Leena van Deventer is a game developer, writer and educator from Melbourne, Australia. She has taught interactive storytelling at RMIT and Swinburne Universities, and the Victorian College of the Arts. Leena also sits on the Board of Directors of the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Leena has worked in a freelance capacity on several games and apps, including writing and editing interactive Gamebooks for TinManGames, as a Senior Copywriter on a Cannes Gold Lion Award winning collaboration between Leo Burnett Sydney, Millipede Creative, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the game Run That Town, and was also a narrative consultant on the Twists & Turns app for the 2014 Melbourne Writers Festival, where she helped three festival authors navigate non-linear storytelling to deliver interactive choose-your-own-adventure tales geotagged to the laneways of Melbourne’s CBD.
Leena has extensive experience with radio and public speaking, and was the games correspondent for Tech Talk Radio (3WBC 94.1FM) for 2 years (approximately 100 episodes) has appeared on JoyFM and 3CR, and is a frequent guest on RRR’s Byte Into It, and Triple J’s ‘Hack’. Leena is a monthly guest on ABC 774’s Geek Club segment for the “Drive” program with Rafael Epstein. She has also spoken at The Wheeler Centre, the Freeplay Independent Games Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers Festival, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Word for Word Festival, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, Computer Games Boot Camp, Code Like A Girl, the Screen Futures Summit, AVCon, Writers Victoria, the University of Western Australia, and the inaugural “Breakthrough 2016” gender equality event for the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Leena’s main areas of interest are interactive fiction and non-linear storytelling, along with feminism, social justice, game design, podcasting and radio, and cheese. She is co-founder and director at WiDGET (Women In Development, Games & Everything Tech), a not-for-profit organisation aimed at helping women and non-binary game developers. In 2015 she won the inaugural “Pioneer Award” at the MCV Pacific “Women in Games Awards” presented by Xbox, for “the woman who has, over time, paved the way for women in gaming and helped build the Australian and/or New Zealand Games Industries”, and in 2016 was nominated for “Woman of the Year.” In 2017 and 2018, Leena was a recipient of the Next Gen Leaders scholarship program to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Leena has contributed to publications such as The Guardian, Crikey, The Big Issue, Kotaku, MX, Writers Bloc, Playwrite, The Victorian Writer, Women’s Agenda, and Metro Magazine, TEXT Journal, and co-authored a book on misogyny in videogames culture and online harassment for Affirm Press in March 2016 with Dr Dan Golding, called “Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, The Fight for the Future of Videogames”
Leena also sits on the Program Advisory Committee for RMIT’s Bachelor of Design (Games) degree program, and has been involved in the Freeplay Independent Games Festival in various roles (mainly Program Advisory Committee and Associate Producer) since 2011. Leena is the Deputy-Chair of the very first “Games and Interactive” Advisory Committee for the Australian Writers Guild, and sat on the Curatorial Advisory Committee for the Code Breakers exhibition at Australian Centre for the Moving Image, celebrating women game developers.