Leslie Twentyman OAM is a prominent youth outreach worker and community activist. He is one of Victoria's best-known social campaigners on issues from homelessness, drug abuse and prison reform to social welfare.
In 1984 he founded the Les Twentyman foundation, which has grown to become a vital resource to thousands of Australia's youth at-risk each year. Les Twentyman was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1994, and in 2006 was awarded Victorian of the Year.
Robert Hillman is a Melbourne-based writer of fiction and biography. His autobiography, The Boy in the Green Suit, won the Australian National Biography Award for 2005. His 2007 biography, My Life as a Traitor, written with Zarah Ghahramani, appeared in numerous overseas editions and was short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in 2008. Hillman has published over 80 titles.
Katherine Boland was born in the north of England in 1957, emigrating to Australia in 1961, where she grew up on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. Katherine left the city in the mid 1970s to live an alternative lifestyle on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for almost three decades.
For the last 15 years, she has been living in Melbourne pursuing a career as an artist. She has exhibited throughout Australia and overseas and has been the recipient of numerous art prizes, grants and scholarships.
John Watt was born in 1936 in Western Australia, and grew up in Perth. His early education was in Catholic schools, culminating in two and a half years in the local seminary. This was followed by studies in Arts at the University of Western Australia, and a PhD in philosophy at the Australian National University.
He co-authored a non-fiction work, The Whitefella Problem, with his late wife Wendy. He now lives south of Perth in Busselton, with his wife, Lesley.
Cheryl Koenig OAM, is a Sydney-based writer and motivational speaker. With Just One Suitcase is her fourth book – the family’s memoir. Her previous publications are Paper Cranes (2008), The Courage to Care (2007) and There's always hope: just alter the dreams (2006). Cheryl was named 2009 NSW Woman of the Year, and in 2014 received the Medal of the Order of Australia, for services to the disability sector.
Ted Egan was named Territorian of the Year and three years later, was appointed Administrator (the Queen’s representative) of the Northern Territory, an office he held for the next five years. In 2004, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for ‘contributions to the literary heritage of Australia through song and verse’, and was recently listed as one of Australia's National Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia.
Anne Crawford’s first love was – and is – words. A journalist and feature writer for many years, she has more recently realised a childhood dream of becoming an author and is writing non-fiction books. Her sixth book came out in February 2015.
Kooshyar Karimi was born in December 1968 in the slums of Tehran, Iran, to a family living in abject poverty. He and his family were granted a political refugee visa to Australia by the UNHCR and is now an Australian citizen, fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Medicine, and member of the Skin Cancer Society of Australia and New Zealand. He practises medicine full‐time in New South Wales, and writes in his spare time.
Ann Fogarty was born in Lancashire, England, and graduated as a nursery nurse in 1968. Ann came to Australia in 1970 and settled in Upper Beaconsfield. Caught up in the Ash Wednesday bushfires through Victoria and South Australia, Ann was hit by a massive fireball while protecting her two young daughters from the firestorm and sustained serious burns to 85% of her body. Her daughters escaped without injury.
Ann is one of only a few people to have survived this level of burns.
Born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1965, he resides still, married with three children. He is a cardio thoracic and trauma surgeon and has worked in many conflict zones including Israel and Gaza, Albania and Kosovo, and with the Australian Army in East Timor and Afghanistan. He is a member of the International Humanitarian Law Committee of the Australian Red Cross. He currently works full-time as a surgeon in Adelaide and is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide.
Jill Sanguinetti grew up in the Victorian country town of Kyabram and went to Methodist Ladies’ College, Melbourne, as a boarder from 1958 to 1961. After graduating from the University of Melbourne, she taught for 25 years in schools, community centres, TAFE colleges and at Victoria University, gaining a PhD in Adult Education along the way. Jill divides her time between inner-city Melbourne and a retreat near Marysville; managing life’s ups and downs with the love and support of her partner.
Julie Szego began her career as a lawyer before she switched to journalism. She spent 12 years at The Age newspaper where she held various roles, including social affairs reporter, senior writer, leader writer and fortnightly columnist. During her time at the paper she wrote a number of highly-acclaimed pieces to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, investigated the cultural divide between the inner-city and the outer suburbs as part of an award-winning series on Melbourne.