Archive Festival 2016
Program by Writer: Surnames S...

This is an event from the May 2016 Festival.

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Kerri Sackville (Australian)

Kerri Sackville is an Australian author, columnist and social commentator. She is a regular columnist for Sunday Life magazine, Essential Kids website, and Practical Parenting magazine, and appears regularly as a panellist on Channel 7’s The Morning Show. Kerri’s work has appeared extensively in online and print publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age, The Telegraph, Daily Life, The Hoopla and Her first book When My Husband Does The Dishes... is a funny, honest expose of marriage and motherhood. Her second book The Little Book Of Anxiety - Confessions From A Worried Life is a highly personal account of living with an anxiety disorder.

Appeared at...
Sales, Leigh
Leigh Sales (Australian)

Leigh Sales anchors the ABC’s flagship current affairs program, 7.30. In that role, she has interviewed many world leaders and celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama. She is a multiple Walkley Award winner and the author of two books, Detainee 002 and On Doubt. From 2001-2006, she was the ABC’s Washington Correspondent. She co-hosts a podcast, Chat 10 Looks 3, with Annabel Crabb, canvassing everything from literature to television to politics.

Luc Sante (International)

Luc Sante's books include Low Life, The Factory of Facts, Kill All Your Darlings, and, most recently, The Other Paris. He has been a contributor to the New York Review of Books since 1981, and has written for many other periodicals about literature, photography, film, popular music, and social history. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Grammy (for album notes), an Infinity Award in writing from the International Center of Photography, and Guggenheim and Cullman fellowships. He teaches writing and the history of photography at Bard College.

Charles Santoso (Australian)

Charles Santoso (Chao) loves drawing little things in his little journal and dreaming about funny, wondrous stories. He gathers inspiration from his childhood memories and curiosities he discovers in his everyday travels. He has illustrated several picture books, including I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell (2015), Spy Guy: The Not-So-Secret Agent written by Jessica Young (2015), Peanut Butter & Brains written by Joe McGee (2015), Ida, Always written by Caron Levis (2016) and The Snurtch written by Sean Ferrell (2016). During the day he works at an animation studio as a concept artist/art director and has been involved in various animated feature film projects. Charles Santoso’s work has been exhibited in Sydney and also internationally in North America and France. He currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Miranda Sarzin (Australian)

A published author, Lisa has also worked as a lawyer. She has a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney, and a Bachelor of Business and a First Class Honours degree in Law from the University of Technology, Sydney. Lisa is currently writing a PhD at UTS. She lives in Sydney with her husband and three young sons. Lisa's favourite time of the day is bedtime stories with her children when everyone gets lost in the beautiful, magical world of children's books.

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Margot Saville (Australian)

Currently a freelance writer who is most commonly published on, Margot Saville graduated in Arts/Law from the University of Sydney and practised as a lawyer for a year before entering journalism. Since then she has worked for The Australian, the ABC, the Nine Network and The Sydney Morning Herald, writing about business and politics. In 2007, Margot wrote The Battle for Bennelong, about about Maxine McKew's political coup.

Niki Savva (Australian)

Niki Savva is one of the most senior correspondents in the Canberra Press Gallery. She was twice political correspondent on The Australian, and headed up the Canberra bureaus of both The Herald Sun and The Age. She was Peter Costello's press secretary for six years and on John Howard's staff for three. She is now a regular columnist for The Australian, and often appears on ABC TV's Insiders as well as on political panels on Sky. Her latest book is Road to Ruin, which charts the Tony Abbott/Peta Credlin demise.

Julianne Schultz (Australian)

Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is founding editor of Griffith Review. She is a member of the Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research and chairs the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She sits on the editorial board of The Conversation and is a member of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Pool of Peers. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year. She is a thought leader on media and culture and an accomplished public speaker and facilitator. She has served on the board of directors of the ABC and Grattan Institute, and chaired and been a member of many advisory boards with a particular focus on education, journalism and creativity.

