Writers

Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the director of SWEATSHOP and a doctoral candidate in the University of Western Sydney Writing and Society Research Centre. His debut novel is The Tribe (Giramondo 2014).Michael Mohammed Ahmad SWEATSHOP Director, UWS doctoral candidate and Giramondo Author


Sophie Allan is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Chart Collective, and the Assistant Prize Manager of The Stella Prize. Her writing has been published in The Lifted Brow, Global Weather Stations and By the Book? Contemporary Publishing in Australia.

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Dea Anugrah is a writer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. His poems and stories have appeared in various publications, including Koran TempoMedia IndonesiaMurmur, and Griffith Review (Aus). His book of poetry, Misa Arwah & puisi-puisi lainnya was published in February this year. Dea is currently working on a short story collection.

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Clare Atkins’ debut novel Nona & Me was written while living in Arnhem Land, and has been shortlisted for the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for Older Readers and the 2015 Inky Awards. She has worked as a scriptwriter for successful television series including Wonderland, Winners and Losers, All Saints and Home & Away.

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Jan Bauer is a graphic novelist from Hamburg, Germany. His first book, The Salty River (2015), published in Germany as Der Salzige Fluss by avant-verlag is an autobiographical comic book about Jan’s walk on the Larapinta Trail in Central Australia. When not walking the desert or drawing comics Jan works as a freelance animation artist and as an illustrator. He has taught at Bauhaus Universität, Weimar and currently teaches at the Berliner Technische Kunstschule, Hamburg.Foto Jan Nov 13


Luke Carman is the associate director of SWEATSHOP and a doctoral candidate in the University of Western Sydney Writing and Society Research Centre. His debut novel is An Elegant Young Man (Giramondo 2013).Luke Carman, SWEATSHOP associate director, and UWS doctoral candidate and Giramondo author


Ali Cobby Eckermann is a Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha kunga (woman) born on Kaurna land. Her first book of poetry little bit long time was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in 2009. little bit long time sold out in months and was reprinted by Picaro Press. Her publications since include: Kami, Vagabond Press, 2010, His Fathers Eyes, Oxford University Press, 2011; ‘A Handful of Sand: Words To The Frontline’ co-edited with Lionel Fogarty, Southerly Journal 2011, Ruby Moonlight, Magabala Books 2012 (which won the Deadly Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature); Love Dreaming & Other Poems, Vagabond Press 2012; Too Afraid To Cry, Ilura Press, 2013. At the Eye of the Storm Ali will launch her new collection Inside My Mother published by Giramondo in 2015.

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Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in Northern NSW, and lived a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. Her first novel Darkness on the Edge of Town was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal, and her work has also appeared in Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Good Weekend, and the Guardian. Her latest novel, Deeper Water, is ‘a compelling examination of our relationship with nature’.(ABR)

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Dr Veronica Perrule Dobson AM is an Eastern Arrernte woman, highly respected for her cultural and linguistic knowledge. Veronica co-authored a dictionary of Arrernte. She is the author of Arelhe-Kenhe Merrethene: Arrernte traditional healing (2007), and co-author of Iwenhetyerrtye: what it means to be an Aboriginal person (2010) and Anpernirrentye kin and skin : talking about family in Arrernte (2013).

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Penny Drysdale is a poet living in Alice Springs.  She works on social justice and cultural projects, including for the Akeyulerre Healing Centre established by Arrernte elders to practice and celebrate culture and ensure it is passed on to the next generations.  Penny won the NT Literary Awards Poetry Prize in 2015.  She has just completed her first manuscript of poetry entitled ‘dew and broken glass’.

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Jo Dutton is the author of three novels. On the Edge of Red (Transworld 1998) Out of Place (Random House 2006 ) and From Alice with Love (Allen and Uwin 2013).  Her work has been published in German. She has written poetry and short stories, twice a winner in the ABC short story competion. She is currently completing a fourth novel, Wrecked.

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Sue Fielding is an Alice Springs based poet. Her work is published in local and national publications, including Fishtails in the Dust (Ptilotus Press), Metabolism: the Australian Poetry Members Anthology, Australian Love Poems 2013 and Sotto magazine. She was the Café Poet-in-residence at the Bean Tree cafe in Alice Springs during 2012. Sue is currently undertaking a MA (Writing and Literature) and working on a collection of poetry.

