This panel explores mental health in writing, and how a person’s emotional state can change the nature of their prose. Three writers discuss storytelling when experiences of time, subjectivity and memory are in flux. Writers address issues including psychology, personal connection and vulnerability in their work. Jessica Friedmann’s Things That Helped includes essays on postpartum depression, and Mia Freedman’s Work Strife Balance discusses female connections as forged through vulnerability. Black Comedy star Nakkiah Lui has written about the mental and emotional trauma of being Aboriginal in this country, and Tracey Spicer’s The Good Girl Stripped Bare is about how society’s unrealistic expectations of women can weigh them down.

Tracey Spicer (Australian)

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Tracey Spicer is an author, broadcaster and co-founder of Outspoken Women. Her TEDx Talk, The Lady Stripped Bare, has been seen by more than 4 million people, and her memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare is a best-seller. Tracey is spearheading the #metoo investigation in Australia.

Nakkiah Lui (Australian)

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Nakkiah Lui is the co-writer and star of Black Comedy, and co-host of the podcast Pretty for an Aboriginal. She has been a playwright-in-residence for Sydney's Belvoir Theatre and artist-in-residence for the Griffin Theatre. Most recently Nakkiah has appeared as a regular guest on Screen Time on ABC and her new six-part comedy series, Kiki & Kitty, premiered on ABC in 2017. She is a Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman, and a leader in the Australian Aboriginal community.

Fiona Wright (Australian)

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Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction. Her poetry collections are Knuckled, which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior (Giramondo, 2017). Her new essay collection is forthcoming this year.