Schools Program Speakers

Meet the all-star team of speakers hosting the Speculate 2019 Schools Program!

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Emily Gale

Emily Gale has worked in the children’s book industry for 20 years in various roles. Hailing from London but a resident of Melbourne for 10 years, her Australian YA novels are Steal My Sunshine (2013), The Other Side of Summer (2016) and I Am Out With Lanterns (2018).

Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. He’s best known for his award-winning YA novels, The Sidekicks and The First Third. His first fantasy novel series Monuments begins in spring 2019.

Thalia Kalkipsakis

Thalia is a writer and editor who has written over 20 books for children and teenagers. Her most recent release is the final instalment of the Lifespan of Starlight trilogy, which follows a group of teenagers who discover the secret to time travel.

Rebecca Lim

Rebecca Lim is a Melbourne writer and illustrator. She is the author of 19 books, including The Astrologer’s Daughter (a Kirkus Best Book of 2015), Afterlight and the bestselling Mercy. Her work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and Aurealis Awards, among others, and she is a co-founder of theVoices from the Intersection initiative.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald is a children's author from Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of the Real Pigeons series, which is illustrated by Ben Wood and features a squad of crime-fighting pigeons protecting the city. Andrew is also the author of two children's novels,The Greatest Blogger in the World and Son of Death.

Ben McKenzie

Ben McKenzie is a performer, writer and game designer known for sci-fi audio comedy Night Terrace, VR game Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown, and podcasts Pratchat (a Terry Pratchett book club) and re:Discovery (a Star Trek recapper). His favourite dinosaur is Stegosaurus. He tweets at @McKenzie_Ben.

Joel Martin

Joel Martin is the Festival Director of Speculate, as well as a fantasy writer and freelance editor. Joel is based in Melbourne but originally hails from Wanganui, New Zealand. Along with traditional fiction, Joel dabbles in the unusual world of video game writing. He specialises in fantasy, and his love of the genre spans from sword and sorcery to epic fantasy and he is currently working on a weird fiction novel. He is the host of the monthly literary podcast The Morning Bell.

Kate Mildenhall

Kate Mildenhall is a Melbourne-based writer and teacher. Her debut novel, Skylarking (Black Inc. 2016) was longlisted for Debut Fiction in The Indie Book Awards 2017 and the 2017 Voss Literary Award. Kate co-hosts The First Time Podcast – a podcast about the first time you publish a book.

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 nine times, and eight of his books have been CBCA Notable books. His website is