Menu Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher


Sian Prior is a journalist, essayist and memoirist.


Sian has been working as a freelance writer for two decades. She has been a regular columnist for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, and writes opinion pieces, travel features, theatre, opera and book reviews for various publications. Sian’s short fiction has been published in Visible Ink, Normal Service Will Resume (Cardigan Press), the Grieve Anthology and the Sleepers Almanac . Her essays have been published in Meanjin literary magazine and blog, TEXT journal, The Saturday Paper, The Age, and the Rex Journal of New Writing. Sian contributed a chapter to the first Penguin Women Of Letters anthology.  

Sian is a previous winner of the Words In Winter short story competition and has been awarded a Glenfern Writers Studio Readings Fellowship. She has been a judge of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Non Fiction and Drama, and the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards. In 2018 she was the Writer in Residence with the Mildura Writers Festival, and she had a writing residency at McCraith House with the RMIT NonFictionLab.

Her first non fiction book, ‘Shy: a memoir’ was published in Australia, New Zealand and UK by Text Publishing (see this post for media coverage of ‘Shy’).  Sian’s second memoir, ‘Childless: a story of freedom and longing’, was shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year award 2022.

She is represented by literary agency Jenny Darling & Associates Pty Ltd

PO Box 5328 South Melbourne VIC 3205 AUSTRALIA  Telephone: 61 (0) 3 9696 7750


In the Sydney Morning Herald, a column about a celluloid ghost, February 2018

In The Age, an opinion piece about euthanasia; November 2015.

In the Sunday Age, an article about fear of walking at night; October 2015

In The Big Issue, a column about turning fifty: September 2015

In The Age newspaper, a review of the memoir ‘Fallen’; May 2015

In the TES (Times Educational Supplement) magazine, an article about shyness in the classroom; September 2014

In the Washington Post, a column about shyness; July 2014

In the Fairfax Traveller, a travel article about walking through the Dordogne in France; March 2014.

In TEXT journal, an essay in the form of an imaginary postcard to the late David Foster Wallace; October 2013.

In the Fairfax Traveller: a travel article about mountain-climbing as a cure for a heartbreak; March 2012.

In the Fairfax Traveller: a travel article about the fishing village of Aas Beach in Amed, Bali; February 2011.

In the Fairfax Traveller: a travel article about indigenous tourism ventures on the Dampier Peninsula, WA;  2010.

Essay about the Balibo Five, ‘Remembering Balibo’, published in Meanjin literary magazine; 2009.

Essay called ‘Shy Young Thing’, published in Meanjin literary magazine; 2009.


Sian Prior is a broadcaster who has been presenting and reporting on ABC Radio since the mid-1990’s.


Sian began her broadcasting career on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR, presenting specialist current affairs programs for Public Radio News (PRN) on the Australian community radio network.

She then presented and produced programs on ABC radio for two decades, including Arts Today, Lingua Franca, The Media Report and The Deep End on RN, and Sunday Arts and the Afternoon Show on ABC Melbourne.

In recent years she has been a guest presenter on ABC Classic and ABC RN, and a co-host of The Conversation Hour on ABC Melbourne,


Presenter on ABC Classic FM.

Co-host of The Conversation Hour on ABC Melbourne: 23rd April 2019 31st January 2019,  15th October 2018,  21st June 2018 

Guest host of Bueprint for Living, ABC Radio National.

Writer and presenter of a radio essay on Lingua Franca (Radio National) about the value of platitudes.

Producer/reporter for a Lingua Franca program (Radio National) about New York artist Nina Katchadourian.

Presenter of Melbourne University Up Close, a series of in depth interviews with Melbourne University academics, available as podcasts.


Sian Prior is a singer and clarinettist who performs in festivals, churches, bars and recording studios.


Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts Opera Studio, Sian has performed as a guest soprano with Operalive, More Than Opera Co., Sounds Sublime, Opera Sessions, Divas Inc. and Macedon Music. She has sung at the Castlemaine Festival, the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, the Two Fires Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, and on ABC Radio National’s Quiz Show and the ABC Melbourne Evening Show.

