Wendy O’Hanlon: Festival founder and director
Wendy is a journalist, photographer, book editor and reviewer, poet, playwright, thespian, event organiser and passionate environmentalist with more than 30 years’ experience in Australia and overseas. Wendy’s dream to create this Sunshine Coast festival was inspired by her attendance at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in 2011 and 2015. In 2015, after resigning from her role as a news producer at Brisbane's The Courier-Mail, Wendy "dreamed up" this festival during months of downtime walking on the beautiful beaches at Coolum. She was certain that this beautiful, creative region was just the place to not only draw Sunshine Coast creatives out from their hinterland and coastal retreats, but to attract creatives from all over the world to this region. And it has worked! Our Sunshine Coast is now firmly on the international writers' festival map!
Robin Fleming: Infrastructure Manager
Robin is a Coolum-based surfer, photographer and environmentalist; a past member of Coolum Arts Theatre – and plumber extraordinaire. Robin played an integral role in the organisation of our inaugural 2016 festival in all aspects of planning, promotion and staging.
Barry Betts:The original bush poet
Better known as Bazza the Bush Balladeer, Bazza is an iconic figure in the Sunshine Coast region as he performs at festivals and fairs with his heart-felt renditions of Australian bush poetry classics from Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Dorothea Mackellar and more.
Lyndon Davis: Such an ambassador
Lyndon is the founder of the Gubbi Gubbi Dance Troupe (1997), an Indigenous presenter, performer, educator and artist. He was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and is a Traditional Custodian and representative of the Local Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi people. Lyndon works extensively within local schools, universities and the community presenting an exciting and informative Aboriginal Cultural Education Program. He has vast knowledge of our region’s Indigenous culture and history, Gubbi Gubbi language, traditional song and dance and the arts. Lyndon is a true ambassador for his people travelling overseas on many occasions to South America, South Korea, Vanuatu, Europe, South Africa, Canada and the USA. He has performed for Queen Elizabeth II at CHOGM, the official opening of the Goodwill Games, 2000 Sydney Olympics, Woodford Folk Festival and The Dreaming, and in 2011 welcomed His Holiness, the Dali Lama. In 2011, Lyndon was awarded the Honorary Senior Fellowship Award from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Elaine Ouston: Author and publisher
Elaine Ouston has a Master of Letters in Creative Writing. She is managing editor at Morris Publishing Australia and owns Gondor Writers' Centre which offers many services to authors interested in preparing for submission to publishers or self-publishing. She organises literary festivals for Australian Literary Festivals and Book Fairs and travels throughout Australia delivering talks and workshops to children and adults at schools, libraries, bookstores, literary festivals and writers groups.
Aishah Macgill: Author and publisher
Aishah Macgill is an author, publisher and graphic designer. Aishah has self-published five books to date with several more currently being completed. When she is not writing, she is helping other authors who wish to self publish via her Facebook writers group, Australian Writers Rock, and running her publishing business. Aishah's books are: The Forgotten Seer of Edenhope Book I, II, III; The Day My Mother Murdered Herself and SoulMate Conversations.
Barry Charles: Original singer songwriter
Barry Charles is a seasoned and respected singer-songwriter who played an integral role in getting our inaugural 2016 festival off the ground. He is a popular and well respected member of the music industry in south-east Queensland for his role in the development of the music industry, where he is renowned for staging and performing at special musical events. Born into a family of singers, his grandfather had a bass baritone voice and his father was a tenor. He can incorporate in a performance innovative scatting, interwoven with the unmistakable sounds of Tuva singing with influences here from (the late) Paul Pena. Barry can explore the technique of split harmonics and his phrasing is quite unique. Barry has performed in the UK including an invitation to perform at the world renowned Glastonbury Festival on the Avalon Field, as well as the World Expo in Hanover, Germany, and at the Eden Project in Cornwall. He has also performed at festivals in Australia from Woodford and Caloundra Music Festivals and the Bay of Islands Jazz & Blues Festival in New Zealand. Barry has recorded four albums of his original songs, and an album of songs of Tom Waits.
