FRI 21st - SUN 23rd OCTOBER 2022

After working in publishing in Australia, Jemma Birrell moved to Paris, directing events at the iconic Parisian bookshop Shakespeare and Company, and co-directing FestivalandCo literary festival. Jemma then became Artistic Director of Sydney Writers’ Festival from 2012 til 2016. After the Festival, Jemma was a programming advisor to the PEN World Voices Festival in New York and became Creative Director at Tablo, hosting The Secret Life of Writers' podcast, and recently launching a new literary imprint called Tablo Tales. Jemma has also commissioned stories for the innovative platform Alexander and has been on the advisory arts board for The University of Technology, on the board of the National Young Writers' Festival, on the judging panel for the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships and an academy member of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. 

Eliza Bell is a teacher, writer and theatre actor, originally from America and now living permanently in Australia. Her theatre performances include: The Memory of WaterA Midsummer Night’s DreamNew JerusalemThe AccidentCharles Mee’s Snow in JuneDonnie Darko and Three Sisters. She trained at Studio Magenia Ecole de Mime in Paris and the Moscow Art Theatre, UC Berkeley and the ART Institute at Harvard University.

Jessica’s most recent book is Mary Ann and Captain Piper: The remarkable true story of the convicts' daughter who became the toast of colonial Sydney.

She has worked at the Australian Research Institute for Environment & Sustainability at Macquarie University for the past fifteen years, including five as its Director.  Her previous book was  Esther: The extraordinary true story of the First Fleet girl who became First Lady of the colony and is also the author of four business guides and two lifestyle books, plus articles for the Australian Association for Environmental Education, Vogue Entertaining and Vogue Children.  Jessica is fascinated by the remarkable women of colonial Australia and is delighted to be bringing them out from the shadows. 

Michael Pascoe  is one of Australia's most experienced and thoughtful finance and economics commentators.   His new book,  The Summertime of Our Dreams:  A Memoir of Mateship and Mortality, will be published in August 2022.

Currently contributing editor for The New Daily and a regular commentator on radio and television, his career has ranged from The Courier-Mail and South China Morning Postto the Australian Financial Review and the Sydney Morning Herald  and has also included stints at Channels 9,7, and Sky TV.


Tabitha Carvan is the author of This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch (2022), a memoir with a message about embracing our passions, and described by Publisher's Weekly as "a weird-in-the-best-way account of self-discovery that brims with humor and insight". She is Senior Writer in the sciences for the Australian National University, and as a freelancer has contributed to publications in the US, Australia and Asia on topics including identity, family, pop culture and science. 

Scott Ludlam is a writer, activist and former Australian Greens Senator. He served in Parliament from 2008 - 2017, and as Co-Deputy Leader of his party from 2015 - 2017.  Currently working as a freelance researcher and troublemaker, his first book --  on ecology, technology and politics -- Full Circle : A Search for the World That Comes Next was published in 2021.

Iain McCalman is a historian with a strong sense of how narrative transforms us. His most recent book is Delia Akeley and the Monkey: A Human-Animal Story of Captivity, Patriarchy and Nature (2022).

Previous books include Darwin’s Armada (2009) and The Reef— A Passionate History (2013), both highly-acclaimed and prizewinning. Formerly Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney, he is currently  a Fellow and former President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a Fellow of three other Australian learned academies.  He is also  a Professor Emeritus at the Australian National University and a Professor in the Australian Catholic University’s Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Fiona Kelly McGregor has published seven books, including the novel Indelible Ink, which won the Age Book of the Year and was shortlisted for several other awards.

She is also the author of  Strange Museums, the memoir of a performance art tour through Poland; the short story collection Suck My Toes, which won the Steele Rudd Award; and the underground classic chemical palace. Her most recent titles are the essay collection Buried Not Dead and the photo-essay A Novel Idea, both published by Giramondo. She writes for The MonthlyThe Saturday PaperOverlandRunway and Running Dog. She is known for her extensive repertoire of performance art with a focus on the body, duration and endurance, and is an organiser in Sydney’s alternative queer culture.

Wendy McCarthy OA  is one of Australia’s most accomplished women and the author of Don’t Be Too Polite, Girls: A Memoir (2022).

She has held many significant leadership roles , including eight years as Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ten years as Chancellor of the University of Canberra, and 12 years as Plan Australia’s Chair, with three years as Global Deputy Chair for Plan International. In 2016 she completed eight years as chair of headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation and in 2017 she completed 9 years as Chair of Circus Oz, Australia’s leading circus.

Currently Wendy is Board Advisor to the Front Project, Deputy-Chair of Goodstart Early Learning and a non-executive Director of IMF Bentham, the world’s most experienced and successful publicly listed litigation funder. She is a Patron of the Sydney Women’s Fund, Ambassador for 1 Million Women and Advisor to Grace Papers.

Allison Tait (A.L. Tait) is an internationally published, bestselling author of the middle-grade adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles  the Ateban Cipher novels, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries

Her latest novel The Wolf’s Howl (A Maven & Reeve Mystery #2) was published in 2021.

A multi-genre writer, teacher and speaker  with many years’ experience in magazines, newspapers and online publishing, Allison co-hosts the Your Kid's Next Read podcast, and is former co-host of the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast.

She lives on the south coast of NSW with her family.

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South Cost Writers Centre
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The Berry Writers Festival acknowledges the Dharawal and Dhurga language-speaking groups who are traditional owners of this area. We acknowledge their customs and culture, which have nourished, and continue to nourish, this land. And we extend our respects to Elders, past, present, and future.

Berry Writers Festival is a not for profit community event.
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Gallery Photography and other images by Katie Rivers Photography courtesy of Shoalhaven Tourism 

Main banner drone shot © Andy Hutchinson Photography.
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