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Rural queers on belonging in country Australia

Saturday 6 November 2021

11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Being in Sydney, where culture and politics are beginning to operate in a progressive and inclusive manner, it is easy to think that all Australians are onboard with the shifts in perspective. This panel seeks to explore the prevalence of homophobia in small town Australia, the gaps that need to be filled between metropolitan and regional areas for the LGBTQIA+ community and their resilience and the right to belong. 

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Moderator - Michael Burge is an Australian author and journalist who lives at Deepwater in the New England region of NSW with his husband and their dogs. After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Michael undertook media studies in the United Kingdom. His non-fiction debut Questionable Deeds: Making a stand for equal love lifted the lid on familial and institutional homophobia in Australia during the marriage equality campaign. Michael has written, edited, directed and broadcast for Fairfax Media, Intermedia, United News & Media, Margo Kingston’s NoFibs and a range of lifestyle mastheads. He is director of the annual High Country Writers Festival in Glen Innes. Tank Water is his first novel, released by MidnightSun Publishing.

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Cal Móre (she/her) is passionate about LIFE in all its wonderful diversity. Living and writing on the beautiful lands of the Yuin people, on the far south coast of NSW, Cal is learning that the most important things in life are not ‘things’: discovering the riches of slower, simpler, spiritual, sustainable… Cal’s debut collection of poetry and reflections - ‘Risking Wonderful: The art of living inside-out’, is a colourful collaboration: words, illustrations, design… created to encourage, inspire and dare you - to be you! ‘Risking Wonderful’ was awarded a silver 2020 Nautilus Book Award (USA) - Lyric Prose; and was finalist in the 2021 International Book Awards in both the Best Interior Design and LGBTQ non-fiction categories.

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Peter Mitchell is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Conspiracy of Skin (Ginninderra Press, 2018) & The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press, 2009). He writes poetry, memoir, short fiction, essays & literary criticism on Bundjalung Country. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Mini-Mega Pack (USA), Bent Street, Verity La, The Blue Nib (Ireland), Wild Roof Journal & Writing Water: Rain River Reef (Red Room Poetry, 2020), among other journals & anthologies; short fiction in Bent Street & Signs of Life Anthology (IndieMosh, 2021) & memoir in Meanjin & capital Q. The recipient of fellowships, mentorships & a writer’s grant, Conspiracy of Skin was awardeda Highly Commended in the 2019 Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry. Life with a Shadow, an epic story of survival & a third poetry chapbook, Deep Black Ice await publishers.


Shayne de Groot is an actor and writer from Dalmeny (Yuin land), on the Far South Coast of NSW. She reads a lot of stage plays and enjoys subtitled french films - because she wagged French in High School. She is a vegetarian aiming to one day never-ever even think about chocolate again and fully commit to a blissful vegan life to save our planet. She does drink oat milk though! "It's a start" - Shayne de Groot 2021. Shayne is currently completing her BA at UNSW with Creative Writing as her headliner. Her writing gives voice with volume to queer women, mental health and love. What is Shayne working on right now? Her play BROTHER is currently in development and her short story s(wet) - published under A. CARTERS - has been published online after placing runner up in the Tharunka x UNSWeetened sex positive writing competition.

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Josh Langley is a multi award-winning radio copywriter and award-winning children’s author. His debut children’s book, Being You is Enough changed the trajectory of his life. Written as a love letter to his 8-year-old self, it’s message of self-acceptance and love resonated with kids and parents around the world.  He went on to publish 9 books and in 2018 won the Australian Book Industry Awards Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of Year, for his second children’s book. Now his ground-breaking children’s books, programs and school talks on self-acceptance, resilience, understanding emotions and kindness, are helping thousands of kids make friends with themselves. Josh lives on 7 and a half acres in the Southwest of Western Australia with his husband and his favourite food is tortellini. Josh is the ambassador for the Children’s Tumour Foundation and was voted a Westfield Local Hero for the work he does with CTF and is a finalist for the WA Mental Health Awards. 

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