This year we were lucky to have a big pool of judges, none of whom are ASTW members (some have joined since.) Many live overseas and are members of our sister writing associations in the USA, New Zealand or the UK; all have considerable experience.
We thank them all.
Hailing from a background in PR agency land, Tessa spent over four years working in public relations in the travel industry. During this time she represented hotel brands including Adina Apartment Hotels, Vibe Hotels and Travelodge Hotels, and cruise brands including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. Tessa’s work to date has included key contribution to the award-winning Vibe Hotels summer towel campaign and Royal Caribbean’s innovative social campaign for the world’s first Instagram film festival. Tessa is a recipient of HM Magazine’s Communications Manager of the year award and was nominated for an ASTW award. In 2015 Tessa worked as a Media Officer at the Cambodia Microfinance Association as part of the Australian government program Australian Volunteers for International Development. Tessa is now National Fundraising Communications Manager at Cancer Council Australia working across campaigns such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, Daffodil Day and Girls’ Night In.
Originally from London’s East End, Keith Austin has worked as a chief sub, production editor, travel editor, feature writer, regular columnist, news reporter and restaurant reviewer. He is the author of three novels for young adults and has also edited two cookbooks and four editions of the NSW Good Pub Food Guide. He is passionate about food, drink, travel, writing, photography, humour and football. But not in that order.
Catherine Beattie edits and publishes Spa Wellbeing – an online spa, travel and lifestyle magazine. She also blogs and reviews cruises, spas and hotels for travel websites and consumer magazines and writes tourism reports for Mintel. Catherine is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Sue Bryant (@sjbryant) is an award-winning writer and editor specialising in travel. She is cruise editor of the Sunday Times, writes for Cruise Passenger and World of Cruising. Her work has also appeared in High Life, Food & Travel and TRVL magazine for iPad, among many others.
Wearing a different hat, Sue is editor of Journeys magazine (@JourneysMagUK), the UK’s first glossy mag dedicated to experiential travel. She also edits Uno Stile di Vita, the guestroom magazine for Baglioni Hotels.
Sue has also written or edited more than 25 travel books, from guidebooks about the Costa del Sol, Barcelona, Ibiza, Cyprus and Tel Aviv to Insight Guides’ Great River Cruises (Europe and the Nile). She has edited coffee table books, writes all the destination content for CountryNavigator.com and has produced cross-cultural training guides to more than 70 countries for executives going to live and work abroad.
She lives in west London with her two teenagers, two dogs and some chickens.
Brian Crisp has been a journalist for more than 30 years. During that time he has worked for Fairfax, News Corp and the Daily Liberal in Dubbo. Brian launched the national version of Escape in print in 2009. He now works as the Head of News Corp Studios – Queensland, where sadly he doesn’t get to travel much anymore.
Andrew’s been in and around travel his entire professional life – seems the psychic was right when she told him he’d travel the world for work when he was 18. He’s travelled with The Great Outdoors, Lonely Planet, The Golf Show, writes for Holidays with kids, Escape and Fairfax travel.
Sue Dobson is an award-winning travel writer and magazine editor based in the UK, whose life-long passion for discovery and experiencing different cultures has taken her to every continent and into countries less travelled.
Hilary Doling is Editor in Chief of one of the world’s largest independent luxury travel websites, The Luxury Travel Bible (operating out of the UK and Australia) and Executive Editor of the glossy Five Star Kids magazine (Signature Media), devoted to luxury family travel. She started her career on London’s Fleet Street where she worked for newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian and for England’s glossy magazines. In search of sun she moved to Australia as Travel Editor at Fairfax newspapers (The Sun Herald) a position she held for twelve years and then became Editor in Chief of Luxury Travel Magazine. She is an international speaker on luxury hotels and travel, appearing at such events as ILTM Cannes and has visited every continent and set foot in more than 92 countries.
