About the Artists
Here are the artists who will be presenting at the Kyogle Writers Festival 2021 or running workshops.
Jarrah Dundler lives and writes in his hometown Kyogle on Bundjalung country Northern NSW. His short fiction has appeared in fourW and WOB and his debut novel Hey Brother, set in and around ‘Small Town’ Kyogle, was selected for a Byron Writers Festival residency and shortlisted for the Vogel award. He is currently working on a second novel, also set close to home, with the support of a Kyogle Writers Festival Residency.
Francisco Lopez is a producer, writer and sound engineer who has worked for some of the biggest music studios in New York, as well as Audible Studios. He has created original score and sound design for the Radio National, Pineapple Street Media and Gimlet. He has written and produced episodes for the ABC and University of Technology Sydney.
Francisco and Kaitlyn Sawrey are starting their own podcast enterprise producing podcasts for a range of clients.
Kaitlyn Sawrey is the founding producer of Science Vs at the ABC, before the show moved to Gimlet/Spotify in New York where she became the Senior Producer. Previously she was the Executive Producer of Hack on triple j, and was the founding producer on the podcast experiment that became ABC Audio Studios.
Kaitlyn and Francisco Lopez are starting their own podcast enterprise producing podcasts for a range of clients.
Paul Shields is a writer who lives just outside Kyogle who is interested in capturing the authentic voices he comes across in his community. His work has appeared in Meanjin, Headland, WOB, Spike, Underground Voices, UrinalMag and elsewhere. His audio work has appeared on ABC Radio National, Hack, and ABC Local Radio. He is the founding editor of WOB, is on the management committee for the Kyogle Writers Festival, and was the recipient of a 2019 Early Career Writers Grant from Writing NSW.
Mykaela Saunders is an award-winning writer, teacher, and community researcher. Of Dharug and Lebanese descent, Mykaela belongs to the Tweed Goori community. She writes across forms and disciplines and has won prizes for her fiction, poetry, creative essays and research. She's worked in Aboriginal education since 2003, and her research explores trauma and healing in her community. Mykaela is working on two short story collections: her doctoral project Goori-futurism, and With Teeth, exploring contemporary Aboriginal experiences in the arts, activism and academia. She’s also working on a novel Last Rites of Spring, and is editing the world's first anthology of blackfella speculative fiction, forthcoming with UQP in 2022.
Dusk Dundler has had a history of gonzo journalism and poetry. Producing documentaries for ABC's Radio National, including Mirrar Ground, Last Train to Murwillumbah, and The No-Teeth People. Also reporting for the Koori Mail, Independent Filmmaker Magazine, and the Griffith REVIEW. Emerging from the 'Harrisonian Institute', his poetry is published in the The Prague Revue, Plumwood Mountain Ecopoetics Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Overland Literary Journal and WOB. Developing from a mentorship with Andrew McMillan (author of Strict Rules) he is currently writing about a trip to Australia's most isolated community, Kiwirrkurra. With themes of land and experience, Dusk grew up in Kyogle.
Kristina Olsson is an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction and journalism. Her 2013 memoir, Boy, Lost, garnered multiple national and state premiers' awards, and her most recent novel, Shell, launched the legendary Scribner Australia literary imprint and was shortlisted in several major literary awards. Kristina's previous work includes the novels The China Garden and In One Skin, and the biography Kilroy Was Here. She has also had a long career as a journalist, an advisor to government, and a teacher of creative writing.
Laura Elvery is a writer from Brisbane. She is the author of two short story collections, Trick of the Light and Ordinary Matter, which is inspired by the women who have won Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Laura’s work has been published in Meanjin, Overland, The Saturday Paper, Island, The Big Issue, and Griffith Review. She has won the Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature, the Margaret River Short Story Competition, the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, and the Fair Australia Prize for Fiction. Laura has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies from QUT.
Stuart Cooke is a poet, scholar and translator. His books include the poetry collections Lyre (2019), Opera (2016) and Edge Music(2011), and translations of Gianni Siccardi’s The Blackbird (2018) and George Dyugayan’s Bulu Line, a Nyikina song cycle from the West Kimberley (2014). He has also published a wide variety of essays about animals, plants and poetics. Stuart is the recipient of various awards and honours, most recently the BR Whiting Fellowship in Rome, Italy. He lives in Brisbane on Juggerah country, where he is a senior lecturer in creative writing and literary studies at Griffith University.
Mirandi Riwoe is the author of Stone Sky Gold Mountain, which won the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction and the inaugural ARA Historical Novel Prize. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).
