The 2016 festival boast some of the biggest and brightest literary stars in the history of the festival. Students enjoyed presentations, workshops and performances from the following writers and artists during the Student Sessions, proudly sponsored by Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd.

Dr Anita Heiss

Tim Baker

Tim Baker is Australia’s favourite surfing writer, a former editor of Tracks and Surfing Life magazine, who has written a string of best-selling surfing biographies and collected surf stories. He has twice received the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Culture Award and been shortlisted for the CUB Australian Sports Writing Awards.  For Tim's complete bio - please click here.

Boori Monty Pryor

Matt Caffoe (Mashed Theatre)

Matthew Caffoe is an established professional actor in Queensland and founder of Mashed Theatre. He has done extensive work with a number of professional theatre companies in his career, including working overseas in Europe as an actor/director.
Matt’s biggest passion is literature, and he spends the majority of his time studying different authors and their impact on culture and politics throughout the ages.
Matt’s theatrical training has been predominantly in Shakespeare, however he’s also a professional beatboxer and toured alongside Joel Turner (world champion beatboxer) in 2007, engaging his love for hip-hop and poetry. Matt has also been a musician for many years, having had training in both singing and classical guitar. This versatility in craft is what gave Matt the idea to start Mashed Theatre.  For Matt's complete bio - please click here.

Briony Stewart

Michael Camilleri

Michael Camilleri is a Melbourne artist who creates books, comics and visual theatre. Michael’s latest illustration work can be seen in One Minute’s Silence by David Metzenthen. His illustration work also features in The Devil You Know by Leonie Norrington and on the album art and accompanying picture book for Martin Martini’s Vienna 1913. For Michael's complete bio - please click here.

Carole Wilkinson
Rio Tinto

Sandy Fussell

Sandy Fussell loves words, numbers and the internet.  She is the author of fourteen books including the bestselling Samurai Kids series (CBCA Notables, IBBY Award), Polar Boy (CBCA shortlisted for Book of the Year) and Sad, the Dog (recommended in the New York Times).  Enthusiastic about school visits, cultural diversity in literature and ICT in education, Sandy is often found in a school library waving her practice sword or teaching a Minecraft-based writing workshop.  Her biggest claim to fame is a star in the main street of Grenfell along with legitimately famous people like Patrick White, Slim Dusty and Dick Smith.   For Sandy's complete bio - please click here.

Felice Arena

Lesley Gibbes
Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal

Lesley Gibbes has a background in primary education and is the author of CBCA Honour Book Scary Night and the Fizz chapter book series both illustrated by Stephen Michael King.  She grew up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Wagga Wagga in country NSW. She now spends her days reading, writing and mucking about with her family and her naughty Jack Russell terrier, Porsche.  For Lesley's complete bio - please click here.

Marco Gliori

George IvanoffPhillips Mortgage Choice

George Ivanoff is an author and stay-at-home dad residing in Melbourne. He has written more than 90 books for kids and teens, including the RFDS Adventures, the interactive You Choose series and the Gamers trilogy.  As a child, George loved reading interactive books, where he got to make decisions about the direction of the story. He has had more fun plotting and writing the You Choose books than pretty much anything else.  And writing the RFDS Adventures has opened his eyes to the amazing work done by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  He is thrilled that You Choose: The Treasure of Dead Man's Cove won the 2015 YABBA for Fiction for Younger Readers, and that You Choose: Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars has been shortlisted this year. George drinks too much coffee, eats too much chocolate and watches too much Doctor Who. For George's complete bio - please click here.

Pat Flynn

Megan Jacobson

Megan Jacobson grew up in Darwin and the far north coast of NSW but now lives in Sydney where she works in TV news production at the ABC. She has a degree in journalism and has worked as a question writer for TV game shows and as an in-house script story-liner and script editor for several Australian television dramas, including the Emmy-nominated series Dance Academy. Her short stories have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, aired on ABC radio, and appeared in the UTS Writers Anthology. Yellow is her first novel. For Megan's complete bio - please click here.