Paul has been a travel and nature photographer for nearly 16 years, was contracted to Lonely Planet Images (now Getty) for more than ten of those years and has been published in most of the big magazines that we love so much. He even won the ASTW Photographer of the Year back in the day when connecting to the Internet involved R2-D2-like sounds coming out of the modem. These days, as he balances the needs of a young family with being away with work, his business is moving more and more towards helping large organisations get a handle on their out-of-control image libraries, creating custom photographic and video databases so that they can more easily access and utilise these mostly untouched photographs. He is still represented by three major photo agencies and continues to do photographic work when it comes across his desk in Cairns.
During her impressive career as a journalist, Toni spent 10 years editing cruise publications, including Cruise Passenger magazine, and writing cruise stories aimed at passengers and travel industry professionals. Her articles have been published in The Australian, the Australian Financial Review, Cruise Passenger magazine, on Cruise Critic and in various trade publications. She also wrote three substantial cruise guidebooks for a leading travel chain.
Kerri Elstub is a broadcast journalist with more than 20 years of industry experience.
She has worked at Radio 2UE and Channel 9, where she is currently Supervising Producer on A Current Affair.
Paul is a Director/photographer with Peter Lik Publishing, a 20-year-old company that is well known and regarded for its production of premium publications and souvenirs using high quality photographic imagery. Paul previously worked for 14 years at Tourism Queensland as the Director – Creative Marketing Services, assuming responsibility for the quality and direction of the vast majority of imaging content in both stills and video format. Paul’s work can be found at Paulewart.photoshelter.com and on Instagram.com/paulewart1
John M. Green
John is the author of three thrillers, The Trusted, Born to Run and Nowhere Man, and his fourth The Tao Deception is being released in November.
Though he’s not a travel writer, his characters (and he) do roam the globe and a number of entries have inspired him to add some new destinations to his wish-list.
John’s also a book publisher at Pantera Press, which has discovered some of Australia’s finest new (and prize-winning) writing talents.
He also sits on the boards of the National Library of Australia, Centre for Independent Studies, and two listed companies with global operations.
Alan has been a journalist for the past 40 years. He began his career with a cadetship on The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, and has worked throughout Australia and in London. After working on the development of Australian Business magazine in the early 1980s, he pursued a successful career as a freelance journalist, concentrating on the car industry. As motoring editor of both Australian Business and The Bulletin, he wrote extensively on industry policy. He spent 19 years at The Sydney Morning Herald – firstly, as motoring editor. He edited the Stay In Touch column for three years, before becoming deputy editor and then editor of the sports section. He returned to reporting for his last few years with the Herald, covering the America’s Cup and Olympic sailing, the AFL, Formula One and tennis. Alan has been a member of the Australian Journalists’ Association (AJA), now part of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), for 40 years and has been active in the union for most of that time. He chaired the Australian Consolidated Press House Committee, then, after joining the Herald, became chair of the Fairfax House Committee. He was president of the journalists’ section of the MEAA for eight years. He was on the Walkley Awards judging panel for nearly 10 years. He was a member of the Australian Press Council from 2005 until 2016. He left The Sydney Morning Herald at the end of 2005 and now works as a freelance journalist.
Shirley LaPlanche joined the ASTW mid 1980s while editor of the Hospitality Section for The Australian. In 1990 she went freelance writing on a regular basis for the Australian Tourist Commission and travelling extensively on stories for magazines and newspapers in Australia and overseas. Her deep interest in eco-tourism led her to write her book Stepping Lightly on Australia which was published in 1995 by HarperCollins and sold worldwide. She says she is now semi-retired but is still travelling as often as time and money allow and still writing the occasional piece for her favourite magazines and newspapers. This year she re-joined the ASTW in the newly established Friends category and looks forward to catching up with old travelling friends.
Kerrie Lee has been working in mainstream print media since 1967, as a writer, editor and sub-editor.
