We are the BWF Team.
Lovely to meet you.

Sarah Runcie

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Runcie joined Brisbane Writers Festival in 2020 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Sarah's extensive experience spans the creative industries, government and not-for-profit sectors. Her professional experience includes policy and advocacy, communications and arts administration positions. A highlight from Sarah's career is the establishment of Parliamentary Friends of Australian Books and Writers and the Parliamentary Book Club, whilst working for the Australian Publishers Association.

Sarah established the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative in 2016, which is recognised as a world leading initiative in print accessibility in the book industry.

Sarah is committed to a Brisbane Writers Festival for all.

Email: info@bwf.org.au

Melissa Bates

Office & Special Events Manager

Melissa joined the Brisbane Writers Festival team in 2019. As a recent graduate of Associate Degree in Creative Writing (Southern Cross University), Melissa holds a deep love of literature which paved her decision on a major career change into the arts. With an extensive background across the banking, finance and accounting sectors, Melissa’s previous roles have been diverse encompassing all aspects of experience. Melissa’s last role was with ANZ for over 8 years, whilst immersed in numbers and client service, it was an affection for the written world of words that override Melissa’s decision to develop her writing skills through a rich mix of literary studies in a writing degree.

An avid reader, Melissa loves books and is passionate about sharing her reading experiences with others so that they too can see how books leave lingering thoughts long after a book is finished. Additionally, Melissa understands the importance of reading with children as being invaluable and is passionate about encouraging an active pursuit of guiding children to love books like she does. Melissa is gradually working on a manuscript that bubbles in the background, and aside from loving books, Melissa has a passion for travel, the arts, music and attending writers’ events. Stories have such an important role to play and it is through these conversations Melissa finds we can connect with others.

Email: info@bwf.org.au

Jackie Ryan

Head of Programs

Jackie Ryan has an abiding interest in culture that connects her work across forms and genres, from writing and research to performance, arts administration, film work and visual design. Her mantlepiece holds a Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance, the USQ History Award, an Aurealis Award, a Bronze Ledger Award and a Queensland Writing Fellowship; she’s also been shortlisted for The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award, the Russell Prize for Humour Writing and the Queensland New Filmmakers Awards. Her non-fiction book ‘We’ll Show the World: Expo 88’ (UQP) was published in 2018, and the websites for her ongoing writing projects – ‘Burger Force’ and Fanciful Fiction Auxiliary – have been preserved by the National Archives of Australia as sites of cultural significance. Jackie’s programming experience traverses State Library of Queensland, Queensland Writers Centre and Avid Reader. She holds a PhD in history and political science from The University of Queensland.

Email: program@bwf.org.au

Emily Bowman

Program Manager (Youth & Online)

Emily joined the Brisbane Writers Festival team first as an intern, then as Programs Assistant in 2021. She now manages BWF's Youth Programs, including Love YA, Word Play, and Families, as well as produces all online programs and events.

A theatre kid in high school, Emily majored in Drama for her Bachelors, before rediscovering her love for all things books and writing and going on to do a Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing. Emily devoured books growing up, as well as dabbling in dance, making short films, and school theatre productions, giving her a strong passion for the arts and creating. When not immersing herself in the writing industry through work and study, Emily is working on her own creative projects, including her YA fantasy manuscript.

Email: program@bwf.org.au