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. The 2018 festival will take place between September 27–30.

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.


Jini Maxwell

Festival Co-Director

Jini Maxwell makes sincere, playful work, both on and offline. She has published comics, poetry, non-fiction, memoir and hypertext, and until recently, worked on a research project writing comics about mental health. She is constantly looking for new ways to do things with pictures and words. Her work as an arts producer focusses on  accessibility, digital creativity, and in collapsing the binary of serious and playful work. She is a firm believer in creating an arts community that gives more people a chance to be in the room.


Twitter: @astroblob

Jesse Oliver

Festival Co-Director

Who likes feelings anyway? Jesse sure does. He is also believes that the intimacy of writing, reading and poetry has a powerful potential for change. Over the past 4 years, Jesse has appeared as an artist on platforms such as the National Young Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers festival, and the Digital Writers Festival spreading his manifestos of love and acceptance. In 2017, he battled it out in the Australian Poetry Slam to be awarded the title of Australian Poetry Slam Champion 2017 – Adult. Now, Jesse has turned his attention to empowering others, building an army of young writers, helping the world grow and getting around to finishing his novel.


Twitter: @jesseslamoliver

Maggie Thompson

Festival Co-Director

Maggie works in book publishing and is an Associate handling international and subsidiary rights at independent publisher, Allen & Unwin, in Sydney. She has edited student publications, produced radio and has degrees in English literature and law. She loves finding out what books mean to other people and making connections across Australia and the world, based on reading and writing.


Twitter: @mobythompson

Caleb Triscari

Festival Co-Director

Caleb Triscari is a journalist, producer, and former editor of Farrago, the student publication of the University of Melbourne. Since then, he has been published in JunkeeThe Saturday PaperDaily Review and regularly reports for Panorama on SYN 90.7FM. He is currently the subeditor at SmartCompany.


Twitter: @calebjtriscari

Ellen Harvey

Festival Co-Manager

Ellen is a writer, editor, and arts manager. She currently works at Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres in Canberra, establishing their arts-focussed coworking space, and supporting venue and business development. She has experience as an editor of a nationally-distributed magazine, director of an arts organisation, marketing and events coordinator of a writers festival, and regional liaison for writing programs. Ellen has worked with the ACT Writers Centre, the Canberra Writers Festival, Penguin Books, Random House Australia, Universal Magazines, National Novel Writing Month, and Dymocks Booksellers. Ellen is passionate about engaging with readers, writers, and artists, while also supporting the next generation of young creatives. Currently, Ellen is writing her third (unpublished) novel.
Twitter: @honeyelle

Deanne Sheldon-Collins

Festival Co-Manager

Deanne works by day at Writers Victoria, where she’s involved in various areas of arts administration and programming. By night, she freelances as an editor and writer, and she’s worked on projects across fiction, non-fiction, and academia. She has degrees in literature and publishing from The University of Queensland, worked for several years in bookselling, and is the former Reviews Editor of speculative fiction magazine Aurealis. Deanne drinks far too much tea, loves reading new fantasy, and will happily ramble about textual analysis for hours if you get her started.



Shona Barrett


Shona is CEO of Melbourne Writers Festival, and was MWF’s General Manager for 5 years. She is an arts manager with over 15 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, in operations, business and strategic planning, financial management, human resources and fundraising. 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.

Steph Harmon

Steph Harmon is the culture editor of Guardian Australia. Prior to that, she was founding editor of, a politics, culture and comment site which publishes the best young writers around Australia. Before Junkee, she was editor of Sydney music and arts streetpress The Brag – with odd jobs at triple j, Radio National, and basically any outlet that would take her. She tweets from @stephharmon

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran

Bhakthi Puvanenthiran is Associate Editor of Previously Bhakthi was a journalist and editor at The Age and Sydney Morning Herald covering arts, entertainment and business. She co-hosted the podcast Hard Bargain, is a regular media commentator and and sits on the board of the National Young Writers Festival.

Twitter: @bhakthi

Sarah Gilchrist

Sarah trained as an actor and a writer before moving into arts management. She has held marketing and communications roles for a number of arts organisations including the Australian Youth Orchestra, Sydney Writers’ Festival and Pinchgut Opera. She is now General Manager of Pinchgut Opera, a role which is also responsible for marketing and fundraising.

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