People of Letters is back for its fifth year! The smash hit sensation returns to SWF with its idiosyncratic line-up and unabashed passion for letter writing. Join us for this one-off special event as writers, performers and well-known Australians are paired off and invited to write ‘a letter to my other half’. People of Letters is co-curated by Lorelei Vashti, Angie Hart and Gabi Barton.
Supported by the University of Sydney.
Jamila Rizvi (Australian)
Jamila is a writer, presenter and commentator. She writes a weekly political column for News Limited and appears regularly on Channel 10, ABC and SBS. She was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Women's Network and prior to entering the media, she worked for the Rudd and Gillard Governments. Jamila's first book is Not Just Lucky, a career manifesto for millennial women.
Ceridwen Dovey (Australian)
Ceridwen Dovey’s debut novel, Blood Kin, was published around the world, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award, and selected for the U.S. National Book Foundation’s prestigious ‘5 Under 35’ honours list. The Wall Street Journal named her as one of their ‘artists to watch.’ Her collection of stories, Only the Animals, was described by The Guardian as a ‘dazzling, imagined history of humans’ relationship with animals’ and won the 2014 Readings New Australian Writing Award. Her latest novel, In the Garden of the Fugitives, was published in Australia in February 2018 and will be published in the U.S., U.K. and France later in 2018. Ceridwen also writes non-fiction for The Monthly and The New Yorker.
Arwen Summers (Australian)
Arwen Summers is a publisher of non-fiction at Hardie Grant Books. She has worked in publishing for over a decade on both fiction and non-fiction, with authors such as George Megalogenis, Monica McInerney, Jamila Rizvi and Mark Dapin. In 2018 she is publishing authors Clive Hamilton, Alannah Hill and Kate Rossmanith, among others.
Anne Aly (Australian)
Anne Aly was elected as the Labor Federal Member for Cowan in 2016, making her the first Muslim woman to be elected to federal parliament. Anne’s background is as a Professor, Academic and Practitioner in the fields of counter terrorism and counter radicalisation. She has published more than 50 articles and texts on terrorism and related issues and is the author and editor of five books. Prior to becoming an academic she worked in government policy. Anne’s contributions to national and international security have been recognised internationally. In 2015 she was the only Australian civil society representative to be invited to speak at President Obama’s White House Summit. Anne has also been an expert adviser to the United Nations Security Council and has participated in experts’ meetings. In 2011, Anne was inducted into the WA Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was named one of Australia’s 100 most Influential Women by Westpac/Financial Review. In 2016 Anne was nominated for the Australian of the Year and received the prestigious Australian Security Medal.
Sofija Stefanovic (Australian)
Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in New York. She is the author of Miss Ex-Yugoslavia, a funny and dark memoir about immigration and life as a perpetual fish out of water. Sofija hosts the popular literary salon Women of Letters New York, and This Alien Nation—a celebration of immigration. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and has written for The New York Times, The Guardian and Elle, among others.
Liam Pieper (Australian)
Liam Pieper's 2014 memoir, The Feel-Good Hit of the Year was shortlisted for the National Biography Award and the Ned Kelly Best True Crime award. This was followed by Mistakes Were Made, a collection of essays. In 2015 he was the inaugural creative resident of the UNESCO City of Literature of Prague, where he completed his first novel The Toymaker, which has been widely translated and won the Fellowship of Australian Writers Christina Stead Fiction Award. He is the 2018 National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow for Australian Writing.
Linda Burney (Australian)
Linda Burney was elected federal member for Barton in 2016, following a 14 year career in the NSW Parliament as Member for Canterbury. As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Linda was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives. During her state political career she served as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as Minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Following her election to the Federal House of Representatives, she was immediately appointed as Shadow Minister for Human Services. Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years. Linda has a long held commitment the prevention of domestic violence and family violence and has detailed publically her personal experience with it. Linda has held senior positions in the non-government sector serving on a number of Boards including the SBS, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, and the NSW Board of Studies.
Ginger Gorman (Australian)
Ginger Gorman bio: Ginger Gorman is a fearless and multi award-winning social justice journalist. In the course of her 16-year media career she’s watched bodies burn at the crematorium, been strapped to a bondage wheel and recorded her own cancer treatment. She’s interviewed everyone from eminent scientists and artists to hardened criminals and vicious Internet trolls. (In fact, she gave a gripping TEDx talk on this very issue in 2016.) She has an innate ability to connect and communicate with some of the most interesting and marginalised people in our community. Ginger works hard to translate those untold stories into powerful and insightful journalism. As a speaker Ginger is charismatic, warm and compelling. She regularly writes stories, makes radio and TV for media outlets such as: news.com.au, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Life, The Guardian, The Big Smoke and the ABC.
Debra Keenahan (Australian)
Debra Keenahan is a visual artist, psychologist, academic and author. Throughout her professional life Debra’s work has focussed upon the personal and social impacts of disability. Having achondroplasia dwarfism, she brings a personal insight to understanding of the dynamics of interpersonal interactions and social structures that include/exclude the visibly different from equitable social relations. Through her employment and personal experience Debra has learnt the power of the Arts in communicating with and engaging people on highly political and difficult issues.
Sarah Keenahan (Australian)
Sarah Keenahan is a competitive swimmer in the Paralympic classification s6. Apart from representing Australia at the 2017 World Dwarf Games in Canada in Swimming, Soccer and Athletics, she is also a Year 12 student. When Sarah is not swimming or doing school work, she loves to bake, ice skate, eat, nap, apply makeup and socialise.
Marcia Langton (Australian)
Professor Marcia Langton AM is an anthropologist and geographer, and since 2000 has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art. Her role in the Empowered Communities project under contract to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians are evidence of Professor Langton's academic reputation, policy commitment and impact, alongside her role as a prominent public intellectual. Her 2012 Boyer lecture titled 'The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom' is one of her recent contributions to public debate, and have added to her influence and reputation in government and private sector circles. In 1993, she was made a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work in anthropology and the advocacy of Aboriginal rights. Professor Marcia Langton is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of Trinity College, Melbourne and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland. In 2016 Professor Langton is honoured as a University of Melbourne Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor. As further recognition as one of Australia's most respected Indigenous Academics, in 2017 Professor Marcia Langton is appointed as the first Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne.
Ruby Batty-Langton (Australian)
Ruby Langton-Batty, born in Alice Springs, is a descendant of the Yiman and Bidjara people (QLD). She is currently studying a Juris Doctor (law) at UNSW and working as a Paralegal for the ABC's in-house legal team.
Angie Hart (Australian)
Angie Hart is a writer and musician. She is a founding member of ARIA award winning indie-pop band, Frente, as well as a solo artist and member of bands including Holidays On Ice, Ladychoir and Four Hours Sleep. She has appeared on cult-classics, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly. She has two solo albums and numerous releases through musical side-projects, works published in the Women Of Letters collections, A Song For The Road, Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, Writers Victoria and Ampersand magazine.