The National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) occurs annually in the city of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, over the New South Wales’ Labour Day Holiday Weekend in late September/early October. The 2015 festival will take place between October 1 and 4.

NYWF is the country’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop music, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. The festival presents ‘writing’ in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations, and more.

NYWF gives young writers a place to present their work and share ideas, to learn about the industry in which they write and to meet with like-minded people in a friendly festival atmosphere. If you’d like to know more about the festival, check out the frequently asked questions or contact a staff member.

The National Young Writers’ Festival is a volunteer-run organisation. The 2015 festival is staffed by:


Alexandra Neill • Festival Director

Alexandra is a freelance writer and blogger based in Melbourne. She has been a writer for Good News Week, an Ambassador for National Young Writers Month and the editor of comedy review website The Pun. Her fiction and non-fiction has been published by Voiceworks, Award Winning Australian Writing, Scum and Junkee and her blog, Adventures in TV-Land, has been published by The Internet. Currently she is an Associate Producer at the Emerging Writers Festival. She spends her spare time tweeting (@paper_bag_girl) and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Email: alexandra@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @paper_bag_girl


Jess Alice

Jessica Alice • Festival Director

Jessica is the poetry and short prose editor of The Lifted Brow and poetry editor of Scum. She presents and produces Women on the Line for Melbourne’s 3CR and is Radio Adelaide Breakfast’s feminist insider. Jess has been performing her poetry since 2007 and has been featured in the Emerging Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, Williamstown Literary Festival, Overload Poetry Festival and NYWF as a poet, broadcaster, editor and speaker. In 2013 she was the poetry programming coordinator of the inaugural Stripfest, St Kilda’s new arts and culture festival.

Email: jessica@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @jessica_alice_


Lex Hirst photo

Lex Hirst • Festival Director

Lex is an editor at Random House Australia, and currently specialises in digital-first romance books. She originally studied languages (Spanish and French) before realising the language she loved the most was English. Lex also does interviews for Final Draft, the book show on 2SER, and monthly book reviews on the Saturday Breakfast show, also on 2SER, and co-directs Factory Talks, monthly author events, with the Sydney Story Factory. She blogs about things on beautifulandnecessary.com, and generally reads as much as she can. Follow her on Twitter:@LexHirst

Email: lex@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @LexHirst



Sian Campbell • Festival Director

Sian Campbell is a freelance writer, post-grad student at the University of Melbourne, and one of the founding editors of Scum Mag. Her writing has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Voiceworks, and Junkee. In 2013 she was a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship recipient. She is currently working on a novel about mushrooms. siancampbell.wordpress.com

Email: sian@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @scampbelljar



Rachel Toop • Festival Manager

Rachel is a freelance event coordinator and emerging arts manager. She has been producing author events, literary awards and festivals that celebrate writing, reading and ideas for the last eight years, most recently coordinating the 2012 and 2013 Adelaide Writers’ Week with the Adelaide Festival. She also has a varied background writing public policy and working in youth arts, festivals, arts in health, marketing, public art and placemaking. She is currently completing her Masters in Public Policy and she is a lover of literature, ideas and digital media arts.

Email: rachel@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @rachofwonder


Sophie Byrne

Sophie Byrne • Festival Assistant Manager

Sophie is an admin nerd arts administrator based in Adelaide. She has volunteered for as many festivals as possible, including Womadelaide, the Adelaide Film Festival and the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and for the past two years has worked as an assistant for Adelaide Writers’ Week and women’s theatre company Vitalstatistix. You can hear her on Radio Adelaide’s Streetcast and at performances of Adelaide’s premier sad song choir Choral Grief. Sophie enjoys Swedish afternoon tea (‘fika’), new stationery and books.

