Inaugural Writers Festival 2018

Take a look back at last year’s inaugural Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival!

2018 program

10:00am - Opening address

Official opening by Councillor Bev Colomb. Introductions by Master of Ceremonies, Andrea McCall.

10:20am - Father Bob Maguire

Melbourne's beloved holyman, Father Bob, reflects on his biography, Father Bob:The Larrikin Priest (by Sue Williams) and the making of the documentary, In Bob We Trust.

11:00am - Paul Kennedy

Paul discusses his books, Fifteen Young Men, the previously untold tragedy of the Mornington Football Club, whose players boarded a boat following an away game in Mordialloc in 1892 but never made it home. Paul also discuses Hell on The Way to Heaven, an expose of the corruption at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and misrelated documentary Undeniable which investigates the decades of abuse in religious and state institutions, from elite inner city schools, to remote Aboriginal missions.

11:40am - Andrew Rule

Sex, Death & Betrayal:  Andrew makes the case that so-called 'true crime' is in fact the most enduring subject of drama and literature and cinema, from the Ancient Greek tragedies and Roman history to Shakespeare and Hollywood. 

12:20pm - Johanna Duyvestyn

Johanna is the spokeswoman for Effective Altruism Melbourne and committee member for The Life You Can Save. The Life You Can Save organisation was established in 2011 to promote the ideas set out in Peter Singer’s book of the same name. It is a movement of people fighting extreme poverty. The Life You Can Save encourages people to give a small proportion of their income to highly effective aid organisations.

1:00pm - Garry Disher

My Life of Crime: With an international readership for his crime novels, Peninsula local Garry Disher discusses the appeal of crime fiction and how he crafts his own. 

1:40pm - Lazaros Zigomanis

On Pride: Lazaros Zigomanis discusses his book, Pride. Lazaros' latest literary offering is a hard tackle with an underlying twist that will leave readers wide-eyed and asking for justice from the barriers. A must-read for all who love a good ol' game of footy and believe in the unbelievable.

2:20pm - Nicky Johnston

Nicky Johnston will share the detailed process of writing and illustrating children's books and the value of using them as discussion starters with children.

3:00pm - Tony Wilson

In the mind of a child: On the the art and craft of good writing for kids. Does mining one’s own childhood work? What is the role of research and observation? How do we make rhyme appealing and easy to read?  Tony will read excerpts from his writing for children, and provide insight into the creative decision making process.

3:40pm - Anson Cameron

Mixed mail bag: Thoughts from a columnist's desk on receiving fan and hate mail. An exploration of how people (can't) read satire and how few people understand humour. 

4:20pm - Andrew Jobling

Write, publish, profit: Why it’s worth being a published author and how you can do it.

5pm - Closing address 

by Andrea McCall



Andrea McCall (Master of Ceremonies)

Andrea spent three years working for the Premier of Victoria before going into the Victorian State Parliament for the seat of Frankston for the Liberal Party for seven years.  Andrea has run her own consulting business, working with both public and private companies.  She has worked in academia at RMIT, Swinburne and Monash where she headed the Work Experience Program as well as continuing her training and consulting business. From 2011 to 2014 she chaired the Women’s Correctional Advisory Committee and was a member of the Justice Health Committee

She lives in Mount Eliza where she is a member of the committee of her local residents association and is still active advocating for a variety of issues of interest.  She cares for her 97 year old  father and her beloved Russian blue cat, Lara as well as enjoying the excellent local food and wine.

Andrew Jobling

Andrew Jobling is an unlikely athlete and an accidental author.

Suffering from middle-child-syndrome, lacking physical prowess and with limited ability, he somehow played senior-level professional football with the St Kilda Football Club for seven years.

Always ambitious and driven, Andrew carved out a successful, yet, time-sapping fifteen-year personal training career.

Then, with no time, no training, no experience and no clues he ‘accidentally’ wrote his first bestselling book, Eat Chocolate, Drink Alcohol and be Lean & Healthy. To date he has written eight books, which have sold in excess of 200,000 copies.

He now spends his time sharing his message – with children, teens and adults – that anything is possible, no matter how unlikely it may seem. 

Andrew Rule

Writer and reporter Andrew Rule has written, edited and published more than 30 true crime books – including the best-selling Underbelly series with John “Sly of the Underworld” Silvester. Their work inspired the hit Underbelly television drama on Melbourne’s gangland war. Andrew Rule has broken or covered some of the most notorious Australian stories of the late 20th Century and lived to tell the tale.