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Elliott Folvig will be supporting Ajak Kwai in the performance of Of Cows, Women and War. Elliott plays a wide variety of styles both acoustically and electrically and has performed at virtually all of Australia’s major venues and festivals. His most recent work includes Fallingwater Trio (Jazz), Big Fela (Afrobeat), Bombay Royale (Bollywood), Adrian Sherriff’s Nandi (Indian Fusion), Elissa Goodrich’s Federation Bells and States of Play projects, and Oracle (World). He has collaborated in many projects with other artists for the Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Jazz Fringe Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, and the Wangaratta Jazz festival to name a few.EF2


Michael Giacometti has been published in Meanjin and several anthologies, including Cracking the spine: ten short Australian stories and how they were written (Spineless Wonders 2014). In 2008 he became the first (and only) person to walk across the Simpson Desert, solo and unsupported, from east to west. Currently he is writing a collection of haiku and an outback gothic novel. His collection of short stories will be published by Spineless Wonders in 2016. He lives in Alice Springs.

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Lorna Hendry was a graphic designer until she unplugged the computer and took off in a 4WD and camper trailer to travel around Australia with her partner and two young sons. That trip turned into a three-year adventure and along the way Lorna discovered a passion for writing and a new career. Her memoir, Wrong Way Round, was published by Hardie Grant in April 2015. Lorna is now a freelance writer, editor and teacher.

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Kelly-lee Hickey is an award winning writer, performer and community cultural development artist living and working in the Northern Territory. She has worked extensively using collective narrative and story telling to connect communities in urban and remote areas in both Australia and Indonesia, with projects including A Stitch In Time and Vessels for Stories.

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Steve Hodder Watt is a Lardil man from Mornington Island, Queensland. A writer and performer Steve performed in the Red Dust Theatre production Train Dancing at the Adelaide Festival 2002 and co-wrote Barracking, the story of racial interactions and bonding through religious fanaticism of AFL football. Steve’s spoken word pieces have been published in Going Down Swinging and the Red Room’s The Disappearing project. Steve has also worked in Indigenous Media and publishing in central Australia for over 20 years.

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Rene Kulitja was born at Ernabella in 1958. She is a well-know artist – her painting has featured on a Qantas plane. Rene is a chairperson of Maruka Arts, an arts centre her parents helped to establish in 1984. She is a contributor to the Central Land Council’s recent book Every Hill Got a Story.

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Whether she is singing in Arabic, Sudanese or English, Ajak Kwai’s haunting melodic voice is distinctly African and to listen to her is to experience her Dinka background in all its colours, rhythms and mystery. Music is the vehicle for her stories of extraordinary life experiences as a refugee, exiled from her home town. Ajak has written and performed with many well known Australian musicians including percussionist Nicky Bomba, multiinstrumentalist Martin Tucker and fretman Chris Basile. Ajak released an album in 2008 which reflected her new funky raw Aussie/Sudanese sound. Ajak’s vibrant afro soul style songs have seen her in demand with many festivals including Byron Bay, Apollo Bay, National Folk Festival, Port Fairy, Melbourne International Festival.

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Dr Peter Latz is a botanist and author of Bushfire and Bush Tucker: Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia (2004). Born in Alice Springs during World War Two, Peter grew up in Hermannsburg where he developed a life-long passion for bush tucker, the central Australian landscape, and its animals and plants. His latest book is a biography of Moses Tjalkabota, an Arrernte man and first Aboriginal pastor of Central Australia, called Blind Moses: Aranda man of high degree and Christian evangelist (2014). Image courtesy CAAMA.

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Diane Lucas came to live in Kakadu in 1983. Her connections with Indigenous people and country, and having children, have greatly influenced and inspired her life and writing. Her poetry, songs and short stories have been published in numerous anthologies. She has five children’s books published and a CD of songs, as well as being a contributing author to the recent book, A Natural History and Field Guide to Australia’s Top End. See her publications and inspiration for writing here.

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Mark MacLean writes about connections to place. Stories such as Unte nthenharenye? / Where do you come from? (from his collection The New Landscape) are drawn from his time living in Central Australia in the 1980s and 90s, where he was the publisher at IAD Press for several years. His book A Year Down the Drain describes the people he met and the places he discovered exploring the stormwater drains of Newcastle, NSW. In his new book, Five Boxes, Mark reflects on our connection to the past through our possessions.

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Kim Mahood is the author of Craft for a Dry Lake, which won several awards for non-fiction including The Age Book of the Year and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award. She wrote the much-circulated essay ‘Kartiya are like Toyotas’, and is a regular contributor to the Griffith Review. She is currently working on a non-fiction book due for publication in 2016.

