Shastra Deo was born in Fiji, raised in Melbourne, and lives in Brisbane. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal. Her second book, The Exclusion Zone (UQP 2023), is out now.
Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen's first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award. Throat, Ellen's highly anticipated second collection of poetry, was published in 2020. In 2021 they are the editor of the anthology Flock: First Nations Stories Then and Now.
This is Witi Ihimaera’s 3rd appearance at Brisbane Writers Festival and he’s delighted to be back. A New Zealand writer of Maori descent he celebrates his 50th Anniversary as a writer with a newly revised version of Tangi (1973), the first novel by a Maori. Highly regarded internationally for his astonishing outpouring of fiction, films, edited works and plays he will be appearing in celebratory events in the USA (a children’s book congress celebrating The Whale Rider), Canada (an Ihimaera 4-film retrospective at the Presence Autochtone Film Festival), Germany (a Big Read Festival at Gutenberg University) and France (a month-long book and film tour). The Whale Rider is the most translated New Zealand novel. Another of his books, White Lies will be published soon in an Ethiopian Amharic Semitic edition. He has many national and international awards including a Chevalier des Arts and Lettres for services to indigenous literature. He lives in New Zealand.
David Stavanger is poet, performer, cultural producer, editor and former psychologist living on unceded Dharawal land. He currently works for Red Room Poetry producing Poetry Month and MAD Poetry. David is the co-editor of Solid Air: Collected Australian & New Zealand Spoken Word (UQP, 2019) and more recently Admissions: Voices Within Mental Health (Upswell, 2022.) His first full-length poetry collection, The Special (UQP, 2014), was awarded several prizes and his latest collection, Case Notes (UWAP, 2020), won the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.
Raelee Lancaster has a dual career: firstly as an information services professional, and secondly as a writer, collaborator, and creative producer.
Raelee's information services career focuses on library services. She has a keen interest in archives, research, and publishing. Raelee hopes to combine her information services work with her arts career to promote empathy, listening, and laughter in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector.
Raelee has called herself a writer since 2017. Her writing crosses poetry, nonfiction, criticism, and playwriting. Raelee's writing has has featured in The Guardian, SBS Voices, The Saturday Paper, Overland, Meanjin, The Big Issue, Australian Poetry Journal, and more. Anthologies that feature her work include Fire Front: First Nations Poetry and Power Today (UQP, 2020) and The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (MUP, 2020).
In 2018, Raelee was awarded first place for the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers. From 2018-2020, Raelee was employed by the National Young Writers Festival, firstly as a creative producer and subsequently as Co-Director. In 2019, Raelee was a recipient of a Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship.
Raelee is based in Brisbane/Meanjin. Raised on Awabakal land in Newcastle NSW, Raelee is descended from the Wiradjuri and Biripi peoples.