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Claire Scobie (Australian)

Claire Scobie is the award-winning author of Last Seen in Lhasa and The Pagoda Tree, chosen by Good Reading magazine as one of their Best Fiction Reads 2013. She has lived and worked in the UK, India and now Sydney. She writes for numerous publications, including the Daily Telegraph, Destinasian and contributes to the Sydney Morning Herald. She mentors writers; runs writing courses in Australia, Asia and the UK; and hosts Abercrombie & Kent’s literary tour to the Jaipur Literature Festival in India. Through her business Wordstruck, Claire advises companies and leaders on how to harness the power of storytelling as a powerful business tool. In 2013 she completed a Doctor of Creative Arts at Western Sydney University.

Penelope Seidler (Australian)

Penelope Seidler AM is an architect with a keen interest in the visual arts. She is the principal of Harry Seidler and Associates. She is a member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1973, a board member of the Biennale of Sydney and a former Council member of the National Gallery of Australia.

Michael Sexton SC (Australian)

A graduate of the law schools of the universities of Melbourne and Virginia, Michael Sexton SC, spent some years as an academic lawyer before taking up practice at the NSW Bar. Since 1998 he has been Solicitor General for New South Wales. He is co-author of the Australian text on defamation law and the author of several books on Australian politics and history.

James Shapiro (International)

James Shapiro is a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University specialising in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period. He is widely published on Shakespeare and Elizabethan culture. His latest book is 1606: The Year of Lear.

Don Share (International)

Don Share became the editor of Poetry in 2013. His books of poetry are Wishbone (2012), Squandermania (2007), and Union (2013, 2002). He is the co-editor of The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (2012), and editor of Bunting's Persia (2012) and a critical edition of Basil Bunting's poems (Faber and Faber). He is the translator of Field Guide: Poems by Dario Jaramillo Agudelo (2012), Miguel Hernández (2013), and I Have Lots of Heart: Selected Poems by Miguel Hernández (1998), winner of the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize and the Premio Valle Inclán for Spanish Translation.

Greg Sheridan (Australian)

Greg Sheridan is the Foreign Editor of The Australian, and a highly regarded journalist. He is active across radio and television, as well as print. He first worked at The Bulletin magazine in 1979, and joined The Australian in 1984. Writing on and from the Asian region since the 1980s, he specialises in Asian politics and has written four books on the topic, plus a book an Australian and US relations. His latest book is his memoir, When We Were Young and Foolish.

Shuangyuan Shi (Australian)

Dr Shuangyuan Shi was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, P. R. China. Until 1997 he was the professor of Chinese Literature and Chinese Culture at Nanjing Normal University, P. R. China. Since 1997 he has been working as the Chinese Language Consultant and Senior Education Officer in the New South Wales Department of Education, Australia. Since 2011 he has been the Director of the Confucius Institute at the New South Wales Department of Education. He has published several books and papers in the field of China studies and Chinese culture. He also made many presentations on Chinese culture at a number of universities and on the SBS Chinese radio program.

Annette Shun Wah (Australian)

Annette Shun Wah is a producer, actor, broadcaster and non-fiction writer. Her first book, co-written with Greg Aitkin, was Banquet – Ten Courses to Harmony. She has contributed to anthologies including Growing Up Asian in Australia, edited by Alice Pung, and Grandma Magic, edited by Janet Hutchison. After an extensive media career, Annette now works largely in theatre as Executive Producer of leading Asian Australian performance company Performance 4a and is on the Directorate of the National Theatre of Parramatta.

Eric Sidoti (Australian)

For over a decade, prior to his appointment as director at the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University, Eric Sidoti managed Strategic Options, his own small consultancy. He has been engaged in projects across a broad range of policy fields (education, training and employment; human rights; development; Indigenous land rights and education; humanitarian law and conflict; and welfare issues). Eric was the Executive Director of the Human Rights Council of Australia (HRCA) 1992 - 1995, Communications Director of Amnesty International Australia 1987 – 1992 and National Secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace 1985-1987. He commenced with the Whitlam Institute in mid 2007.

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Ira Silverberg (International)

Ira Silverberg recently joined Simon & Schuster as a Senior Editor where he'll expand the company's program in Literary Fiction. He has been an agent and Foreign Rights Director at both Donadio & Olson, and Sterling Lord Literistic; was the Editor-in-Chief at Grove Press; managed Serpent's Tail's US office where he published both original US titles and oversaw exports from the UK; and was Literature Director at the National Endowment for the Arts. Ira worked with Australian publishers Text and Scribe during his time as an agent.

