Pullman Melbourne on the Park
15, 16 & 17 June 2024

Conference speakers

Robbie Arnott

Robbie Arnott is a Tasmanian author known for his novels, FlamesThe Rain Heron and Limberlost. Arnott's early writing appeared in literary publications IslandKill Your Darlings and The Lifted Brow. In 2014, Arnott was awarded the Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers, and in 2015 won the Tasmanian Young Writer's Fellowship. His first three novels have been shortlisted by numerous literary awards. 

Arnott’s fourth novel, Dusk, is the first to be published under the Picador imprint.

Nic Bottomley

Nic Bottomley is the co-owner of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, an award-winning independent bookshop in Bath, UK that he created with his wife Juliette in 2006 (and that was first dreamed up when they lived and worked as lawyers in Prague). Mr B’s has been named the UK’s Independent Bookshop of the Year twice and was named 1 of the 10 Best Bookshops in the World by The Guardian. He is also a former President and current Executive Chair of the Bookseller’s Association of UK and Ireland.

Josh Bornstein

Josh Bornstein is an award winning workplace lawyer who has represented employees and trade unions in some of Australia's most notorious disputes. He has been instrumental in cases that have blocked a government backed plot to de-unionise the waterfront, exposed sexual harassment against judges in Australia's federal and state courts and obtained record breaking compensation for intellectually disabled workers who were paid less than $1 per hour. Along the way he has cornered the market in representing sacked rabbis and women in media and journalism. He has written for most major media outlets in Australia and is a contributing author of The Wages Crisis In Australia, 2018. To try to stay sane, he surfs and listens to too much punk music. 

His latest book Working For the Brand: how corporations are destroying free speech will be published by Scribe Publications in October 2024.

Jacqueline Bublitz

Jacqueline 'Rock' Bublitz is a writer, feminist, and arachnophobe, who lives between Melbourne, Australia and her hometown on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island. She wrote her debut novel Before You Knew My Name after spending a summer in New York. Leave the Girls Behind is her second novel.

Anna Burkey

Anna Burkey has a passion for books, reading, and education. Hailing from Scotland, where she was on the founding team of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, Anna now lives in Melbourne/Naarm.

After several years with State Library Victoria and the Centre for Youth Literature, Anna’s over the moon to be working with the Australian Publishers Association and BooksCreateAustralia to lead Australia Reads

Dr Lilly Brown

Dr Lilly Brown is a proud Gumbaynggirr woman and the CEO of Magabala Books. She has spent over a decade advocating for the self-determination of First Nations people, including supporting organisations, particularly in education, to develop practices of cultural safety and racial literacy. She previously worked as Executive Director with headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation. Lilly has a PhD in education and youth research from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in politics and education from the University of Cambridge. She lives in Rubibi (Broome) on the unceded lands of the Yawuru people which is also the traditional Country of her partner and children.

Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers is one of Australia's most popular country singer-songwriters and musicians. She is the daughter of fellow musicians, Diane and Bill Chambers, and the younger sister of musician and producer, Nash Chambers. All four were members of family country music group in Dead Ringer Band, from 1992 to 1998. Kasey Chambers then started her solo career and what followed was five of her twelve studio albums reaching No.1 on the ARIA Albums Chart. In 2018 she was the youngest woman inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. She has also won fourteen ARIA Music Awards with nine for Best Country Album. Kasey continues to write and perform across Australia and internationally and has a devoted fan base. 

Gina Chick

Gina Chick became an overnight superstar when she won the inaugural season of Alone Australia. She shares wisdom and experiences from a lifetime of learning how to build instinctive resilience and a joyous connection with nature in her powerful memoir We Are the Stars. (Simon & Schuster, October).

Aoife Clifford

Aoife Clifford is the author of All These Perfect Strangers, which was longlisted for both the Australian Book Industry General Fiction Book of the Year and the Voss Literary Prize; Second Sight, a Publishers Weekly starred review and Book of the Week, and was Highly Commended at the Davitt Awards; and When We Fall, which was shortlisted for the Davitt Awards and the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. Aoife’s short stories have been published in Australia, United Kingdom and the United States, winning premier prizes such as the Scarlet Stiletto and the S.D. Harvey Short Crime Story Award.

Belinda Cunningham

Belinda Cunningham has worked as a bookseller for over 35 years and spent the last decade at Harry Hartog.

She loves all things fiction and loves to specialise in children’s bookselling. Belinda has been a member of the Kids’ Guide Reading selection panel for the last five years.

Dr Debra Dank

Dr Debra Dank is a Gudanji/Wakaja woman and a multi‑award winning author who has worked in teaching and learning for many years. Debra is currently an Enterprise Fellow at the University of South Australia. Debra's book, We Come With This Place was published in 2022.

