Speakers

We are proud to present the line-up of writers, presenters, and storytellers for this year’s Mornington Peninsula Writers Festival!


 
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Rev. Tim Costello AO

Tim Costello is one of Australia’s leading voices on social justice and global poverty and has been instrumental in ensuring these issues are placed on the national and international agenda. He has travelled the world for work in poverty and emergency relief and led World Vision in Australia for more than 12 years. Tim has taken part in national and international debates on social justice issues as diverse as global poverty, gambling, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse. Tim was named in the Australian of the Year awards in 2006 and was awarded an Order of Australia in 2005. His previous bestselling books include Hope, Faith, Streets of Hope and Tips from a Travelling Soul Searcher.

Synopsis for Tim Costello’s A Lot with A Little:

In this much anticipated memoir, Tim Costello takes us with him on a journey through his whole life. In a thoughtful and stimulating way, Tim explores his childhood and beyond including the main influences on his development as a socially active fighter for the world's most challenging issues. He introduces those who have helped him to look beyond himself and to see where and how he can make a difference. Integral to who Tim Costello is, he explains how his faith has sustained him when confronted with the big issues facing our world. Challenging and thought provoking no matter what the status of your faith, A Lot with A Little is a book to savour and re-read.


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Prof. Ross Garnaut AC

Professor Garnaut is Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at The University of Melbourne, previously Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Australian University. Professor Garnaut has had longstanding and successful roles as policy advisor, diplomat and businessman. He was the principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988. 

He is the author of a number of influential reports to the Australian Government, including, The Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008, and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.

Professor Garnaut has chaired the boards of major Australian and International companies since 1988, and is President of SIMEC Energy Australia. Professor Garnaut was made Office of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1991 for education and international relations and a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2007 for climate change and energy.

Synopsis for Ross Garnaut’s Superpower:

In this crisp, compelling book, Australia’s leading thinker about climate and energy policy offers a road map for progress, covering energy, transport, agriculture, the international scene and more. Superpower by Ross Garnaut is a crucial, timely contribution to this country’s future.


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Garry Disher

Garry Disher has published over 50 highly praised and widely translated books: crime and literary fiction, YA and children’s novels, and writers’ handbooks.  Many have won awards and appeared on best-books-of-the-year lists in Australia, Germany and the USA.  His latest titles are a stand-alone crime novel, Under the Cold Bright Lights, a literary novel, Her and the Wyatt novel, Kill Shot.  In 2018 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Australian Crime Writers Association.  Peace, follow-up to his award-winning Bitter Wash Road, appears in November.

Synopsis for Garry Disher’s Kill Shot:

The Wyatt novels are crime-from-the-inside. Wyatt robs banks and payroll vans, but that often means working with people who cross him. In Kill Shot he’s working alone, having learnt that a crook, about to stand trial for a Ponzi scheme in which investors lost tens of millions of dollars, intends to skip the country with some of that loot. The trouble is, the man’s wife, her lover and the police are also interested…


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Amy Bodossian

Critically acclaimed cult spoken word star, cabaret artist and obsessive compulsive diva Amy Bodossian is a raw, eccentric, and totally unique Australian performer who’s been captivating audiences for over ten years with her distinctive mix of song, spoken word, comedy and personal revelations. She’s also an actor who is represented by Australia’s leading talent agency, Profile Talent Management.

Amy launched her long awaited book, Wide Open, in 2016, and her newest show, ‘Don’t Worry, I’ve Got It Covered’ enjoyed a sell out season at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe, and is set to take Melbourne audiences by storm in 2019.


 
 
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John Hookham

John Hookham is a filmmaker whose work has been screened at the Cannes, Montreal, Locarno and Gothenburg Festivals as well as the National Film Theatre, London and the Cinematheque Francaise, Paris.  Dr Hookham is a graduate of the University of Witwatersrand and the London Film School. He completed his PhD at Queensland University of Technology. John has written a number of screenplays but The Russian Class is his first novel.

Synopsis for John Hookham’s The Russian Class:

When James Morrison receives an email from a young woman claiming to be his daughter, he is forced to revisit the dark secrets of the past and once again enter THE RUSSIAN CLASS. In an earlier time and another country, James and eight other idealistic students enrol in a Russian course at a university in Johannesburg. This tenuous connection is all they share in common but it irrevocably binds their fates together as they are forced to face the complex changes that their country will experience over the next thirty years. All members of the Russian Class seem committed to challenging the status quo and fighting against the apartheid regime. But it soon becomes apparent that someone in their midst is a spy working for the notorious Security Police…

 
 
 

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Gabriel García Ochoa

Gabriel García Ochoa was born in Mexico City and has lived in Australia for fifteen years. He is a writer, academic, and professional translator. He is a lecturer in Global Studies, Translation, and Comparative Literature at Monash University. He studied at Harvard University's Institute for World Literature. The Hypermarket is his first novel.

Synopsis for Gabriel García Ochoa’s The Hypermarket:

“A centuries-old diary describes a world where people live in a giant supermarket. A woman fights a bull and turns into a tree. There is a government organization that translates texts from the future. An elephant turns into a man and starts a religious movement. These and other disparate stories collide across time and space, forming a puzzle that must be solved to save humanity.”


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Andrea McCall (Master of Ceremonies)

Andrea McCall was educated in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy and came to Australia in the early 1980s.  Her employment in the UK included working as an Executive PA in a variety of industries such as brewing and tobacco. Her qualifications are a BA in History and Politics and Post graduate in Human Resources Management.  She is also a qualified mediator and mentor. She was part of the team to set up Victoria University by the amalgamation of Footscray and Western Institute in the early 1990s.

