Sarah Armstrong was a journalist at the ABC before moving to the north coast. Her first novel, Salt Rain, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. She’s now writing kids books and working on her fourth novel for adults. She lives in Mullumbimby with her partner, the writer Alan Close, and their young daughter.
Helen Burns is an Australian writer, poet and part time book reviewer. Her travel memoir, The Way is a River of Stars (2013), was awarded a Byron Writers Festival Residential Mentorship and a Varuna LongLines residency, then short-listed for the Varuna Harper Collins award. Her first novel, based around the life of an eighth century South Indian poet, is under contract and due for release in 2020. An early draft was selected for the 2016 Hachette / Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program. Research for this book has included periods of intensive field work in India and her interpretive translations of Tamil verse. Four decades after studying Hindi and Asian Studies at the Australian National University this project is in many ways a homecoming.
Jessie Cole grew up in Northern NSW. Her first novel, Darkness on the Edge of Town, was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her second novel, Deeper Water, was released in 2014 to much critical acclaim. Her work has also appeared in many Australian publications, including Best Australian Essays, Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Good Weekend, Big Issue, Daily Life and the Guardian. Jessie’s new memoir, Staying, is about the importance of home, family and forgiveness—and finding peace in a place of pain.
Siboney Duff has spent the past fifteen years working as a freelance writer, editor, manuscript assessor, and teacher. She runs regular workshops on everything from creative writing and publication to writing successful grant submissions. She recently enrolled in a PhD (Creative Writing) through Curtin University and is currently working on her second novel. She joined the Damselflies in 2013 and considers herself lucky to count them as her literary sisters.
Susanna Freymark is editor of the Richmond River Express Examiner in country NSW. Previously, she was a primary school teacher in Central Australia and later owned a children’s bookshop in London. She holds an MA in creative writing from UTS and her short stories have been published in a UTS Anthology, The Outbackand other publications. She moved to the Byron Bay hinterland where the lush landscape and twists and turns of life inspired her first book Losing February. She is currently looking for a publishing home for her second novel, Palya. She still lives in the Byron hinterland with a mad duck, feral chooks and two dogs
Manna Hart is a poet. She grew up on the Pittwater Peninsular in Sydney, earned her B.A. in Sculpture at St Martins School of Art in Soho, London, her Dip. Ed. at the Sydney Institute of Education and her M.A. at Sydney College of the Arts. For twenty years she made sculpture and taught art part-time, until, after a brief flirtation with psychology, she moved to the edges of a rainforest on the cusp of the massive Wollumbin Caldera to breed and train horses. Her works in progress include a novel based on the life of Kikkuli, a 1345 BC horse master, another on Bill Mollison's Permaculture Community at Pumpenbil, and a poetry collection, Traces of the Senses.
Marita Heck is a Creative Writing PhD candidate at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Since the age of nine, Marita has written a variety of short stories, plays, historical novels and young adult fiction, but her true passion lies within the suspense romance genre. Marita was born and raised in Germany and moved to the Great Southern Land 15 years ago. When Marita is not busy writing, she works as an anaesthetic nurse at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and as a midwife in her own independent midwifery business, where she is continuously inspired and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.
Jen Jewel Brown was the first reporter for Rolling Stone Australia and on staff at Planet, The Digger, RAM and Nation Review across the 70s and 80s. Author of Skyhooks Million Dollar Riff (1975) and co-author with Tina Hutchence of Michael, my brother: lost boy of INXS (2018) she writes liner notes for various folks including The Zappa Family Trust. Part of the Brains Trust for RocKwiz, Jen is also an interviewer for the National Film and Sound Archive. Currently co-editing a collection of other writers' work called Birds of Paradise: transcending gender boundaries.
Professor William MacNeil is the inaugural holder of The Honourable John Dowd Chair in Law, as well as the Dean and Head of the School of Law and Justice. MacNeil is a scholar of jurisprudence and cultural legal studies and his most recent book, Novel Judgements: Legal Theory as Fiction, won the 2013 Penny Pether Prize for Scholarship in Law, Literature and the Humanities. He is the editor of the book series, Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature and the Humanities, and is completing a book on the philosophy of law in science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Philip McLaren is Australian, an elder of the Kamilaroi Nation. He is a prize-winning author who also writes non-fiction, social commentary, screenplays and academic essays. His seventh novel INNOCENT ABROAD was released late last year. Many of his books are translated and published in France, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Africa, as well as in the USA, New Zealand and Canada. Before he began writing his background was in film and television. He worked at producing, directing, set design, Illustration and animation for US networks NBC, CBS and ABC plus all major networks in Canada and Australia. He holds a Doctor of Creative Arts degree from the University of Technology Sydney and has lectured in France, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Great Britain and Australia.