Dan Nixon (he/him): Founding Director/Creative Director – Dan is a storyteller, writer, producer and educator. He is the founding and creative director of Story Studios Australia/MYWS. Dan has been imagining characters, inventing worlds and telling stories since he could talk. As a writer his work spans the page, the stage and the screen, but it’s creating stories for young people and families where he feels most at home. Story Studios Australia was born out of Dan’s desire to foster a storytelling community and create spaces for stories to flourish. Dan is also creative producer and company director of Pirate Size Productions, a production company creating content for children, young people and families. Dan and the Pirate Size crew are currently developing projects alongside some of the best broadcasters and production companies in the world. Dan has a Masters in Screenwriting from the Victorian College of the Arts and has gone on to become a screenwriting lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT. Equally obsessed with stories as he is with mountains, Dan’s dream is to live and write beside a fire, atop a peak, and ski whenever he wants.
Bonnie McRae: Programs & Operations Director – A scriptwriter, author & journalist, Bonnie is passionate about writing truth in the form of fiction and inspiring a love of story in all. Bonnie has written and directed two short films and was nominated for the 2021 Monte Miller Award for her pilot screenplay, Kinked. Her short film, Unearthed, has been screened and shortlisted at local and international festivals. She is currently working on a novel and continues to been involved in a number of television writers rooms and screen projects. Bonnie has also written a wealth of plays that have been performed by Stage School Australia and is working on a new witchy play with Story Studio’s very own Nina Culley. Back in the coastal country town where she grew up, Bonnie worked as a cadet journalist for the South Gippsland Sentinel Times – Gippsland’s widest circulating newspaper, before going on to study journalism at RMIT University.
Nina Culley (she/her): Studios Manager & Director – Though Nina is obsessed with all things dark like tarot cards, crime and horror, she also enjoys all things cute like Totoro and candy.
Damian Robb (he/him): Adult Program Coordinator – Damian likes three things, writing stories and making incomplete lists. When not writing he’s often teaching writing, reading other people’s writing, or out and about finding things to write about.
Hannah Nixon (she/her): Saturday Studio Manager & Co-Director – Hannah is a speech pathologist, bookseller and co-director of Story Studios Australia/Melbourne Young Writers’ Studio along with her husband Dan. Hannah has a deep love of language and is an obsessive and omnivorous reader. Her greatest joys include reading books with her kids and hiding from her kids to read books. Hannah manages the Carlton studio on Saturdays. If you indulge her, she might just recommend your next great read!
Story and Writing Mentors
Eve Dalton (she/her): Administration Assistant – Eve is a screenwriter who loves writing chaotic characters with funny dynamics. She’s also recently launched Writing Hand Magazine in a bid to get the writing prompts she’s written for her students off of her laptop.
Adam Bigum (he/him) – Adam cannot read nor write. He created this bio by painting an abstract self-portrait made of pumpkin soup then had artificial intelligence translate it into words. If you see Adam, please call the closest insane asylum. P.S. Adam writes comedy.
Lachlan Rose – Lachy is a singer/ songwriter who likes/ loves reading/ writing. He enjoys forward slashes, fears slashers and is somewhat ambivalent about the guitar playing of Slash.
Julia Ahearne (she/her) – Jules will never not be excited by an 0.5mm uni-ball pen. She’s a big fan of handwriting and grammar, often scrawling poetry in a journal or finessing copywriting with en-dashes. She agrees with Stephen King that the path to hell is paved with adverbs, and Jules will read anything that guy has written.
Jayden Nikolic (he/him) – Jayden is a screenwriter with a passion for horror, cartoons and cats. His aspirations include world domination and (the less realistic goal of) having his own animated kids series.
Katherine Atkins – A loyal worshiper of her regal hound Benjamin, Katherine finds time to scribble the humour and pain of life between walkies and devotedly staring into his perfect eyes.
Zoe Fox (she/her) – Zoe is mystified by space and time and loves to rhyme! She likes rockets, robots, and reading; writes music and stories about experiencing earth and observing human behaviour as an alien.
Silver Fitzgerald – Sil writes for screen, theatre and novels – but mostly for fame and wealth. They think the Hunger Games is the greatest political text of our time.
Mathilde Tobin (she/her) – Tilde decided to study screenwriting after reading His Dark Materials and then watching the Golden Compass film, which filled her with an irrational rage. She is now studying Creative Writing and Publishing at Melbourne University, and the rage inside of her has quieted somewhat thanks to the HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials.
Fabian Lapham (he/him) – Fabian is a writer/director, and on certain joyous occasions, a voice over artist. He loves monsters and robots and cool stuff like that.
Cameron Hose (he/him)– Cameron is an aspiring screenwriter studying at the Victorian College of the Arts and is obsessed with horror movies, board games and picking up a new craft project every week.
Kanika Chopra (she/they) – Kanika loves to write and read. She loves stories about magic, romance, and everyday life. Kanika enjoys writing young adult fiction and personal essays.
Elliot Seidel (he/him) – Elliot is a screenwriter, fiction writer and teacher who is part of that small segment of the population who actually does fun-runs for fun. Having started on a Brother ML 300 Typewriter, he now writes to find your heart and make it beat.
OUR ADULT PROGRAMS ARE HOSTED BY PROFESSIONAL AUTHORS AND WRITERS.
PREVIOUS HOSTS AND GUESTS INCLUDE:
Did you know that MWYS Owner & Director, Dan Nixon, is also a Director at
Pirate Size Productions? And many of the mentors at Melbourne Young Writers’ Studio write for Pirate Size Projects, such as Pencil Pals! Which you can watch on ABC iView… Pencil Pals!
Streaming on ABC iView, each episode of Pencil Pals was written by an MWYS Story Mentor! Pencil Pals follows the adventures of Bee, Dinosaur, Cockatoo and Alien as they learn about language, literacy and storytelling!
“As a working writer in the industry I have found joining the Melbourne Young Writers Studio team to be immensely valuable. Getting the opportunity to think about my own writing processes and teaching them to others has allowed me to reflect on my own methods and improve on them moving forward. Working with MYWS has also introduced me to a wide array of very bright, young talented creatives and their unique perspectives. With the talent coming through MYWS it is very clear the future is bright for creative writing in Australia.”
– Adam Bigum