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Get to know the 2024 Writing Awards Judges

With a lifelong love of language and literature, and a career spanning more decades than she cares to remember, Lis Grove has taught English and French in schools and universities, worked as a researcher in language acquisition and assessment and as an editorial consultant. Closely associated with the Williamstown Literary Festival from its beginnings and addicted to good writing, she has judged the Adas Prose Prize for the past eight years and co-edited the awards anthology on several occasions.

Helen Jarvis teaches at a high school in Melbourne’s west. She is a poet who has had work published in various anthologies, including ‘Award Winning Australian Writing’. Her work has won the Adas poetry and biographical prose prizes. Helen is a member of the Literary Festival committee and was one of the prose award judges for two years.


Gayelene Carbis is an Australian-Chinese-Cornish-Irish writer of poetry, prose and plays. Her second book of poetry, I Have Decided to Remain Vertical (Puncher and Wattmann) was recently awarded Finalist in two international awards – Best Book Awards 2023, U.S., and Poetry Book Awards 2023, U.K. Her debut collection, Anecdotal Evidence (Five Islands Press) was awarded Finalist, International Book Awards, 2019. Gayelene was recently shortlisted for the Paul Cave Prize for Literature 2023, U.K. (micro-fiction).

Other recent awards include: First Prize: Ros Spencer Poetry Prize, and My Brother Jack Poetry Award; Best Micro Fiction Prize; Second Prize, Newcastle Poetry Award; and Finalist, Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing (Poetry) Gayelene is currently working on a collection of stories/auto-fiction/memoir and a new book of poetry.

Gayelene teaches Creative Writing and works as a mentor and manuscript assessor. She writes and lives on the land of the Boonwurrung people.

Edward Caruso is an Italian–Australian writer who self-published his first book of poems, Di alture ed altre utopie (Of heights and other utopias), in 2010. The book was written in Italian in Argentina and Peru, and has been reprinted twice. His second book of poems, Blue milonga, written in Chile and Argentina, was published by Hybrid Publications here in Melbourne in 2019. In August of that year he featured on 3CR’s Spoken Word program. Since then he has had a growing number of poems accepted in journals and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas. These include A Voz Limpia, Australian Multilingual Writing Project, Burrow, Communion, Kalliope X, Mediterranean Poetry, ‘La Bottega della Poesia’ (La Repubblica, Italy), Lite Lit One, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Meniscus, n-SCRIBE 14, Right Now, StylusLit, TEXT, Unusual Work and Well-Known Corners: Poetry on the Move. In Chile and Italy he has read his poems among local poets, happy to engage them in an intercultural setting. Eddie also works as a self-employed book editor, mostly on educational, academic and legal texts, and as a book indexer. He obtained accreditation as an editor with the Institute of Professional Editors in 2014.


Literature has always been a big part of Chris Ringrose’s life, so he’s loved being part of the Litfest since moving from the UK to Australia in 2012. Chris is a Research Associate in English at Monash University. His poetry has won awards in England, Canada and Australia, and he has published critical work on modern fiction, literary theory and children’s literature. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and the book series Studies in World Literature, and is a poetry reviewer for the Australian Poetry Journal. His latest collection of poems is Palmistry (ICoE Press, 2019). Creative Lives, a collection of interviews with eighteen South Asian writers, was published in 2021 by Ibidem/Columbia University Press.

Richard Dove is a publisher, poet and author, and previous winner of the Willy Lit Fest People’s Choice (Poetry). A former police officer with a long and distinguished career, he was honoured with the title Friend of Africa at an award ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra, for his work in building the relationship between police and African communities, over many years.

Over the past ten years, Richard has attended five international residencies in France, and the Republic of Ireland (Tyrone Guthrie Centre, County Monaghan), writing a series of original fables, the first released in 2022, in hardcover, titled The Promise – Shortlisted for Best Designed Children’s Fiction Book at the Australian Book Design Awards, 2022, and selected for inclusion at the State Library of Victoria World of the Book Exhibition, 2023 – 2024. Recently, he led a project to publish a book titled, Nostalgia: A Collection of Childhood Stories from Burma, which was the subject of a photo essay in The Guardian, by multi-award-winning photojournalist, Chris Hopkins. In 2023, a collection of his poems were published by In Case of Emergency Press, in a book titled, All’s Well that Inks Well.

Richard is a regular public speaker and Master of Ceremonies, an expert on multicultural affairs, and has been interviewed many times for television, radio and newspapers, including the ABC program, Compass. His widely celebrated picture book, Us Karen, depicting the refugee journey of the Karen people to Australia, was launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard via a video-recording from her Canberra office, in 2012. She said, “It is indeed a lovely book; eloquent, thoughtful and simple. It tells the story all of us from migrant backgrounds can understand: the story of hope.”


Charnie Braz is an award-winning journalist and communications advisor with a Bachelor of Arts and an MBA from the University of Queensland. She is a keen political observer and consumer of current affairs who lives in Canberra.

She is a former member of Williamstown Literary Festival committee, a member of Willy Writers, ASA and Writers Victoria, and is Faber Academy alumni.

In 2020 Charnie was instrumental in bringing the Jennifer Burbidge Prize out of hiatus and giving it a new home at Willy Lit Fest. She is happy to help judge the prize in memory of Dr Mary Burbidge, from whom she received excellent advice on writing and life and many belly laughs.

Helen Cerne, long-term friend of Mary Burbidge, is honoured to be judging again this year the Burbidge Prize. A Melbourne writer, she has published a poetry collection, Just Heart Work, a novel about creative teaching, Those who Can’t, and a collaborative memoir written with her husband, Serge, Shifting. Interested in visual arts, Helen’s PhD, Circling Lina, explored the life, art and relationships of modernist painter Lina Bryans. Her poetry collection Artful Women was launched at last year’s WLF. She is the coordinator of Western Union Writers, a long-term western suburbs writing group. For many years she taught creative writing at Victoria University and is an ongoing judge of poetry and short story awards for the Willy Lit Festival.