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

Ella Peile

Program Manager

Ella joined the Brisbane Writers Festival team in 2017. She has been working with young people since 2003, including as a classroom teacher, youth theatre director, and as an education resource writer. She holds degrees in Creative Industries and Education. Ella enjoys all art forms and has produced work as a writer, director, performer, and artist.

Her passion for story, language and books began early. Grateful for the opportunities and encouragement (and gift vouchers to Mary Ryan’s) that she was given growing up, she aims to increase opportunities for all young people to engage with reading and storytelling. A lifelong resident of South-East Queensland, she is happy to be making this contribution as part of the BWF team.

Email: program@bwf.org.au

Peter Ball

Programs Manager

Peter Ball joined the BWF team in 2021. He’s the publisher behind Brian Jar Press, a former manager of the Australian Writers Marketplace for Queensland Writers Centre, and the convenor of the first four GenreCon writers’ conferences. Deeply invested in the support and mentorship of new writers, Peter has tutored in creative writing for the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and Queensland University of Technology, and delivered lectures and workshops on publishing, author platform, and digital technologies for festivals and writers centers around Australia. As Peter M. Ball, he’s an award-winning writer of speculative fiction, and the author of several articles, essays, and blog posts about writing and building creative careers.

Peter is passionate about changing the way people think about the craft and business of writing, and he’s currently finishing a PhD in the poetic impacts the changing market for books is having on series fiction narratives.

Email: program@bwf.org.au

Ori Diskett

Cross-Arts Program Manager

Ori joined the BWF team in 2021 after five years of volunteering for the festival as both a Stage & Venue Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator Assistant. Her role covers programming events that explore the intersection between books/publishing and other art forms. Ori draws on experience in both the writing-editing-publishing sphere and theatre & live events. She has worked as a content writer, project manager, book editor, grammar teacher, theatre designer, sound & music composer, tarot card reader, and spent several years busking as a human statue in Brisbane’s South Bank. She spent some time as a Research Student at UQ, examining the intersection between queer theory and video game storytelling.

Ori is passionate about accessibility, diversity, justice, art, and queer rights.

Email: program@bwf.org.au

Emily Bowman

Programs Assistant

Emily interned with Brisbane Writers Festival for the 2021 festival and officially joined the team later in the year as Programs Assistant. 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 Writing, Editing and Publishing for her Masters. 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

Amy Zaghini

Marketing Manager

Amy recently moved back to Brisbane after working in London at the Design Museum. She was responsible for promoting the venue and running large-scale events. Prior to this, Amy worked for many years at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, North Queensland. A musician herself, Amy thoroughly enjoyed marketing the festival, managing events and supporting educational programs. In 2021, Amy worked on the Brisbane Festival as Marketing Manager. Amy is excited to join the Brisbane Writers Festival team for the 60th Anniversary and is looking forward to sharing Brisbane stories with the world.

Email: marketing@bwf.org.au.


LinLi Wan | Programs intern
Lin is a recent UQ Arts/Law graduate and is currently pursuing a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing.