Ellen O’Brien

Ellen O’Brien is a poet, researcher and facilitator, with work published by Cordite, Rabbit, Voiceworks and Scum Mag. Ellen has also spoken and performed work at the Emerging Writers Festival, Digital Writers Festival and the National Young Writers Festival. She is a descendant of the Guringai people from the Broken Bay area of NSW. Her artistic practice is centred around confronting, reckoning with and understanding contradicting parts of identities, and approaching those contradictions with curiosity, generosity and warmth.

Studio project

Poetry manuscript threaded together by the theme of Catholicism. The manuscript aims to question, challenge and interrogate the promises of love, justice, faith and community as they appear in the Catholic Bible and teachings, and how they have actually come into fruition both in my own life and throughout our many histories. The title of the manuscript is Much Dreaming and Many Words, taken from Ecclesiastes 5:7 which reads: “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.” The manuscript challenges that verse, attesting to the importance and necessity of stories and dreams for our futurity.


  • I aim to develop my ability to hold space for others who wish to embrace their messiness, their uncertainty, and their flaws.
  • Writing workshops for young people interested in creating poetry, particularly young queer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other QPoC. Poetry has been a site of healing for me, but has also been a lot of fun (!), especially as I’ve begun to experiment with visual and avant garde poetry. I would love to help run a space where other young poets can approach poetry with curiosity, wonder or as a tool to express whatever they choose.