Sian is also a clarinettist and she has performed and recorded with songwriter Paul Kelly, sung jazz for the AFL, recorded original songs by composers Natalya Vagner, John Hipwell Snr and Darryl Emerson, and done backing vocals for The Stardust Five and Tempo Perdido.

Sian is a past convenor of the Green Room Awards Association’s Opera Panel.

She currently sings with Cantabile chamber choir, the LaLaLa Chorale and the Westgarth Ensemble.

Her next performance will be a concert with The Westgarth Ensemble at St Paul’s Cathedral in March 2023.


Kate Kelly Song Cycle (documentary by Tracey Sorensen, Ronin Films): soprano for inaugural performance (2011)

‘Stardust Five’ debut album – guest vocalist (EMI 2006)

‘Theme from Juan’, by Tempo Perdido on CD ‘Ibara: River Crossing’ (Soul Jazz Records 2005), guest vocalist

Fireflies’, ABC TV soundtrack, guest vocalist (ABC Music 2004)

‘The Golden Lotus’; soprano for original music drama composed by John Hipwell (2004)

‘The Breath of the Earth’, soprano for original CD recording of art songs composed by Natalya Vagner (2003)

‘Martin and Gina’, Australian musical composed by Darryl Emmerson (2002): performing the lead role of Gina

‘Comrades Come Rally’; Musical Director for a collection of songs by the Victorian Trade Union Choir (1993)

Paul Kelly: A to Z’ – clarinet and vocals (EMI 2010)

Paul Kelly’s ‘Songs from the South Volume 2’ (EMI) – clarinet on ‘Shane Warne’

‘Silent Night’, guest vocalist  the Myer ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ album (2006)


Dr Sian Prior is a teacher of journalism and creative non fiction for writers centres, writers festivals, in universities and online.


Sian teaches non fiction writing in RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course. She has also run writing workshops for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival,  the Brisbane Writers Festival and the Northern Rivers Writers Centre (NRWC). Sian has been a guest lecturer at Deakin, Monash, Latrobe, RMIT and Melbourne universities, and conducted media workshops for a range of organisations including SBS Radio and The Wilderness Society.

In recent years she has run writing workshops for the Faber Academy, the NSW Writers Centre , the Bendigo Writers Festival, the Mildura Writers Festival, The School of Life and Writers Victoria.

She also runs short online courses in Creative Non Fiction, Advanced Creative Non Fiction, Feature Writing and Writing As Therapy.

Sian is available for private mentoring of non fiction writers and media training for authors (send email inquiries to

Some comments from Sian’s writing students:

This year, for the first time, I thought I would try some Victorian Writers Centre workshops. I would like to pass on to you directly how excellent your workshop was, and what a model of clarity and focus it was. Peter (Writers Victoria)

I want to thank you again for a brilliant year. You have helped me so much in developing my writing and I have really loved all the workshopping opportunities. Thanks so much, Alison (RMIT)

What a fantastic and inspiring class that was, thank you so much for all your feedback and investment of time and energy in my project’s development over the year. Crystal (RMIT)

Thanks again – a million thanks – for the inspiration and encouragement you gave me over the two years of RMIT Journalism and Non Fiction. Cheers, Carole (RMIT)

I really enjoyed the workshop on Saturday and I’m looking forward to actually doing some of the writing now. It will be great to have the goal of getting it done by a particular date – there is nothing like a deadline. Cheers, Julie (Writers Victoria)


Sian Prior is an MC, moderator and public speaker who has hosted events for Australia's major cultural institutions.


Sian has hosted, curated and moderated events for many Australian cultural institutions, including the Australia Council, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Australian Film Institute, Heide Museum of Contemporary Art, Cinemedia, The Wheeler Centre, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the Victoria State Library and the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Sian has also hosted events for local government, and has been the presenter of a series of business forums for the City of Stonnington called ‘Roosters and Feather Dusters’, available as podcasts.  She has been an MC and motivational speaker for a number of Victorian secondary schools, and her recent hosting gigs include the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards. Her most recent hosting gig was the City of Stonnington’s free outdoor Classics concert in February 2022.

Sian also does voice-over work, and past clients include Bendigo Art Gallery, Environment Victoria and Integra Systems.

For all public engagements, contact Sian directly via