Susan Butler AO
Lexicographer at large and former editor of the Macquarie Dictionary

Susan Butler was the editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, Australia’s national dictionary, and, as editor, was largely responsible for the selection and writing of new words. In 2017, the seventh edition of the dictionary was published with a revised and updated range of dictionaries in print and online, and in digital and app formats. She retired as editor at the end of 2017.

Sue wrote the Dinkum Dictionary, published in its third edition in 2009, and The Aitch Factor (2014), a commentary on usage matters in Australian English. She is a regular commentator on Australian English on radio, television and the internet, and gave her debut ‘TED talk’ in 2015, at TEDxSydney.

In June 2018, Sue was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. She is, as of June 2018, an Honorary Lecturer at the Australian National University in the College of Asia and the Pacific. Sue now has her own website (www.suebutler.com.au), where she blogs on aspects of Australian English.

Read Susan Butler AO’s keynote summary here.

Dr Katherine Bode
Associate Professor, Literature and Textual Studies, Australian National University

Dr Katherine Bode is Associate Professor of Literary and Textual Studies at the Australian National University and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2018 to 2022).

Her research focuses on using large-scale datasets and digital methods to explore existing and new perspectives on the transnational histories of Australian literature and literature in Australia. She has published extensively on digital literary history and digital humanities, including as author or editor of Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture (2009), Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (2012), Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theory (2014) and A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History (2018).

Read Dr Katherine Bode’s keynote summary here.

Penny Modra
Co-founder, The Good Copy

Penny Modra is the co-founder of The Good Copy, a business that began as a content agency and expanded to become a writing school. Penny is a regular ‘grammar enthusiast’ guest on ABC Radio Melbourne and a visiting lecturer at RMIT University. At The Good Copy, Penny teaches short courses including ‘Stop. Grammar Time.’ and ‘Write Right’. She also consults with brand teams, arts organisations and government agencies to help them navigate their communications – from voice and tone statements to style decisions.

Penny previously spent seven years as editorial director of The Thousands city guides nationally, and as a visual arts reviewer for the Age. She has contributed features to Vice Australia, The Guardian, Frankie Magazine and Smith Journal, and has overseen content projects for City of Melbourne, Visit Victoria, Tourism Tasmania, Rooftop Cinema, Ansell and MINI International. Penny has copyedited many projects over her career, including Head Full of Snakes magazine and PhD theses due for submission in 12 hours.

Read Penny Modra’s keynote summary here.

Michael Williams
Director, Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed Director in September 2011.

During 2015–16 Michael hosted Blueprint for Living and Talkfest on ABC Radio National. He remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board and in publishing , and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, among others. Please visit the website for further information regarding the Wheeler Centre for Books: https://www.wheelercentre.com/

Read Michael Williams’ keynote summary here.

Invited Speakers

Grant McAvaney
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Copyright Council

black and white portrait of a man in a suit, standing in front of a brick wallGrant McAvaney is a senior media and IP lawyer who commenced as the CEO of the Australian Copyright Council in January 2018. Grant was previously a Partner at Minter Ellison, where he performed significant work (both as a solicitor and as counsel) for a variety of News Limited entities and many other clients, of all shapes and sizes. He was later appointed Senior Legal Counsel at Ninemsn, before joining the ABC to head its litigation team.

Grant’s wealth of varied legal experience – both litigation and commercial – includes intellectual property, pre-publication work, defamation, contempt, newsgathering, privacy and confidentiality, contractual issues, and legislative and policy reviews. He has also been active in the wider profession, including lecturing in media law to university students and members of the Media & Entertainment Arts Alliance. Grant was recently awarded a Pro Bono Award by the Arts Law Centre of Australia.

Read a summary of Grant McAvaney’s presentation here.

Libby Varcoe
Head of Content, Digital Transformation Agency, Australian Government

Libby is managing the production of the seventh edition of the Australian Government Style Manual. She works closely with communications and content teams across government, advocating for simpler, clearer and better content.

Libby holds a Masters of Professional Writing and a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Technology, Sydney. Prior to becoming a public servant she worked extensively across the private and public sectors for organisations such as Qantas, PwC, MBF, Vodafone, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum, Housing Industry Association and many more, as a journalist, digital editor, trainer and content strategist.


For the full list of presentations please click here.