His work includes critically-acclaimed accounts of murder and its detection. In 1996, he broke the Tanner case, which resulted in an inquest finding being quashed and a serving policeman being named as a killer by the State Coroner. He wrote and narrated A Death in the Family, a one-hour documentary about the Tanner case that won a Logie and was a finalist in the Australian Film Industry awards.

After starting in country newspapers, he wrote variously for The AgeThe HeraldThe Sun and The Sunday Age and Good Weekend magazine before becoming deputy editor of The Sunday Age in 2007. He was headhunted by the Herald Sun as writer at large in early 2011.

He has won many national journalism awards … and claims to be the only Australian Journalist of the Year to have ridden the winner of a horse race.

Anson Cameron

Anson Cameron has written five critically acclaimed novels: Silences Long GoneTin ToysConfessin’ the Blues,Lies I Told About a Girl, and Stealing Picasso, as well as two collections of short stories, Nice Shootin’ Cowboyand Pepsi Bears and Other Stories. His most recent novel is The Last Pulse (2014).

He was born in Shepparton in 1961 and lives in Melbourne where he writes a column for The Age newspaper.

Father Bob Maguire

Catholic Priest Father Bob Maguire has a long history in the Melbourne community as a pioneer in the social sector.

Fr Bob’s early life instilled in him a sense of care and concern for the forgotten members of community, the ‘unlovely and the unloved’.

Bob led the Character Training Unit for young officers in the Australian Army before beginning his well-known 39-year stint as parish priest of St Peter and Paul Church in South Melbourne. Father Bob’s Melbourne outreach work got started and he threw himself into the service of the homeless and those down on their luck. He worked with anyone - criminal, addicted, young and old could rely on him.

From the pulpit in South Melbourne, Fr Bob launched Open Family in 1978, Emerald Hill Mission in 1989 and his latest venture, The Fr Bob Maguire Foundation in 2003.

The Fr Bob Maguire Foundation continues Bob’s mission of ensuring that there is a voice for the voiceless and an advocate for the forgotten and downtrodden.

In his early eighties, Fr Bob has launch a new OutreachHQ and is taking the next steps by building up the Foundation for the next generation through his Parish Without Borders online.

Garry Disher

Garry Disher is tone of Australia’s best-known authors. He was born on a farm in South Australia, and decided in childhood to become a writer, influenced by a love of reading, his father’s original bedtime storytelling, and the isolation of farm life. 

A full-time writer since 1988, he’s published over 50 books: general/literary novels, crime thrillers, story collections, fiction for children and teenagers, anthologies (as editor), creative writing handbooks and Australian History textbooks.

His crime novels are rapidly earning an international reputation, with the Challis and Destry crime novels and Chain of Evidence being listed as a best-book-of-the-year by Kirkus Reviews magazine.  Chain of Evidenceand Wyatt won crime novel of the year awards in Australia, and several of his other titles were shortlisted.  His most recent novels are the seventh Challis and Destry police procedural, Signal Loss, the standalone crime novel Under the Cold Bright Lights and the literary novel, Her.

Disher lives on the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne.

Lazaros Zigomanis

Lazaros Zigomanis has been interested in telling stories all his life. It began as a teenager, when he handwrote his first book (the beginning of a fantasy epic) through two A5 exercise books. He gradually progressed onto a typewriter, and then a computer. In the ensuing years, he has written short stories, books, articles, screenplays, and one poem.

Lazaros has run his own sporting website, and written for other sports websites about his passion for Australian Rules Football. He's had short stories and articles published in various print and digital journals, screenplays optioned, and placed in awards for his writing.

Pride is Lazaros' first novel.

Nicky Johnston

Nicky Johnston is a mum to four boys, a primary teacher, a speaker and a Melbourne based children’s book author and illustrator. Her illustration style is often described as whimsical, playful, narrative, emotive and dreamy. She works in watercolour, ink, pencil and paste as well as using digital programs.

Her books include Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts, Actually, I Can, The Fix-It Man, Grandma Forgets, Where’s Bear, with more titles being  released 2018 and 2019.

Nicky is part of the KidLitVic team who organise and run the annual KidLitVic Conference in Melbourne. She was until recently the Creative Director of the online Facebook group 52-Week Illustration Challenge (founded by Tania McCartney) managing it for nearly 3 years.

She thoroughly enjoys taking illustrator workshops and visiting schools and is passionate about inspiring young children to enjoy writing and drawing and developing their own ideas.

Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy is an author and presenter with ABC television with more than two decades journalism experience. He has worked in news and current affairs for three television networks and annually presents ANZAC Day parades for the ABC. Currently, he presents sport on the popular national morning program News Breakfast.