She has held senior staff positions, including as a sections editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and special projects editor for The Australian Women’s Weekly, but embraced the more flexible, if precarious, freelance life while raising her three children.
For 25 years, Kerrie wrote and edited travel for a variety of publications, but gave up the heady delights of the famil to do an honours degree in prehistoric archaeology.
Her passion for travel has never abated and, thanks to the phenomenon of house swapping, she’s able to spend prolonged periods overseas every year, documenting her adventures in a privately distributed blog.
Kerrie also taught subbing for many years via the MEAA and Sydney Community College, as well as in-house for major publishing companies, such as ACP (now Bauer) and Pacific.
Katrina Lobley is a former SMH staffer. She farewelled the office in 2001 and today writes about travel and the arts as a contributor for national newspapers and magazines.
Cindy MacDonald is deputy editor of The Saturday Paper. She has also held senior roles at Good Weekend magazine and worked for News International in London, national glossy newsstand magazines, Reader’s Digest, The Australian and other regional newspapers.
Ewan McDonald has been Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Features Editor with NZME, publishers of the NZ Herald and other print and online platforms. He is president of Travcom, the NZ Association of Travel Writers, Photographers and Communicators, and is a multi-award winning travel writer.
John Malathronas is a versatile travel writer and photographer. He has published three narrative travelogues with Summersdale Publishing. He has written for CNN Travel, The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Sunday Times, National Geographic Traveller and Travel Africa among others. He has co-authored ten guidebooks by Michelin and the Rough Guides. He also has a well-regarded, popular blog, The Jolly Traveller, speaks several languages and is very active in the social media sphere, tweeting and blogging as he moves over the breadth of our planet.
Holiday-maker and taker with over 26 years’ experience in selling, contracting, researching, travelling and enjoying Asia’s premier destination, Thailand. Co-ordinating the Marketing and Public Relations activities for Thai Airways International in Australia.
Natascha Mirosch has worked in food writing for close to 20 years, both here and in the UK. Until April this year she was the editor of Fairfax Media’s Good Food Guide, QLD restaurant reviewer for goodfood.com.au and creative director of Good Food Month. At various stages of her career Natascha written about food for The Brisbane Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane News, Taste and The Courier Mail. Natascha currently freelances for a number of publications and runs a food PR business.
Sarah Monaghan is an award-winning British travel writer and specialist copywriter for travel and tourism. Her work has appeared in the travel pages of scores of national newspapers and magazines and she’s also worked in a PR capacity for many travel clients. She’s won the British Guild of Travel Writers’ Trade and Tourism Award, conceived and launched the annual BGTW Young Travel Writer Competition and has written several travel guidebooks. As mum to twin girls, age 4, she also has a strong interest and insight into family travel. Find her at Connected Copy.
Janyne Moore is the Co-Founder of Catablog, an online directory of Australian Bloggers and Influencers that tracks their social influence. Janyne is also a PR consultant who trains businesses on how to attain exposure in the media after 15 years as a trained journalist and Executive Producer.
Neil Murray, a former Travel Editor of the London Daily Mirror, writes frequently for the Scottish Sunday Mail newspaper and Essentially America magazine as well as, occasionally, for Group Leisure and Selling Travel magazines. In 2008, he was the first winner of the prestigious Travel Industry Association Discover America Travel Writer Award for the best US Travel Destination article, The March of the Murals, in Essentially America, for which he compiles a regular travel news column. He has also edited several travel guides – including the Great Lakes and California – for Phoenix International Publishing, Neil is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
Kayte Nunn is an author, freelance book and magazine editor and features writer with more than 20 years’ publishing experience and is the former editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine. She is the author of Rose’s Vintage (Black Inc Books, 2016).
