Hugh Jones (President)
Hugh is a communications consultant and former journalist. He worked for News Corp until 2012, including time with The Times and Sunday Times in London, and The Weekly Times in Melbourne, of which he was editor. He has produced and edited several books, including The Bible of the Bush to mark the first 125 years of The Weekly Times. He has volunteered for schools and community groups in the West for more than 30 years.
Lis Grove (Vice-President)
Lis 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 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.
Chris Ringrose (Secretary)
After an academic career in universities in Canada and the UK, Chris moved to Melbourne in 2012 and became a Research Associate in Literature at Monash University. His poetry has won prizes in the UK, Canada and Australia, and his latest collection is Palmistry (OCoE Press). He joined the Festival Committee in 2014 hoping to support events in literature, which has always been his passion. Over the past eight years he has loved being involved with the writing talent and enthusiastic readers of the Western Suburbs.
Brian Christopher (Treasurer)
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 finish reading Ulysses, and wonders whether there is a self-help group that can provide support!
Emily Westmoreland (program director)
Emily was appointed Program Director of WLF in August 2022. She is the co-founder of Dinner Party Press, the publisher of Peninsula, and part of the Desperate Literature Prize team. She has worked in books for more than a decade, both in Melbourne and London. By day she works as a bookseller on Boonwurrung Country.
Elise Brocklehurst (executive officer)
Elise is currently studying her Masters of Writing and Publishing at RMIT. Eager to be involved in Melbourne’s literary scene, she works at a bookshop/library on Woiwurrung Country in Melbourne’s west and runs a book club that encourages readers to diversify their bookshelves.
Sandy is a Williamstown local who has been designing books for Australian authors for more than twenty-five years. In 2011 she was inducted into the APA Book Design Hall of Fame for her contribution to publishing in Australia. Sandy has also been a guest speaker/judge, a panellist at literary festivals and a committee member for The Footpath Library. In 2014, she was a founding committee member for the Australian Book Designers’ Association.
Jane Finemore has enjoyed an extensive career in book publishing working in major publishing houses in Sydney and Melbourne as well as spending ten years at the ABC. She has had the privilege of working and travelling with many leading writers and thinkers including Amy Tan, Lionel Shriver, Jeffrey Eugenides, Helen Garner, GRR Martin, Simon Winchester, Rosie Waterland, Rosie Batty, Annie Proulx, Magda Szubanski and Jonathan Franzen. Jane loves the way writers’ festivals brings authors and readers together.
Helen teaches English in a Western Suburbs high school, and writes on her days off. The Literary Festival has been a regular source of reading inspiration and a way to connect with others who share her love of books. Helen has a Literature degree and studied Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT; her writing has won the Nillumbik Poetry Ekphrasis award and the Ada Cambridge prizes for poetry and biographical non-fiction. She was a judge for the Ada Cambridge prose award in 2022. firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael is a lecturer in the sociology of tourism, hospitality, and events. Having investigated the nature of authenticity in literary experiences among visitors for almost a decade, Michael often observes the critical tension between the imagined sense of place that readers have with the destinations that they seek to comprehend. His lectures in Festival and Special Events Planning offer insight into how the public showcasing of narratives might therefore be staged. He has been involved with the WLF since 2017.
Vicki’s corporate career spanned 34 years, anchored in operations, across blue chip companies as diverse as oil and gas, facilities, education and beer. In 2019, she changed careers. Now she’s a freelance writer (published in The Guardian) and author of two children’s and two historical romance books set in Williamstown. Vicki brings strong planning and delivery capability to the Williamstown Literary Festival Committee. A resident since 1994, she enjoys the history, water and open spaces that Williamstown provides.
Rebecca is co-owner of Williamstown’s much loved bookshop Book and Paper. Book and Paper is the official book seller for the Willy Lit Fest and has been associated with the festival for more than 12 years. Rebecca has an extensive knowledge of books and authors having worked in the industry for many years. Her work in the bookshop provides a connection with readers from all over the west.