Ann-Marie Priest grew up in country South Australia, but has lived most of her adult life in rural Queensland. She is the author of A Free Flame: Australian Women Writers and Vocation in the Twentieth Century, which was highly commended in the 2016 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, and Great Writers, Great Loves: The Reinvention of Love in the Twentieth Century. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Australian Book Review, Meanjin, Southerly, The Weekend Australian and The Age.
In 2017, she won the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for a forthcoming biography of poet Gwen Harwood. She has a PhD in English literature and teaches at Central Queensland University.
Dr Melissa Ashley is the author of the historical novel, The Birdman’s Wife (Affirm Press, October 2016), the fictional memoir of the 19th Century bird illustrator, Elizabeth Gould. The Birdman’s Wife won the 2017 Queensland Premiers’ Fiction Award and the 2017 Booksellers’ Choice Award. Melissa has published one collection of poetry, The Hospital for Dolls (PostPressed 2003); and her short stories, essays, poems and reviews have appeared in The Age (Spectrum), The Lifted Brow, Australian Book Review, Overland, Catamaran Literary Review, and others.
Melissa has performed at literary readings and festivals in Australia and New Zealand; she has published and presented her academic research in journals and at conferences around Australia. Melissa has a PhD and an MPhil in creative writing and a first-class honours degree in literature; she has teaching, editing and mentoring experience. Melissa has received research grants and awards for her work, including an Australia Council residency at the International Cite des Arts (2017-2018), an Arts Queensland emerging writers’ grant, an Australian Scholarship Award and a University of Queensland Merit-Based Scholarship.
Melissa is currently working on a historical novel, The Bee and the Orange Tree about a 17th century Parisian fairy-tale writers. She lives in Brisbane with her family.