Conference speakers

Aunty Munya Andrews

Aunty Munya is an Elder from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Like many Aboriginal people, she has learned to work and live in two worlds. Educated in Australia and the USA, she has degrees in anthropology and law. She has practised law in Victoria and New South Wales as a solicitor and barrister and is equally well-versed in the traditional laws, customs and practices of her People. Aunty Munya is the co-director of Evolve Communities, which specialises in cultural awareness training and ally accreditation.

Robert Arambasic

Robert Arambasic opened Brunswick Bound, together with his wife Susie, in 2007, after deciding that their neighbourhood was missing that integral part of a community. 16 years later, he is immensely proud of the position Brunswick Bound holds in the area, and extremely thankful of the support it has received.

Julia Baird

Julia Baird is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for a range of publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the New York Times.  Julia’s biography of Queen Victoria was published to critical acclaim and was one of The New York Times’ top ten books of 2016.  Her third book, Phosphorescence, was a critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning international bestseller.  Julia lives near the sea with two children and an abnormally large dog.

Ben Bowen

Wiradjuri man Ben Bowen is the CEO of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Ben is focusing on collaborating with remote Community members and platforming Community knowledge and skills, to take the organisation to new heights. He believes that we are lifelong learners and is passionate about early childhood education and the power of literacy.

Stefen Brazulaitis

Stefen Brazulaitis is the owner of Stefen’s Books in Perth WA and has been a bookseller since the early nineties, a science fiction and fantasy reviewer for Bookseller + Publisher since the early two-thousands and a bibliophile since forever. In 2011, after working for a variety of chain and independent bookstores, Stefen kept a promise to his younger self and went back to the very first bookshop he ever worked in and bought it. Re-branded as Stefen’s Books, the store specialises in science-fiction, fantasy, crime, horror, the peculiar and unusual and it’s where you can find him most days. He’s been interviewed for podcasts, radio, spoken at festivals and is a passionate advocate for value of speculative fiction culturally and artistically.

Nedd Brockmann

We are very excited to have Nedd Brockmann delivering what is sure to be an inspiring closing keynote address for this year's conference.

Nedd is a 24-year-old sparky from Central West NSW who, at 23 years old, became the fastest ever Australian to run across Australia, and second fastest in the world, having completed the run from Perth to Bondi Beach in just over 46 days. It was an incredible effort averaging over 80km a day for the nearly 4000km run. He embarked on the run to challenge himself, but also wanted to use the opportunity and the attention he was creating to try and raise money for homeless charity Mobilise and set himself a target of $1 million. Simon and Schuster Australia will be publishing Nedd's book Showing Up in October.


Anna Burkey

Anna Burkey has a passion for books, reading, and education. Hailing from Scotland, where she was on the founding team of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature, Anna now lives in Melbourne/Naarm.

After several years with State Library Victoria and the Centre for Youth Literature, Anna’s over the moon to be working with the Australian Publishers Association and BooksCreateAustralia to lead Australia Reads

Kate Ceberano

In 2023, the universally revered, lavishly decorated Melbourne artist Kate Ceberano’s ruby anniversary finds her at the dawn of a new era, releasing her 30th album, and an intimate and beautiful illustrated book published by Julie Gibbs. For Kate, 40 years and 30 albums into one of the most enduring and inspirational careers in Australian music, four words matter above all: Singer. Songwriter. Performer. Artist

Jaye Chin-Dusting

Jaye Chin-Dusting is the current owner of the Mary Martin Bookshops which are located on Wurundjeri country in Southgate, Port Melbourne and the Queen Victoria Market.  The Mary Martin won the ABIA bookshop of the year in 2019. Jaye is a board member of BookPeople, a former Professor of Medical Research, a past-President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and former Chair of the Australian Boys Choir. She reads voraciously and is passionate about excellence, education and community. 

Deborah Conway

Deborah Conway has been a musician for over 40 years. Innovator, motivator, role model, facilitator & entrepreneur, Conway is fearless (or foolish) in her risk taking, has pushed & pulled existing boundaries & has always argued her cause with integrity & intelligence to pursue the highest standards of whatever is in her sights. For the last 3 decades Willy Zygier, musician, songwriter & composer, has been her primary collaborator.

Aside from releasing a dozen studio albums and playing countless live shows, Conway has been a producer, festival director, actor and is soon to be a published author.

In 2020 Conway received Member (AM) of the Order Of Australia and Australia Council’s Don Banks Award given for outstanding contribution to music. In 2022 Conway was inducted into Music Victoria’s Hall Of Fame.

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's novels have received numerous honours and are published in forty-two countries. He won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. A rapid on the Franklin River is named after him.

Mem Fox

MEM FOX is a household name in Australia and a favourite author of anyone with little ones in their life. In her 40-year publishing career Mem has written 50 children’s books and more than half-a-dozen non-fiction books for adults, including Reading Magic. Mem also taught literacy studies for 24 years and is globally renowned as a fierce proponent of the myriad benefits of reading books aloud to children – as enthusiastically and often as possible – to help them develop the key foundations of early literacy and foster a lifelong love of reading. Mem’s books have sold millions of copies, won multiple awards and are still regularly featured in Australian picture book bestseller lists. In 2023 Scholastic will release a special 40th anniversary edition of Possum Magic and Penguin Australia will publish Mem’s 50thchildren’s picture book, Our Dragon illustrated by Linda Davick.  