Linda Fisher: Business manager and environmentalist
Linda Fisher is an avid reader with an administrative background who has lived on the Sunshine Coast since 1974. Linda is a passionate environmentalist who loves the Sunshine Coast's clean and green environment.
Ken Fisher: Author and cultural anthropologist
Ken Fisher is a cultural anthropologist, surfer and writer. He lives at Yaroomba Beach on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, with his wife, a daughter and an old fox terrier. Beach Spinifex is his first novel and was inspired by our local beaches, Ken's 50 years of surfing and his work with indigenous Australians who were taken from their parents. Beach Spinifex, a powerful tale of loss and longing, of love and joy, a story for those enchanted by the spirit of the sea. Ken’s first book, Sandy Feet, is the first complete guide to the best seaside walks and views on the Sunshine Coast. Whether you are a local or visitor, it will inspire you to get out and explore the best of the coast’s dunes, beaches and headlands. The book includes maps; one-hour, 20-minute and five-minute walks, best places for views when in a wheelchair, whale spotting, picnics and the 12 best places to kiss your lover.
Eileen Herbert Goodall: Short story writer, editor and writing coach
Eileen Herbert-Goodall is an author, editor and writing coach based on the Sunshine Coast. She is a writer of short fiction and non-fiction articles and presents workshops on the craft of creative writing and editing at universities, schools, community learning centres, adult colleges and libraries. Eileen holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts and shares her knowledge by coaching other writers on how to improve their skills. She also offers editing services to online businesses and marketing strategists. She is the co-director of Field of Words, the writing website and associated competition, which aims to help emerging writers develop and publish their work.
Sheridan Stewart: Radio broadcaster, artist, writer, event host and producer
For more than 20 years, Sheridan Stewart has been one of Australia's favourite FM music radio personalities and presenters. Sheridan's radio career took her from FOX FM, Melbourne to FM 104.7 Canberra, MIX 106.5 Sydney and MMM Brisbane before spending a decade at Triple M Adelaide and a memorable stint as the host of national radio countdown PLANET ROCK. The last few years have seen Sheridan go from, as one friend describes, "rock chick" to "renaissance woman", hosting and producing award winning Fringe shows, exhibiting as an artist and writing. In 2015, Sheridan joined the team at ABC Sunshine Coast as Drive presenter which gives her the chance to connect with people from all over the coast and hinterland while living in one of the most scenic and dynamic regions on earth. Prior to her Sunshine Coast move, Sheridan was living with her husband, a poodle, two donkeys, a horse, a goat and five chooks in the Mallee and before that the Adelaide Hills. Sheridan is passionate about the arts, people, food and wine.
Rose-maree Hill: Writer and social media guru
Rose-maree Hill describes herself as a "geeky, quirky emerging author of science fiction fantasy". Rose-maree was a hard-working volunteer at our inagural 2016 festival who provided invaluable social media support prior to and during the festival.
Trina McLellan: Communicator, journalist, educator, researcher
Trina has spent more than three decades working in and with Australia’s news media as a corporate communication manager, journalist, journalism educator, researcher, and, early on, as a community radio broadcaster. She currently works with a busy communication consultancy in Brisbane’s CBD, while maintaining a keen interest in the evolution of journalism and the implications of such evolution on professional and ethical practice. Trina has taught part or full-time in a range of journalism and communication courses at the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland and, most recently, at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Off duty, Trina loves to take photographs and dabble in social media. Along with Rose Hill, Trina covered the successful SCIRWF 2016, turning out hundreds of images from the inaugural festival.
Grayham Bickley: Writer, poet and wildlife photographer
Writer, poet, wildlife photographer, Grayham has had many photos published in national magazines and publications. His writing started as an actor in the seventies writing comedy sketches for reviews. He is a member of the Noosa Writers group and has participated in several published anthologies. He is also a member of the Pure Poetry Group. Grayham has a crime fiction novel "Contained" due to be released soon. A book of poetry titled "Northeast of Next week" is also nearing publication