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Reality Bites: A Night of Coming-of-Age Stories


Event Status

Six storytellers take to the stage to share fictional works inspired by the everyday realities of growing up in the next instalment of the Wheeler Centre’s Telling Tales.


Remove the rose-tinted glasses and delve into the nitty-gritty of adolescence with a night of stories that explore the ups and downs, the heartache and joy, and the triumphs and tribulations of coming of age.

Hear from beloved Young Adult writers Kelly Gardiner (The Firewatcher Chronicles), Will Kostakis (We Could Be SomethingThe Sidekicks) and Alice Pung (Laurinda, One Hundred Days) as they join three emerging teen writers to captivate you with six tall tales in the latest Telling Tales storytelling session, hosted by Jes Layton. 


Artwork by Pilgrim Hodgson.


Accessible toilets available

Assistive Listening

Wheelchair accessible

You can learn more about the Wheeler Centre’s accessibility policies here. Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

A coming-of-age reading guide

In preparation for the next instalment in the Telling Tales series, Reality Bites, we asked the event’s official bookseller The Kids’ Bookshop for some coming-of-age book recommendations.

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About Telling Tales

From fantastical realms to gritty realities, Telling Tales is the perfect series for young adult bookworks and genre enthusiasts alike.


Telling Tales


Alice Atkinson

Alice is an optimistic, 15 year old arts nerd who is most commonly found dancing, playing music, painting, writing or talking the ear off of anyone who will listen. As a young artist, passionate about making change, her art (of any medium) is often made with political and social ideas as a muse. Ali... Read more

Kelly Gardiner

Kelly Gardiner writes historical fiction and fantasy for all ages. Her latest middle-grade series is The Firewatcher Chronicles and her other books include 1917, shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Prize; the young adult novels Act of Faith and The Sultan’s Eyes, both shor... Read more

Ada Horsfall

Ada is a 14 year old writer, a lover of reading, drawing, writing, music and any other arts subject she can get her hands on. At any given moment she can be found rehearsing, painting, reading and/or desperately procrastinating the work she should have done last week. A fan of both Greek mythology a... Read more

Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults. He’s been at it fifteen years, but his mum insists it’s just a phase and any day now, he’ll pursue a real career. He is best known for his contemporary novels, The First Third, The Sidekicks, and the recently released We Could Be Somet... Read more

Jes Layton

Jes Layton invented writing, the airplane, and the internet. He was also the first person to reach the North Pole. Jes is an author and illustrator currently living and working on Wurundjeri Land. He is the current co-CEO/Executive Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival and is currently re... Read more

Alice Pung

Alice Pung OAM is the author of the bestselling memoirs Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, and the essay collection Close to Home, as well as the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her debut novel Laurinda won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW ... Read more

Astrid Raab

Astrid is a 14-year-old writing enthusiast, she loves reading, poetry, and writing songs. Her favourite pass time is curled up on the couch scribbling away in her journal with a nice cup of tea. Astrid has been writing and since she was a little kid always eager to tell stories and hear new ones. He... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.