Helen Garner

Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 the Windham–Campbell Prize for non-fiction. In 2019 she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. In 2023 Helen was awarded the ASA Medal for her outstanding contribution to Australian literature. Her works include Monkey GripThe First StoneThe Spare RoomThis House of Grief and three volumes of diaries. She lives in Melbourne.

David Gaunt

Bookselling is almost the only job David Gaunt has ever had (he barely remembers the others). David self-confesses he is now (very old) and staggering through his 47th bookselling year. David is an ABA life member, the founding Chair ILP, founding Board ILF and Sydney Writers Festival, received the Lloyd O'Neill award 2009 and an AM for services to literature, bookselling, and publishing in 2011.

Noni Hazlehurst

Award-winning actor, broadcaster and presenter, Noni Hazlehurst is a household name, a much-loved Australian icon.  She’s a woman we’ve grown up with on both our big and small screens. Her career encompasses extensive theatre work, over twenty years presenting Playschool, and starring in Australian film classics like Monkey Grip, Candy and Ladies in Black as well as many television series, from The Sullivans to much-loved small screen favourite A Place to Call Home and more recently the cult comedy hit The Letdown.  Hazlehurst was the anchor of the Seven Network's Better Homes and Gardens for nearly ten years and has also presented three seasons of SBS’s Every Family Has a Secret. In 1995 she was named a Member of the Order of Australia.

Tim Jarvis

Tim Jarvis is the owner of Fullers Bookshop, Hobart. He was the 2018 ABA/Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year, has been a member of BookPeople’s management committee since 2019 and is the association’s current President.

Malcolm Knox

Malcolm Knox grew up in Sydney. Since 1994 Malcolm has written for the Sydney Morning Herald and has won three Walkley Awards and a Human Rights Award. His novels include SummerlandA Private Man, winner of the Ned Kelly Award; Jamaica, which won the Colin Roderick Award and was shortlisted in the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards; The LifeThe Wonder Lover; and Bluebird. His many non-fiction titles include Boom: The Underground History of Australia, From Gold Rush to GFC, which won the 2013 Ashurst Business Literature Prize; and Bradman's War, shortlisted in the 2013 Prime Minister's Literary Awards. His upcoming novel, The First Friend, will be published in September 2024.

Foong Ling Kong

Foong Ling Kong is Publisher at Melbourne University Publishing. Over a two-decade career, she has worked in-house at Penguin, Hardie Grant and Allen & Unwin, and freelanced for most publishers. She was Chair of the Feminist Writers Festival, on the boards of the Stella Prize and Overland, and managing editor of Anne Summers Reports. She spent the last seven years as Editor of Debates at the Parliament of Victoria, where she published the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, until her recent reunification with MUP.

Anna MacDonald

Anna MacDonald is the author of A Jealous Tide (2020) and Between the Word and the World (2019). She has worked as a bookseller for over a decade and is the owner of The Paperback Bookshop in Melbourne.

Megan McPheat

Megan McPheat has worked as a bookseller for 30 years in both Australia and the UK and have spent the last 5 years working for Harry Hartog Bookseller. Megan’s favourite hobby is talking about books…and her cat.

Angie Faye Martin

Angie Faye Martin (Kooma/Kamilaroi/European) is a writer/editor currently living on Gubbi Gubbi Country (Redcliffe). She worked in public policy for 15 years before launching a freelance editing business, Versed Writings. She has a Bachelor of Public Health, a Masters of Anthropology, and a passion for fiction. Her work has appeared in MeanjinGarland and the Saltbush ReviewMelaleuca is her debut novel.

Amy T Matthews

Amy T. Matthews is an award-winning author, an academic at Flinders University, and the co-host of the podcasts Word Docs and Love on Campus. She also writes under the pseudonym Amy Barry. In addition to her fantastic contemporary and historical romance writing, Amy is an expert on the romance category and its passionate readers. Amy lives in Adelaide with a collection of beloved people both real and imagined, and you can find her on Instagram @amytmatthews_author.

Sally Rippin

The Australian Children’s Laureate, Sally Rippin, is a best-selling and beloved author for children. Her most popular series include Billie B BrownHey Jack! and School of Monsters , and she has over 10 million books in print worldwide. She is also the author of one book for adults, Wild Things: How We Learn to Read and What Can Happen If We Don’t .

Sally loves to write stories with heart featuring characters that resonate with children and is passionate about literacy and access to stories. She travels across the world speaking with parents, teachers and librarians about how to engage struggling readers.

In 2024, Sally was named the eighth Australian Children’s Laureate, a two-year appointment to promote the importance and transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians.

