Lex Hirst is an Australian commissioning editor, festival director and arts programmer driven by a love of great writing and exciting ideas.


Lex Hirst

Commissioning editor, arts director, cultural programmer

I commission books at Penguin Random House Australia, working across titles on Random House's print and digital lists. My remit is to build a list of new, exciting voices in both fiction and nonfiction and I'm particularly interested in stories about identity, and writing that will blow me away. I draw most of my inspiration from engaging with the Australian writing and publishing scene, but am also interested in international voices that will connect with Australia readers. 

I am a SAMAG Committee Member, representing literature on this art board alongside directors and managers from peak Australian arts organisations. 

In 2014-15 I co-directed the National Young Writers' Festival (NYWF), Australia's biggest gathering of writers aged 18-35, as part of TiNA Festival in Newcastle.

I program and produce arts events - most recently I curated Junkee.com's annual Junket unconference, programming 150 brilliant young minds from all over Australia to set the agenda for our country. In 2015 I programmed speakers for Cubby House, love child of Secret Garden Festival and Concrete Playground, and I co-produced a panel event of writers, thinkers and creators talking about social and political issues at Giant Dwarf called Junkee Take On. I moderated our third panel - Junkee Take On: Marriage. 

I regularly moderate and participate in panels and in-conversations at writing, arts and ideas events. I also run workshops for writers and editors, and participate in storytelling events.

Common to all my roles is a deep respect for Australian arts and culture and the desire to discover exciting voices and share them with new audiences. I'm always keen to discuss new ways to do just that.