Lisa Fuller is a Murri woman originally from Queensland, who has lived in Canberra since 2006. She is currently doing her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. Lisa is an award-winning writer, sessional academic, and freelance writer/editor. Her debut novel, Ghost Bird, has won multiple awards, including the 2020 Queensland Literary Award and Griffith University Young Adult Book Award. She has previously published poetry and short pieces in several publications. Lisa is owned by an insane staffy, lives in a renovation with a patient partner, and battles her inner critic every day.
Mandy Beaumont is an award-winning writer, researcher and reviewer. Mandy's collection of short stories, Wild, Fearless Chests, was shortlisted for the Richell Prize and the UWAP Dorothy Hewett Award, and a story from the collection won the MOTH International Short Story Award. She teaches at Griffith University in Creative Writing and is also a researcher at RMIT where she is engaging, through fiction, with the work of Simone de Beauvoir. Mandy's debut novel, The Fury, will be published by Hachette in 2022. For more information go to www.mandybeaumont.com.
Melissa Lucashenko is a leading novelist from Queensland. A Bundjalung woman, her work has been awarded the Queensland Deloitte Literary Prize, the Nita B. Kibble Award, and the Victorian Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing. In 2019 Too Much Lip won Australia's premier writing prize, the Miles Franklin and the Queensland Award for a Work of State Significance.
Melissa is also a Walkley Award winner for her Griffith Review essay "Sinking Below Sight: Down and Out in Brisbane and Logan", and a founding member of prisoner human rights organisation Sisters Inside.
Melissa writes about ordinary Australians and the extraordinary lives they lead.
Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay writer, musician, composer and educator from North West NSW freshwater plains. A founding member of Indigenous folk duo Stiff Gins, Nardi has been performing nationally and internationally for 20 years. Her debut novel, Song of the Crocodile, was a 2018 winner of a black&write! writing fellowship.
Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in northern NSW, where she still lives in her childhood home. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim. Jessie's 2018 memoir, Staying, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, with Tim Winton describing it as 'a wounded, lovely, luminous book about grief, trauma and the strange healing potential of words.'
Linda Woodrow is a Northern Rivers NSW based writer. Linda’s non-fiction book, The Permaculture Home Garden, was published by Penguin in 1996. It is still in print and has sold over 30,000 copies. Her first novel, 470, was published by Melliodora Publishing in 2020. It was shortlisted for the Varuna PIP and has been nominated for the NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction. Linda has a Research Masters in Creative Writing (Southern Cross University, 2019) with a thesis entitled Imagined Futures: Narrative Fiction and Climate Science. Linda has also published widely online, book chapters, magazine articles, and research papers.
Lisa writes quirky, thoughtful fiction for adults and young adults, with six novels published to date. She has also written an ABC Radio National play and been published in The Age, The Big Issue, Griffith Review and the Review of Australian Fiction. Her most recent novel, The Girl with the Gold Bikini, is the first in a humorous detective series, set in Byron Bay and the Gold Coast. Its sequel Trouble is My Business, comes out September 2021. She has worked in environmental communication and as a wilderness guide and lives on the north coast of NSW.
Lynnette Lounsbury is a writer, educator and producer from Sydney. Her publications include Afterworld (Allen and Unwin), We Ate the Road Like Vultures (Inkerman & Blunt), and she was the editor of 2020 poetry anthology Love in the Time of Corona: Notes from a Pandemic. She is the producer of the documentary feature The Meaning of Vanlife and teaches writing, history and filmmaking at Avondale University College.
Katinka Smit is a local writer and poet. She often writes from a historical perspective, examining present-day assumptions through the prism of place and events that have shaped them. She is particularly interested in the necessary and ongoing conversation about the founding of present-day Australia, and believes it a responsibility that Australian culture makers share. Her work is published in Westerly, Northerly, Paradiso, and in various print anthologies and online journals. She is a poetry mentor for youth with Poets Out Loud in Murwillumbah and was a finalist in the 2018 Nimbin Poetry World Cup.
Stuart Rees is former Professor of Social Policy and Social Work at University of Sydney, Founder/Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation and co-founder of Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. A human rights activist in several countries, author of books on human rights, peace negotiations, social justice and of poetry anthologies, Tell Me The Truth About War and A Will To Live. In 2005, Stuart was awarded the Order of Australia ‘For service to international relations’ and in 2018, the Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize. His most recent book, Cruelty or Humanity: Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities, was published in September 2020 by Policy Press.