After 18 years living and working in Asia, Kate returned to Ireland in 2013. She has enjoyed many years in the health, beauty and spa industries in London, Dublin, Singapore and Hong Kong and has become an established writer on lifestyle and spa culture. She is a founding judge of the prestigious annual Asia Spa awards. Kate is a qualified nutritionist and holds a diploma in cosmetic science from the Society of Chemical Scientists (UK). Kate writes for Asia Spa magazine, the Gloss and Image magazine (both in Ireland). She is the author of seven books, with her latest Your Middle Years: Love them. Live them. Own them being an Irish bestseller.
Nikki Parkinson is a former journalist-turned blogger, author, mum, wife, sister and girlfriend. She blogs at award-winning fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, Styling You. Last year Styling You was the first blog business to win a Telstra Business Award. Her book, Unlock Your Style, was published by Hachette Australia in 2014. Nikki loves connecting with her online community and helping women find greater confidence through their everyday style.
Styling You is a blog-based business that has been built on the strength and trust of a highly engaged online community. Styling You’s aim is to help Australian women over 30 feel confident through their personal style. Multiple income streams contribute to this micro business with most revenue coming from sponsorships, ambassadorships, community memberships and seasonal shop edits. Styling You has a readership of more than 100,000 per month and attracts sponsorship from national brands such as Katies, FRANKiE4 Footwear, Olay and Schwarzkopf.
Grant Roff is an academic and editor with over 40 years’ experience in a variety of communication industries. He has a BA (English and History) from Melbourne University and an MA (Communications) from Monash University.
He taught communication studies at RMIT University for 14 years and his editing credentials include eight years as editor of Royalauto and 20 years as a contributor and full-time editor of magazines for publishing groups including ACP and Bauer Media.
He ran creative writing workshops for Lonely Planet authors and has taught writing at university level in Australia, India, Vietnam and Singapore.
Lena Sachs is a PR specialist, with over six years’ industry experience. During her time in the industry Lena has worked on a range of consumer, tech and travel brands, including Havaianas, TripAdvisor, LG Electronics, Tourism Australia, MILO, Carnival Cruise Lines, Activision and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Now as an Account Director at Bite Communications, Lena develops and executes campaigns for traditional PR and social media programs for her clients in the primary produce, health and lifestyle space, with clients including Australian Pineapples, Australian Papaya and Papaw and Australian Custard Apples.
Brisbane News Editor Jane Scott has more than 20 years’ experience in lifestyle journalism. After earning her stripes as a news reporter on a daily paper in regional New Zealand, she moved to London where she spent a decade on women’s glossies, including Cosmopolitan, New Woman and Marie Claire. Now a fully paid-up Queenslander, Jane edits News Corp glossy Brisbane News, which covers food, fashion, lifestyle, culture and travel for an affluent readership. Out of the office she can most often be found baking cakes and planning her next travel experience.
Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of 13 books and numerous articles and essays.
With photojournalist Dave Tacon, she won the 2015 Walkley for Social Equity Journalism for her essay Fallen Angels, published in The Monthly. This article also won the 2015 Quill Award for best feature. Simons co-wrote the biography of former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser. She also wrote an unauthorised biography of mass media proprietor Kerry Stokes (chairman of the Seven Network). Kerry Stokes: Self-Made Man was published by Penguin in 2013 and was nominated for best non-fiction book at the 2014 Walkley Awards, and won the history prize in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards. Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2011. Her most recent book, Six Square Metres, was launched in October 2015. As well as writing books Simons is a freelance investigative journalist and feature writer. Her long-form journalism has been published in The Monthly, Inside Story and The Age.
Simons is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne where she is the Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism. Since 2012 she has been the coordinator of the innovative Master of Journalism degree, which teaches journalism with a modern focus. Before joining the University of Melbourne, Simons was convenor of Journalism at Swinburne University of Technology. Margaret was the keynote speaker at the ASTW AGM in 2015.
Megan Singleton, Blogger at Large
Megan Singleton (@bloggeratlarge) is an Auckland based award-winning travel writer and blogger. She founded one of New Zealand’s largest travel and lifestyle blogs, Blogger at Large in 2009 after beginning her blogging career in 2006 for a nationwide travel agency where she cut her teeth blogging twice a day, five days a week for three years.
