Reading Matters 2017: speaker biographies

The 12th annual Reading Matters program features a variety of events with leading YA authors, fresh new voices and youth literature specialists. For tickets and more information, visit the Reading Matters event page.

AS King (US)

AS King is the award-winning author of acclaimed YA books including 2015's I crawl through it, Walden Award-winning Glory O'Brien's history of the future, 2013's Reality boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winner Ask the passengers, Everybody sees the ants, the 2011 Michael L Printz Honor Book Please ignore Vera Dietz and the upcoming Still life with tornado. After 15 years living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

Jennifer Niven (US)

Jennifer Niven is the Emmy Award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author of nine books, including All the bright places and Holding up the universe. Her books have been translated in over 75 languages and sold in over 60 territories. Jennifer is currently writing the script for the film version of All the bright places, starring Elle Fanning. She is also working on her third novel for young adults, and overseeing Germ, a literary and lifestyle web magazine for girls and boys in high school and beyond.

Mariko Tamaki (Canada)

Mariko Tamaki's work includes the YA prose (You) set me on fire and Saving Montgomery Sole, and the graphic novels Skim and This one summer with Jillian Tamaki. The latter received Printz and Caldecott Honors, as well as Eisner and Ignatz awards. Mariko has written for radio, film (including her own, Happy 16th birthday, Kevin), television and stage. Her upcoming projects include the graphic novel Laura Dean keeps breaking up with me with Rosemary Valero-O'Connell and Supergirl: Being super with Joëlle Jones.

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah is an award-winning author of 11 books, an academic, former lawyer and human rights advocate. She is a regular guest at writer's festivals and schools, and is keen to use her intervention in literature and academia to reshape dominant narratives around racism and multiculturalism.

Lance Balchin

Lance Balchin studied photography at the University of Tasmania and has a Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. Lance has worked in fashion photography and fine art portraiture, and taught adult photography and film making. Currently based in Brisbane, he is influenced by the work of Tom Waits, George Orwell, Patti Smith and Charles Bukowski.

Rachael Craw

Rachael Craw is the award-winning author of the YA spec-fic trilogy Spark, Stray and Shield, with book one being recently optioned for the big screen by Miss Conception Films. Rachael writes, teaches and enjoys small town life at the sunny top of New Zealand's South Island. She has dabbled in scriptwriting, acting and directing, and developed a passion for snappy dialogue. This, combined with her love of classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture, informs much of her creative process.

Alison Evans

Alison Evans' short stories, essays and comics have been published in various Australian and international journals, magazines and zines. She is co-editor of Concrete queers, a zine where all contributors self-ID as queer in some way. Alison has published three books, Long macchiatos and monsters, We go forward and, her latest, Ida.

Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman is the author of Singing the dogstar blues and the award-winning and New York Times–bestselling duology EON and EONA. EON won the 2009 Aurealis award and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary awards. Alison's most recent novel, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, the first in a trilogy of supernatural Regency adventures, was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards in 2015 under Best Fantasy Novel and Best YA Novel. Alison lives in Brighton, Victoria, and holds an MA in Creative Writing.

Jane Harrison

Jane Harrison is a descendant of the Muruwari people and is a playwright and author. Her novel Becoming Kirrali Lewis won the 2014 Black & Write! Prize and was shortlisted for the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Prize, YA category. Her plays include Stolen, Rainbow's end and The visitors. Jane believes in the power of stories in strengthening cultural connection.

Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is an award-winning author, but his real claims to fame are a Twitter spat with Guy Sebastian and that time a member of Destiny's Child said his name. The sidekicks is his latest novel for young adults.

Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The lotus war, The illuminae files and The nevernight chronicle. He is the winner of two Aurealis awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list, and published in over 25 countries, most of which he has never visited. He lives in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world's laziest Jack Russell.

Dougal MacPherson

Dougal MacPherson once drew a digger and a truck on a rainy Sunday afternoon to entertain his young son. Since then, he has illustrated for tech websites and conferences, and now, for a children's book. Dougal lives with his wife, son, daughter and a cat called Monster. He shares his artwork on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as '15mindrawings'.

Shivaun Plozza

Shivaun Plozza is the author of Frankie, a darkly funny novel about a troubled teen willing to defy her friends, family and the law to find her missing brother. Other works have appeared in anthologies and journals including Where the shoreline used to be, ELLE Australia, Text and The Victorian writer.

Lili Wilkinson

Lili Wilkinson is the author of 10 books, including Scatterheart and Green valentine. She established the insideadog.com.au website and the Inky Awards at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library Victoria. Lili has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, and now spends much of her time reading and writing books for teenagers. Her latest novel is The boundless sublime (Allen & Unwin).

Nevo Zisin

Nevo Visin is a 20-year-old activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality. Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning to present as male at the age of 17, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female/male gender binary. Nevo works with children as a youth leader, running programs and workshops in schools, and is the author of Finding Nevo.