Now in its 12th year, Story Club is a themed, live storytelling night where exceptional people sit in a giant armchair and read true stories out of a novelty-sized book. In this special Festival edition, hear guests share their funniest stories, darkest moments and most shameful secrets. Hosts Ben Jenkins and Zoe Norton Lodge are joined by Clare Bowditch, Rick Morton and Ollie Wards.

Supported by the University of Sydney.

Ollie Wards (Australian)

Ollie Wards

Ollie Wards is the Content Director of triple j, but took a year out of his role to investigate, produce and host the latest season of the ABC's true crime series Unravel. Originally from New Zealand, Ollie delved into a dark family story of his brother's brief marriage to an American con woman. In his investigation through dark to sometimes funny revelations, Ollie followed a trail of clues around the world in his award-winning podcast Snowball.

Clare Bowditch (Australian)

Clare Bowditch

In 2019, Clare Bowditch became a bestselling debut author with her memoir Your Own Kind of Girl. It is a book about the stories we tell ourselves, and what happens when we believe them. Before becoming an author, Clare was best known as an ARIA Award–winning musician and songwriter, an ABC broadcaster and Rolling Stone’s Woman of the Year for her Contribution to Australian Culture. For the record, she believes writing a book to be substantially harder than writing a song.

Rick Morton (Australian)

Rick Morton

Rick Morton is the senior reporter with The Saturday Paper and the author of the bestselling memoir One Hundred Years of Dirt. He is the recipient of the 2017 Kennedy Award for Outstanding Columnist, and his book was shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2019 as well as being Highly Commended in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and longlisted for the 2018 Walkley Book of the Year. He lives in Sydney.

Zoe Norton Lodge (Australian)

Zoe Norton Lodge

Zoe Norton Lodge has worked with the Chaser team on ABC TV shows including The Hamster Wheel, The Chaser’s Media Circus and The Chaser’s Election Desk, and she was a writer and presenter on The Checkout for six years. Zoe is co-creator of Story Club, and has written approximately 4 million short stories. Zoe’s writing is widely published in Australian anthologies, including Best Australian Stories. Her first book of short stories was Almost Sincerely. The first two titles in her new middle grade series Elizabella Meets Her Match, and Elizabella and the Great Tuckshop Takeover are out now.

Ben Jenkins (Australian)

Ben Jenkins

Ben Jenkins is a writer, TV producer and the co-creator of Story Club. His written work has appeared in places like The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and anthologies like The Best Australian Comedy Writing and People of Letters. On TV, he has written for The Chaser, The Checkout, Tonightly, The Feed and various other ABC and SBS ventures. He also has a Dungeon and Dragons podcast called Dragon Friends and a baby son not called that.