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 2017 festival will take place between September 28 and October 1.

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.


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.


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.


Twitter: @izasmiz

Khalid Warsame

Festival Director

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.


Twitter: @kldwarsame

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.


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.


Twitter: @stellacharls


Rebecca MacFarling


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 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 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 Browand Stilts, and she moonlights as a food blogger. She lives in Brisbane with her family.

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.


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.

National Young Writers’ Festival is part of:

Produced by:

Sister festivals:


To contact festival staff, please email

For all media enquiries, please email

Please address postal correspondence to:

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