Guest Speakers

Speculate 2018 featured a crack team of authors, editors, and speakers for the inaugural festival. Here are some of the people who were on our panels:

Alison Arnold

Alison Arnold is a freelance editor. She has worked on many bestsellers and award-winners in her career, including The Rosie Project. She likes her story worlds a little tilted, and edited Leanne Hall’s This Is Shyness and Paula Weston’s Rephaim series. She is part of Word House with Cath Crowley.

Trudi Canavan

Trudi Canavan lives in Melbourne, Australia. She has been making up stories about things that don't exist for as long as she can remember, and was amazed when her first published story received an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 1999. She has since published the bestselling Black Magician Trilogy: The Magicians' GuildThe Novice and The High Lord, and is now a bestselling author in the UK and the US.

Michael Earp

Michael has over fifteen years’ experience as a children’s literature specialist between children’s publisher and bookselling, currently at The Little Bookroom. He studied Early Childhood Education and has a Masters in Children’s Literature. His writing has appeared in The Victorian Writer and Aurealis. #LoveOZYA Committee Chair and industry enthusiast.

Elizabeth Flux

Elizabeth Flux is a freelance writer and editor whose fiction and nonfiction work is widely published. In 2017 she was the recipient of a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship, was the winner of the inaugural Feminartsy Fiction Prize, and her short story 'One's Company' was selected for Best Australian Stories 2017.

Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman is the author of six novels including her most recent, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, the second in the Lady Helen trilogy. She is also the author of EON and EONA, a New York Times bestselling fantasty duology that has sold into 18 countries. Alison's other novels are the award-winning Singing the Dogstar Blues, and her crime novel, A New Kind of Death.

Laura E Goodin

Laura E. Goodin's novels are published by Odyssey Books; her stories have appeared in publications in Australia and overseas; and her plays and poetry have been performed on three continents. She attended the Clarion South Writers’ Workshop, and has a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Western Australia.

Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. Her multi-award winning work has been published in 30 countries, and is in development for film and TV. A couple of her career highlights so far include professional wolf-howling lessons, and working as a storytelling consultant at NASA.

Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff grew up in the most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience. He worked 'creative advertising' for eleven years and has won several awards that nobody outside the advertising industry gives a tinker's cuss about. He is 6'7, has approximately 13870 days to live, and can demand whiskey in almost a dozen European languages.

Dr Earl Livings

Earl Livings is an Australian writer whose work focuses on nature, mythology and the sacred, with poetry and fiction (literary and speculative) published in Australia and overseas. Earl’s next poetry collection will be published in 2018 and he is also working on a dark ages novel.


Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald is a Melbourne writer and author of books for young readers. In 2009 he published his hilarious debut middle-grade novel, The Greatest Blogger in the World, about a kid called Charlie who wants to use his blog to Be the Hero, Get the Girl and Save the Day.

Son of Death is his second novel, a black comedy about grim reaping, family responsiblity and rock'n'roll.

Ben McKenzie

Ben McKenzie is a performer, writer and game designer. His work includes time travel comedy Night Terrace, improvised fantasy adventure Dungeon Crawl, and Tin Man Games’ upcoming VR title. He co-hosts the Terry Pratchett book club podcast Pratchat. His favourite dinosaur is Stegosaurus. He tweets at @McKenzie_Ben.

Sean McMullen

Sean is a prolific speculative fiction author. His signature novel, Souls in the Great Machine, was published by Tor, and he was runner up in the 2011 Hugo Awards for his novelette Eight Miles.

Sean's works span genres and styles ranging from epic fantasy to steampunk, and reach out to audiences of all ages. He has won fifteen Australian and international awards, and has had over twenty books and eighty stories published in more than a dozen languages.

Rose Michael

Currently lecturer at RMIT, Rose Michael has been published in Griffith Review, Best Australian Stories, Island, Cultural Studies Review, Review of Australian Fiction, Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin. Her first novel, The Asking Game, was a runner-up for the Vogel and received an Aurealis honourable mention. Her second, The Art of Navigation, is out now.


Brooke Maggs

Brooke is a narrative designer and writer. Her projects include The Gardens Between, Paperbark, and she has consulted Florence, and with the Melbourne Museum on Inside Out Brooke won the MCV Pacific XBOX Creative Impact Award for her work in the games industry and is working on a science fiction novel.

Michael Pryor

Michael Pryor writes fantasy and science fiction, mostly for teenagers. He has published more than thirty-five novels and 50 something short stories. He is one of the co-publishers of Aurealis, Australia’s longest running Fantasy and SF magazine.

He has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Award seven times, and seven of his books have been CBCA Notable books.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith’s debut novel The Road To Winter (Text, 2016) was shortlisted for the Australian Indie Book Awards, the Readings YA Prize and the Queensland Literary Award. The sequel, Wilder Country (also shortlisted for the Indies)was released in September, 2017. Mark is also an award winning short fiction writer.

Dirk Strasser

Dirk Strasser has won multiple Australian Publisher Association Awards and a Ditmar for Best Professional Achievement. His fiction has been translated into a number of languages. His works range from high fantasy to hard science fiction. He founded the Aurealis Awards and has co-published over 100 issues of Aurealis magazine.

Maize Wallin

Maize Wallin is a Melbourne based composer, sound designer, and audio programmer focused on 3D spatialised audio, and dynamic music, using cutting edge techniques. 

Currently working on Wayward Strand set in 1978 Australia, previously; VRTOV's A Thin Black Line (2017), Cosmic Express (2017), Invert (2017), Earthrise One (2016), and Framed (2014).