Nicola Robinson

Nicola Robinson is Head of Publishing at the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. She holds a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature (Macquarie), and has both spoken and published internationally on Australian children’s literature. From 2005 to 2012, she worked for the book packager Laguna Bay Publishing, including commissioning, editing and project managing the APA Educational Publishing Award-winning Indigenous education series ‘Yarning Strong’ (Oxford University Press). She later worked as senior editor at Walker Books Australia and HarperCollins Publishers Australia, and commissioned commercial fiction at HQ. Nicola lives in Sydney.

Michael Robotham

Before becoming a novelist, Michael Robotham was a former feature writer and investigative reporter working in Britain, Australia and America, and with clinical and forensic psychologists as they helped police investigate complex, psychologically driven crimes.

2024 marks the 20-year anniversary of the publication of his debut thriller, The Suspect, which introduced clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin, sold more than a million copies around the world and is now a major TV series starring Aidan Turner. Michael's standalone thriller The Secrets She Keeps was adapted for TV by Network 10 and the BBC.

Michael is the only Australian to twice win the UK's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel, for Life or Death and Good Girl, Bad Girl as well as the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for When She Was Good. Lying Beside You was shortlisted for the Australian Crime Writers Association's Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction 2023. Storm Child is the highly anticipated fourth novel in his globally bestselling Cyrus Haven and Evie Cormac series.

Michael lives in Sydney.

Judith Rossell

Judith Rossell is the multi-award-winning author-illustrator of the bestselling Stella Montgomery series (Withering-by-SeaWormwood Mire and Wakestone Hall). Judith has written fifteen books and illustrated more than eighty, including the picture books Bogtrotter and Pink!, both written by Margaret Wild. Her work has been published in the US and UK, and translated into more than twenty languages. Before becoming an illustrator, Judith trained as a scientist, and worked for CSIRO, and for a cotton-spinning company. She lives in Melbourne.

Mark Rubbo

Mark Rubbo is currently Chairman of Readings; he retired from active bookselling in August last year after starting his career at the Melbourne University Bookroom in 1970.  He is a past President of The Bookpeople, was the founding chair of the Melbourne Writers Festival and has held board positions on a number of arts organisations, including Melbourne's Wheeler Centre. In 2009 he founded the Readings Foundation to support literacy and the arts and since its inception over $1.4 million has been donated to various community-based organisations. In 2006 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, ‘for service to the community through fostering an awareness of Australian literature as a bookseller, literary critic, and promoter and supporter of Australian writers.’ In 2015 he was awarded the Lloyd O'Neill Award at the Australian Book Industry Awards. With bookseller Jaye Chin-Dusting, proprietor of the Mary Martin Bookshops,  he co-hosts The Booksellers Podcast.

Laura Sedgwick

Laura is a skilled communications consultant and founder of PR agency, Sedgwick Communications.

She is a confident storyteller bringing more than 15 years’ experience from across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Laura’s vast cross-sector experience has led her to work for some of Australia’s biggest companies including PepsiCo, Arnott’s, Kellogg’s, TikTok, Kimberly Clark and many more.

Her true passion lies in developing communications strategies that effectively tackle business problems and provide tangible results for her clients.

Nardi Simpson

Nardi Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller from the NSW northwest freshwater plains and is a musician, composer, performer and novelist. A songwriter and performer with vocal duo Stiff Gins for twenty-four years, Nardi was a winner of the 2018 Black & Write! Fellowship. Her first novel, Song of the Crocodile was published in 2020 with Hachette Australia and went on to win the 2021 ASAL Gold Medal and to be longlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize and Miles Franklin Awards.  Currently, Nardi is working on her second novel, composing music for three new First Nations Operas, and completing a PhD in composition at the ANU School of Music. Nardi lives in Sydney and continues to be heavily involved in the teaching and sharing of culture in both her Sydney and Yuwaalaraay communities.

Robert Skinner

Robert Skinner was born and raised on the Adelaide plains. In 2012 he moved to Victoria and helped found a short story magazine called The Canary Press in an elaborate plan to avoid doing the dishes. His own writing appears frequently in The Monthly, and his first book, I'd Rather Not, was published in July 2023. He currently lives in Melbourne where he works in a bookshop and plays football at the lowest level."

Fiona Stager

Fiona Stager co-owns Avid Reader, Where the Wild Things Are and Riverbend Books which are three award winning book shops located in Meanjin.

She is a past president of the ABA and a life member of BookPeople. Fiona is a life long bookseller and lives in West End with her family, three chickens and a native beehive.

