Ron Miller

After graduating from art college (I have a BFA in Illustration), I worked for several commercial art studios doing illustrations for advertising.

I had always been a fan—for literally as long as I can remember—of both science fiction and astronomy so in my spare time I enjoyed creating realistic scenes set on other worlds. Much of my inspiration for doing this came from my admiration for Chesley Bonestell.

Learning that the new National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC was going to have a planetarium, I wrote to the director, asking if they had any plans to have a staff artist. No, he replied, but it sounded like a good idea. My wife and I soon found ourselves on our way to the nation’s capital.

I worked for NASM for four years before leaving to become a freelance illustrator … which is what I have done for the past 40+ years. I had my first book published shortly after leaving the museum—Space Art: a history of space painting—and my 60th book will be appearing this winter. It’s a lot of fun working on one’s own books: you not only get to write it you get to illustrate it, too. Admittedly, this hasn’t been universally true: several of my books have few if any illustrations by me. For instance, my biography of artist Chesley Bonestell or my histories of space travel and spacecraft. I have also written several novels … and even created a comic book series.

I have also created postage stamps (one of which is attached to the New Horizons spacecraft, now deep in the Kuiper Belt), and have contributed production art to several motion pictures, such as David Lynch’s Dune.

About 80 or 90 percent of what I do today is in the realm of scientific illustration … primarily space and astronomy-related art. Some of the clients I work for regularly are Astronomy Magazine and Scientific American. But I also do a lot of book covers, which is something I especially enjoy doing…if for no other reason than that they make a really nice change of pace after doing planets all day.

While all of my space art had been originally created using traditional media—acrylics on illustration board—I made the switch to painting digitally almost 20 years ago … largely because it was easier meeting my deadlines. However, I still do space art in real paint and with real brushes just for my own satisfaction.

The goal of all my space art is to convey the reality of other worlds … that they are just as real and substantial and beautiful as our own planet. I want people who see my art to believe that they are seeing places that they might very well be able to visit themselves.


Photo: Ron Miller, with his Hugo Award from World Science Fiction Society. 

Philip Salom

Philip Salom was born in Western Australia and lived in the state’s South West farming areas. During this time he also studied and worked in cattle research and agricultural extension. After several years of painting he turned to writing.

Since 1980 he has produced fourteen books of poetry and five novels. His awards for poetry have been both national and international, and include twice winning the Commonwealth Poetry Book Prize in London, the Western Australian Premier’s Prize (twice) and the Newcastle Poetry Prize (in 1996 and again in 2000). Philip has also been recognised with the prestigious Christopher Brennan Award, a lifetime award for poetry “of sustained quality and distinction”.

His collection The Well Mouth was named a Sydney Morning Herald Book of the Year, and Adelaide Review Book of the Year. Two slightly unexpected collections by Salom are written through his heteronyms—The Keeper of Fish by Alan Fish, and Keeping Carter by MA Carter. In 2015 Philip published the poetry trilogy Alterworld which includes Sky Poems, The Well Mouth and the new section Alterworld in a searching and strange interrogation of history and consciousness through imagined human ‘worlds’.

His novels have also attracted wide-ranging acclaim—through reviews in major papers, journals and award lists. The Returns was shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award and the Queensland Premier’s Prize. In 2016, Waiting was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and the Prime Minister’s Award. His two earlier novels are Toccata and Rain which was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the WA Premier’s Prize for Fiction, and Playback which won the WA Premier’s Prize for Fiction.

His new novel is The Fifth Season, a story based around missing persons and disappearances and, perhaps more strangely, the phenomenon of found people: people who are found dead, their identities unknown or erased.

He has read as a guest writer in America, Canada, Britain, the Republics of Serbia and Macedonia, Italy, Singapore and New Zealand.

Read Philip Salom’s poetry

Datsun Tran

Datsun Tran is an Australian multidisciplinary artist, his work primarily features the natural world, though it is about us, the human story. His work has explored themes of conflict and utopia, filtered through the lens of what we have in common, rather than what separates us.

Tran has exhibited extensively in Australia, as well as North America, Asia and Europe. He has had over twenty-five solo and group shows, exhibited in over thirty art fairs, and has been a finalist in over thirty-five art prizes.

Datsun Tran’s website

Ellen Shelley

Ellen Shelley grew up in Adelaide. Her life changed considerably when she entered the ARMY at aged 18. She travelled extensively around Australia and overseas in the Signals Core. She has now settled by the harbour in Newcastle where she continues to raise her four children while enjoying the passion of writing poetry with purpose and direction.

She writes in response to real-life events, and her own and others’ emotions. She publishes on various platforms, she says, “including a sidewalk in Adelaide, but you can only read it when it rains.”

Ellen’s writing speaks of a diverse range of struggles. It delves into the mundane, how she arrives there with or without acceptance. Her voice carries a mother’s tone. It is strong without denying her weakness, alone in a fight, shared by many. These poems emerge from a place of digging around the wires of disconnect, the not fitting in. Raised in a family of stepbrothers and stepsisters and a procession of stepmothers, she soon learnt the art of resilience and the need to find her own voice in the world

Her favourite quote is by Robert Frost: «For me the initial delight is in the surprise of remembering something I didn’t know I knew. I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing … is discovering.»

Marcia Jacobs

Melbourne-born Marcia Jacobs lived in New York (1977–93) where she worked as editorial assistant at Doubleday Publishing for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. On her return to Australia, Marcia devoted her time to teaching and more recently, writing. Her essays and poems have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies here and abroad. These include MeanjinWesterlyPoetica MagazineVoices Israel and Singing For All He’s Worth—Essays in Honour of Jacob G. Rosenberg (Picador).

Marcia is the daughter of the late Australian poet and author Jacob G. Rosenberg, winner of the National Biography Prize (2007) for his memoir East of Time.

She is also the mother of three daughters, each one an artist in her own right.