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.

Rebecca MacFarling

Chief Executive Officer

Before joining MWF, Rebecca was the interim CEO of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka where she led the organisation through a time of crisis and managed its corporate closure. A marketer and fundraiser by trade, Rebecca has held roles at Musica Viva Australia, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Bangarra Dance Theatre, and she serves on the board of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. New to Melbourne, Rebecca spends her weekends exploring new corners of the city and its cultural scene.

Tania Owen

Head of Marketing & Development

Tania is a born and bred Melburnian who recognised her love for her city during a ten-year sojourn in London, UK. A professional arts marketer of 15 years, Tania has worked for major cultural venues and festivals including Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne International Arts Festival. Most recently Tania has been part of the management team steering Melbourne’s preeminent LGBTQIA three-week cultural event Midsumma Festival, toward an even more inclusive and artistic future. She loves a yarn after work, maybe too much.

Gene Smith

Program Manager

Prior to joining MWF, Gene worked in programming and project management at Sydney Writers’ Festival. Before this, he worked in various capacities at a number of arts and cultural organisations, including Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney Opera House, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. From 2013 to 2014, Gene managed Front Row Theatre, one of Brisbane’s oldest community theatre companies; and has also volunteered for Sydney Opera House’s All About Women festival and the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Iain Finlayson

Development Manager

Iain joins MWF from Ilbijerri, Australia’s leading and longest-running First Nations theatre company, where he worked for five years across development and marketing. Prior to joining Ilbijerri, Iain worked extensively on community cultural development projects and events in Australia and the UK. Iain is on the board of Woor Dungin, a peak body established to improve relationships between Victorian Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and philanthropy. He is currently completing an MBA at Monash Business School.

Irene Kalpakas

Marketing Campaign Manager

Irene is a lifelong lit lover and MWF's resident grammar nerd. 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. As well as a freelance copyeditor, Irene is 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.

Jessica Harvie

Festival Administrator

After working in mental health and community health, Jessica returns to her true love of literature by joining the team at MWF. A self-professed genre nerd, she has an excessive amount of overdue library fines and is constantly behind on the latest science-fiction show. After growing up in regional Victoria, Jessica is still as enamoured by Melbourne’s public transport system as she was when she first moved here: as unstructured reading time.

Elise Barton

Program Coordinator

Elise is thrilled to be back at MWF as Program Coordinator. Prior to returning home to Melbourne for the 2018 festival, she spent four years in Sydney with the Australian Theatre for Young People, and University of Sydney. She has produced theatre and comedy for Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Fringe, The Old Fitz, and Emerging Writers’ Festival.