Dr Richard Hil is Adjunct Professor in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University, Gold Coast; Adjunct Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University; Convenor of the Ngara Institute; member of the Editorial Collective of Social Alternatives; and board member of the Justice for Fallujah Project. Richard has written and co-written a dozen books, the most recent of which is The Sacking of Fallujah: A People’s History, with Ross Caputi and Donna Mulhearn. He is currently working on A University for the Commons: Trans froing Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century. Over the past five years Richard (under his own name and as ‘Joseph Gora’ and ‘Henry Barnes’) has written extensively on Australian higher education for The Australian, Campus Review, New Matilda, Arena Magazine, The Advocate, SocialAlternatives, University World News, The Conversation, Overland, Online Opinion, Pearls and Irritations, and Countercurrents. His views about higher education are best encapsulated in Whackademia: An insider’s account of the troubled University, published in 2013 by New South, and Selling Students Short; why you won’t get the university education you deserve, published by Allen and Unwin in 2015.
Dr Nick Kelly is a writer, researcher, and educator. He looks at how we can better support teachers in the work that they do and how we can empower them through design and technology. He investigates creative professionals, to better understand the cognition of creativity, and uses creative outlets to share this research. He is a Senior Lecturer in Interaction Design at Queensland University of Technology, where he teaches first year interaction design through the principles of permaculture.
Vincent Stead is a poet who has won People’s Choice Award at the Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup [2016, 2019] and the Lismore Poetry Cup . He has been feature poet at a number of events in NSW and Queensland, and regularly performs around the Northern Rivers. He runs Poet’s Radio Show on Sundays from 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. on 92.9 RIVER FM, Lismore, featuring all types of poetry and promoting poetry events. His first book, Simple Poems for Complex People - Volume One, which was self-published on Amazon in February 2021, demonstrates his diverse writing styles.
Dettra Rose is an award-winning flash fiction author in both Australia and the UK. She wrote her first flash in 2018, winning the inaugural Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction prize – and a love affair was born. Since then, her pieces have won and been shortlisted/longlisted in many esteemed competitions. Her work is also widely published online and in print anthologies. She is working on a novel and trying hard to finish it despite her addiction to flash. Dettra is an experienced educator and workshop facilitator. She lives in beautiful Ocean Shoes with her partner and a bunch of animals.
Rob Garbutt is an Australian researcher, writer, photographer and sound artist who works at the intersection of place, identity and belonging. The word ‘relationship’ best characterises Rob’s work. Through his background in science, humanities and arts Rob draws connections between the many ways we understand and inhabit the world. His books include The locals: Identity, place and belonging in Australia and beyond (2011) and Inside Australian Culture (co-authored 2014). Rob is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Southern Cross University.
Barnaby Smith is a poet, critic, journalist and musician who after six years in the Northern Rivers recently moved to the Blue Mountains. His poetry has appeared in many Australian and international journals, including recently in Orbis (UK), Marble (UK) and Blaze Vox (US), as well as Cordite, Southerly, Australian Poetry Journal, Best Australian Poems and many others. He has also written for Rolling Stone Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC, Australian Book Review, The Guardian, Art Guide Australia, the NME, The Lifted Brow, The Quietus and others. He won the Scarlett Award for art criticism in 2018. He records music under the artist name Brigadoon and released the album Itch Factor in 2020.
Daniel Browning is an Aboriginal journalist, radio broadcaster, documentary maker, sound artist, and writer. Currently, he produces and presents Awaye!, the Indigenous art and culture program on ABC RN, a specialist radio network of Australia's national broadcaster. Awaye! surveys contemporary Indigenous cultural practice across the arts spectrum. A visual arts graduate, Daniel is also a widely-published freelance arts writer. He is a former guest editor of Artlink Indigenous, an occasional series of the quarterly Australian contemporary arts journal. He is the curator of Blak Box, a specially-designed sound pavilion commissioned by Urban Theatre Projects, the performing arts company based in western Sydney. He studied English and Art History at the University of Queensland before graduating with a degree in visual arts from the Queensland University of Technology. Daniel is a descendant of the Bundjalung and Kullilli peoples of far northern New South Wales and south-western Queensland.
Belinda Eslick is a feminist academic and writer who researches and teaches at The University of Queensland, where she is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and a tutor and lecturer in Gender Studies. Her research explores how women’s contributions to society are (and are not) recognised — particularly the many varied ways that women practice politics. Her work also considers perspectives within feminist philosophy and theory, with a focus on French feminist philosophy of the mid- and late-twentieth century.