Megan’s travel writing career started in 2000 and her work is published around the world on websites, magazines and newspapers. She is also a weekly travel correspondent on two radio stations in New Zealand.
Following a BA Hons degree in Politics from Newcastle University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from De Montford University, Amanda has enjoyed a successful career. Amanda is Travel Editor of Cosmopolitan and www.cosmopolitan.co.uk and was travel editor of You and Your Wedding magazine for eight years. She writes for national newspapers, magazines and guidebooks and has also presented films and university lectures on travel writing.
Ben Stubbs is a lecturer at the University of South Australia. He has a PhD in travel writing.
Ben has written numerous feature articles, essays and guidebooks for publications in Australia and overseas.
His first book explored the ‘New Australia’ socialist utopian colony in the Paraguayan jungle. Ticket to Paradise: A Journey to Discover the Australian Colony in Paraguay Among Nazis, Mennonites and Japanese Beekeepers was published by HarperCollins in 2012.
His next book, After Dark: A Nocturnal Exploration of Madrid (2016) begins from the premise of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who once wrote that we are blind half our lives because of what we miss during the night. Ben was drawn to explore the Spanish capital at night like the flâneurs of the past. He set out when the sun went down to explore this often-maligned city and to experience Madrid as a trasnochador—one who lives After Dark.
Craig Walsh has been in media for more than 35 years across newspapers, magazines and TV. He started his career as Ita Buttrose’s besotted teenage copyboy at The Australian Women’s Weekly, and to this day knows exactly how she likes her tea.
After a stint at The Manly Daily, Craig became the Nine Network’s first cadet journalist in the Sydney Newsroom, writing the words for Brian Henderson, Ian Ross and many others.
Then on to A Current Affair as on-air producer for the “Perfumed Steamroller” Jana Wendt. All went well until an infamous late story about topless women in a hardware store was aired and Jana walked off the job for a few days.
As reward, Craig was sent to Waco, Texas to investigate the Branch Davidian cult. Having spent a week with David Koresh, Channel Nine was the only Network in the world to have this footage when the FBI raided the cult’s headquarters and all hell broke loose a year later.
Craig and reporter Martin King wrote a 385 page book in a week called “Preacher Of Death.” It remains Craig’s only success in book publishing.
Then Craig ran Burke’s Backyard and Backyard Blitz for seven years, followed by one year of Getaway on Nine before a 10-year stint at Seven.
Craig was Executive Producer of shows including The Great Outdoors, Room For Improvement, Auction Squad, Ground Force, Hot Property and Better Homes and Gardens. During his seven year tenure BHG won seven Logies for Best Lifestyle Program.
Craig now has a stake in his own production company Kliniktv. He has made a Getaway Special starring Human Nature, a local travel series The Lucky Country with Andrew Daddo for Seven, and Clash Of The Collectables starring Antiques Roadshow talent for Nine.
In his spare time Craig loves searching council clean ups for retro treasures, fixing up his classic 1960s cars, and trying to think of great new TV shows.
Ruth Zukerman is a leading tourism and hospitality professional with a successful career spanning more than twenty five years in Australia, USA and Asia.
Well respected in the areas of public relations, marketing, business development, communications and crisis management Ruth has worked with a range of high-end global brands including Four Seasons*Regent Hotels, Conrad and Intercontinental Hotels and Hyatt Corporation in the USA.
With a passion for hospitality her vast experience has included Regent International Hotels based in Australia responsible for global sales, marketing and public relations. She spent 10 years with the Conrad Bali, opening the resort as Director of Sales & Marketing and six years in the role of Director of Public Relations during the time when incidents such as terrorism greatly affected business to Bali. Ruth was part of a small team responsible for restoring tourism from Australia by means of PR campaigns and crisis management to expand develop and promote tourism to Bali.