pm, Saturday 14 May. 

Entry: $20 donation at the door. FREE for students and unemployed.

Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville.

Transport: 12 minutes walk from Stanmore Railway Station. 428 Canterbury-Newtown-Martin Place bus stops outside our entry gates. Disabled access and regular parking available next to our Gumbramorra Hall.

Food: Koshari Corner, a food truck serving vegan Egyptian street food and coffee, is beside Gumbramorra Hall. Books and comics will be sold by our partners Harry Hartog and Cockatoo Comics.

Family and pet friendly event. 



There will two venues will be operating on site simultaneously: Gumbramorra Hall and the Greek Theatre.

Gumbramorra Hall

12pm: Acknowledgement of Country and opening remarks from Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne; Rosanna Barbero, CEO of Addi Road; and our Artistic Directors’ Sheila Ngoc Pham and Mark Mordue.

12:20pm: Breaking the Mirror (panel)

1:00pm: The Changing Man (panel)

1:45pm: How Many Roads (hotspot)

1:55pm: Belfast Calling (hotspot)

2:00pm: The Body Politic (panel)

2:45pm: Fear and Fury 2022 with Locust Jones (hotspot)

3:00pm: Drawing Your Own Bed and Lying In It (panel)

3:50pm: Warren Roberts and YARN (hotspot)

4:00pm: Intimate Latitudes (panel)

4:45pm: Toby Martin and Dang Lan (hotspot)

5:00pm: No Laughing Matter and Welfare Alliance (hotspot)

5:15pm: The Taste of Change (panel)

5:45pm: Through Old Eyes: Uncle Wes Marne tells the story of his life


Greek Theatre

12:30pm: Inside the Confession Machine (panel)

1:15pm: Intuition Kingdom with Mark Mordue and DC Cross (hotspot)

1:30pm: Escape From the Land of Bad Dreams (panel)

2:15pm: Ethan Bell (hotspot)

2:30pm: Under the Influence (panel)

3:15pm: Geoffrey Forrester is Tug Dumbly (hotspot)

3:30pm: Breaking the News (panel)

4:20pm: Drug Talk (panel)

5:00pm: Ethan Strange and Brad-Lee Hunter (hotspot)




Breaking the Mirror  Constructing a biography of your father

12:20pm Gumbramorra Hall

We are endlessly fascinated by the lives of others and the art of biography is about distilling a coherent and compelling story. But when the subject is one’s own father, how does a biographer undertake this daunting task? The ethical dilemma of representing an unknowable familial figure is a perennial one for storytellers with no easy resolutions. Innovating with form not only makes it possible to approach this challenge; it can lead to a newfound freedom to tell a deeply personal story about someone else.

Bronwyn Rennex: biographer and memoirist; author – Life With Birds

Anna Salleh: journalist; producer of A Most Unlikely Malay, a two-part ABC RN feature on her father, the Malaysian poet and writer Salleh Ben Joned.

Claudia Taranto: moderator; senior producer ABC RN documentary programs Earshot and The History Listen

12:30pm Greek Theatre

We are profoundly shaped by the homes we grow up in, and we also inherit complicated legacies from our families. Nowadays the complexities of dysfunctional families are, if anything, a boon for personal essays and memoir, given books about childhood trauma proliferate. In an age of public confession, it’s not only tempting but almost essential to tell all. But where do we draw the line with discussing the complexities of familial figures and other aspects of our past, and when should we exercise restraint? What are the limits of memoir and what is the future of this ever-growing genre?

Eda Gunaydin: author – Root & Branch

Miro Bilbrough: author – In the Time of the Manaroans

Sheila Ngoc Pham: moderator; writer; Addi Road Writers’ Festival co-director



The Changing Man  Boys into men: journeys and voices

1:00pm Gumbramorra Hall

What is happening to how men explore their identity in books? How do male writers negotiate the literary deep-dive into consciousness that can incorporate shadows and transitions, past and present, in a confronting and constructive way? A group of male authors discusses questions around forming a voice in fiction and non-fiction; obsessions with boyhood and rites of passage; and related issues of vulnerability, grief and creative revelation in the context of these times.