Mikala is passionate about learning and sharing ways to live in sacred relationship with the earth, community and one's self. Mikala has been teaching Yoga since 2014 when she trained in Vinyasa Yoga and has gone on to study and integrate a diverse toolkit of Yogic Teachings and Women's Wellbeing practices into her offerings including, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Women's Yoga, Core Strength Vinyasa, Herbalism, Womb Awakening, and Sacred Feminine Arts. Over the last eight years, Mikala has facilitated classes, workshops, retreats, and run a small Yoga studio in her home town of Yeppoon. In 2017 and 2019, Mikala led Yoga Retreats in Northern India with her friend and mentor Jyoti Anand, taking two groups of Australian women to experience Yoga and its deep roots in India. Mikala now runs Yoga, Movement Medicine, Herbalism and Women's Wellbeing classes, gatherings and retreats through her small business, Inner Journeys with Mikala in Kyogle.
Graeme Gibson has a background in adult learning, principally in the environmental and community services sectors. Most of his writing is non-fiction with a focus on nature, community, politics & their intersection. He has published essays, contributed to and edited a number of short story collections and self-published Beyond Fear and Loathing: Local politics at work. This account of local politics and community activism is based on personal experience from where he previously lived, on the NSW south coast. He is pleased not to have been sued. Graeme has been presenting writing workshops, mainly life writing, since 2013.
Jasper St Aubyn West
Jasper St Aubyn West (aka Tailjar) was raised in the beautiful valleys of the Kyogle shire. He is a multi-disciplinary artist working in film, television, advertising, fine arts, animation, music, podcasting and occasionally abstract mashed potato sculpture. If you asked him, though, he’d probably just say he "likes making stuff".
Tim Cadman is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law and the Law Futures Centre at Griffith University. He is a 'CliFI' writer and public intellectual with an interest in governance, sustainability, climate change, natural resource management, and responsible investment. Tim likes to call himself a 'pracademic' and is currently working with communities in Nepal to protect the red panda in his day job, and outside hours is best known as the Koala on social media who is trying to save the forests of the Kalang, Bellinger and Nambucca river catchments.
Scott Bevan is a Lake Macquarie-based writer, journalist and documentary maker. He is the author of six books, including Battle Lines: Australian Artists at War, Bill: The Life of William Dobell and The Harbour. His latest book is The Lake: Exploring a Splendid Sheet of Water, which is a kayaking journey around Lake Macquarie.
Odette Nettleton is what happens if Judith Lucy got married, got fat, and moved to the country. Odette has been performing stand-up comedy for about 18 months, but has been hilarious her whole life. Odette has performed alongside Ellen Briggs and Ting Lim, and has a weekly advice column in the Richmond River Independent, "Ask Odette". Odette was recently a contestant on Hard Quiz, and will be bringing along her Big Brass Mug as a display of dominance.
Johanna (Jo) Kijas is a professional historian and adjunct fellow at Southern Cross University. She lives in Lismore. Her research and publications are focused in three areas: environmental, community and post-colonial history, specialising in oral history. Jo's recent consultancies have centred around water- rivers and swamps. Her PhD was on contested places on the Mid North Coast of NSW and her numerous publications grapple with the complexities, challenges and revelations of our interlocked local/global stories, with a focus on northern NSW.
Anastasia Guise is a grass-roots journalist, writer, ecological thinker and permaculturalist based on the north coast of NSW, Australia. She grew up homeschooled on Gumbaynnggirr country and wrote her first book at age six. In 2001, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Creative Writing, and in 2020 gained an Associate Degree in Environmental Science. These days, she combines her passions for both science and writing in nature writing and scientific reportage, while working on novels about love and ecology. Her first collection, Rapture, was published in 2016, and her second, Gondwana Burning, in 2020.
Hayley Katzen migrated from South Africa to Australia in 1989 and moved to the North Coast in 1994 where she worked as a law lecturer. Passionate about the power of stories, she quit law to study acting, performed locally and wrote and produced Pressure Point, a play about asylum seekers. In 2005, Hayley moved to her girlfriend’s cattle farm. Here, she learned how to fight fires, work cattle, shovel manure and honed the crafts of short story and essay writing. Her writing has won competitions, been published by ABC radio and Queerstories, and in Australian, American and Asian journals including Australian Book Review, Griffith Review, Southerly, Fourth Genre and Kenyon Review. Untethered is her debut memoir.
Ellen van Neerven
Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. She writes fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award, and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and highly commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat,Ellen’s highly anticipated second poetry collection, was the inaugural winner of the UQP Quentin Bryce Award and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. she is the editor of the First Nations story anthology Flock.
Laurel Cohn is a developmental book editor who has been helping writers prepare their work for publication since the late 1980s. She spent five years with one of Australia’s top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers’ Centre (now Writing NSW) before turning freelance. She works with writers and publishers as an editor, assessor and mentor, and is a regular workshop presenter for Writing NSW, Writers Victoria, Queensland Writers Centre, Byron Writers Festival and Society of Women Writers. She has a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies.