She has run her own consulting business, working with both public and private companies.  She 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 7 years.  Since then, she has worked in academia at RMIT, Swinburne, Victoria University and Monash where she headed the Work Experience Program. She also co-authored a textbook on Human Resources Management during that time.

Andrea is passionate about lifelong learning and the Arts. She lives in Mount Eliza where she indulges her passion for reading crime and thrillers and enjoying the regional wines.


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Blaise van Hecke (Busybird Publishing)

Blaise van Hecke is co-owner and Publisher at Busybird Publishing. She is also a writer, photographer and walker. Her latest walk was on the Camino de Santiago, which is an 800 kilometre pilgrim walk across the north of Spain.

She is the author of The Road to Tralfamadore is Bathed in River Water, a memoir about growing up on a commune in the 1970s. She has also has been published in the short story anthology, Mud Puddles (May 08), Blue Crow Magazine, [untitled] issue two, came second in the bi-annual short story competition with the Society of Women Writers of Victoria 2007, for her story ‘The Eleventh Summer’; and is the author of The Book Book: 12 steps to successful publishing, as well as Who is a Cheeky Monkey? 

Blaise runs various workshops for Busybird about writing, editing, and publishing, and is popularly in demand for talks about publishing in general. What Blaise loves most is nurturing an author through the writing and self-publishing process, and the look on their face when they finally have their book in their hands.


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Kirsty Ferguson

Kirsty Ferguson is an Australian author who writes crime books. She has released three self-published books, including Little Girl Dead (Book #1 of The Little Girl Dead series), Little Girl Revenge (Book #2) and Severed Heart which won first place in the Summer Indie Book Awards in 2017. She had also traditionally published What Lies Beneath Us, a dark and compelling look at the family dynamics surrounding a mother who is mentally ill. Kirsty has also been featured in two anthologies, Dark and Twisted in 2015 and WOMb in 2018. She lives in Melbourne with her son and you can find her reading, writing poetry, taking landscape photos and visiting haunted buildings.

Synopsis for Kirsty Ferguson’s What Lies Beneath Us:

Jessica James had the perfect life. She had a good job, supportive friends, her husband Geoff and her son Jack who both adored her. Everything changed the moment she found out she was having another child. Now she's a stay at home mum, they have barely enough money coming in, Jack is a troubled ten-year-old and she feels there's an insurmountable divide between her and her husband. Worse still, her feelings towards her youngest son are just wrong. Does her recent diagnosis of postpartum depression explain these feelings or is something more sinister going on? The unthinkable occurs when baby Jason is found dead in his cot. At the time of his death, Geoff is away on a camping trip. Now Jessica finds herself accused of murder and is vilified by all those who once claimed to love her. The evidence mounts against her, Jessica must come to terms with the fact that she may well have had something to do with her baby's death.


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Yael Maree

Yael Maree has lived in many places and often struggles to answer the seemingly simple question, "Where are you from?" A lost soul, she seeks others who love strange places and stranger stories. Due to her disjointed past, Yael loves anything fictional. Her bookshelves are lined with books and she spends hours immersed in their pages. When she is not writing or reading, she loves to spend the remainder of her time with her husband, three young children, feline companion and fishies. Yael is best knows for her magical realism and speculative fiction with splashes of romance, but has also dabbled in other genres, enjoying particularly thrillers, suspense and flash fiction.

Synopsis for Yael Maree’s When We Vanish:

When Alexander Black is approached by a blue-haired goth called Sophie, she tells him he is invisible. The realisation sends him reeling. Left without any memories of a life lived but one not lived at all, he is forced to come to terms with his plight. He sets out to look for Sophie, the only person who can see him in the hope she can help him become visible. Instead, he discovers that Sophie is an empty shell of the person she once was and needs just as much saving as he does.

The pair embark on a search for themselves, travelling across three continents, where their relationship is tested by fear, love, rejection and the desire to be seen for who they truly are.


Mark Brandi

Mark Brandi

Tania Chandler

Tania Chandler

Andrew Nette

Andrew Nette

Emma Viskic

Emma Viskic

Writers Victoria Panel

Mark Brandi - Mark Brandi's bestselling novel, Wimmera, won the British Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger, and was named Best Debut at the Australian Indie Book Awards. It was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year, and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year. His second novel, The Rip, is out now.

Tania Chandler is a writer, writing teacher and editor. Her novels ‘Please Don’t Leave Me Here’ and ‘Dead in the Water’ have been published in Australia and internationally, selected for reading programs and shortlisted for awards.

 

Andrew Nette is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of two novels, Ghost Money, a crime story set in Cambodia in the mid-nineties, and Gunshine State. He is co-editor of Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980, published by PM Press, and Sticking It To the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1956 to 1980, to be published by PM in late 2019. His short fiction has appeared in a number of print and on-line publications. You can find him via his website www.pulpcurry.com or on Twitter at @Pulpcurry.

 

Emma Viskic - Emma Viskic’s critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic series has been published worldwide and won numerous awards.  RESURRECTION BAY won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and an unprecedented three Davitt Awards. It was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year, and shortlisted for the UK’s prestigious Gold Dagger and New Blood Awards. AND FIRE CAME DOWN won the 2018 Davitt Award for Best Novel and was longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. Formerly a classical clarinettist, Emma’s musical career ranged from performing with José Carreras, to playing at an engagement party that ended in a brawl. She learned Australian sign language in order to create the character of Caleb Zelic who is profoundly deaf. The third novel in the series, DARKNESS FOR LIGHT, will be out this December.