Prestigious Festival guests face off in a debate that has long divided us: is the book better than the ball? Lovers of AFL including Shelley Ware (from cult footy show Marngrook) and David Lawrence argue in favour of the book, while the likes of authors Anita Heiss and Graeme Simsion are ardent supporters of the ball. Audience participation is encouraged at this special Festival event which features auctions, raffles, and a performance by Play School’s Justine Clarke, all held in The Hemingway Bar. Hosted by the Epic Good Foundation as a fundraiser for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Anita Heiss (Australian)

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Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. She currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MCing, managing the Epic Good Foundation and being a 'creative disruptor'.

Anita's latest book is Our Race To Reconciliation. She currently lives in Brisbane and in 2017 will run her first full marathon.

Graeme Simsion (Australian)

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At the age of 50, Graeme Simsion sold his IT business and enrolled in a screenwriting program at RMIT. Five years and ten short films later, he had a screenplay that nobody wanted to finance.  So he re-wrote The Rosie Project as a novel, which has now sold over 3 million copies, and Sony Pictures duly acquired the screenplay. A sequel, The Rosie Effect, was also an international bestseller. Graeme's latest novel is The Best of Adam Sharp.

David Lawrence (Australian)

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David Lawrence is a comedy writer who accidentally became a children’s author in 2008. He has written for numerous TV shows including Hamish & Andy, Comedy Inc. and Talkin’ About Your Generation. His books, including the much loved Fox Swift series, have sporting themes and use humour to tackle issues such as bullying and racism in schools. David still hopes to play AFL football and win a Brownlow Medal... but at age 52, it’s going to be tough.

Justine Clarke (Australian)

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Justine Clarke is a stage and screen actor, bestselling children’s musician and an author. She has starred in some of Australia’s most iconic productions over the last 17 years, including as a presenter on Play School. Justine has released four extremely successful CD/DVDs of original children’s songs. She has been touring the country bringing her unique brand of music to her young fans and their families for more than 10 years.

Shelley Ware (Australian)

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Shelley Ware is a proud Yankanjatjara and Wirangu woman from Adelaide, South Australia, who currently lives in Melbourne and is well known as part of the ground breaking SBS football program Marngrook. For the past decade or so, Shelley has worked in the media as a radio and television presenter on both local and national AFL football news shows. During that time, particularly as a member of NITV’s Marngrook Footy Show team, Shelley has become one of the most respected and recognised female presenters of AFL football in the country. Shelley’s role expanded this year to include her own segment, Around The Grounds. In this segment, Shelley discusses events, and local issues, from various Indigenous communities around the country.

Stuart Giles (Australian)

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Stuart is co-founder of the Epic Good Foundation, a major partner of the Hawthorn Indigenous Program. Stuart has been a Hawks fan since he was five years old.  In 2017, he will run in the Outback Marathon at Uluru to raise cash for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Cathie Reid (Australian)

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Cathie Reid is co-founder of the Epic Good Foundation and is on the board of the Lions Football Club. Cathie was known to send her reading challenge sponsors almost broke as a child because she read so many books in record time.

Sam Mostyn (Australian)

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In 2005, Sam Mostyn was appointed to the AFL Commission, the first woman to take that role, where she served until mid 2016, taking great delight in the establishment of the first AFL Womens League. She now sits on the board of the Sydney Swans, and chairs the club's Diversity Action Advisory Board.