Shona Barrett, CEO
Shona has over 15 years’ experience working in arts and culture. Born and raised in the UK, Shona spent a decade at the British Film Institute in London in a number of roles, including managing projects that saw the preservation and re-release of films from the UK National Film Archive, before relocating to Melbourne. Shona was MWF’s general manager for five years, leading planning and production for the organisation. She is chair of the National Young Writers’ Festival, and is also a keen trail-runner and a lover of cocktails.
Marieke Hardy, Artistic Director
Marieke is a curator, screenwriter, artist, author and immersive theatre maker. She has penned regular columns for The Age, The Drum and Frankie magazine, and written for many television shows, including Laid, The Family Law and Seven Types of Ambiguity. She is co-curator of international literary salon Women of Letters and a regular panelist on ABC’s The Book Club. A collection of her essays was released through Allen and Unwin in 2011. She is a recipient of the 2015 Sidney Myer Fellowship and creates secret art parties that are produced anonymously.
Jessica Alice, Program Manager
Jessica is chair of the Kat Muscat Fellowship Custodial Committee and interviews editor of the feminist literary journal Scum. She directed the National Young Writers’ Festival in 2014–15 and spent two years with Regional Arts Victoria as marketing and publicity manager. Jessica was previously books editor of Lip Magazine, deputy online editor for Kill Your Darlings, and presented 3CR’s current affairs radio program Women on the Line. Her writing can be found in The Guardian Australia, Overland, VICE, The Lifted Brow, Spook, Metro Magazine and Cordite Poetry Review, among others.
Kylie Eddy, Marketing & Development Manager
Kylie has spent the last decade working for festivals and major events including Melbourne Festival, Optus Yestival, Online Video Awards and Melbourne Queer Film Festival. Her diverse experience includes marketing, development and event management. Kylie is also a passionate screenwriter and film producer. She’s the co-founder of Lean Filmmaking, an agile process for creating video content, and runs the largest filmmaking meetup group in Australia.
Tamsien West, Development Executive
Tamsien has spent time as an intern with Fairtrade, worked in retail for Oxfam, designed marketing strategy for social enterprises, and most recently managed key accounts and fundraising for the Forest Stewardship Council. Like all chai latte–loving twenty-somethings, Tamsien also has a bunch of side-projects. Never one to say no to a challenge, she’s guest lectured at the University of Melbourne, been interviewed on radio about all-female hackathons, and organised meet-ups for book lovers in six different countries. In her spare time, she moonlights as ‘Babbling Books’, a successful multi-platform book-blogging profile – reviewing a variety of genres, producing videos and taking more photos of books than is strictly necessary. When she isn’t working or blogging, Tamsien can be found reading, painting, or planning her next international adventure.
Irene Kalpakas, Marketing Coordinator
Irene is a lifelong lit lover who began at MWF as a marketing intern. She has worked in marketing but always knew her passion lay within the literary and publishing worlds, and has found her happy place by combining the two. A recent media communications and screen studies graduate, Irene is also a balloon inflator extraordinaire after spending many years as a party assistant. She can usually be found curled up with a book or binge-watching television shows while covered in (gluten-free) cookie crumbs.
Andy Butler, Festival Administrator
Andy is a Filipino-Australian writer, curator and artist. His writing has appeared in Overland, Art+Australia and Runway. He was a 2017 participant in Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Emerging Cultural Leaders program, was awarded a Glenfern fellowship through Writers Victoria, and undertook an emerging curator mentorship through Blindside gallery. Andy is co-director of Mailbox Art Space, and is on the program advisory committee for Emerging Writer’s Festival.
Emily O’Brien, Production Manager
Emily has worked extensively in the field of production both locally and internationally, primarily in production and project management across the fields of theatre and dance, cultural and corporate events, and festivals. She completed a bachelor of dramatic arts at VCA in 2002 and a masters of arts management at The University of Melbourne in 2012.
Emilie Zoey Baker, Schools’ Program Producer
Emilie is an award-winning poet and spoken-word performer. She was the winner of the 2010 Berlin International Literature Festival’s poetry slam and was a 2014 fellow at the State Library of Victoria, poet in residence for Museums Victoria and coordinator for the National Australian Poetry Slam. She teaches poetry to both kids and adults and in 2014 was core faculty for the spoken word program at Canada’s Banff Centre. She is creative director of OutLoud, the first Victorian teen team slam as part of Australian Poetry.