Wendy Harmer

Wendy Harmer is one of Australia’s most versatile entertainers – a journalist, broadcaster, podcaster, author of bestselling novels for children, teens and adults and columnist. 

As a stand-up comedian she performed her one-woman shows at the Melbourne, Edinburgh, Montreal Comedy Festivals. Wendy led Sydney radio station 2Day FM’s top-rating breakfast show for 11 years and was the co-host of ABC’s 702 Sydney morning show from 2016-2021. She has hosted, written and appeared in a variety of TV shows including ABC’s The Big Gig and Stuff, a four-part television documentary series.

Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. Her first novel was published in 1997 and since then her work has received acclaim in many literary awards. Melissa’s sixth novel, Too Much Lip, won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier’s Award for a Work of State Significance. Her new book, Edenglassie (UQP, October), tells two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart.

Nick MacKenzie

Nick McKenzie is an acclaimed Australian investigative journalist, working primarily for Melbourne newspaper The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He’s also presented major investigations for the ABC's Four Corners program, 60 Minutes and the Australian Financial Review. With two decades experience, Nick has won every major award in Australian journalism, including the nation’s highest journalism award, the Walkley, twelve times. He’s been named Australian Journalist of the Year on three occasions.

David Marr

David Marr has written for The Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeThe Saturday PaperThe Guardian and The Monthly, and has served as editor of The National Times, reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV's Media Watch. His books include Patrick White: A LifeThe High Price of HeavenDark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson), Panic and six bestselling Quarterly Essays: His Master's VoicePower TripPolitical AnimalThe PrinceFaction Man and The White Queen. His most recent book is My Country.

Ben Mckelvey

Ben Mckelvey is an author, journalist and editor. Ben's books have won the Australian Independent Book Award for non-fiction, an Australian Book Industry Award and the Nib Military History Prize and they have been shortlisted in the Victorian and Queensland Premier's Literary Awards and for the Les Carlyon Literary Prize. Ben has been the editor of Mr Jones, Sports&Style and Juice magazines and worked at the Sydney Morning Herald as a Senior Feature Writer. As a freelance writer, Ben has been embedded with the ADF in East Timor and Iraq, and has worked independently in Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.

Suzie Miller

Suzie Miller is a contemporary international playwright, screenwriter and librettist, drawn to complex human stories often exploring injustice. Miller’s plays have been produced in over 40 productions around the world and won multiple prestigious awards. Her drama Prima Facie won the 2020 AWGIE for Drama; the 2020 David Williamson Award for Outstanding Theatre Writing; the 2020 prestigious Major AWGIE; and the Griffin Award 2018. It has now been translated in 20+ languages. Most recently Prima Facie enjoyed extraordinary acclaim marking Miller’s West End debut produced by Empire Street Productions and starring Jodie Comer. The production is transferring to Broadway in 2023. Both the Australian and the West End productions have won and been nominated for multiple prestigious awards. Two new commissioned plays of Miller’s premiered in 2022: Anna K, for Malthouse Theatre; and RBG: Of Many, One for Sydney Theatre Company.

Stacey Moore

Stacey Moore is a former librarian who opened Bookgrove on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula in 2009. Stacey’s vision for Bookgrove has always been to be provide a literary and cultural hub for the local community with an active events program, book clubs for adults and children and initiating the Bellarine Writers Prize.

Jeremy Neal

Jeremy Neal is an expert retailer, professional bookshop inspector, pop culture connoisseur, and unrestrained collector of books in all their formats.

Over a 21-year period, Jeremy has held senior retail leadership positions with Borders, Books Kinokuniya and QBD Books. Jeremy is currently Product Manager – Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga at Simon & Schuster Australia.

David Parritt

David Parritt is the Product and Marketing Manager at with over 20 years of experience in bookselling and publishing. He has worked in multiple roles in bookselling at Waterstones, WHSmith, Angus & Robertson and independents.  A passion for books, travel and meeting new people led him to Lonely Planet. As APAC Trade Marketing Manager he led the trade marketing strategy for Lonely Planet for over 10 different countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and China, with his expertise in retail trade-focused marketing initiatives, key-messaging, art direction, point-of-sale creation, brand marketing, team leadership, direct marketing, digital and content marketing and events management. An alumni of the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing he is also working on his first novel.

Andrew Ritchie

Andrew Ritchie is a Digital marketing strategist with 20 years’ experience across bookselling, publishing, not-for-profit and retail strategies focused on growing reach and engagement with customers. Andrew has a unique view across the bookselling and publishing industry having recently been appointed to Sales and Marketing Director of Oxford University Press, and as a member of the BookPeople board. Andrew is keen to help grow a united voice for booksellers in Australia to grow a love of reading in people of all ages.

