Josh Donellan

Josh Donellan

Queensland

Speaker type

  • Author
  • Poet
  • Storyteller / Performer

J.M. DONELLAN is a writer, musician, poet, and teacher. He was almost devoured by a tiger in the jungles of Malaysia, nearly died of a lung collapse in the Nepalese Himalayas and fended off a pack of rabid dogs with a guitar in the mountains of India.


He is the author of the novels A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in India and Killing Adonis (which was nominated for the Kirkus prize). His children’s fantasy novel Zeb and the Great Ruckus was described by one child as ‘the best book ever, but it should have had Dr Who in it.’ He is also an accomplished poet who has performed at the Brisbane Festival, Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Powerhouse, Festival 2018, TEDxBrisbane, and some very distinguished basements.


Aside from novels and poetry he has also written plays, video games, the internationally admired podcast series Six Cold Feet and the dance performance INTER.

TALKS

Living to tell the tale

Although one young student once commented “An author is a person what’s got none parents”, this is not actually correct. Learn about what an author (this one in particular) actually is in this talk that spans a lifetime of travelling from the Amazon to the Himalayas, narrowly avoiding death in a variety of exotic locales. After surviving various threats to his livelihood, Josh has achieved a dizzyingly varied career in storytelling ranging from novels, poetry, video games, plays, short stories, podcasting, radio, music, journalism, and dance. This talk spans far beyond the autobiographical and looks at the importance of art and storytelling in a multitude of forms and formats.

40 mins – 1 hour

 can be tailored to suit grades P-12

any audience size

Poetry performance

A veteran of stages ranging from the Brisbane Powerhouse to the Sydney Opera house, Josh can deliver an hour of poems and stories that range from the hilarious to the heart-breaking. A mix of story-telling, comedy, and poetry featuring works about living in the digital age, almost being crushed by a Russian ultimate fighter, rapping grandmas, and a thorough investigation of the multitudinous reasons why cephalopods are heinously underrated.

40 mins – 1 hour

can be tailored to suit grades 8-12

any audience size

Poetry talk/performance

A comprehensive and entertaining look at the various uses of poetry from its beginnings as spoken word through to modern digital, musical, sculptural and performance incarnations paired with performances of some of Josh’s own work. An excellent way to get students excited about reading and writing poetry.

40 mins – 1 hour

can be tailored to suit grades P-12

any audience size

WORKSHOPS

Wor(l)dplay: creating characters and places

A studied look at developing characters and places that feel real, layered, and complex. We’ll look at ways to give your character depth and emotional connection to your reader, as well as how to treat your story’s setting like a character with a rich and vibrant personality, rather than just a backdrop for your plot.

40 mins – 2 hours

can be tailored to suit grades 3 -12

max. 30 people

Poetry writing and performance

Over the last five years, Josh has worked with thousands of students and adults to help them prepare their poetry for performance and publication. With a slew of slam poetry awards (ranging from gold medals to rubber chickens) under his belt, Josh is well equipped to help poets of all ages find their voice on both the page and the stage. These sessions are highly active, participatory, loud, and fun.

40 – 90mins

can be tailored to suit grades 3 -12

max. 30 people

Testimonials

  • The students watched Josh's speech with open mouths. They were totally enraptured by his SLAM poetry presentation and are still talking about it a week later. It was absolutely fabulous!

    Calamvale Community College - October, 2017

    Calamvale Community College - October, 2017
    Josh Donellan
  • Josh engaged the students and provided excellent practical strategies for their own writing.

    St John Fisher College - July, 2017

    St John Fisher College - July, 2017
    Josh Donellan
  • Josh was engaging, positive and provided great activities suited at the students level. Students produced fantastic poetry. Staff who were there supervising for the 2 days spoke highly of Josh.

    Regents Park State School - May, 2017

    Regents Park State School - May, 2017
    Josh Donellan
  • Josh did a fantastic job as our 'writer-in-residence' - his short story writing sessions were informative, engaging and interactive, and stimulated the creativity and narrative skills of our senior students. Josh was very versatile as during the week he also presented a practical workshop on engaging teenagers with poetry to our English teachers, did an author interview with our budding young authors, and performed a couple of lunchtime SLAM poetry sessions that resulted in several of our seniors performing as well. A great week for literature in our College!

    St Andrew's Catholic College - May, 2017

    St Andrew's Catholic College - May, 2017
    Josh Donellan
  • We have a yearly Poetry Slam in year 9 English. Josh Donellan was fantastic! He worked with three groups and sprinkled great performance pieces between activities to help them with their poetry writing.
    We will definitely have him back.


    Josh Donellan - Mt Maria College - November 2016

    Josh Donellan - Mt Maria College - November 2016
    Josh Donellan

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Josh Donellan