Marieke Hardy

Artistic Director

Marieke is a curator, screenwriter, artist, author and immersive theatre maker. She has penned regular columns for The AgeThe Drum and Frankiemagazine, and written for many television shows, including LaidThe 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.

Shona Barrett


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.

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.

Tania Owen

Marketing & Communications Manager

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.

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.

Mitch Todd

Ticketing and Sales Manager

Mitch has spent the last five years immersing himself in festivals all over the globe, including; MOFO, DARK MOFO, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay. He has a passion for travelling, photography, music, good conversation, and literature. In his spare time Mitch can be found sharing a pint with anyone who loves to talk politics and philosophy.

Tamsien West

Development Executive

Before joining the team at MWF Tamsien managed key accounts and fundraising for the Forest Stewardship Council, and has also spent time as an intern with Fairtrade, worked in retail for Oxfam and designed marketing strategies for social enterprises. 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.

Holly Reid

Digital Campaign Coordinator

Holly joins the Melbourne Writers Festival after four years in Bali, working as part of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival team. As well as being a lover of literature, Holly is also an avid food enthusiast, helping to launch the Ubud Food Festival in 2014 and publishing a cookbook last year. With a master’s degree in anthropology, Holly delights in cultural discovery and can often be found globetrotting her way from country to country.

Elise Barton

Artist Liaison

Elise has worked in arts administration, marketing, development and travel, and is dedicated to creating an engaging and entertaining artist experience. She is thrilled to return to Melbourne to join the MWF family after four years in Sydney with Australian Theatre for Young People and University of Sydney. She has produced theatre and comedy for Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Fringe, and Emerging Writers’ Festival. She can’t say no to a theatre ticket or a whisky sour, and has recently discovered a love of German espionage dramas.

Jesse Hilford

Venues and Front of House Coordinator

One fateful morning, after working in production departments on various film and television projects, Jesse decided to go for a run around the local park. It was a good run – Jesse was setting a new personal best time up until he tripped, fell and snapped his wrist. While in hospital Jesse decided to leave working in film and has since worked consistently in events, theatre and festivals across New Zealand and Australia as a director, stage manager and front of house specialist. Jesse has worked for Pop Up Globe, Auckland Arts Festival, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Cirque Du Soliel.

Eddie FitzPatrick

Creative Producer

Eddie is a Melbourne-based creative event producer with over a decade of experience in cultural, festival and corporate events both national and international. Passionate about creating large-scale participatory arts events, her experience has seen her leading music tours for Coca-Cola for the London 2012 Olympics and producing for variety of major festivals and regular events in Malawi and the UK. Recent years have seen her producing at major arts festivals in Melbourne and across Australia, including her latest work with Dark Mofo (Hermann Nitsch, 150 Aktion / Mike Parr, Empty Ocean).

Nicole McKenzie

Festival Administrator

Nicole McKenzie is an arts administrator, writer and performer. She has written for ArtsHub, The Lifted Brow, The Cusp, and Feminartsy and performed at Melbourne Fringe Festival, Sustainable Living Festival and National Young Writers Festival. Nicole moonlights as an usher at The Wheeler Centre and Malthouse Theatre and has worked at many arts organisations, including Affirm Press, Emerging Writers Festival, Federation Square and Gluttony (Adelaide Fringe Festival). When not working or writing, she makes fancy frocks to wear to festival parties.

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.

2018 interns

Tracy Chen
Ben Clark
Anne Erise
Sasha Gattermayr
Sarah Robinson-Hatch
Kate Scott
Jean Yu