GALAs 2015: On Five. A Gala Night of Storytelling.
2015 marks the Wheeler Centre’s fifth birthday, and to celebrate, we bring you a very special chapter of our beloved annual tradition: A Gala Night of Storytelling.
A dozen of Australia’s best writers and storytellers came together in the Melbourne Town Hall on one big night, to share their take on a central theme: ‘five’.
You'll hear stories from Maxine Beneba Clarke, Tim Flannery, Ellen van Neerven, Stephanie Alexander, Robert Dessaix, Anita Heiss, Mark Colvin, Michael Leunig, Eddie Perfect, Robyn Annear and William McInnes.
Mark Colvin is an Australian journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster. He has been the presenter of PM, one of the flagship Australian radio current affairs programs on the ABC Radio network, since 1997.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Clarke is the ABIA and Indie award winning author of over nine books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the best-selling memoir The Hate Race, the Victorian Premier’s Award winning poetry collection Carrying the World, and the Boston Globe/Horn Prize winning picture book The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Van T. Rudd.
She is the editor of Best Australian Stories 2017, and Growing Up African in Australia. Her forthcoming poetry collection is How Decent Folk Behave (Hachette).
Eddie Perfect is one of Australia’s most diverse, respected and prolific writer/composer/performers. At the age of 37, he has already made his mark in the fields of comedy, music theatre composition and book-writing, playwrighting, screenwriting, classical music, jazz and acting for stage and screen.
Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer of Mununjali Yugambeh (South East Queensland) and Dutch heritage. They write fiction, poetry, plays and non-fiction. Ellen’s first book, Heat and Light, was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, Comfort Food, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize and highly commended for the 2016 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Throat is Ellen’s highly anticipated second poetry collection.
Tim Flannery is a scientist, an explorer, a conservationist and a leading writer on climate change. He has held various academic positions including visiting Professor in Evolutionary and Organismic Biology at Harvard University, Director of the South Australian Museum, Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum, Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, and Panasonic Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Macquarie University. His books include the award-winning international bestseller The Weather Makers, Here on Earth and Atmosphere of Hope. Flannery was the 2007 Australian of the Year. He is currently chief councillor of the Climate Council.
Stephanie Alexander AO is regarded as one of Australia's great food educators. Her reputation has been earned through her thirty years as an owner-chef in several restaurants, as the author of 14 influential books and hundreds of articles about food matters, and for her groundbreaking work in creating the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.
In 2014 Stephanie became an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Her strong belief is that the earlier children learn about food through example and pleasurable hands-on experience, the better their food choices will be throughout life. Her new book, The Cook’s Table, is released October 2016.
Robert Dessaix is a writer, translator, broadcaster and occasional essayist.
Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards. She lives in Brisbane.
Michael Leunig has been drawing and writing for Australian newspapers since 1965. He was born in Melbourne and now lives on a farm in north-eastern Victoria. His work has been widely published overseas and has been adapted in Australia for television, theatre and radio.
Best known for her books Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne and A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wrecker’s Melbourne, Robyn Annear is also the author of an unpublishable novel set in the city in 1893.
William McInnes is one of Australia’s most popular writers, delighting readers with his memoirs A Man’s Got to have a Hobby and That’d be Right, his novels Cricket Kings and The Laughing Clowns, and his insight into Australian life since the 1940s, written with Essential Media and Entertainment, The Making of Modern Australia. In 2011, with his wife Sarah Watt, he co-wrote Worse Things Happen at Sea, which was named the best non-fiction title in the ABIA and the Indie Awards in 2012. His latest book is Holidays.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.