The National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) is an annual gathering of young writers. A place to show work, share ideas, and learn. Our programs are free, and made by and for young writers who create across stage, page, web and beyond. NYWF is so-called Australia’s largest gathering of young writers, with artists bringing their craft from all around (cities, regional, rural and our beloved regular cohort from Aotearoa). We showcase work in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop, music, journalism, autobiography, comedy and prose.
Since its creation in 1998, NYWF has presented ‘writing’ in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations, and more. Our program combines practical skill-building sessions with social events, interactive projects, writing showcases and collaborations.
National Young Writers’ Festival takes place on the land of the Awabakal and Worimi peoples in Newcastle, NSW. We acknowledge and pay respect to the Awabakal and Worimi people on whose land our festival was born; and many, many other First Nations Peoples as the traditional custodians of the unceded lands on which the festival occurs this year. We pay respect to elders, past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the resilience of their continuing cultures. This always was, always is, always will be Aboriginal land.
2023 Staff (TBA)
2023 NYWF Board
Jessica Alice (Chair)
Jessica Alice is a poet, writer and arts advocate. She is Chief Executive Officer of Writers SA, the peak organisation for writing and literature in South Australia, and Chair of the Arts Industry Council of South Australia, the state’s independent, sector-wide representative arts body. She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Cultural Leadership from the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Jessica was formerly Program Manager of Melbourne Writers Festival, a member of the executive leadership team at Regional Arts Victoria as Marketing & Publicity Manager, and she served as the inaugural chair of the Kat Muscat Fellowship for young writers and editors where she remains a custodial committee member. Her poetry and essays are published in Meanjin, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry Journal, Guardian Australia, Metro Magazine, and in several anthologies. Jessica was Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival, in Newcastle, New South Wales, for the 2014–15 festivals.
Lex Hirst is the Publishing Director at Sydney-based independent publishing house, Pantera Press. A publisher of socially driven, culturally vital books such as The Dreaming Path, Against Disappearance, Gigorou and Caught in the Act, she has a strong commitment to sharing and supporting works that speak to and share the experiences of the diverse communities that make up this country. Lex oversees the Pantera Press publishing strategy, and has published ABIA shortlisted titles, award-winning titles, as well as bestsellers. She was a co-creator of the LIMINAL & Pantera Press Nonfiction Prize, which is the first national nonfiction prize for First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour. Pantera Press has been named a Nielsen Bookscan Heatseeker five years in a row, which refers to a publishing company that demonstrates both long- and short-term growth. Lex has previously been a ABIA Rising Star, sat on the Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group committee, as well as curating the Junkee Media Junket Unconference, and a number of other literary and media programming events. Having been a Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival in 2014-15, she is passionate about the importance of literary festivals, especially early career events like NYWF, which foster a strong writing culture and are a vital part of the wider arts ecosystem.
Lefa Singleton Norton
Lefa is a disabled freelance writer and creative producer from Melbourne. Currently she works as a Creative Producer for Arts Access Victoria. Most recently she was a contributor to We’ve Got This: Stories by Disabled Parents (Black Inc., 2022) where she wrote about how her feminism and disability politcs have shaped her parenting. Lefa’s freelance writing has been featured in publications such as The Age, ABC Everyday, SBS Online, Overland, Junkee and T
Dr Tom Doig is an award-winning author, an academic and an arts worker. His books are Hazelwood (Finalist, 2020 Walkley Book Award), The Coal Face (joint winner, 2015 Oral History Victoria Education Innovation Award) and Mörön to Mörön: Two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure (2013). Tom is a Creative Writing Lecturer at the University of Queensland, with an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Journalism. Tom also has extensive experience in the youth arts, independent publishing and not-for-profit sectors, including: Communications Advisor, Foundation for Young Australians (2010-2012); Associate Producer, Next Wave Festival (2009-2010); Board Member, This is Not Art Festival (2007); Co-Director, National Young Writers’ Festival (2006-2007); Co-Founder, Small Press Network (2006); Board Member, Emerging Writers Festival (2005-6); Peer Assessor, Australia Council for the Arts (2005); Editor Voiceworks magazine (2004-2006). He has served as a mentor for young writers and arts workers across Australia and New Zealand for two decades.
Andia Petropoulos is an experienced professional and lawyer specialising in financial markets, fintech, and law reform. Andia has a broad career encompassing experience working at a global law firm, UN system, stock exchange and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Demonstrating genuine interest in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Andia was chair of ASX’s Women’s Network and founding member of ASX’s Culture & Heritage Committee. She is currently a member of ASIC’s Women in ASIC Leadership Team. Andia also engages in the not-for-profit community, having previously participated in The Observership Program and held the position of Board Observer with the Sydney Theatre Company in 2020. Andia is an admitted solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Federal Court of Australia.