His four books include Hell On The Way To Heaven (co-authored with Chrissie Foster), a key component in the push for Australia's largest Royal Commission. A married father of three sons and former AFL reserves player, he is now a successful youth sporting coach. He has become an advocate for better youth sporting participation through Facebook page @funcoachmovement.

Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson has written for adults, and children of all ages. His picture book Hickory Dickory Dash is the National Simultaneous Storytime book for 2018, following on the success of The Cow Tripped Over Moon. Both are nursery rhyme back-stories. Tony’s The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas has been in a hit in UK, Canada, China and the USA, and he has also written a middle grade series, The Selwood boys which is a fictionalised childhood for Bendigo’s most famous footy family.

Tony is married with four children, lives in Northcote, and has enjoyed stints on ABC radio, Triple R, and ABCTV. He is the compiler and curator of speeches on the Speakola website.

The Life You Can Save

The Life You Can Save organisation was established in 2011 to promote the ideas set out in Peter Singer’s book of the same name. It is a movement of people fighting extreme poverty. The Life You Can Save encourages people to give a small proportion of their income to highly effective aid organisations.

Our Melbourne group meets at The University of Melbourne - usually on the first Sunday of each month - details can be found on our Facebook page: The Life You Can Save Melbourne.


2018 workshops

Your publishing options [10 MARCH - 3PM (1 HOUR)]

Got your book ready to publish, but not sure how to take the next step, or simply want to explore all the options? 

Come along to hear Lazaros Zigomanis from Busybird Publishing explain about the different options available. He will demystify the publishing industry and give you the knowledge you need to get your book out into the world.

Giving Games [10 MARCH - 11AM OR 2:15PM (45 MINS)]

Want to learn more about how you can put your time and money to the greatest altruistic outcomes?

The Life You Can Save organisation will be conducting Giving Games at the Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival. Drawing on principles in Peter Singer's book, The Life You Can SaveGiving Games are small group discussions and debates that lead participants through the process of deciding which charities produce the best outcomes for the world's poorest people for every dollar donated.


2018 sponsors

Alma M. Jacovou Trust  (Patron)

Mornington Peninsula News Group

Mornington Peninsula News Group was established in 2006. The company publishes five weekly community newspapers: the Western Port News, Mornington News, Southern Peninsula News, Frankston Times and Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News. MPNG also publishes three magazines: Peninsula EssencePeninsula Kids and Mint Magazine.

It is a truly independent media company and is locally owned and operated. MPNG believes a strong community newspaper is essential to a strong community. Its aim is simple: to let readers know about the news happening in their community.

Follow MPNG on Facebook here and Twitter here.

Busybird Publishing

Busybird Publishing is a boutique micro-publisher based in the heart of Montmorency, Victoria, whose mission statement is to tell a good story. They publish a handful of our own titles yearly. Their books usually have an altruistic outcome, where a portion of proceeds will go to a certain cause. They’re always working on something!

Busybird Publishing aims to educate and inspire writers to share their story (no matter what genre) with the world. You can start by checking the Busybird Publishing blogsand newsletters for great resources, or attend a workshop to get a better understanding of what you need, how publishing works, and what your next steps might be.

Farrell's Bookshop

Farrell's Bookshop have been proudly servicing the Mornington Peninsula region for 40 years, we are an Australian Independent Bookseller with a diverse range of titles for young and old.

Kirkpatricks Hotel

Kirks on the Esplanade Hotel is one of only a few venues in Melbourne with magnificent views of Port Phillip Bay. Kirks offers great food, an extensive wine list, great beers, excellent service and a memorable dining experience.

Secret Garden Flowers

Located in beautiful Main Street Mornington, the Secret Garden store is abundant with market-fresh, quality flowers. Taking pride in sourcing the best blooms the season has to offer, their beautiful flowers are complemented by a talented team of floral designers, who create stunning arrangements to suit every occasion.


Officeworks is Australia's leading retailer and supplier of office products and solutions for home, business and education needs.

Officeworks is committed to helping customers make bigger things happen. This commitment is driven by ensuring we deliver the widest range, low prices and great service. With three easy ways to shop - in store, online or by phone, you'll be sure to find exactly what you need with our widest range, when you need, and all at low prices.

The Grand Hotel - Frankston

The Grand Hotel is a complete entertainment complex which boasts a sports bar & TAB, a function room, and a family bistro. Their bistro offers specialty nights with a wide range of meals for everyone to enjoy – see their website for details.