Meet our Authors
Fiona Harrison is a senior lecturer in landscape architecture at RMIT University. Her research explores the social, political and experiential dimensions of the design and education process. Her teaching offers a bridge between the institution of learning and the outside world, and her projects include designing and building private gardens for public display and generating ideas around food security for public discussion. Alongside teaching, she also practices as a design consultant on public projects and private gardens; many of these projects have been awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects.
Hana Assafiri, head cook and owner of iconic Melbourne institution Moroccan Soup Bar, describes the restaurant as, ‘a vision where everyone who visited felt their senses were stimulated. To share experiences and walk away a little changed as a consequence’. Hana is the author of Moroccan Soup Bar: Recipes of a Spoken Menu.
The career of non-fiction author Helen Downey mirrors the familiar pattern of work for many women. Helen's promising start, with four books in her History on Stage series, published in quick succession, was put on hold after the arrival of three children. Helen holds a Bachelor of Education and TSTC at Melbourne State College, with a major in Asian Fine Arts and Sculpture, and a Bachelor of Letters (Honours) at Deakin University, with a major in Myth and Ideology. Helen has written feature stories for The Age, Canberra Times, Sunday Herald and The Weekly Times. Her History on Stage series includes the titles Ancient America; Ancient River Civilizations, Suma and Egypt; Ancient Greece; and Ancient Rome. She is the author of Wide World of English 2, and co-author of the Techne leaflet series for ACTA. She was an Editor and writer of 'Asthma Update' for the Asthma Foundations of Australia, and an Editor for the teachers' notes 'Challenge', 'Pursuit', 'Explore' and 'Comet'. This former secondary art, media studies, history and English teacher was also a member of the Secondary Art and Craft Standing Committee, is an experienced Queenscliffe Information Centre Volunteer Heritage Guide, and recently returned from a year living in France. Her most current work, a biography of Theodora Fitzpatrick, grew into Making Herstory.
Helen is a passionate cook, food stylist and photographer. She discovered she was a coeliac while undergoing IVF in 2007. She quickly became fed up with having to drive ten kilometres and pay over ten dollars for a dense loaf of gluten free bread. She was determined not to let her gluten intolerance get in the way of her love of baking. She started developing gluten free recipes of her own and has built a rapidly-growing following on Instagram that currently stands at over 14,000 for the simplicity, quality and beautiful presentation of her food. She is the author of Hungry and Fussy: Easy and delicious gluten free baking for everyone.
James Harding was a drug addict and debt collector who operated within the chaotic world of organised crime in Melbourne. Now he is the proud father of five children, a mentor and public speaker who harnesses his experiences from the ‘dark side’ to assist others to be the best version of themselves by encouraging them to unlock their hidden strengths and self-belief.
Hard Cuddles is his first book.
James provides an honest, first-hand account of the front lines of combat, and of the training that got him there. This is his story of life as an infantryman and the unglamorous aftermath of war. James Prascevic was a plumber in Victoria, when he decided to enlist as an infantryman in the Australian Defence Force. With 1 RAR he served in Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, where he was confronted with the horrifying effects of Improvised Explosive Devices. Upon his return from Afghanistan, he completed the Commando Selection and Training Course and most of the Reinforcement Cycle for the Special Forces, but broke his leg in a parachuting incident.
That was when the black dog bit, causing him to be medically discharged from the ADF after almost ten years of service. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depression, Anxiety and Alcohol Dependence. At first he was silent about it, until he lost his wife, his career and nearly his life.
James provides an honest, first-hand account of the front lines of combat, and of the training that got him there in Returned Soldier: My Battles: Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
James Vicars began writing as a journalist and creatively as a poet and short story writer in his mid-twenties. Besides editing numerous publications and a literary magazine, New England Review, in the 1990s, his poems have appeared in anthologies and a short story, essays and reviews have also been published in magazines. He has worked as a communications consultant, editor, lecturer and writing mentor. His scholarly interests and PhD research on the ‘lost’ life of Australia’s first woman pilot are combined in his biographical work Beyond the Sky: the Passions of Millicent Bryant, aviator, published by Melbourne Books in 2020. He has been awarded fellowships from the NSW Ministry for the Arts and the Eleanor Dark Foundation, and his literary interests are in life writing, contemporary novel and poetry, and Australian literature. He is a Director and former Board Chair of The Armidale Waldorf School. He was appointed an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New England in 201