Alecia Simmonds (Australian)

Alecia Simmonds is the author of the book Wild Man, The True Story of a Police Killing, Mental Illness and the Law. She is a regular writer for Fairfax Media's Daily Life, a postdoctoral fellow in law at the University of Technology Sydney and a lecturer in history at New York University in Sydney. Her columns have been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Arena, Womankind and The Guardian.

Adrian Simon (Australian)

Adrian Simon, 38, is the son of Warren Fellows, the infamous heroin trafficker who was imprisoned in Bangkwang Prison in Bangkok and later published the best-selling memoir The Damage Done. But Warren wasn’t the only one affected by the experience; while he languished behind bars for 12 years, back home in suburban Australia lived a young boy who was forced to grow up fast, dealing with the consequences of his father’s terrible decisions at every turn and witnessing the harrowing ripple effects they had on his entire family. Stepping out of his father’s dark shadow and finding his own voice has taken Adrian a lifetime, and seen him face unimaginable hurdles along the way. Now, in his painfully candid memoir Milk-Blood, Adrian shares his story.

Inga Simpson (Australian)

Inga is the author of Where the Trees Were (2016), Nest, and Mr Wigg. Nest was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and The Courier Mail People’s Choice Award, and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize. Inga was the winner of the final Eric Rolls Nature Essay Prize, and has recently completed a PhD in English literature, which examined the history of Australian nature writing and its capacity as an environmental strategy.

Emma Sky (International)

Emma Sky first travelled to Iraq in 2003 to apologise to Iraqis for the war and to help them rebuild their country - and went on to become political advisor to the top American general. Emma's book The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2015. With sharp detail and tremendous empathy, Emma provides unique insights into the US military as well as the complexities, diversity, and evolution of Iraqi society. The Unravelling is an intimate insider’s portrait of how and why the Iraq adventure failed. Emma was raised in the UK and earned a degree in oriental studies at Oxford University's Somerville College. She currently is director of Yale University's World Fellows program and lectures on Middle East politics. She worked in the Middle East for 20 years and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services in Iraq.

Michael Slezak (Australian)

Michael Slezak is an award-winning science and environmental journalist. Between 2012 and 2016, he was the Australasian Reporter for New Scientist magazine, and led their coverage on issues as wide-ranging as the Higgs boson and extreme weather phenomena. This year, he started at Guardian Australia as their Environment Reporter. Michael has won several awards for his science reporting and had work published in Best Australian Science Writing in both 2014 and 2015.

Glenda Sluga (Australian)

Glenda Sluga is Professor of International History, and ARC Laureate Fellow at the University of Sydney. Her most recent book is Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism, and she is currently writing two books, on the Congress of Vienna, and Hollywood and the UN.

Anna Smaill (International)

Anna Smaill was born in Auckland in 1979. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington and a PhD from University College London. Her first book of poetry The Violinist in Spring was published by Victoria University Press in 2005. The Chimes, her debut novel (Sceptre), was recognised as a Bookseller Best Debut of 2015, by The Huffington Post as 'One to Watch', and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She currently lives in Wellington with her husband and daughter.

Dorothea Smartt (International)

Dorothea Smartt is no longer attending Sydney Writers' Festival.

Dorothea Smartt: Established poet with an international reputation, described as a ‘Brit-born Bajan international’. She has two full collections, Connecting Medium and Ship Shape [Peepal Tree Press]. Her latest chapbook, Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On, ‘…is subversive, radical, and surprisingly panoramic. Ultimately…about Black diasporic love at its most radical and life-affirming.’ She is currently researching a third full collection, examining same-sex relationships and cross-gender experiences as push-pull factors for ‘West Indian’ workers on the Panama Canal.

Suzanne Smith (Australian)

Suzanne is an award winning senior journalist interested in content strategy and creation, digital media, television, investigative journalism and philanthropy. Awards include: two Logie Awards for most outstanding news reportage 2007 and 2013; four Walkley Awards for journalism including 2013 Finalist Walkley Awards; 2007 and 1996 UN Media Association Peace Prize Human Rights Award (HREOC); Luminous Award for Cancer reporting 2010; and EU Journalist of the year for 1997. She is currently a senior journalist for Foreign Correspondent (ABC TV).