Email: sophieb@youngwritersfestival.org


Ruth Sayers • Festival Coordinator

Ruth is a Swinburne University Film and Television graduate who chose to specialise in Producing and Production Management. While studying at Swinburne, Ruth spent a semester abroad studying at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, where she worked to develop an understanding of the film industry in the USA. Between 2011 and 2012 Ruth was the General Manager of student production house, RMITV, where she oversaw all day-to-day operations, managed a small team and worked to secure continued studio access and to strengthen relationships with stakeholders. In her final year studies, Ruth produced an 18 minute dystopian science fiction film called ‘2043’ which was selected for inclusion at the Swinburne graduate screening while still at a rough cut stage and went onto win the ‘Best Sound Design’ award. Ruth is excited to step into the Festival Coordinator role at NYWF as her passion for film stems from a love of reading and storytelling

Email: ruth@youngwritersfestival.org


Daniela Frangos • Marketing and Publicity Coordinator

Daniela is a writer for Adelaide music and culture website Rip It Up. She has previously worked as a freelance publicist for the 2014 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, 2014 Garden of Unearthly Delights and Adelaide-based production company Projector Films. Daniela has been a long-term broadcaster on Radio Adelaide, presenting and producing for several shows including flagship music program The Range and youth arts program Streetcast. Daniela is passionate about music, film and television, stemming from her love of great writing and storytelling. She spends much of her spare time supporting emerging writers, artists and musicians in her local arts scene.

Email: daniela@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @danielafrangos


Geoff Orton

Geoff Orton • Younger Young Writers’ Program Coordinator

Geoff is an English teacher who has worked with young writers in rural NSW, the United Kingdom and South Korea. A member of the inaugural Next Page program at the NSW Writers’ Centre, he is also co-ordinator of school-based small press programs and blog editor and event manager at the Writers Bloc. He writes short stories, poetry and the occasional recipe for his friends.

Email: geoffo@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @GeoffsOpinions


Ewa Grygier • Volunteer Coordinator

Ewa is a design graduate and freelancer based in Newcastle, New South Wales. Ewa currently spends most of time corralling two very small people, after several years in magazine publishing across production, editorial and design and, before that, architecture. A jack of all trades, master of a couple, she blogs very occasionally, tweets somewhat more often, and spends altogether too much time watching, reading and writing about (and less bad) television.

Email: volunteers@youngwritersfestival.org


NYWF is managed by a diverse and highly active board comprised of representatives from arts, business, marketing, and educational sectors. Its current members are:

Alex Farrar

Alex Farrar • Chair

Alex is an IP/entertainment lawyer and works with clients from the fields of screen media, the arts, communications, entertainment, innovation and social entrepreneurship. For four years Alex was in-house counsel at the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, in a role that included business development, stakeholder liaison, fundraising, policy development and general advocacy work. Alex has significant experience working with community and arts sector organisations. She is the former company secretary of the fine art organisation NETS Victoria, has been on the advisory board of the Games and Experimental Entertainment Laboratory (GEElab) since its inception in 2011, and was a business advisor to the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in 2009.

Rebecca MacFarling

Rebecca MacFarling • Secretary

Rebecca is a Sydney-based marketer and fundraiser, who has worked in sponsorship, philanthropy, marketing, digital strategy and customer engagement roles across the arts and the commercial sector.  She is currently the Development Director at Bangarra Dance Theatre, responsible for fundraising and corporate sponsorship for Bangarra and the Corroboree Sydney festival.  For four years, she held the role of Director of Sales and Marketing at Musica Viva Australia.  She also sits on the board of new music organisation Chronology Arts.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/beck_mac

Michael Trifunovic

Michael Trifunovic • Treasurer

Michael began his career in the financial markets in 1995 working for investment banks such as Bain & CompanyDeutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, where he held a variety of front office roles which included trading, derivatives, risk, sales and portfolio trading. Michael subsequently moved into funds management working for Russell Investments where he focused on investment portfolio management and implementation servicing the Australian superannuation industry. Most recently Michael has served on the board of an ASX listed minerals explorer Celamin Holdings, where he also played a key role in listing the company on the ASX. Most recently, Michael co-founded and was managing director of a rolling stock leasing company, MineLinkTL. He has also worked as an investment markets consultant and freelance financial writer for various investment publications as well as Fairfax papers such as the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Julian Hewitt

Julian Hewitt

Julian is a Sydney-based entertainment lawyer who acts for some of the most exciting young bands, filmmakers and creative talent in the country. He has lectured in copyright and intellectual law, established public charities, advised on major funding projects and litigations for listed public companies, and has been signed to major and independent record labels as a recording artist.

