National Young Writers’ Festival 2023

I have returned from National Young Writers’ Festival 2023, proud as punch of what our team put together.

I was one of three board members able to attend the festival in person. Here we are pictured above (Lex Hirst, myself and Michael Daley), having a blast at Newcastle Library where a majority of the events took place.

Being a board member during the festival was mostly a case of being an enthusiastic cheerleader, which feels like a huge honour. We get to experience the events and be ambassadors for the team, but the truth is that it’s the staff who make all the good things happen.

The 2023 team – Chloe Mills, Kanika Chopra, Tina Huang, Matthew Tomich and Tarni Cruickshank – delivered a welcoming, inclusive event bringing together a community of writers to learn and connect over three busy days.

You can watch the digital events online. I especially recommend the Archives for Change discussion, a standout conversation from this year’s event.

National Young Writers’ Festival Board

Back in the early 00s, I was fortunate enough to attend iconic arts event This is Not Art, an umbrella festival that included the National Young Writers’ Festival and National Student Media Conference. I fell in love with this exuberant, chaotic weekend in Newcastle that blended artforms and encouraged cross-pollination between artistic communities.

After attending for a couple of years, I was asked to deliver the National Student Media Conference. It was my first time producing a large-scale event, and this transformed my ambitions for my creative and work life. I fell in love with creative production, artistic direction and delivering artistic events. I also met and worked with many artists who became co-conspirators and peers in future projects. I would come back to the festival many, many times as a presenter and an audience member.

I am grateful that I got to have these years in an era where arts funding was not at the crisis point we now find it in, and where my university and student union invested in me so I could develop as an artist and an arts worker. Like many arts organisations and events, TiNA has changed radically over the years: the National Student Media Conference folded after VSU destroyed student magazines, but thankfully the National Young Writers’ Festival has flourished over the years.

I’m joining the NYWF board this year. I think it’s a great opportunity to give back to a festival and a community that I have benefited greatly from. I want to see young writers have the chance to shape this event and the community it creates, and I look forward to supporting them in this role.

May/June 2014 Update


It’s been an incredibly busy and incredibly good time for me over the past few months. I’ve submitted a book chapter for an amazing project, done an in-conversation event with John Marsden at The Wheeler Centre, hosted a panel on women in writing at the Emerging Writers’ Festival, been asked to join in on the National Young Writers’ Festival fun later this year and been accepted to the European Festivals Association Atelier.

I’m particularly stoked to be going to NYWF this year. My years directing the National Student and Emerging Media Conference (before VSU put an end to it) were some of the most formative for me. They were a baptism of fire in how to program literary/media events and put me in touch with a network of peers that I still work with to this day. I’ve gone back to This is Not Art a few times as an audience member, and a few times to host or facilitate panels for either Cracked or NYWF, but this year it will be even more wonderful to return and help out any way I can as two women I admire greatly — Alex Neill and Jess Alice — are at the helm. I’ve worked with Alex over many years, including one year where she took on the role of Editor at The Pun (the first and only time I’ve ever had a publicist ring me to rave over how wonderful one of our editors was… she’s that awesome) and with Jess over the last few at Express Media. Both are shining examples of artists who also have excellent artistic direction skills. They can admin the shit out of an arts project just as well as they can creatively craft it, and I can’t wait to cheerlead from the sidelines as they create an absolutely spectacular NYWF 2014.

NYWF takes place in early October, meaning it will be a very short time after that I will head off to Poland to participate in the Atelier. In the lead up I will need to write a paper to present, and start to whittle down my wish-list of places nearby I want to visit. One non-negotiable is, of course, dropping in to visit Melbourne’s sister City of Literature, Krakow. They have some particularly wonderful initiatives which I would love to hear more about.

I’m also looking forward to seeing some results flow from the Women in Writing roundtable at EWF. You can check out my blog post about the event, but it is nice to be able to update you and let you know that we are already working towards our first event. The idea came directly from the session we held, and I can’t wait to share more about it with you.

I had a wonderful time doing our in-conversation event with John Marsden at The Wheeler Centre to launch the John Marsden Hachette Prize for Young Australian Writers. John is generous with his advice and enjoyable to talk to about all things writing. Having started reading his books as a teenager it was wonderful to talk to someone I have admired for so many years. The photo above is courtesy of Courteney Hocking, who came along and snapped from the front row.

National Young Writers’ Month has wrapped up, and this year the blog was a resource jam-packed with information and inspiration thanks to our Projects and Awards Intern Aleczander Gamboa. He really went above and beyond the call of duty. During NYWM I had a chat with 2013 Scribe Prize winner Oliver Mol, which you can check out here.

I really did think the second half of this year was going to slow down somewhat, but there are in fact more exciting possibilities on the horizon than ever before. Heading to Poland is obviously high on the list of awesomeness, and I hope I can fill you in on some of the rest soon.