The 2010 Program is now available.  Please have a look at the schedule here.

So far our list of participants (in alphabetical order) include:

Brigid Delaney is a former lawyer turned journalist. She has been a staff writer and editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and worked in digital news and on the foreign desk at the Telegraph. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Martha's Vineyard Gazette, The Spectator and The Guardian. She has contributed a short story to Some Girls Do (Allen and Unwin, 2007) and an essay for Griffith Review 's Next Big Thing issue. Her non-fiction book about young people and consumer culture called The Restless Life: Churning through Love, Work and Travel has recently been published by Melbourne University Press. She currently is Deputy Editor 9MSN. Brigid grew up in Warrnambool and has lived in Port Fairy.

Dr Brian Edwards was Professor in Literary Studies and a foundation member of the academic staff at Deakin University, Geelong. Now retired and living in Port Fairy, he continues to convene DLS Literary Society and edit Mattoid, a journal of literary and cultural studies.

His books include three collections of poetry: All in Time (2003), The Escape Sonnets (2006) and In the Real World (2009), the critical study Theories of Play and Postmodern Fiction (Garland, New York & London). He has also edited more than 25 collections (essays, poetry and fiction). Brian has recently completed a novel manuscript, Channel Country, and a collection of prose poems on film and is working on a study of recent fiction’s uses of history. His writing has appeared in journals in Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Italy and the UK.

Donna Ellis is a sustainable garden consultant, garden designer, author, and speaker to community and professional groups. In other words, she lives and breathes horticulture and passionately shares her knowledge. She provokes and empowers listeners to make changes in gardening practice so those changes will eventually become ordinary, everyday procedures. A horticulture teacher at South West TAFE in Warrnambool, Donna also works with Sustainable Gardening Australia, delivering seminars on sustainable management of parks and gardens in Melbourne, and with Greening Australia in western Victoria, developing and delivering workshops on backyard biodiversity. She is a member of Sustainable Gardening Australia, the Australian Garden History Society and Friends of Warrnambool Botanic Gardens and a founding committee member of Encouraging Women in Horticulture Australia. Donna's book, Sustainable Gardening for Dummies (Aust. & NZ ed.), was published this year by Jacaranda Wiley.

Robert Gott  was born in the small Queensland town of Maryborough. He has published more than 70, mostly non-fiction, books for children, and is also the creator of the newspaper cartoon The Adventures of Naked Man. He is the author of the William Power series of crime novels, the latest of which Amongst the Dead, was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for crime fiction (2008). 'Literature has had its share of heroes, heroes of many kinds: classic heroes, super heroes, accidental heroes, flawed heroes, anti-heroes. And now, at last, it has a dickhead hero.' Shane Maloney

Michele Gierck is an inspirational speaker, author, humanitarian, adventurer and a freelance writer.  Michele has been immersed in cultures and communities across the globe. Her stories - including war in El Salvador, the toll HIV/AIDS has taken on communities in Africa, reconciliation in Rwanda, and environmental threats to the Great Barrier Reef, as well as Michele’s personal journey from life-changing injury to well-being-have featured in Australian newspapers and magazines.  Her first book, 700 Days in El Salvador, was published in 2006.  She is also co-author of Peter Kennedy, The Man Who Threatened Rome, published in December 2009.

Diane Holuigue is the principal of the much-loved Melbourne cooking school, The French Kitchen, which opened in 1969. She is a prize-winning cook and celebrated food writer.  Diane has written 12 books, the first of which, The French Kitchen (1983), remains the authoritative volume on French cuisine for Australasia.  She has been food editor or featured columnist for major print media including The Australian Magazine, Home Beautiful, the Herald-Sun and The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend.  She won the inaugural Food Media Award 'Best Overall Contribution in the Australian print media' in 1995 and was named a Living Legend of the Melbourne Food Festival.  She has taught more than 58,000 people an understanding of all things culinary in her cooking school. 