David Smith (Australian)

Dr David Smith is jointly appointed between the United States Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Smith has a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Sydney. His research examines political relations between states and minorities, with a focus on religion in the US. His book Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.

Babette Smith (Australian)

Babette Smith is one of Australia's most respected experts on convict history and author of the bestselling Cargo of Women and Australia's Birthstain. In 2015, she was awarded NSW Community and Regional History Prize at the NSW Premier’s History Awards for her book, The Luck of the Irish: How a shipload of convicts survived the wreck of the Hive to make a new life in Australia. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New England.

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Hannah Sommerville (Australian)

Hannah Sommerville creates enchanting watercolour, pen and pencil drawings in her studio on the South Coast of NSW. The daughter of a ceramicist, Hannah earned a bachelor of Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts and Graphic Design) at the University of Wollongong in 2006. It was at this time she met her husband, Dean, with whom she has two small children. She draws inspiration from her young family and coastal community. She enjoys an ongoing collaborative relationship with author Emma Allen, resulting in books My Friend Earnest and Grandma, the Baby and Me. Hannah also recently illustrated media personality Kate Ritchie’s children’s book I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You, published March 2016.

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Soutphommasane, Tim
Tim Soutphommasane (Australian)

Tim Soutphommasane is Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner. His thinking on multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in reshaping debates in Australia and Britain. He is the author of The Virtuous Citizen, Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From (winner of the Community Relations Commission Award at the 2013 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards), Reclaiming Patriotism, and editor of All That’s Left (with Nick Dyrenfurth). His most recent book is I’m not racist but… 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act.

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Adam Spencer (Australian)

Mathematician, comedian and broadcaster Adam Spencer has covered a wide terrain. As a PhD Pure Mathematics student he won Triple J’s Raw Comedy Competition and started a 15 year breakfast radio career that ended last December when he hung up the headphones. He is now The Ambassador for Mathematics and Science at The University of Sydney and one of Australia's best-known science communicators.

Tracey Spicer (Australian)

Tracey Spicer is a writer, broadcaster and journalist, renowned for the courage of her convictions, passion for social justice, and commitment to equality. During her 30 year career, Tracey has anchored news, current affairs and panel shows on Network Ten, Channel Nine, Sky News and ABC TV. She currently works as an opinion and travel columnist for Fairfax Media and Debrief Daily. Her essays have appeared in dozens of books, including Women of Letters, She’s Having a Laugh, and Bewitched & Bedevilled: Women Write the Gillard Years. The 48-year-old is also the national convenor of Women in Media. Her TEDx Talk, The Lady Stripped Bare, has attracted more than 1.2 million views.

Beck Stanton (Australian)

Beck Stanton is a mother, primary school teacher and the creative director/owner of She has worked extensively with children throughout her teaching career and in roles that include a before and after school care centre director, a nanny and a youth and children’s worker.

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Matt Stanton (Australian)

Matt Stanton is a bestselling children's author, illustrator and award-winning book designer. He publishes the Fart Monster series of children's books with co-creator Tim Miller including There is a Monster Under My Bed Who Farts, The Pirate Who Had to Pee, There is a Monster Under my Christmas Tree Who Farts and Dinosaur Dump. He publishes the Books that Drive Kids Crazy series with his wife Beck Stanton, including This is a Ball and the brand new Did you Take the B from my _ook? He lives by the beach in Sydney with Beck and their two children Bonnie and Boston.

Jason Steger (Australian)

Jason Steger is books editor of The Age and a regular panellist on ABC TV's The Book Club

Gloria Steinem (International)

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She has published various books, including her recent memoir My Life on the Road. After helping found New York magazine she also co-founded Ms. magazine, remaining one of its editors for fifteen years. Gloria has received National Magazine awards, an Emmy Citation for excellence in television writing, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Amanda Stewart (Australian)

Amanda Stewart is a poet, author and vocal artist. She has created a diverse range of publications and performances in Australia, Europe, Japan and the US, working in literature, music, broadcasting, theatre and new media environments. Since leaving work as producer/presenter at ABC Radio, Stewart has worked freelance, dividing her time between Sydney and Europe. She has received several awards including a UN Association of Australia Media Peace Prize, an Åke Blomström Award, Stiftung Kulturfonds grant and her selected poems, I/T, won the Anne Elder Poetry Prize.

