This panel explores mental health in writing, and how a person’s emotional state can change the nature of their prose. Three writers discuss storytelling when experiences of time, subjectivity and memory are in flux. Writers address issues including psychology, personal connection and vulnerability in their work. Jessica Friedmann’s Things That Helped includes essays on postpartum depression, and Mia Freedman’s Work Strife Balance discusses female connections as forged through vulnerability. Black Comedy star Nakkiah Lui has written about the mental and emotional trauma of being Aboriginal in this country, and Tracey Spicer’s The Good Girl Stripped Bare is about how society’s unrealistic expectations of women can weigh them down.

Tracey Spicer (Australian)

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Tracey Spicer is the author of the frank and funny 'femoir', The Good Girl Stripped Bare. Over the past 30 years, the award-winning journalist has anchored national news, current affairs and lifestyle programs on Network Ten, Sky News, and ABC TV. She's also brought her sassy style to radio shows on 702 ABC Sydney and 2UE. The 49-year-old is a weekly columnist for Fairfax Media, TV presentation trainer at AFTRS, and co-founder of Women in Media, a national mentoring and networking initiative. Her TEDx Talk has been seen by almost 1.5 million people.

Nakkiah Lui (Australian)

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Nakkiah Lui is the co-writer and star of Black Comedy, and co-host of the podcast Pretty for an Aboriginal. She has been a playwright-in-residence for Sydney's Belvoir Theatre and artist-in-residence for the Griffin Theatre. Most recently Nakkiah has appeared as a regular guest on Screen Time on ABC and her new six-part comedy series, Kiki & Kitty, premiered on ABC in 2017. She is a Gamilaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman, and a leader in the Australian Aboriginal community.

Fiona Wright (Australian)

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Fiona Wright’s book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction, and her poetry collection Knuckled, won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award. She has recently completed a PhD at Western Sydney University’s Writing & Society Research Centre, and is the CAL New Writer in Residence at UTS.