Our Board

Steve Grimwade

Steve Grimwade has had various jobs in the Melbourne literary sector including Director of the Melbourne writers festival and editor of Going Down Swinging. Steve Grimwade brings a wealth experience to the board especially of the Victorian literary world. In 2009 he released a book to celebrate Melbourne’s recent crowning as a UNESCO city of literature called Literary Melbourne. This book showcased 60 Melbourne and Victorian writers as part of a greater exploration into the people and history of Melbourne. He currently works at Melbourne University and is actively involved with various writing projects. Steve is the board’s chair has been on the board since 2010.

Richard Watts

Richard Watts is the national performing arts writer for the arts industry website ArtsHub; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on community radio station Three Triple R. His writings have appeared in a range of publications and he has previously worked at Next Wave Festival, as the editor of the LGBTI weekly newspaper MCV, and as the Artistic Director of Express Media. In addition to serving on the Board of Going Down Swinging, Richard is also a member of the La Mama Theatre Committee of Management; previously he served seven years on the Board of Melbourne Fringe, including three years as Chair. Richard is the founder of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and a member of the Green Room Awards Independent Theatre panel. Richard is the deputy Chair has been a board member since 2013

Varitka Patel

Vartika is a finance professional and has worked at Ernst & Young, Crown Casino, and Officeworks. She came on the board at GDS because of her interest in providing finance assistance to a not-for-profit organisation. Vartika is the board Treasurer and a board member since 2014.

Anna Kesley-Sugg

Anna Kelsey-Sugg is an online editor and community manager at the ABC, working in the broadcaster’s digital network division. She is the former editor of The Victorian Writer magazine, and has managed communications or digital campaigns for several arts and other non-profit organisations, including Writers Victoria, Theatre Network Victoria and the Australian Education Union. Going Down Swinging board member since 2015 and is currently the company secretary.

Joel Becker

Joel is currently Chief Executive Officer of the ABA, with approximately 600 bookshop and small publisher members. The ABA is the peak advocacy, service, education and training body for bookshops in Australia. Prior to that Joel ran bookshops in the US before emigrating to Australia in 1979. He then ran campus bookshops and general bookshops in Sydney, before starting and owning a bookshop in Cairns Queensland. He then curated events and did newsletters for large independent bookshops Gleebooks in Sydney and Readings in Melbourne before joining the Victorian Writers’ Centre (now Writers Victoria) for eight years. He has been a judge for the Victoria Premiers Literary Awards for Fiction and Emerging Writers, and spent two years as convening judge for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Fiction and Poetry (2012 and 2013). Joel has been on the board since 2011.

Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane

Dr Elizabeth MacFarlane is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. She published her book Reading Coetzee in 2013 and teaches in the areas of Theory for Writing, Graphic Narratives and Short Fiction. Elizabeth is co-director of the annual artists’ residency the Comic Art Workshop, and co-director of publishing company Twelve Panels Press. Going Down Swinging board member since 2013