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Emmett Stinson (Australian)

Emmett Stinson has worked in the publishing industry in both the US and Australia since 1998. He was a member of the Federal Book Industry Strategy Group created by Senator Kim Carr. He was also a co-founder and former president (2009-13) of the Small Press Network, Australia's only advocacy body for small and independent publishers, where he established the annual Independent Publishing Conference. He is a Lecturer in English at the University of Newcastle.

Elana Stone (Australian)

Elana Stone is a Sydney based musician, singer and songwriter. Her genre shape-shifting has led to collaborations with the likes of Passenger, Washington, Donny Benet, Urthboy, Hermitude, Tripod, Josh Pyke and Ngaiire among many others. Her unique and enchanting live performances have served to make her one of Australia's most sought after vocalists. Since her previous band 'The Rescue Ships' parted ways Elana has spent the better part of the last three years touring with her four-part lady folk band 'All Our Exes Live in Texas' to sell out crowds around Australia while continuing to write and perform as a solo artist. Elana's feelings for Yael are so big and wonderful that it will be difficult to contain them in mere words but let's give it a red hot go, eh?

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Yael Stone (Australian)

Yael Stone has played Lorna Morello on Netflix's Orange is the New Black for four seasons. As a member of the show's ensemble Yael was lucky enough to receive two SAG awards for her work in 2015 and 2016. Yael has been acting professionally since she was 13; she trained at NIDA and has happily worked in film, television and the theatre in Australia and the US. Yael has been Elana's little sister for a really long time and has a lot of squishy love feelings toward her. She is delighted to be invited back to People Of Letters to stand next to Lani, even just for the joy of confusing the audience due to their genetic similarity.

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Story Box Library (Australian)

Story Box Library is Australia's favourite online resource that showcases Australian children's books, read by a diverse range of local storytellers - Nick Cave, Missy Higgins, Clare Bowditch, Colin Lane, Cal Wilson, Andy Griffiths, Sally Rippin and many more! Designed to engage young people and ignite a passion for reading, imagining and learning, Story Box will entertain your children with all the drama, laughter and inspiration a good book can bring, ensuring the spark of love for stories and creativity remains in their hearts tomorrow and forever.

Samanth Subramanian (International)

Samanth Subramanian is the India correspondent for The National and the author of two books, Following Fish: Travels around the Indian Coast and This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War. He has written for, among other publications, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe. Following Fish: Travels around the Indian Coast won the 2010 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Andre Simon Prize. His most recent book of non fiction, This Divided Island, won the Crossword Non Fiction Prize in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Non Fiction Prize the same year. He lives and works in New Delhi. 

Swan, Norman
Norman Swan (Australian)

Dr Norman Swan trained in medicine in Scotland and paediatrics in London and Sydney before joining the ABC. He ran Radio National in the early 90s and created shows such as RN Breakfast, Life Matters, and Late Night Live with Phillip Adams. He has also worked as the medical host on Channel Ten’s Biggest Loser for the past five seasons. He currently hosts The Health Report on ABC Radio National. Norman created, wrote and narrated Invisible Enemies, a four-part series on disease and civilisation. He has won many awards for his work including Australia’s top prize for journalism, the Gold Walkley.

Georgina Symes (Australian)

Georgina Symes is a Sydney based actor, writer, and producer. Originally from Queensland she studied in Sydney and has gone on to perform with STC, QTC, Griffin, Bell Shakespeare, Darlinghurst Theatre, La Boite, as well as a host of television and film appearances. She is the co-creator of the multi award winning Uta Uber Kool Ja, which has toured nationally to sell out seasons. Following a brief hiatus after the birth of her son she is currently working on the development of her first short film and a number of writing projects at various stages of development.

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Magda Szubanski (Australian)

Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s best known and most loved performers. She began her career in university revues, then appeared in a number of sketch comedy shows before creating the iconic character of Sharon Strzelecki in ABC-TV’s Kath and Kim. She has also acted in films (Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass) and stage shows. Reckoning is her first book.