Louise Stark

Louise Stark left Brisbane for adventures in Europe and landed in publishing in London. She held a variety of sales and marketing roles at Ryland Peters & Small, Faber & Faber and Hodder & Stoughton before returning home as the Sales & Marketing Director of Hodder & Stoughton. Louise then spent an interesting couple of years at Google Play and Bloomsbury before returning to Hachette. She is currently CEO of Hachette Australia & New Zealand and is passionate about promoting the benefits of reading to all Australians. At an industry level, she is the Convenor of the TPC of the APA with a responsibility for supporting Australia Reads and volunteers on the board of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of eight novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film ‘Head-On’, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the international bestseller The Slap, won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold, as well as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year.

Christos's fifth novel, Barracuda, was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the inaugural Voss Literary Prize. The Slap and Barracuda were both adapted into celebrated television series. Christos's acclaimed collection of short stories, Merciless Gods, was published in 2014 and his critical literary study On Patrick White came out in 2018. His sixth novel, Damascus, was published in 2019 and won the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction. 7½ was published in 2021 and won the Melbourne Prize for Literature. Christos is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

Jessica Tu

Jessie Tu is a book critic at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and a journalist for Women's Agenda. Her debut novel, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, won the ABIA for 2020 Literary Fiction Book of the Year. The Honeyeater is her second novel.

Erin Wamala

Erin Wamala is a Teacher Librarian with over 20 years’ experience working in bookselling and publishing.

Throughout her career Erin has been a judge for the Children’s Book Council Awards and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. She has been a member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival Board, the Children’s Book Council, is a regular reviewer for Books + Publishing and is a contributor to The Kids’ Reading Guide. Erin has a passion for matching books to readers and enjoys nothing more than chatting to kids and their carers about books they will love.

Emily Westmoreland

Emily Westmoreland runs Dinner Party Press and is the Program Director of Williamstown Literary Festival. She is part of the prize team behind the Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction and publishes Peninsula. Her book reviews have appeared in Books+Publishing, Kill Your Darlings and The Big Issue. Emily works at Avenue Bookstore by day, and is the current Penguin Random House Young Bookseller of the Year.

Christian White

Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter whose credits include the Netflix series Clickbait and the feature film Relic. His debut novel The Nowhere Child was one of Australia's bestselling debut novels ever and rights were sold in 17 international territories, and has been acquired for a major screen deal. Christian's second book The Wife and the Widow was published in 2019 and became an instant bestseller, winning the 2020 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction. His third novel, Wild Place, was published in 2021, and his forth, The Ledge, will be published in October 2024.

Bianca Whiteley

Bianca started her career in book publishing at Murdoch Booksand spent seven years in various roles including Inventory Management. She joined Nielsen BookData in 2006, initially helping publishers and retailers make the most of the insights the BookScan service provides. In her role as General Manager she leads the Australian Nielsen BookData business including its BookScan, Research and Metadata services. In recent years she completed several long-running projects including establishing Nielsen BookScan’sfirst Australian & New Zealand e-book sales measurement service and undertaking severalconsumer surveys around book buying and listening behaviour.

Suzy Wilson

Suzy is a proud Life Member of the Australian Booksellers Association. She is a recipient of the Johnno Award, The Dromkeen Medal for “being a catalyst in changing children's lives through literature”, and the Lloyd O’Neil Award.

Suzy was a teacher before opening Riverbend Books in Brisbane in 1998. In 2023, 25 years later, she sold Riverbend to her good friend Fiona Stager of Avid Reader. She is also the founder of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an Australian book industry project that actively supports literacy for young Indigenous Australians.

Tim Winton

Tim Winton is the author of 30 books. His work has been widely translated and adapted for film, television, stage and radio. He lives in Western Australia.

Alice Zaslavsky

Alice Zaslavsky is an award-winning author, broadcaster and self-styled Vegelante. She believes that everyone deserves to be able to understand food as they do letters and numbers. Born in Georgia at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Alice grew up with a cuisine that reaches for the veg first. It's no surprise, then, that this is at the heart of her food philosophy, helping others across the world want to do the same through her bestselling books, columns in The Guardian and Good Food and as ABC's food guru on radio and television.

Her vegetable bible In Praise of Veg has been translated into six languages (and counting!) in 14 countries, winning a Gastronomisch gold medal in Germany and an ABIA in Australia, and shortlisted as a James Beard finalist in North America. She is also the author of CBCA award-winning Alice's Food A to Z and cooking confidence un-locker Better Cooking. Alice is the creator of Phenomenom, a free digital toolkit helping thousands of teachers and parents connect kids with fresh food and learning.

She is based in Melbourne, Australia, and on the socials as @aliceinframes.