2019 Presenters

The Festival will run from the 26, 27, 28 July at the Cowes Cultural Centre, Phillip Island. The Phillip Island Festival of Stories will feature:

Author Bryan Dawe – MC for Opening night

Musician Kutcha Edwards

Indigenous Comedian, Kevin Kropinyeri – straight from the Comedy Festival


Adam Cope has been writing for as long as he can remember. Originally the writing was done in his head as he had not always had access to a method of putting his thoughts down on paper. But as soon as he was able to, he wrote many poems expressing how he felt about life, love and current affairs.

Adam has published three books, ‘Windows’, ‘Colours’ and ‘Life’.


Critically acclaimed spoken word artist, published poet, and cabaret starlet Amy Bodossian is an eccentric and unforgettable performer who’s been captivating audiences for over 10 years with her uniquely wacky, whimsical, heart wrenching and hilarious performances.

She’s appeared on ABC’s Spicks and Specks and Please Like Me, performed at major festivals across Australia, and headlined most of Melbourne’s top poetry events.


Beau Vernon suffered a spinal cord injury while playing Australian Rules Football in 2012, leaving him a quadriplegic.

As Senior Head Coach of the Phillip Island Football Club, Beau took his team to the 2018 Premiership. He presents motivational speeches at schools, personal development days with businesses, awards nights, and for disability awareness. He is also a Pride of Australia medal holder, father of two, and an active sportsman.


Commander Grant Edwards is a highly decorated Australian Federal Police Officer, former elite athlete and strongman competitor, and an ambassador for mental health services in policing and first responders.

‘The Strong Man’ is the story of an extraordinary man and his extraordinary battle back from the brink.

JEFF HANSEN (Managing Director of Sea Shepherd, Australia)

Jeff Hansen joined Sea Shepherd (SS) in 2006 as a ground support volunteer in the Perth and his passion for marine conservation was quickly noticed. 

His role as Quartermaster saw Jeff make a strategic call which resulted in discovering the centerpiece of the whaling fleet, the Nissan Maru. Upon returning, Sea Shepherd’s leader Captain Paul Watson offered Jeff the position of Australian Director.


Jeremy Wiggins is the first transgender Australian to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship. A community advocate, Jeremy has extensive project management experience working in trans and gender diverse health and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community development.

Jeremy was recently announced as 2018 Victorian LGBTI Person of the Year. He is also the Founder of LEAP and works with governments, organisations and communities to improve experiences and outcomes for LGBTQ people.


Melissa Lucenshenko is an acclaimed Aboriginal writer of Goorie and European heritage. Melissa has been widely published as an award-winning novelist, essayist and short story writer. Her recent work has appeared in The Moth: Fifty True Stories, Meanjin, Griffith Review, and The Saturday Paper.

Her recent publication Too Much Lip gradually and explosively reveals painful secrets in a calamitous Aboriginal family. Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip has been shortlisted for both the Stella Prize and the NSW Literary Awards.


Pamela is a fourth generation Phillip Islander who returned to the island as a permanent resident 12 years ago. Pam served the local community as Mayor of Bass Coast Shire Council from 2016 to 2018 and continues to represent the Island Ward, which covers most of Phillip Island.

Pam’s passion is local and family history. She took on the roles of secretary and treasurer of the Phillip Island Cemetery Trust six years ago and has a deep connection with the Cemetery, having four generations of ancestors resting there, including her great-great grandmother.


Peggy Frew’s work Hope Farm (Scribe Publications) was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin Award and the 2016 Stella Prize, longlisted for the 2016 Indie Book Awards and the 2016 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) General Fiction Book of the Year, and was the winner of the 2016 Barbara Jefferis Award. Her debut novel, House of Sticks (Scribe Publications), was the winner of the unpublished manuscript award at the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting.


Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends. She holds degrees in law and film studies and has a PhD in gender studies. She is the author of numerous books including Still Lucky, was a feature writer for Australian Vogue and is a columnist for Business Review Weekly.

Rebecca writes and podcasts for The Guardian Australia and writes for ABC Life. She was former presenter of Drive on a Friday on ABC Radio National and now presents The History Listen on ABC RN.


Professor Richard Tanter is a writer, researcher, and activist. He has worked on issues around militarization in Asia, nuclear weapons, and the role of intelligence agencies in Indonesia, Japan and Australia.

More recently Richard and the late Des Ball produced eight forensic research papers on Pine Gap. He worked to provide accessible accounts of Pine Gap, nuclear weapons, issues, and Australian foreign policy in newspapers and on television and radio. This work underpinned Richard’s campaign role with other colleagues on the Australian board of ICAN, including as chair when ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in helping in the passage of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations.


Sue Maslin AO is one of Australia’s most successful film, television and digital content producers with a track record of creating award winning feature and documentary films. Her most recent is the smash hit The Dressmaker, starring Kate Winslet and Judy Davis.

Reflecting her commitment to advocacy for women, Sue is currently a Patron of Women In Film and Television and the President of the Natalie Miller Fellowship. In 2019 Sue was appointed as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Australian film industry as a producer, and through roles with professional bodies. 


Sue is a Freescribing Storyteller who lives on the Sunshine Coast. As a writer Sue enjoys making change, pushing boundaries and challenging her readers, audience and characters. Sue’s an awesome mix of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Irish.

Currently Sue writes for TV, Film, Scripted Podcasts and for Young Adult fiction. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, as they are her inspiration. Sue will share her story and give reasons why she’s a freescribing storyteller and her presentation will include a short film.


Tjanara is a Wakka Wakka Wulli Traditional Owner from Central Queensland who was born in the outback at Longreach in central western Queensland. Tjanara has had a diverse career as an academic researcher, a community development worker and a senior policy Director in the Australian Public Service.

‘A long way from No Go’ (Wild Dingo Press) is the memoir of an Aboriginal woman who began life without any of the advantages of her fellow non-Indigenous Australians; except for grit, humour and diverse talent in spades.

More presenters to be added soon – subscribe for updates!

We acknowledge and respect the land we walk on today – the land of the Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples and pass on respect to their elders past and present.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close