Toowoomba Writers’ Festival Open Mic
Sally Breen is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, her short form work has appeared in many national and international journals and papers including Review of Australian Fiction, Best Australian Stories, the Age, the Australian and Griffith Review.
In 2010 she won the Varuna Harper Collins manuscript prize for her memoir THE CASUALS released in 2011
THE CASUALS is the story of the life and times of one young woman’s journey through the last two decades of the 20th century; from her pop-fuelled adolescence in the 1980s to a full-blown grunge ride in the 1990s, Sally Breen is the girl your mother warned you about. A charged and heady exploration of sex, drugs and pop culture, it is also a meditation on loss, death and grief as the author struggles to reconcile her place in a chaotic world. Sally Breen gives voice to her generation; those somehow smashed in between all the Xers and Ys – maybe lost, maybe beat, but most of all casual.
Vanessa has published two collections of poetry, with her second book ‘Confessional Box’ winning the 2013 Anne Elder Award and being widely and critically reviewed including in the Weekend Australian. She’s also been shortlisted for the Whitmore Prize, Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and John Knight Memorial Manuscript Prize and has been widely published in Australian poetry journals and anthologies.
She’s performed her work in many places, including at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Whispers Salon at the State Library of Queensland, Couplet at Brisbane Square Library, the Nuyorican in New York, USQ Bookcase and Speedpoets.
Susan is a member of Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland and currently editor of their monthly magazine Scope. She has recently been appointed as editor of Mia Mia the national magazine of Mothers Union Australia.
Her collection of short stories Farmer’s Kids, which has been used in many schools in Queensland and interstate, tells the adventures of a farming family in the late fifties- early sixties when kids got up to a bit of harmless mischief.
She has four children’s stories, illustrated by Tereasa Bannah, in which children are responsible for rescuing Australian wild life, Gordon’s Big Adventure: A story of Gordon the Golden-tail Gecko, Felix Goes to Town: A story of Felix the Fresh Water Crocodile, Quentin Goes Hunting: A story of Quentin the Spot Tail Quoll and Bella’s New Home: A story of Bella the Birdwing Butterfly. She has three rhyming books for toddlers,What I like about birds, Boomers and Where’s Henry?
She has two volumes of poetry. Locals and Legends is a collection of humorous bush poetry, while Breakfast with Friends is a collection of free verse featuring Australian birds, animals and landscapes.
She has won several writing competitions, including the Association of Writers @ Work Golden Pen Award three times. Some of her work has been included in anthologies, including Battered but not Beaten – the story of the Lockyer Valley floods of 2010, Words from Toowoomba by Toowoomba Wordsmiths and Tales from our Verandah by FAWQ.
Jane is a Librarian and Archivist at Concordia Lutheran College, Toowoomba. She grew up in Brisbane and practised as a physiotherapist in country NSW before moving back to QLD and retraining as a librarian. She wrote her first book, The story of the swamp: a children’s history of Toowoomba, in 2008. During the course of that project she discovered a love of historical research and writing non-fiction for children. This led her to write the ‘Australian Bushranger’ series which was published in 2014 by Big Sky Publishing.
She enjoys historical research because it’s like solving a mystery. She plans to write more non-fiction books but at the moment she is writing for adults so that she can include more depth and detail. She enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to live music, singing in a community choir and spending time with her family. You can see her website at: www.janesmithauthor.com
Nola Passmore has qualifications in psychology, creative writing and Christian ministry.
Her poems, short fiction, articles and devotional materials have been published in various magazines, journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas.
She and her husband Tim have their own freelance writing and editing business which they operate from their home in Toowoomba called The Write Flourish.
She is currently working on her debut novel and loves encouraging others to write.
Sean Crawley writes about ordinary people trying to make sense of this crazy beautiful world. He has worked in education, mental health and once owned a video shop in a dying town. He has offspring and a garden and likes to swim in the ocean.
Sean is new to world of fiction and this year won the Hervey Bay Council for the Arts Short Story Competition. He is also featured in this festival’s anthology ‘Brio’.