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. NYWF is a co-presenter of This is Not Art. 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 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 the project officer for the ABC’s Heywire program and coordinator of the Signal Express. 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 the the Marketing and Publicity Manager of Regional Arts Victoria. She is currently the poetry editor of Scum Mag, and has previously edited poetry for Voiceworks and The Lifted Brow. Jess has been performing 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. Jessica’s writing and reviews have been published in The Guardian Australia, Junkee, Cordite Poetry Review, Spook Magazine, The Victorian Writer, and Kill Your Darlings, among others.

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 is a founder and the manager editor of Scum Mag. She is also a freelance writer and is studying Honours at the University of Melbourne. Her writing has been published in Kill Your Darlings, Voiceworks, and Junkee. In 2013 she was a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship recipient.

Email: sian@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @scampbelljar



Rachel Toop • Festival Manager

Rachel is a freelance event coordinator, business consultant and currently works as a Development Executive at Melbourne Writers Festival within areas of partnership engagement, philanthropy, fundraising and sponsorship. She has been producing author events, literary awards and festivals that celebrate writing, reading and ideas for the last eight years, and has worked for organisations such as Adelaide Writers’ Week, the University of Adelaide, Carclew and Arts SA. 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.

Email: rachel@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @rachofwonder


Sophie Byrne

Sophie Byrne • Festival Coordinator

Sophie is an emerging arts administrator based in Adelaide, currently working as the marketing and admin coordinator at Brink Productions. She has been involved in many arts organisations in Adelaide, including the Adelaide Festival and Port Adelaide based Vitalstatistix. She worked for Radio Adelaide in administration and as a producer and presenter of youth arts program Streetcast, and has a strong passion for community radio. You can now hear Sophie in Adelaide’s premier sad song choir, Choral Grief, and see her reading all the books all the time.

Email: sophieb@youngwritersfestival.org


Zoë Caley • Marketing and Publicity Coordinator

Zoë is a Sydney based marketing coordinator for Bloomsbury Publishing. She is a student at the University of NSW, finishing off a double degree in arts/communications. A serial intern and volunteer, Zoë has varied experience from online publishing to public relations. With a love of creative writing and literature, she is excited to step into the role of Marketing and Publicity Coordinator for NYWF. Find her on Twitter: @zolizcaley

Email: zoe@youngwritersfestival.org


Madeleine Laing • Press Room Coordinator

Email: madeleine@youngwritersfestival.org 


Ewa Ramsey • 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


Rebecca Marsh • Younger Young Writers Program Coordinator


Tom Langshaw • Festival Assistant


Bridget Lutherborrow • Literary Picnic Coordinator


Emma Smith • Walking Tour: Clifftop Tales Coordinator



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 • Acting Chair

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.

Penny Chalke

Penny is a commercial lawyer who specialises in advising companies, not for profits and individuals on business structuring, commercial arrangements, corporate governance and intellectual property. She is currently a Senior Associate at Melbourne law firm Shiff & Company. Previously she worked at Piper Alderman, a national law firm, and in house at the BBC in London providing commercial and regulatory legal advice.

Sarah Gory

Sarah is a writer, reader, and cultural producer. She has worked as Director of Queensland Poetry Festival, Programs Manager of Queensland Writers Centre, and Manager of the National Young Writers Festival. Her writing has been published in various literary journals, including The Lifted Brow and Stilts, and she moonlights as a food blogger. She lives in Brisbane with her family.

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.


Edward Wright

Edward 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 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.Ed writes the New Australian Fiction column in The Australian newspaper. He has also written for 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.

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.






RWA 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 zoe@youngwritersfestival.org.

Please address postal correspondence to:

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

Photo by Lucy Parakhina