Luke Carman: author – An Ordinary Ecstasy

Luke Johnson: author – Ferocious Animals

Tom Patterson: author – Missing

Jack Ellis: moderator; author – Home and Other Hiding Places



Hotspot: Intuition Kingdom

1:15pm Greek Theatre

Mark Mordue reads from his pandemic prose-poetry diary about life, love, parenthood and dreams. DC Cross accompanies on improvised guitar. Or as they were saying just the other day, “bearded beatnik bastards rule!”



Escape From the Land of Bad Dreams  How poetry can reshape your world

1:30pm Greek Theatre

A global pandemic, war, environmental disasters… How can poetry meet the challenges of a world that seems to be in perpetual crisis? What is it that poetry might do for us, both in writing and reading it? Certainly, it’s a mode of expression where time can be slowed down and moments reordered to better see them; our material world transmuted into language and delivered back to us anew and vibrantly alive. Poetry can literally change our ways of looking and thinking; awakening us from a banal sleep, delivering us to the possibilities and presence of the transcendent around us.

Robert Adamson: poet – Reaching Light

Prithvi Varatharajan: poet – Entries

James Jiang: moderator; Australian Book Review Assistant Editor


Hotspot: How Many Roads

1:45pm Gumbramorra Hall

A slideshow preview of Johnny Barker’s photo exhibition of men who pass through and live around Central Station.



Hotspot: Belfast Calling

1:50pm Gumbramorra Hall

International Page and Stage in Belfast send us greetings from Northern Ireland. Crossing the distance and uniting us with the work of six poets reading a poem each for us.

Moyra Donaldson has published nine collections of poetry, most recently Bone House, Doire Press, 2021, and is a recipient of a Major Individual Artist award from Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Shelley Tracey is a South African poet who lives in Northern Ireland. Her collection Elements of Distance was published by Lapwing in 2017. She has poems in many publications, including The North, The Honest Ulsterman, Abridged and The Haibun Journal. Recent commissions include poetic reflections for a conference on narrative inquiry and reminiscence poems.

Matthew Rice’s debut book, The Last Weather Observer, was Highly Commended for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2021. He is currently a doctoral student at The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Marion Clarke: Winner of the Financial Times ‘Haiku Poet in the City’, Marion Clarke’s work is widely published in international journals dedicated to short form poetry, resulting in her inclusion in the annual Top 100 European Haiku Poets from 2012 to date. Since returning to her native Warrenpoint, on the east coast of Northern Ireland, the natural world inspires both Marion’s writing and visual art, which she often combines to create haiga and shahai (photo haiku) and, more recently, poetry films.

Linda McKenna lives in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. Her debut poetry collection, In the Museum of Misremembered Things was published by Doire Press in 2020. The title poem won the An Post/Irish Book Awards poem of the year. She won the Seamus Heaney Award in 2018. She is working on her second collection.

Linda McKenna



The Body Politic  Sport and social justice: a new awareness in play

2:00pm Gumbramorra Hall

Over the last few years the relationship between sport and politics has taken on a new intensity. The ethics and corporate backdrop; ‘taking the knee’ and anti-racism in football; the gains for women’s sport, especially around who is paid what and how it is promoted; the debates around trans participants; elite athletes eluding vaccine requirements; the use of sport to boost the image of oppressive regimes and corrupt causes; and, of course, the way it is reported on. Sport really is a mirror to society at large and all the issues of our day. As the wellbeing of our society is put under the microscope through sport, so too is the ability of sport and physical activity to assist with our mental health and issues like trauma, inequality and displacement. The language of the body has become the lingua franca for what is wrong with our world, and how we can make things better on a global scale.