Amie KaufmanAccuVest

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling co- author of the award-winning These Broken Stars, This Shattered World, Their Fractured Light and Illuminae (co-authored with Jay Kristoff). Based in Melbourne, Amie writes science fiction and fantasy for young (and not so young) adults. Amie’s multi-award winning work has been published in 24 countries, won the Aurealis Award for Best YA Novel, been named the Huffington Post’s Best YA Novel of the Year, been shortlisted for a Gold Inky Award and the film rights to Illuminae have been acquired by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.  For Amie's complete bio - please click here.

Pip Harry

Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff has managed to trick the world into thinking he's an author. His award-winning Steampunk series, The Lotus War and the New York Times bestselling sci-fi novel Illuminae, the first of a trilogy, are out now. A new fantasy series, Nevernight, arrives in 2016.  Jay writes for young adults and is an internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. His new series, the SciFi thriller The Illuminae Files, was co-authored with Amie Kaufman. Book 1, Illuminae, was named among the Kirkus, Amazon and YALSA Best Books of 2015 and won the 2016 Aurealis Award. Illuminae is currently slated to be published in 25 countries, and film rights have been acquired by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment.

  For Jay's complete bio - please click here.

Scot Gardner

Harry LaingRio Tinto

Harry Laing is a children’s author, comic performer and poet. Shoctopus, his collection of poems with illustrations for 6-12 yr olds came out in July 2015 and has since been Highly Recommended by Reading Time online. Harry has also had two collections of poetry for adults published, Backbone and Thirst. He has written and performed 8 solo shows including Away with the birds which he toured regionally. Harry has taught creative writing in schools, colleges and the community for over 20 years. He was recently writer-in-residence at The Southport School. For Harry's complete bio - please click here.

John Marsden

Australian author John Marsden has written more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You, and Letters from the Inside. He has sold around five million books worldwide, and has won every major writing award in Australia for young people's fiction. South of Darkness, John’s recent novel for adults, won the Christina Stead Award for Best Novel of 2015.

John's passionate interest in education led him to start his own P-10 school, Candlebark, on a vast forested estate near Romsey Victoria. The school's motto is "take risks", and every day students are to be found riding bikes and skateboards, climbing trees, rolling down hills and playing stick wars. This year John opened a second school, Alice Miller, at Macedon, a Year 7-12 school with a particular emphasis on the creative arts.  For John's complete bio - please click here.

Marc McBride

Marc McBride has illustrated over fifty book covers and countless magazines, as well as producing artwork for advertising campaigns. He has a solid design background in both advertising and film, and won the West Australian Film and Television Award for Best Art Director. Marc has had work exhibited with the New York Society of Illustrators. He is best known for his illustrations in the Deltora Quest series, written by Emily Rodda.  For Mark's complete bio - please click here.

David Metzenthen

David Metzenthen lives in Melbourne and writes realist fiction for young people. He's married with two children and has written over forty books. His latest works are, One Minute's Silence, a picture book created with artist Michael Camilleri that won the 2015 Prime Minister's Prize for Children's Writing, and the novel, Dreaming The Enemy, about Johnny Shoebridge, a young soldier who has returned from the Vietnam War.
David has four won Premier's Literary awards, and the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers with his novel, Jarvis 24.  For David's complete bio - please click here.

Oliver Phommavanh

Oliver Phommavanh loves to make people laugh, whether it's on the page writing humour for kids or on stage as a stand-up comedian. He also shares his passion for writing with kids, using his experience as a primary school teacher. As a comedian, Oliver has appeared on stage, and on national TV and radio. He has also appeared in numerous anthologies such as Growing Up Asian in Australia. He’s appeared in many writers, arts and comedy festivals across Australia and overseas. Oliver’s books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines, Thai-no-mite, Stuff Happens:Ethan and his latest book is The Other Christy.  For Oliver's complete bio - please click here.

Richard Fidler

Richard Fidler presents Conversations with Richard Fidler, an in-depth, up-close-and personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio.
He’s interviewed prime ministers, astronauts, writers and scientists, but the program often features remarkable people who are unknown to the wider world. The program attracts a large listening audience around the nation, and is the most popular podcast in Australia, with over 14 million programs downloaded every year.
In another life Richard was a member of Australian comedy trio The Doug Anthony Allstars (DAAS), which played to audiences all over the world. Richard is the co-creator of the radio documentary series Saga Land, set in Iceland; and the author of the forthcoming non-fiction book Ghost Empire, to be published by ABC Books.  For Richard's complete bio - please click here.