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 2016 festival will take place between September 29 and October 2.

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 2016 festival is staffed by:


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



David Graham • Festival Director

David has been reading, writing and performing poetry in Newcastle since he moved there when he was eighteen. He has also embroiled himself in the local scene hosting a monthly open mic poetry, performance and anything else night called Word Hurl Anti-Slam. He loves absurdism, surrealism, psychedelica and writing that doesn’t make any sense, but doesn’t mind a few truth bombs along the way too. David believes in encouraging everyone and anyone to write and be creative and enjoys giving all kinds of writers a platform to share and talk about their work.

Email: david@youngwritersfestival.org


Emerging Writers Izzy BW

Izzy Roberts-Orr • Festival Director

Izzy is a writer, editor and radio producer based in Melbourne.  Her work has been published widely, including in Voiceworks, Seizure and various anthologies. In 2015, Izzy was a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, a Melbourne Fringe ‘Uncommon Places’ artist, a Community Radio Network segments series creator, and shortlisted in both poetry and narrative non-fiction categories of the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards. Izzy is the Executive Producer of The ReReaders, and has worked with many community and arts organisations including Express Media, Emerging Writers’ Festival, Blak & Bright and RRR.

Email: izzy@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @izasmiz


Annie Waters • Festival Director

Annie has been told in every writing exercise she’s ever done that she needs to put more of herself into the work. Luckily, she wants to become an editor when she grows up. She has degrees in English, Psychology, French and Professional Communications and has worked with Adelaide Writers’ Week on two festivals. In 2013-14, she edited and published eight editions of an online magazine and has since been involved with the SA Writers Centre Dubnium Young Editors project. Currently, Annie is happy to contribute to making events happen for writers (especially emerging ones) and working in an independent bookshop in Adelaide. She likes good books and soft textiles, little dogs and bright colours, writing that makes you double take and art of all kinds.

Email: annie@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @captainmidget


Stella Charls • Festival Manager

Stella is an emerging arts manager and event producer. She currently works as the Marketing and Events Coordinator for Readings Books Music and Film within areas of advertising, administration, event management, partnership engagement and development. She has experience as a bookseller, programming intern, artist liaison, venue manager and volunteer manager. Stella has worked for festivals and organisations that support education and the arts such as Teach for Australia, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Writers Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival and Australasian Worldwide Music Expo.

Email: stella@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @stellacharls


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Khalid Warsame • Festival Coordinator

Khalid is a Brisbane-based writer and editor of short fiction, essays, and shopping lists. He is the fiction editor of The Lifted Brow and has previously worked as an editor for Overland Journal and Voiceworks. Khalid is the co-founder of the soon-to-be-launched art collective, Good Day, which aims to foster collaborative projects between young and established artists.

Email: khalid@youngwritersfestival.org

Twitter: @kldwarsame



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


Rebecca MacFarling

Rebecca MacFarling • Chair

Rebecca is Deputy CEO and Head of Fundraising for CUFA, an economic aid agency which works to combat poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.  Rebecca has spent the last two decades working in marketing, digital strategy, fundraising, sponsorship and customer loyalty across the not-for-profit and corporate sectors.  Prior to joining CUFA, she held senior roles at Musica Viva Australia and Bangarra Dance Theatre.  She has also sat on the board of new music organization, Chronology Arts.


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; he has also recently been both co-founder and co-managing director of a new start-up rolling stock leasing company called Minelink.

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.

Michael brings with him a broad range of experience, skills and knowledge in financial/investment markets and commercial business.

Shona B

Shona Barrett

Shona Barrett is an arts manager with over ten years’ experience in the arts and not-for-profit sector. Shona is currently General Manager of Melbourne Writers Festival where she is responsible for financial, operational and human resource management. Before relocating to Melbourne from London in 2011, Shona worked in production and project management roles at the British Film Institute, working with the collections of the UK’s National Film and Television Archive.


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.


Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran is digital entertainment editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.  Her many and varied jobs have included working as a broadcaster at 3RRR, a producer for ABC radio, a publishing assistant at Penguin, artist liaison at the Melbourne Writers Festival and co-director of the National Young Writers Festival.

Twitter: @bhakthi

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.


Ed Wright

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 info@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