THE SELECTION PANEL
Dr Debra Adelaide
Debra Adelaide is the author of over 15 books — anthologies, fiction, non-fiction and reference books. They include the novels, The Household Guide to Dying (2008) and The Women’s Pages (2015), the short story collections, Letter to George Clooney (2013) and Zebra (2019), and the essay collection, Innocent Reader (2019).
Of the many books she has edited, her friend and colleague Rosie Scott contributed to two, Motherlove 2 (1997) and The Simple Act of Reading (2015). Debra also contributed stories to two books that Rosie edited, with Tom Keneally and Anita Heiss respectively, A Country Too Far (2013) and The Intervention(2015).
Debra is also an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney, where she has supervised numerous Masters and Doctoral students to completion and taught across the undergraduate and postgraduate Creative Writing programs.
Melissa Bruce holds an MA in Writing (UTS), a Diploma in Directing (NIDA) and a B.Ed. Media & Drama (Vic. College). Melissa has worked as a theatre director (Sydney Theatre Co., State Theatre of S.A.,) stage manager (Royal Shakespeare Co., Vic. State Opera) and writing teacher (UTS, Sydney Uni. CCE, NSW Writers’ Centre). Through her business, ‘MB Performance Consulting’ (est. 1997), Melissa provides coaching to a large variety of clients, helping to improve written & spoken word communications.
Melissa has produced original stage, radio and educational plays and published short stories, poetry and essays in various anthologies and journals. The Australian Society of Authors awarded Melissa a mentorship to develop her debut novel, ‘Picnic at Mount Disappointment’, which was Highly Commended by the Society of Women Writers and won the 2017 Woollahra Digital Literary Award for Fiction.
Professor Anita Heiss
Dr. Anita Heiss is a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, and is one of Australia’s most prolific and well-known authors, publishing across genres, including non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial fiction and children’s novels.
Anita’s adult fiction includes Not Meeting Mr Right, Avoiding Mr Right, Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Tiddas. Her most recent books include Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms which was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Prize. The anthology, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, which Anita edited, was named the Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards.
Her other published works include the historical novel Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937, non-fiction text Dhuuluu-Yala (To Talk Straight) – Publishing Aboriginal Literature, and The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature (co-authored with Peter Minter).
Anita’s children’s literature includes Kicking Goals with Goodesy and Magic, co-written with Adam Goodes and Micheal O’Loughlin. She also wrote two kids’ novels with students from La Perouse Public School – Yirra and her deadly dog Demon and Demon Guards the School Yard, and more recently, Harry’s Secret and Matty’s Comeback.
Anita is currently Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland, and a Board Member of the State Library of Queensland.
Dr Denise Leith
Denise has a PhD in International Relations and is the author of two non fiction books, The Politics of Power and Bearing Witness: The Lives of War Correspondents and Photojournalists and the novel, What Remains (shortlisted for the Asher Award and the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards – Christina Stead Award). She is the ghost-writer of two non fiction books and has recently completed her second work of fiction: Shahir Square. Denise is also a contributor to the anthology Fear Factor: Terror Incognito and A Country Too Far.
She spent five years mentoring women writers living in Afghanistan in both fiction and non and served on the management committee of International PEN, Sydney Centre for six years. In 2004 she shared the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Community Award for PEN’s campaign to raise awareness of asylum seeker issues within the Australian conscience. In 2009 she received the Sydney PEN Award.
Denise has written articles (political, book reviews, travel) for newspapers, journals, serials and on-line web sites. She has given conference papers around the world, chaired and been a participant on various panels, has facilitated writing workshops and is a guest speaker in her capacity as an author and academic.
Danny was Rosie Scott’s partner for over forty years. He’s also been a film director, scriptwriter, playwright, sculptor, photographer, theatre director, producer, script editor, architectural designer, builder, writer, and graphic designer. Danny is a keen traveller (over 50 countries) and the author of two non-fiction books; Them and Us: How Neanderthal predation created modern humans, (2009) and The Second Evolution; The secret role of emotion in evolution, (2015) as well as a number of academic papers on evolutionary biology.