We’re living in an attention economy, but some of us are paying a steeper price than others. Being disabled or chronically ill means navigating a world not designed for you and having no choice but to always pay attention. Sydney Writers’ Festival Guest Curator Fiona Murphy asks: what if we flipped the equation and people with disability and chronic illness started charging for their expertise? In a series of funny, compelling and frank talks, four writers with disability and chronic illness share why society needs to start paying attention to the experts. Featuring El Gibbs (appearing live via video), Fiona Wright, Hannah Diviney and Michelle Law.

This event is Auslan interpreted. Contact our ticketing team either by phone on (02) 9256 4200 or via email at ticketing@swf.org.au to book the best sight line. Visit our Accessibility page for more information. 

Hannah Diviney (Australian)

Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is a leading disability advocate and writer based in Sydney. Her greatest achievements as a disability advocate include her role as creator of the wildly successful Change.org petition that calls on Disney Studios to create a disabled Disney Princess, and in her role as co-founder of the charity event Krazy Kosci Klimb, which sees young people with disabilities and their families conquer Mt Kosciuszko. She is also the Editor in Chief of the global publication platform, Missing Perspectives - a platform dedicated to addressing the marginalisation and underrepresentation of women and girls in news, media, democracy, and decision-making around the world. Hannah was also a finalist in the Australian Women's Weekly Women of The Future Awards for 2021 and a nominee for the 2022 Young Australian of The Year.

Fiona Wright (Australian)

Fiona Wright

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, and her new collection, The World Was Whole was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. Her poetry collections include Knuckled and Domestic Interior.

Michelle Law (Australian)

Michelle Law

Michelle Law is a writer of print, film and television, and theatre. She wrote the highly-acclaimed play Single Asian Female, and her latest play Top Coat, will be staged at Sydney Theatre Company in 2022. Michelle co-created, co-wrote and starred in the award-winning series Homecoming Queens, the first web series commissioned by SBS. And she has also worked on shows for networks such as Netflix US, ABC, SBS, Fox, Network 10, and Nine. Her first book, Asian Girls are Going Places was published with Hardie Grant in 2022.

El Gibbs (Australian)

El Gibbs

El Gibbs is a disabled person, an award-winning writer and disability advocate. Her writing on disability, the NDIS and social issues is published widely, most recently in Meanjin, Croakey, Eureka Street, and Women's Health magazine. El contributed a chapter to Growing Up Disabled in Australia, and in 2020, won the Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement in the National Disability Leadership Awards. She lives and works on Wiradjuri land.

Fiona Murphy (Australian)

Fiona Murphy

Fiona Murphy is an award-winning Deaf writer based in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, The Age, Kill Your Darlings and The Big Issue among many other publications. Her memoir, The Shape of Sound, was released in March 2021. It explores secrets, Deaf identity and sign language.