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As an artist who crosses musical and cultural boundaries, Bec Matthews fuses her own original music with influences from traditional West African, Middle Eastern and World Fusion music. Her original songs and music reflect her personal journey and worldview, echoing her extensive studies with West African musical masters and travels through remote Australia and elsewhere.3


Laurie May is a Central Australian poet hailing from the Gulf of Carpentaria. Forever searching for an understanding of her own identity Laurie explores themes of family, poverty and heartache and the “new” Australian identity through poetry and spoken word. Laurie represented Alice in the Australian Poetry Slam in 2012 and has gone on to perform at festivals and stages and run workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand.

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Meg Mooney is a natural scientist and poet who has been in central Australia for 28 years, living in or working with remote Aboriginal communities for most of that time. Meg is launching her latest book, Being Martha’s Friend, Ginninderra Press, at Eye of the Storm. Meg’s other books are For the dry country: writing and drawings from the Centre, a collaboration with artist Sally Mumford, Ptilotus Press, 2005; and The Gap, co-winner of The Picaro Poetry Prize in 2010.

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Dr Glenn Morrison is an award-winning journalist and author who has lived in Alice Springs since 1998. His reportage and essays of Central Australia are widely published in newspapers, magazines, journals and books. Glenn’s 2015 PhD thesis ‘Songlines and Fault Lines: Six Walks that Shaped A Nation’ explores walking and ideas of frontier and home in the literature of the Centre.EXP_6146_Territory Q Pormo Shot Hi res


Since settling in Alice Springs in the early 1980s where he had an art lecturing position in post-secondary schooling, Rod Moss has maintained a consistent practice of painting and writing. His works have featured in local exhibitions, interstate and in America. His two published works of memoir, Hard Light of Day (2010) and One Thousand Cuts: Life and Art in Central Australia (2013), document life in and around Alice Springs. Both have won the Territory Book of the Year and the first also won the Prime Minister’s non-fiction Book of the Year.

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Sylvia Purrurle Neale is an Eastern Arrernte woman born in Alice Springs. Sylvia has always been involved in her Arrernte community and as old as she is, she says she is still learning the knowledge and spiritual wisdom from her community. She is a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She doesn’t regard herself as a poet but as someone who puts her thoughts and feelings down in writing. Her work is published in Voice from the Heart (1995) and This Country Anywhere Anytime (2010).

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Maureen Jipyiliya Nampijimpa O’Keefe is a Warlpiri woman, born and raised in Ali-Curung, south-east of Tennant Creek. Maureen’s short stories and poems appear in This Country Anytime Anywhere and in the Red Room’s The Disappearing App. Maureen was a guest poet at the 2011 Sydney Writers’ Festival and last year was a recipient of an Australian Indigenous Creator scholarship with Magabala Books. She is a translator and interpreter.

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Rosemary Plummer Narrurlu is a Warumungu woman who grew up at Alekarenge in the Barkly Tablelands. Her writing has appeared in Southerly and Northerly, in anthologies and collected works such as Selected Poems from Tennant Creek (2000), This Country Anytime Anywhere and Bruno’s Song and other stories from the Northern Territory. In 2014 Rosemary was Cultural Adviser on the Northern Territory Library’s Tennant Creek Baby Board Book, and narrator on the accompanying DVD. She is a contributing storyteller to Every Hill Got a Story (Hardie Grant, 2015).


Peter Polites is associate director of SWEATSHOP. His work has appeared in Overland, The Lifted Brow and Seizure. He is currently working on a manuscript that is part noir, part melodrama, part queer and all Western Sydney.

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Bagryana Popov is a theatre maker who works in an interdisciplinary way, collaborating with highly acclaimed artists and with communities. Most recent work was the site-specific, durational Uncle Vanya in Avoca, an associated event of Castlemaine Festival 2015.  She directed and co-devised The Button Event with Todd MacDonald at QTC, Brisbane Festival 2014. Progress and Melancholy, a physical theatre work based on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, won 3 Green Room Awards, including Best Direction. She directed two sell-out seasons of Cafe Scheherezade at fortyfivedownstairs, Sarajevo Suite at La Mama, and Of Cows, Women and War, co-created with Ajak Kwai (La Mama Explorations 2014). Of Cows, Women and War will be performed at Eye of the Storm. Internationally she has directed for the National Theatre of Macedonia, and performed in Bulgaria and Hungary. Bagryana is on the artistic team with St Kilda Drop in Centre participants that created The Lower DepthsThe TempestOur Chalk Circle and Dante’s Workshop.

