Story Room Aus. Newcastle

June 2022

Life gave us a few lemons in April so our event is happening now in JUNE. We still have a great line-up of speakers. Story Room Aus. connects our community through the sharing of real stories.

Enjoy drama, laughter, and sometimes tears and have a chance to be a part of something different here in Newcastle.




Jo Hilder

Jo Hilder is a writer, artist, an experienced speaker, self-diagnosed Karen, author of four self-published books, and most recently the author of Small and Pure – A Cautionary Tale, released in June 2016 by Rhiza Press. She is also a cancer survivor, mother of four, grandmother of three, and lives with Bipolar Disorder

Deepa Alphabet

Deepa Alphabet was born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, of Indian descent, but had not set foot on Indian soil till 2019, therefore a coconut! Brown on the outside, white on the inside. A pretend Malaysian Indian who only speaks and reads English. Not Australian, but English. Completed school in Malaysia and graduated from the University of Newcastle as an overseas student with a Bachelor of Commerce, major in Accounting. Embarked then on an illustrious career spanning almost 25 years in Accounting and Finance which took me to places like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, The Maldives, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, and Finland. Little did I know I would one day settle down in Newcastle, Australia with my husband of Tunisian origins, and our 2, now grown-up sons, lately realising a passion, flair, and calling for Life Coaching and Business Leadership Coaching.

Richard Pianka

A Taxi Driver and World Traveller. I hit the road when I was 25, landing in Australia in 1976. I spent four years as an illegal immigrant; Amnesty 1980; and then real-world travel began and the stories overflowed.  I spent “The Sixties” as a civil rights and anti-war activist. I was also very active in the anti-draft movement but was unsuccessful in that effort and was drafted into the US Army on graduation from university in Boston. In 1972 I changed my life direction by beginning a life on the road. Many interesting adventures later I’m ready to tell stories. I’ve been based in Australia for almost 46 years now, most of the time legally.  

Ben Randell

Ben Randall is an Australian activist, author, and acclaimed documentary filmmaker. Following the abductions of his friends from Vietnam in 2011, Ben founded ‘The Human, Earth Project’ to raise awareness of the global human trafficking crisis and related women’s rights issues. His work has been seen and heard by millions of people around the world. Ben’s writing was shortlisted for Hachette’s 2021 Richell Prize, his multi-award-winning documentary ‘Sisters for Sale’ is now screening on Discovery Channel in many countries, and in May 2022 he held the first-ever solo exhibition at Lighthouse Arts on Newcastle’s iconic Nobbys headland.




Jacqui Wright

I am a passionate believer in the power of stories to connect, inform, heal and empower individuals, groups, communities, and nations. My first novel, Red Dirt Talking, won the 2010 TAG Hungerford Award and was long-listed for the 2013 Miles Franklin and Dobbie Literary Awards. More of my work can be found at



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