Valanga Khoza was born in Limpopo Province, South Africa. He grew up surrounded by singing, drumming, dancing, traditional healers, orators and storytellers. Valanga carries these traditional influences through his songs and storytelling. He is also influenced by his world travel, undertaken as part of his struggle against racism and apartheid.  Valanga is a dynamic workshop presenter, telling stories that give insight into South Africa of yesterday and of today. He'll have you singing, moving and grooving with his rich vocals, rhythmic guitar, traditional stick drums, lilting kalimba (thumb piano), marimba (wooden xylophone) and shijoro (jaw harp).  Valanga has recorded a number of albums. The latest is"Vuswa - the source of life". All his music is embellished with stories of growing up in South Africa and travels across the world as a refugee. His personal stories of racism and apartheid are woven with humour and wit for older audiences while his stories about the African dreamtime can be breathtaking for the young. He will have children and parents laughing, singing and drumming without realising that they are learning at the same time: an experience families will be talking about for years!

Valanga's children's book Gezani and the Tricky Baboon was published in 2003.

James Laidler is an award winning writer, poet and spoken word performer from country Victoria. His verse novel, The Taste of Apple, won the 2010 IP Picks Award for 'Best First Book' and will be published later this year. The novel comes with a studio-produced CD of spoken word, tracing the novel's main narrative thread.

James' work has been featured on Writers Radio Adelaide, Radio National's 360 program, Melbourne's RRR and Indie feed, as well as in literary journals Going Down Swinging, Cordite, Poetica Christi and Peril. James was also a Victorian finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam for 2009.

In 2010, the Australian Poetry Centre selected James' work for their Poetic Monologues Series. As a consequence, his work has been adapted for the stage and A Taste of Apple will feature as a part of the 2010 Melbourne Writer's Festival.  James will be coming to Port Fairy directly from the MWF.

In between parenting and his work as an English teacher, James is working on a second novel, Pulling Down the Stars, which was long-listed for the Olvar Woods Fellowship Awards 2010. 

Carol Selva Rajah, educated in Malaysia and Australia, is an award-winning author of eleven books on South East Asian cooking. She believes food cooked from the heart is the best gift one can give family and friends and that feeding the mind is as important as feeding the body. She has had international success as the first Australian woman invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York, and subsequently on the QEII. She has worked as celebrity chef in the hotels of major cities around the world and lectures to students and to interested cooking students and historians. Carol divides her time between Malaysia, Los Angeles, California and Sydney writing, teaching and pairing spicy Asian food with beer. Her work on the food and culture of the 15th Century Nonya community in Malacca and Penang is the basis for an oral history book currently in progress, based on four generations of her family.

Homer Rieth was born in Stuttgart in 1947, of German and Georgian parents and came to Australia in 1952. He was educated at Padua and Assumption Colleges and, following a period as a Jesuit novice at Loyola, at Melbourne University. Since 1999 he has lived in the Wimmera township of Minyip.

He has taught Greek and Roman literature and philosophy, English literature and medieval and modern history. He has travelled through Mediterranean lands, including a sojourn in the monasteries of the Holy Mountain of Athos in Greece and has tutored in Spain and the UK. He lectured in Classical Studies in the Greek-Australia Centre at RMIT University, and also held the Honorary Chair of the Melbourne Poets Union. He has three daughters and a son.

His awards include the Deakin Literary Society Prose Prize (1994) and the Australian Poetry Cup (1998). His collection The Dining Car Scene was published in 2001 and shortlisted for the 2002 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.

Wimmera, his latest work, is an epic poem of over 300 pages. He completed a Doctorate in Creative Literature at the University of Ballarat, which incorporated an earlier version of Wimmera and an exegesis exploring the history of the epic genre and its relationship to Australian landscape poetry. He is currently researching for a second epic, The Garden of Earthly Sorrows, a sustained poetic rhapsody and tone poem, with accompanying musical score.  Wimmera has been shortlisted for The Age Book  of the Year Award.  The winner is to be announced on 27 August.

Renaissance woman Lynne Strahan is a poet, historian, short story writer and gardener who lives in Port Fairy.  She has published a number of books including poetry, local histories of Malvern and Williamstown, opera libretti in conjunction with the composer George Dreyfus, a biography of the artist Brian Dunlop and the entry for Mary Grant Bruce in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She has also published a book on gardening (Gardens of Light), a book for children  (The Voyage of the Araminta with drawings by Irena Sibley), discussion notes for the Council of Adult Education's Book Group novels and for some years wrote a gardening column for the Moyne Gazette.

Dr Brian Edwards

Michele Gierck

Diane Holuigue
Diana Holuigue

James Laidler
James Laidler

Homer Rieth