Dan Ruffino

Dan Ruffino has been Managing Director of Simon & Schuster Australia since 2015. His first job in publishing was as a bookseller/buyer at a suburban Melbourne newsagent. He joined trade publishing as a junior sales rep for the then Pan Books, moving on to roles in sales management, publicity, and consumer marketing. He moved to Penguin as Business Development Manager then became their Marketing & Publicity Director. He lived in New York in 2010/11 as Penguin’s Global Digital Director before returning to Australia.

Molly Schmidt

Molly Schmidt is a writer and journalist from Albany, Western Australia. Her debut novel, Salt River Road, won the 2022 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award and will be published in November 2023. By day, Molly works at ABC Radio Perth, where her passion for storytelling is put to good use. Within both her fiction and journalism Molly strives for inclusivity. Her novel was written in consultation with Menang and Goreng Noongar Elders from her hometown. 

Victor Steffensen

Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant applying traditional knowledge values in a contemporary context, through workshops and artistic projects. He is a descendant of the Tagalaka people through his mother’s connections from the Gulf Country of north Queensland. Much of Victor's work over the past 27 years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge values – particularly traditional burning – through mentoring and leadership, as well as on-ground training with Aboriginal communities and many non-Indigenous Australians.

Major “Moogy” Sumner

Major “Moogy” Sumner is a world-renowned performer and cultural ambassador of Ngarrindjeri arts, crafts, martial arts and traditional culture. In 2014 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his decades of service to Indigenous community and cultural education. He is highly respected for his tireless work sharing Aboriginal culture and knowledge and is often heard speaking passionately about environmental issues – a subject close to his heart.
Major Sumner is a standing member of the World Archaeological Congress, The World Council of Elders and since 2011 the South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council. Living and working in Adelaide and Camp Coorong, South Australia, Mr Sumner serves as a board member on the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority and Black Dance Australia. As the Artistic Director of the Tal-Kin-Jeri Dance Group, his company performs regularly at festivals, events and community celebrations.

Fraser Tanner

Fraser is responsible for Batch Payments and Returns that, jointly, form the data system at the heart of the book trade. He joined as MD from the world of foreign exchange, where he had rolled out an internet trading solution for business-to-business payments through the international banking systems. At Batch, he developed the system to improve the flow of information and integration between companies within the book and non-book trade. Fraser is also a Director of the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland, National Book Tokens, Chair of BIC’s Physical Supply Chain Committee, and a member of the BA Physical Supply Chain Group. Via these associations, he works closely with publishers and booksellers in the UK and around the world to streamline the supply chain. He is also responsible for BatchLine POS, the UK’s most popular inventory management system, which operates in over 250 bookshops in the UK and Ireland.

Dr Jared Thomas

Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges; Research Fellow, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Material Culture at the South Australian Museum and University of South Australia; and an Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassador. He is the highly regarded author of critically acclaimed books for junior fiction readers and young adults including Uncle Xbox (Magabala Books 2023) My Spare Heart (Allen & Unwin 2021), Songs that Sound Like Blood (Magabala Books 2016), and Calypso Summer (Magabala Books 2014), which Jared was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. Jared is also the co-author of the Patty Mills series ‘Game Day’.

Rachelle Unreich

Rachelle Unreich started her journalism career at university, getting published in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald while she was completing her Arts/Law degrees at Monash University. In addition to studying screenwriting at UCLA, she has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne, and has been a journalist for over 35 years. She has had columns in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun and Elle magazine, and her work has appeared extensively in Australia, the US, UK and South-East Asia. She currently lives in Melbourne. 

Bianca Whiteley

Bianca started her career in book publishing at Murdoch Books in 1999 and spent seven years in various roles including Inventory Management. She joined Nielsen BookData in 2006, initially helping publishers and retailers make the most of the insights the BookScan service provides. In 2019 Bianca became General Manager, Nielsen BookData Australia, taking on responsibility for the Australian Nielsen BookData business including its Research and Discovery services. In recent years she completed several long-running projects including establishing Nielsen BookScan’s first Australian & New Zealand e-book sales measurement service and undertaking consumer surveys around book buying and listening behaviour.


Christian Wilkins

Christian Wilkins lives to perform, from acting, dancing and modelling, to emceeing major events. His notable roles include playing Dame Edna Everage’s son, coming second place in Dancing with the Stars in 2020, reporting from the ARIA Red Carpet alongside father Richard Wilkins, and hosting his own Instagram TV show Christian, Pour Me A Drink, interviewing personalities like Delta Goodrem and Claudia Karvan. In 2023, Christian debuts as an author with the release of his illustrated picture book Princess Mitchell.

Gavin Williams

Gavin Williams is the owner of Matilda Bookshop, and has been selling books on Peramangk Land since he and his wife, Jo Hill,  bought the bookshop in 2008. He has been on the Book People board since 2017. He is a passionate believer in the positive capacity of books to unlock new worlds and possibilities and thinks you should read The Colony by Audrey Magee.