Keynote Speakers

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham has been on the publishing scene in Australia for thirty years. A former publisher and editor, she is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) and, as part of the City Series, wrote Melbourne (2011). Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy, her most recent book, was published by Text Publishing in 2014 and shortlisted for several major literary prizes. She is a former editor of Meanjin, and was, from 2011 to 2014 Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She is a founding and current board member of The Stella Prize. Her essay, ‘Staying With the Trouble’ was the winner of the 2015 Calibre Prize. She is writing her third novel, ‘This Devastating Fever’ a novel based on Leonard Woolf’s time in Ceylon and a book of linked essays called #trreeoftheday. She is an Adjunct Professor of RMIT University (non/fiction Lab), in the School Media and Communication in the College of Design and Social Context.

Roland Sussex

Roland (Roly) Sussex was Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of Queensland from 1989 until 2010. Before that he taught Linguistics and Russian at the University of Reading (UK) and Monash University in Melbourne, and was the foundation professor of Russian at the University of Melbourne from 1977 to 1989. He is currently Research Professor in the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, and the School of Languages and Cultures, at the University of Queensland.

He was chair of the Library Board of Queensland from 2009 to 2014, and is now Deputy Chair. He has been President of the Alliance Française of Brisbane since 2010. In 2012 he was made Patron of the Institute of Professional Editors. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Sean Leahy

Sean Leahy is the political cartoonist for The Courier-Mail. His cartoons also appear internationally through The New York Times Syndicate, in over 150 publications such as The LA Times, The International Herald-Tribune, Washington Post, and The Times (of London). He began his work as cartoonist on The West Australian (1975 -1983) then The Daily Sun (1983-1985) followed by the past 32 years as cartoonist for The Courier-Mail.

Sean also writes and draws the comic strip Beyond the Black Stump which has won the Stanley Award for Australia’s Comic Strip Cartoonist of the Year. He is a three time Walkley Award nominee for Best Cartoon. He has published eight books.