Welcome to the online home of Simon Clews

writer | performer | educator/trainer | arts/event specialist

Photo credit: Jamie Kidston

Simon Clews works with writers and academics around the world to help them improve their written and oral communication and develop their careers as effective communicators and providers of creative, well-written non-fiction for non-academic audiences. He does this both in-person and online, and is one of the most in-demand trainers in this field. He is currently a Learning Advisor at the Australian National University, a world leading and innovative university based in Canberra, where he works with HDR candidates on their writing and communication skills. Prior to this, for fifteen years he was the Director of the Melbourne Engagement Lab at Australia’s highest ranked university, Melbourne University, where enhanced the reputation of  through training, encouraging and facilitating some of Australia’s brightest minds to make their work accessible to non-academic audiences.

If you are interested in seeing the sort of training Simon can offer, the organizations he has worked with or would like to discuss working with him, you can read more here.

And, if you’re looking for books designed to help academics write, communicate and engage with the outside world, Simon is the author of The New Academic out right now with NewSouth Books in Australia and SourceBooks in the US, and Be Visible or Vanish – co-written with Thesis Whisperer Mewburn and available now from Routledge. For more information, check out the books page. 

In keeping with his passion for researchers communicating their stories to as wide an audience as possible, Simon is a huge supporter of the Three Minute Thesis and Visualise Your Thesis competitions. He has been heavily involved in both competitions from the outset and offers one-on-one and group training for competitors. And now you can give yourself a bit of a competitive edge if you’re going to enter your local 3MT with Simon’s guide to the Three Minute Thesis competition, Your Time Starts Now! – out now with Thesis Whisperer Books. Check out the books page for more on this.

Prior to taking on the inaugural directorship of the Melbourne Engagement Lab, Simon took the fledgling Melbourne Writers’ Festival and over fourteen years placed it firmly on the world stage. After that for many years Simon was Creative Program Director for Melbourne’s Reader’s Feast book store producing ten iterations of Crime & Justice, a celebration of crime writing and social justice, and the History Writers Festival. And his literary event experience extends well beyond his time as Festival Director and CEO of Melbourne Writers’ Festival and his work with Reader’s Feast – Simon was responsible for programming Stories Alive, a large-scale celebration of writing for children at Hamer Hall, Writers on Collins, a city precinct literary program and two site-specific literary celebrations Writers at the Convent and Writers at Como. In total he has staged nearly forty major literary events, in addition to dozens and dozens of smaller events, and has presented well over 3,000 writers to a combined audience of nearly half a million book lovers. Put simply – Simon knows books, writing and events!

While Simon has had his fair share of praise and accolades over the years, some are more memorable than others; in 2002 the French Government honoured Simon’s contribution to the promotion of French culture in Australia by awarding him the French Flair Award. As well as some very flattering speeches, a meal to die for and much kissing on both cheeks, he received a bronze casting of Degas’ La Danseuse from the Louvre and a magnum of Pol Roger. The statue still proudly adorns a shelf in his office. The Pol Roger – sadly – is long gone.

And, most recently, Simon is currently planning a return to his theatrical roots with First Edition – the quaint, improbable and sometimes ridiculous story of how books are made, sold and read, a one-person theatre show; development is already under way and the show is slated to see the light of day sometime later this year. For more information or to book the show, follow this link.

If you haven’t read enough about Simon here, you can read the back story to all this here.