Dion Kagan

Dion Kagan

Dion has written reviews and commentary for Australian Book Reviewtrouble, the Big Issue, the Lifted Brow and Kill Your Darlings, and has worked as an independent editor for Vignette Press and the Emerging Writers’ Festival. He has a doctorate in cultural studies and teaches gender, sexuality and screen studies at LaTrobe University and the University of Melbourne.

Dominic Knight

Dominic Knight

Dominic is one of the founders of the Chaser and has worked on all the team’s projects including the original satirical newspaper and books and its television, stage and radio shows. He has written three novels: Disco Boy (2009), Comrades (2010), and Man vs. Child (2013), which was completed as part of a doctorate at the University of Sydney. He currently hosts ABC Local Radio’s Evenings in NSW and the ACT, as well as writing a column for Daily Life and altogether too many tweets.


Julia Tsalis

Julia is the Program Manager at the NSW Writers’ Centre, where she is responsible for the Centre’s artistic program including courses, festivals, competitions and events. Julia has over 15 years experience in arts management, having worked at the Australian Writers’ Guild, the Australia Council for the Arts in international market development, and in the US as Program Manager of the Professional Theatre Training Program. She has worked as a stage manager and holds a masters degree in theatre.

Jackie Bailey

Jacqueline Bailey is a researcher, writer, evaluator and policy adviser, with 14 years experience in the Australian government and non-profit sectors. She has worked in policy and research roles for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Health and Ageing and the Australia Council for the Arts. Jackie has a University Medal, BA (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media from the University of Melbourne. Jackie is experienced in social policy, aid and development. Jackie was the Deputy Chief Negotiator of the Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea in 2002, an International Election Observer in the Solomon Islands in 2001, and adviser to the Australian delegation to the UN from 2000 to 2002. Jackie advised government on a range of social policy issues during her time in Canberra.

She taught Australian foreign policy at the Australian National University and was shortlisted for the Rhodes scholarship for her work on refugee policy. Jackie is also an accomplished writer and documentary maker. She has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald, peer-reviewed journals International Peacekeeping, Australian Journal of Human Rights, Mots Pluriels and Cultural Trends, and arts industry publications Arts Professional UK and ArtLook. Jackie has been awarded Screen Australia documentary funding, a UNSW Research Excellence PhD scholarship in creative writing, and a Varuna Writers Centre fellowship for her creative work

Edward Wright

Edward Wright is an author, copywriter, lecturer, editor and critic. He has written six history titles for Murdoch Books including Ghost Colonies and Rebel Leaders, while his novella “An End to Hope,” was a winner of the Griffith Review’s inaugural Novella Competition. In 2012, he also published his first full-length book of poetry, When Sky Becomes the Space Inside Your Head. He is the Commissioning Editor for Fiction at Puncher and Wattmann. Edward writes the New Australian Fiction column in The Australian newspaper. He has also written reviews and articles for respected newspapers and journals including The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review and The South China Morning Post. Ed has a Ph.D. in Literature from Sydney University and is also a Conjoint Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. He teaches creative writing to children with the Writing Workshop. His copywriting clients include The City of Sydney and The University of Newcastle and he currently writes copy for the boutique marketing consultancy, Delivering Results.

Sponsors and Supporters


The National Young Writers’ Festival is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.



















DCA logo




National Young Writers’ Festival is part of:


Produced by:


Sister festivals:



This is Not Art


TiNA (credit Lucy Parakhina)

Photo by Lucy Parakhina

This is Not Art is an experimental environment where artists can test and exchange ideas that belong outside of institutions. Produced by Octapod in Newcastle since 1998, TiNA has grown to become one of Australia’s leading contemporary and emerging arts festivals, creating spaces for artistic collaboration and discovery. Forever responding and evolving, TiNA promotes a vibrant combination of voices that celebrate and seek creative innovation. As a festival of multiple programs presenting dynamic and bold works, TiNA is the sum of its ever-changing parts.

TiNA currently comprises three sub-festivals: Crack Theatre FestivalCritical Animals and the National Young Writers’ Festival.


To contact festival staff, please email info@youngwritersfestival.org.

For all media enquiries, please email daniela@youngwritersfestival.org.

Please address postal correspondence to:

The National Young Writers’ Festival
c/o NSW Writers’ Centre
PO Box 1056
Rozelle NSW 2039

Photo by Lucy Parakhina