Guest Poet Bios

Mala Anthony

Mala Anthony-Ranu sees herself as a citizen of the world and a proud Indian patriot. Being a collector of dictionaries led to a deep love of the English language; this in turn to undertaking Creative Writing at the University of Tasmania and the subsequent  publication of Twin Voices, her first book.

Her admiration for Indira Gandhi, India’s first woman Prime Minister, has resulted in The Indira Poems.

In her earlier life she has been a Sunday school teacher, a telephone operator at Grey Hound racing UK, sales girl in John Lewis Oxford Street, English tutor to refugees from Afghanistan, mentor to foreign students at the University of Tasmania, running poetry workshops in Brisbane and as a dentist working in Malaysia, England and Australia.

Mala is married to Sawindar and has two sons, Ashok and Sunil. She is grandmother to Eleanor and dog-walker to Bonsai and Taco.

Pete Hay

Pete Hay is the author of five books of poetry, including, most recently, Physick, the poet/painter collaborative work Last Days at the Mill, and the chapbook Girl Reading Lorca, as well as a book of personal essays (Vandiemonian Essays), academic texts, and a writer/photographer collaboration, The Forests, with Matthew Newton.  He is currently developing a two-person show with Spanish guitarist, Paul Gerard (An Evening in Andalusia) and will have a second volume of essays (A Curmudgeon’s Essays) ready for publication by year’s end.  He holds an adjunct position at the University of Tasmania where he was previously Reader in Geography and Environmental Studies.  He has worked as a political advisor at both state and federal levels, and far prefers poetry to politics.

Arjun von Caemmerer

Arjun von Caemmerer is a Hobart-based writer, yoga practitioner/teacher and medical practitioner.

His poems have been published in Siglo, The Australian, The Medical Journal of Australia, Unusual Work, The Rondo Hatton Report, Free Xpression, Famous Reporter, Yoga Rahasya, Yoga Vaani, extempore, EXT 2012,, Move Records, blue giraffe, still heading out (Australian/New Zealand haiku anthology), paper wasp and one hundred gourds. Lingua Franka, his concrete poetry homage to Frank Zappa, was exhibited at The Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Bond Store (Mona Foma 2010), the Australian National Academy of Music, and Montsalvat.

Publications include:

Two’s Kisses (1992); Yoga Coda (1996); Graves’ Tome (1998); standard deviation (1999); Blue Prints (2001); configurations (2006); A Bunch of Fives (2009); Essential Yoga (2015); Pieces of 8 ~ Versions of Patañjali’s Yoga-Sutra (4th Ed, 2016), and Vice Versa new & selected poems (Collective Effort Press, 2016).

Sam Wagan Watson

Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning Indigenous poet and professional raconteur. Born in Brisbane in 1972, he is of Munanjali, Birri Gubba, German and Irish descent. Samuel’s first collection of poems won the 1998 David Unaipon Award. His fourth collection, Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the 2005 NSW Premier’s Award for the Book of the Year and the Kenneth Slessor poetry prize.

Samuel has toured Australia extensively as a writer, has been a writer-in-residence at a number of institutions and has toured New Zealand, Germany and Norway to promote his work.

Amelia Walker

Amelia Walker has been writing and performing poetry since her teens (that’s almost 20 years now). She has published three poetry collections, and three poetry teaching resource books (All You Need To Teach Poetry, Macmillan, ages 5-8, 8-10 and 10+). In 2016 she completed her PhD in creative writing through the University of South Australia, where she now teaches undergraduate courses in creative writing and children’s literature.

Izzy Roberts-Orr

Izzy Roberts-Orr is Artistic Director and Co-CEO of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, and a Melbourne producer, writer, editor and broadcaster.

Formerly a Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival, Izzy has also worked as a Creative Producer and been featured as an artist with the Emerging Writers’ Festival in previous years. As a facilitator, curator and provocateur, Izzy has worked with Voiceworks, Express Media, the Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival, Writers’ Victoria, SIGNAL, ARTillery, the University of Glasgow and most recently as a co-convenor of ‘Independent Convergence’ at MPavilion.

Izzy has been a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, a Melbourne Fringe Uncommon Places artist and a featured artist at Junction Arts Festival. She has also featured at Noted Festival and You Are Here, and her work has been published in various journals and anthologies including Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, Cordite, Visible Ink and the Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry Anthology.

Izzy was Executive Producer of The ReReaders podcast, and co-created Sisteria and Dear/Hello podcasts. She has produced radio for SYN, RRR and FBi radio’s ‘All the Best’.

David McCooey

David McCooey is a prize-winning poet, critic, and editor. His latest book of poems, Star Struck, was published by UWA Publishing in late 2016. His debut poetry collection, Blister Pack (2005) won the Mary Gilmore Award and was shortlisted for four other major national literary awards. His second full-length collection, Outside (2011), was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards and was a finalist for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s ‘Best Writing Award’. His work has appeared for ten out of the last eleven years in Black Inc’s annual anthology, The Best Australian Poems. McCooey is the deputy general editor of the prize-winning Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (2009). McCooey is also a musician and sound artist. His album of ‘poetry soundtracks’,Outside Broadcast, was released in 2013 as a digital download. He is a professor of writing and literature at Deakin University in Geelong, where he lives.

Talya Rubin

Talya Rubin is a poet and performance maker. Her poetry won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. In 2011, she was short-listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize and the Winston Descant/Collins prize for Best Canadian poem. She won the “Battle of the Bards” at Harbourfront, Toronto and was invited to attend the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) in 2015. Her first book of poetry, Leaving the Island, was published with Vehicule Press in April 2015. Talya holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and currently lives in Montreal with her husband and young son. She also runs an interdisciplinary performance company, Too Close to the Sun and has toured her work to Arts House, Performance Space, Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane Festival and Vitalstatistix. Talya has taught workshops at Sydney University, McGill University, NIDA, AFTRS and the Darlinghurst Theatre and has been on a jury committee for the CBC Poetry Prize in Canada and the Montreal International Poetry Prize.

Kristen Lang

Name: Kristen Lang Height: yet to exceed 5100m (Huayhuash Mts, Peru). Studies: PhD (paid to write poetry for three years in preparation for not being paid to write poetry for the next twelve). Favourite form to write in: free verse – like an archaeological dig that uncovers the odd dirty lump of creativity. On writing haiku: don’t start – it’s a disease. Least favourite form: sestina. Most contentious belief: the world wasn’t made for humans. Food rave: crumblings of dark chocolate on toasted sough dough topped with hot slices of plum and soy yoguart. Some favourite poems: Tredinnick’s ‘Dying, and How to Survive It’, Kinnell’s ‘Pure Balance’, Stevens’ ‘Of Mere Being’, Maccaig’s ‘Rag and Bone’, Transtromer’s ‘Allegro’, Christopher Herold’s ‘this purple flower / at last I / forget its name’, Bill Knot’s ‘Sleep’, Billy Collins’ ‘Velocity’… Animal I’d most like to experience being: octopus. Books (soon to be) available: Let me show you a ripple (2008), SkinNotes (Walleah Press 2017), The Weight of Light (FIP 2017). Why we need poetry: degrees of freedom – poetry is a way to shift gears, re-meshing our words in ways we didn’t see coming. Why I need poetry: to know we can step past all the bickering and still be human with each other. Come to the festival.