Craig Foster: Stan sports analyst; social justice activist; Addi Road Ambassador

Simon Rosenbaum: President – Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies; mental and physical health advocate; Founder – Addi Moves

Stephanie Convery: moderator; author – After the Count; inequality reporter – Guardian Australia


Hotspot: Ethan Bell

2:15pm Greek Theatre

Poet Ethan Bell explores what the art of storytelling means for Indigenous men: “Not just our dreaming stories, but the way in which we can spin a yarn with anyone about anything. Our lives, our homes, the way we see the world. A splinter of silver rests on the end of our tongues that is a remnant of our old people’s way of telling yarns. We still carry it with us everywhere we go.”



Ethan Bell



Under the Influence  Forming ourselves from second-hand materials

2:30pm Greek Theatre

In the ongoing process of making and remaking ourselves, we turn to role models to help us envision ways to fulfill our own personal quests. Hear how artists and creatives draw on art and artefacts from both near and far, finding new ways to express and transmute these influences into new creations.

Vanessa Berry: author – Gentle and Fierce

Lo Carmen: author – Lovers Dreamers Fighters

Felicity Plunkett: moderator; poet – A Kinder Sea



Hotspot: Fear and Fury 2022

2:45pm Gumbramorra Hall

Locust Jones drawing performance with Tim Bruniges

“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. My practice extends into performance, sculpture and installation art.”

‘A Week in the Life of the World’ (2014) by Locust Jones



Drawing Your Own Bed and Lying In It  Autobiographical comics and the graphic art of self-determination

3:00pm Gumbramorra Hall

Autobiographical comics have been pivotal in the underground comix movements in America, Europe and Asia since the 1960s, standing up to the dominant zeitgeist of the mainstream print media in each era. This forum brings together three local writers and artists specialising in autobiographical comics and graphic novels today. Artist and storyteller Jin Hien Lau believes “autobiography is just the most honest form of storytelling for the topic of identity. And identity is a topic that is inevitably linked to bigger political, historical and racial issues.” He has invited Meg O’Shea and Safar Ahmed to join him in a slideshow presentation of their work, discussing techniques, vision and narrative power.

Safdar Ahmed: Sydney-based artist, musician and academic whose debut graphic novel, Still Alive, deals with Islamophobia in Australia and his experiences visiting Villawood Immigration Detention Centre

Meg O’Shea: comic and animation artist interested in the navigation of racial identity in Australia and Korea

Jin Hien Lau: moderator; artist interested in prints, comics, animation and illustrations



Hotspot: Geoff Forrester and his alter-ego Tug Dumbly

3:15pm Greek Theatre

Tug Dumbly says he is transitioning back to being Geoff Forrester. Or is he Geoff emerging, chrysalis-like, from the fiery performance remains of one Tug Dumbly, poet and satirist at large? If you follow his Instagram account the answer may lie there: ”I‘m a poet and performer who was largely shaped by cicadas.“



Breaking the News: Frontlines so close we fail to see them

3:30pm Greek Theatre

Though we are bombarded by news and information, many stories are never heard or fully articulated. Much is lost in the white noise. Fake news, misinformation, and a loss of trust in the media have become serious issues. Journalists meanwhile struggle to bring deep attention to what is happening in the Asia-Pacific region; across class, race and poverty in Australia; and from within communities that are excluded or overlooked. Debates around objectivity and bias in the media brings its own problems. Are journalists only serving a ready-made market, distorting truth in the process? Have media monopolies and online algorithms blinded good journalism?

This session is dedicated to the memory of Australian journalist, essayist and cultural observer, Craig McGregor, 12 October 1933 – 27 January 2022.  

Mridula Amin: Photojournalist and Reporter with the ABC in the Sydney newsroom. She received three Walkley awards for her long-form feature and visual work and was named the 2021 Walkleys Young Australian Journalist of the Year.

Ben Bohane: photojournalist and tv producer; 2019 inaugural winner of the Walkley/Sean Dorney Award for Pacific journalism; co-founder of the war photography collective

Angelique Lu: supervising television producer for ABC News. 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.