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Christopher Raja migrated to Melbourne from Kolkata in 1986, and now lives and works in Melbourne and Alice Springs. His short story ‘After the Wreck’ was adapted for radio and broadcast on ABC Radio National in 2007. His play Drew’s Seizure was performed at Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs in 2009. His co-authored play The First Garden played over six nights at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in September 2011 and was published by Currency Press in 2012. The Burning Elephant was written under a New Work grant awarded by the Literature Board of the Australia Council and will be published by Giramondo in September 2015.

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Craig San Roque is the author of Placing Psyche, Exploring Cultural Complexes in Australia, ( Spring Journal Books, 2011) and the almost ‘cult classic ‘ graphic novel with Joshua Santospirito The Long Weekend in Alice Springs. His performance text Sugarman/Dionisos was performed on a bush site and at Araluen Arts Centre between 1996 and 1999. His new performance work, including Persephone’s Dog planned for September 2015, revisions European cultural myth.

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Celestine Rowe is originally from the western desert community of Papunya. She writes lyrical activist slam poetry and has been winner and runner up in Central and South Australian slams. She is currently working with Rhyming the Dead, a project by the Sydney-based Red Room Company.

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Candy Royalle is a performance artist, poet, storyteller, educator, creative collaborator and vulnerability advocate. She shares confronting, political, human and heart wrenching narratives delivered in her own inimitable style to audiences all over the world, hoping to break open closed hearts. Candy Royalle has been nominated for and awarded numerous prizes and has been selected for a number of residencies. She has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and appeared alongside many of Australia’s and the world’s greatest poetic voices.

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Joshua Santospirito is a multimedia artist, musician, mental health nurse and writer who lives in Hobart, Tasmania. His prime obsessions revolve around language, culture, anthropology and psychology. Josh’s published works include The Long Weekend in Alice Springs (2013) and Swallows part one (2015). He has also been published in several magazines such as Meanjin, and Island. Web Santospirito HEADSHOT---drawn


Ellena Savage is an editor at The Lifted Brow, a columnist at Eureka Street, and a PhD candidate at Monash University. Her essays and criticism, which have appeared in the pages of periodicals such as The GuardianMeanjinOverlandJunkee, and The Australian, examines the intersections of politics, feminism, and literature.

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Leni Shilton has lived in Central Australia for many years where she has worked as a creative writing lecturer, a prison educator and a bush nurse. She is a poet and her work is published in journals and anthologies, most recently in Women’s Work, Art Monthly, Axon and Swamp. She is currently completing a PhD in creative writing through Southern Cross University.

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Doris Stuart Kngwarreye’s family has lived alongside the Todd River for countless generations. Alice Springs, or Mparntwe, was her father’s traditional ground. She is an Mparntwe-arenye woman – Apmereke artweye (traditional owner) for Mparntwe and speaks Central Arrernte.

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Christobel Swan is one of the last remaining speakers fluent in the Pertame (Southern Arrernte) language. She was born in 1946 in Twenge (Henbury) and attended school in Adelaide. For more than 30 years she has worked as a translator and interpreter in the health and legal sectors. She is a contributor to the Central Land Council’s recent book Every Hill Got a Story.

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Margaret Kemarre Turner belongs to the Akarre people (Arrernte) and was born in the Spotted Tiger region of Harts Range in Central Australia. Margaret Kemarre Turner is an elder, qualified interpreter, artist and author, and has taught language, culture and cross-cultural courses at the Institute for Aboriginal Development. She is the co-author/translator of Iwenhe Tyerrtye: What It Means to Be an Aboriginal Person (2010) with Barry McDonald and Bush Foods: Arrernte Foods of Central Australia (1996) with Shawn Dobson and John Henderson. Image courtesy Lisa Stefanoff.

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Ellen van Neerven is a Yugambeh writer living in Brisbane. Her short story collection Heat and Light won the 2013 David Unaipon Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 Stella Prize.

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Gerard Waterford is a social worker and counsellor with Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in their Social & Emotional Wellbeing Program. He has completed a Batchelor of Arts majoring in History. Gerard co-authored Alone on the Soaks: The Life and Times of Alec Kruger (IAD Press, 2006).


Kimberley Zeneth’s (nee Mann) first book was Awake During Anaesthetic (National New Poets Program 2009). In addition to a Poetry Masterclass (Ron Pretty) and a Fiction Fellowship at Varuna, projects include poetry installation Skin of the Text for Adelaide Fringe and Wirranendi Sculpture Trail commissioned by Adelaide City Council. She works as a counsellor and lives in the desert with her beautiful wife.

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