A professional musician for over 14 years, Thor has played countless solo and band gigs across the country, from the small halls on dirt country roads, to the mains stages of city music festivals. Thor is also an experienced sound engineer and producer, recording albums for several independent artists through his studio.
Carlie Daley Nekrasov
Carlie Daley Nekrasov started playing with words and poetry at age 5. She lives in Northern NSW, hailing from Kyogle, where she steals time to stitch together poems in between work and mothering. She has had pieces published in The Long Paddock, Southerly, Gargouille, Capsule, Frostwriting, and the Australian Poetry Anthology. Carlie's poetry explores threads of gender and family identity, religion, and belonging.
The story, or the telling of the story, is the foundation of ancient cultures – orally or pictorially – and the basis of cultural purpose where people find their place, obligations and relationships to this life and world! There are many strands of this but Andrew has been most interested in Cultural Fire: the way this country was managed and cared for, for thousands of years. Very relevant to the current ongoing mismanagement. Through this work he is a director of the Bundjalung Jagun Firesticks Alliance. He conducts smoking ceremonies, is authorised for Welcome to Country, sits on the Gulibul council of elders and consults on cultural matters, especially cultural fire appraisal. He is a Bundjalung man (mother's side) and Worramai (father's side).
Combining heartfelt songwriting and an eye for a story, Brendan Smoother prides himself on songs that count for something. He first picked up a borrowed guitar when he was 15 years old from a friend who showed him a few basic chords. Soon after, John Williamson’s Mallee Boy album would firmly set the course towards country. The singer-songwriter embraced his career as a paramedic and it was through a posting to a quiet rural town that he began performing in public, after helping resuscitate the Gundagai Country Music Club. After moving to Lismore in 1998, Brendan became involved in the vibrant music scene there and recorded a two-track single with late producer Anthony Lycenko. Country radio embraced the single, there was a finalist nomination at the TIARA’s and two North Coast Entertainment Industry – Dolphin Award wins. Music then took a backseat to family life for over a decade as Brendan and his wife welcomed their children.
Gwendolyn Gray is an artist/children’s author based on the outskirts of Casino Northern NSW. She has written and illustrated four children’s books inspired by the daily antics of native waterfowl, particularly a black duck duckling on Horseshoe Lagoon where she lives. Gwendolyn donates all proceeds of her latest book to the Rotary Club of Casino to help those affected from the recent devastating fires. As an acrylic artist she has had a long-time admiration for Beatrix Potter, which motivated her to write. Gwendolyn has two more books to be published in the series.
One of Australia's premier performance poets David Hallett has been writing and performing poetry since the 1970s. Winner of the 2019 Reciter of the Year Award and twice winner of the Poetry Olympics at the Sydney Writers Festival, David has performed from outback schools and festivals to the Sydney Opera House to the beat cafes of New York. Host of two of Australia's longest running spoken word events for 30 years, Lismore's Live Poets and Byron Bay's Writers at the Rails, David has created an outlet for scores and visiting poets. David's performance poetry jumps from the page to the stage, from the comedic to the satiric to deadly serious social commentary.
Kevin Markwell is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts, Southern Cross University. He is a geographer with an interest in human-nature relationships as they are played out within the domains of tourism and recreation. He has also conducted a series of research studies into sexuality, leisure and tourism. His books include Gay Tourism: Culture and Context (Haworth Press, 2006), Snake Bitten, Eric Worrell and the Australian Reptile Park (UNSW Press, 2010), Slow Tourism: Experiences and Mobilities (Channel View Publications, 2012) and Animals and Tourism, Understanding Diverse Relationships (Channel View Publications, 2015). Originally from Newcastle, he and his partner, Steve, moved to a beautiful property at Larnook in 2012.
Cheryl Matthews was proudly born and raised in Kyogle, has tertiary qualifications in education and psychology, and has taught primary and high school students as well as adult learners. Along with her father she has had a lifelong interest in writing. She volunteers at Kyogle Museum and Kyogle Historical Society and recently took on the role of Publicity Officer. Cheryl is passionate about family history research and writing about family.
Alison Gibbs was born in Kyogle in 1963 and grew up in the towns and villages of northern New South Wales. She now lives in Sydney, where she runs her own writing consultancy producing copy for United Nations agencies and the not-for-profit sector. Her short stories and essays have been published and broadcast in Australia and the United Kingdom, and have received numerous short-listings and awards. Repentance is her first novel.