Michael West: journalist covering rise of corporations over democracy; founder – Michael West Media:

Rick Feneley: Deputy Opinion Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald; SBS investigations unit founder and a leading investigator into the gay-hate murders of the 1980s and 90s

Hotspot: Warren Roberts and YARN

3:50pm Gumbramorra Hall

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.



Intimate Latitudes  Indonesian literature in translation

4:00pm Gumbramorra Hall

Tiffany Tsao’s translation of Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s Happy Stories, Mostly was longlisted for the International Booker Prize. The book explores what it means to be almost happy across a set of twelve short stories, drawing on Pasaribu’s Christian and Batak cultural background to explore queerness, loneliness, suicide and faith in ways that are tragicomic, surreal and magical. Can our inner life communicate more across cultural barriers than stories rooted in a more grounded reality? Does understanding positions of difference within a culture help outsiders to see into it in deeper ways? How do we transport meaning across languages and between worlds?

Norman Erikson Pasaribu: author – Happy Stories, Mostly

Tiffany Tsao: author – The Majesties; translator – Sergius Meets Bacchus; editor – The Circular; literary translator – Chinese, Indonesian, English

Belinda Lopez: moderator; documentary maker; journalist; scholar



Drug Talk  How we do drugs. And how drugs do us.

4:20pm Greek Theatre

Drugs occupy an ambivalent place in society. On the one hand, drugs are condemned as destructive and addictive. On the other, “performance enhancing” and portals into artistic creativity and athletic excellence. How do we reconcile these messages? Can we? This panel will take up the idea of drugs from different perspectives – from psychology, philosophy, and lived experience. It will also open a conversation on the relationship between drugs, art and literature, and how we find “freedom”.

Alyson Colquitt: memoirist and essayist

Henry Everingham: author – Methadonia; journalist; drug counselor

Wart: artist/poet – Past Wents; mental health treatment advocate

Chris Fleming: moderator; author – On Drugs; lecturer in philosophy, University of Western Sydney


Hotspot: Dang Lan and Toby Martin

4:45pm Gumbramorra Hall

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.


Hotspot: No Laughing Matter and Welfare Alliance

5:00pm Gumbramorra Hall

Tanya Lee of No Laughing Matter and Vivienne Moore of Welfare Alliance speak about their work bringing forward voices that are often not heard or understood. They embody the great poetic maxim ‘beauty is truth, truth beauty’ in what they do and how they communicate.

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 is an idea is to use her personal story and the stories told to her as an instrument of change.

Tanya Lee’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.















Tanya Lee



The Taste of Change  Food, culture and society

5:15pm Gumbramorra Hall

According to the old saying, we are what we eat. This holds true for not just our health, but our cultural identity. Food and how it is prepared has changed over time in Australia, becoming more multicultural, reacting to environmental pressures and ethical concerns. Meanwhile, food security becomes an issue during crises like fires, floods and pandemic lockdowns, as well a symptom of social inequality and injustice. Food is how we share aspects of ourselves, communicating and uniting around the promise of a good meal.

Rosanna Barbero: CEO Addi Road; food justice advocate

Paul van Reyk: author – True to the Land: A history of food in Australia

Simon Thomsen: moderator; former restaurant critic for Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph; co-edited six editions of Good Food Guide


Hotspot: The Black Wing Serenade

5:15pm Greek Theatre

Ethan Strange and Brad-Lee Hunter are storytellers of vision and song: ”The Black Wing Serenade use illustration and verse to explore our shared histories as Sydneysiders and peek beneath the loose layers of humanity to the bones of trauma we build our lives on.”















Brad-Lee Hunter and Ethan Strange



Through Old Eyes

5:45pm Gumbramorra Hall

In our final session for the day, Bigambul Elder Uncle Wes Marne celebrates his 100 years of living with his first book, Through Old Eyes. He share stories, poems and songs that mark his journey through life. This is a special event to also note the relaunch of BLACKBOOKS®️ as a publishing house.















Uncle Wes Marne


Thank you for Addi Road Writers’ Festival 2022 funding support:



We’re also grateful for the support of our partners who helped make this festival possible: