President Angela Altair has had a lifelong love affair with the written word as reader and writer. She still can’t believe how a modest idea for a one-off literary event – dreamt up over a latte at a French creperie with co-founder Catherine Ryan 13 years ago – has become the West’s premier writers’ festival. Angela is a journalist and used to part-own a suburban newspaper group, The Western Times. She has been a Hobsons Bay Councillor since 1999 and is Patron of the Williamstown Musical Theatre Company. Her favourite novel is Wuthering Heights.
John arrived with his wife Sandy to settle in Williamstown in mid 2008 (from Fremantle via a year at UNESCO, Paris and three years as an Australian diplomat in New Delhi), lured to Melbourne by the task of setting up the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne. A scientist ( chemist) by training, he is now retired from this field and works part-time at Swinburne University of Technology on India and Innovation. A keen reader of both fiction and non fiction, particularly concerning India, his experience of the wonderful literary festivals in Jaipur, India propelled him to join the Committee for the Willy Lit Fest.
As a chartered accountant Brian has had many years of commercial experience. He lives in Williamstown and is also the Treasurer of the Williamstown Little Theatre. When not engaged in “bean counting” Brian can often be found building sets and from time to time “treading the boards”, which he finds a refreshing antidote against anything relating to financial management. One of Brian’s long-term literary ambitions is to actually finish Ulysses, and wonders whether there is a self-help group that can provide support!
Chris Ringrose is a poet and writer of short fiction who moved from England to Williamstown in April 2012. He is Adjunct Associate Professor of Literature at Monash University, edits the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and is one of the editors of the Sydney-based fashion magazine Papier Mâché. He won the WillyLitFest People’s Choice’ competition in 2013.
Lis Grove is a long-term Williamstown resident and supporter of the Literary Festival from its inception. Her love of language and literature is reflected in a professional career which has ranged widely: from English and literature teaching at Monash and Melbourne Universities and secondary schools, to teaching English as a second language to migrants and international students, to research into second-language learning and assessment at Melbourne University. She has also worked as a consultant in second -language assessment, professional writing and editing.
Melissa Longo lives in the western suburbs. She is the editor of the Around Point Cook and Around Altona community papers, providing her an all access pass to local events. It was through her position at the papers that she discovered and fell in love with the Williamstown Literary Festival.
Melissa has recently joined the Portfolio Advisory Committee for Arts, Culture & Tourism, with the Hobsons Bay City Council. She hopes to have a more active role in local council moving forward. Melissa has a passion for writing and photography, which she highlights through her websites, richwithlove.net and inkcloud.co. Melissa can usually be found, eating her way around town – food is her one true love.
Anna Brasier is a Melbourne writer and editor. Anna’s writing has been published in a variety of print publications such as The Big Issue, The Victorian Writer, Melbourne’s Child, Hyde, The Westsider and The Ada Cambridge anthologies; and online articles in SBS, The Footy Almanac and Weekend Notes.
Anna is the former Editor in Chief at Hyde magazine (2016), Victoria University’s student publication, and the former Managing Editor of Offset Arts journal (2015).
Hugh Jones is a communications consultant and former journalist. He worked for News Corporation in both Melbourne and London, and was editor ofThe Weekly Times newspaper. He has produced and edited several books, including The Bible of the Bush, a coffee-table book to mark the first 125 years of The Weekly Times.
Stella Kinsella is a Creative Producer, author and an award winning screenwriter. She is a creator of unique interactive and interpretive events. Her feature screenplay Veris won the Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Award in 2004. In 2010 her feature screenplay Slim Pickens won the Holding Redlich pitching competition at the Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference which she presented to Marche du Film at the Cannes Festival in 2011.
Her earlier work, Ruby Tuesday received the New Australian Screenwriters’ Grant in 1993 and her subsequent work Maintain the Rage and Veris were both performed as staged readings at ACMI in 2005 and 2007.
In 2007 she wrote and directed the mockumentary Making Mary and Max following the three-year epic creation of Academy Award winning Adam Elliot’s feature animation Mary and Max produced by Melanie Coombs. It was selected as part of the inaugural F4 film festival at the 2011 International Documentary Film Festival and screened in Belgium and Russia.
Stella worked as script consultant for seven years for Buena Vista International and has served as script editor on several short films.
She has worked as documentary researcher for Princess Pictures’ Sounds of Aus and This Sporting Nation. As an independent producer she has created several titles including Cradlehold, Finding Footscray and for the Victorian Women’s Lawyers Association. She has written for several publications including the Byron Shire Echo, The Big Issue, Screenhub and the Melbourne Magazine. As a presenter and comic, Stella is responsible for the creation of the Short Poppy Awards, and the satirical Stellavision, a Byron Bay based TV chat show. She curates and produces the Newport Comedy Room and the forthcoming podcasts Funny About Books and Broadly Speaking– interviews with the Homegrown Authors of Hobsons Bay.