Menu Sian Prior

Writer, Broadcaster, Singer, MC & Teacher


Sian Prior is a journalist, essayist, memoirist and award-winning short story writer.


Sian has been working as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been a regular columnist for The Age newspaper 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 2004), the 2015 Grieve Anthology and the Sleepers Almanac Edition 7 (2011). Her essays have been published in Meanjin literary magazine, TEXT journal, 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 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 had a writing residency at McCraith House with the RMIt NonFictionLab.

Her first non fiction book, ‘Shy: a memoir’ was published in Australia and New Zealand by Text Publishing in May 2014 (see this post for media coverage of ‘Shy’) and in the UK in June 2015. Sian currently writes a monthly column for the Sunday Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, and is working on her second memoir.

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 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 Big Issue magazine, a column about feeling your age at the Byron Bay Blues Fest; May 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 how Mission Beach, QLD is recovering from Cyclone Yasi; August 2011.

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 has been presenting and producing programs on ABC radio for two decades, including Arts Today, Lingua Franca, The Media Report and The Deep End on ABC Radio National, and Sunday Arts and the Afternoon Show on ABC Melbourne.

In recent years she has been guest presenting on ABC Classic FM . She has presented Blueprint for Living on RN and is an occasional 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.

In 2013/2014 Sian was the convenor of the Green Room Awards Association’s Opera Panel.

Recent performances include a concert with The Westgarth Ensemble at St Paul’s Cathedral in late 2018. Future performances include a concert with the La La La Chorale on July 20th.


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 with Paul Kelly on the Myer ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ album (2006)


Sian Prior is a teacher of journalism and creative writing for writers centres, writers festivals and in universities.


Sian teaches part-time 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 (Sydney), the NSW Writers Centre (Sydney) the Bendigo Writers Festival, the Mildura Writers Festival and Writers Victoria. She also runs short courses in Creative Non Fiction and Feature Writing for RMIT, and Writing As Therapy  and Wrangling Your Shyness workshops for The School of Life.

Sian is available for private mentoring of non fiction writers and media training for authors (see Contact page to send an email inquiry).

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 Contemporary Art Fair, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Australian Film Institute, the Heide Museum of Contemporary Art, Cinemedia, the Ian Potter Cultural Trust, the Victorian Arts Centre, 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, including: the City of Melbourne, the City of Whitehorse, the City of Port Phillip, the City of Maribyrnong and the Shire of Yarra Ranges. She has been the presenter of a series of business forums for the City of Stonnington called ‘Roosters and Feather Dusters’, available as podcasts.

Sian has been an MC and motivational speaker for a number of Victorian secondary schools, including: Croydon Secondary College, MacRobertson Girls High School, McKinnon High School, Ballarat Grammar School, Scotch College, MLC, Woodleigh and The Peninsula School.

Recent gigs include hosting the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards and launching Alison Jones’ memoir ‘The Jones Family Food Roster’ in May 2019. Future gigs include an In Conversation with author Lucy Treloar at the State Library on August 29th.

Please contact Booked Out for writing-related speaking engagements. For all other public engagements, contact Sian directly via the Contact page of this website.