Age limit (i.e. how young is is ‘young?’)
The National Young Writers’ Festival focuses on creating opportunities for writers aged 18 to 35; however, artists and festival-goers of all ages are encouraged to get involved. Having some more experienced writers and industry folk on our panels and in our audiences is an invaluable part of the NYWF experience. If you are a writer between 13 and 17 years of age, you can get involved with our Younger Young Writers’ Program (filter for YYWP in the first filter menu to see only these events).
Application process and timeline
Applications are done online, and generally open in March and close in April.
We welcome applications from writers across all forms and styles, aged 18 – 35, from anywhere in Australia or New Zealand. You can apply as an individual, or as a collective / group. We also accept applications from folks beyond these parameters on a case by case basis. More information on the festival and application process is in our FAQs. If you’d like to discuss your application with us before sending it in, please get in touch.
After submitting your application, you’ll get a confirmation email from us. You’ll also get an email from us around May to say if your application was successful or not, and to outline next steps. If you’re a festival artist, you’ll be given information on your events and put in touch with artists you’re featuring with. You’ll also be connected to one of our directors, who will be your point of contact for all things organising and preparing for the festival.
In August or September each year, the program is published on our website and often launched in a special event. The actual festival dates are the late September / early October NSW public holiday long weekend.
What to include in your application
Great applications tend to be thorough. We want to know who you are and what you do? What are your passions? What do you love to write and for whom? Who are your influences, what are your aspirations?
When it comes to your pitches for events, we favour people with a specific vision. It is good to hear that you want to pitch an event about horror fiction, but it’s great to hear that you want to pitch a panel discussion about the gothic horror tradition in Australian literature, where it succeeds, and the extent to which it misappropriates Indigenous storytelling.
We may not necessarily program every event pitch we love, but it’s also a window into how you think and the sorts of topics on which you might be well equipped to speak.
Being involved beyond featuring as an artist
To show equal treatment, we don’t accept applications after the closing deadline.
Our directors receive hundreds of quality applications each year and if yours was not selected, it’s not personal! Often a writer’s application may be strong and interesting but not fit seamlessly with our festival theme, or we may have a surplus of excellent applications for the number of positions our budget allows. Each year applications are selected based on a number of things; on the experience and voice of the writers, on the quality of their event pitches, and the strength of their ideas. It’s a complicated balancing act, and please know that we read and appreciate each and every one.
If you miss the deadline or your application was not chosen, we’d love you to apply next year, and of course to get involved in events! We always include workshops and other participatory sessions in our festival program. NYWF audience members are predominantly writers themselves.
We have a strong team of volunteers who keep the festival running each year.
Our core team of directors, producers and other arts geniuses is regularly changing – we have limited-time stints so that the opportunity to work on NYWF is spread widely.
We partner and work with other organisations in the arts, media, education, and more! Would you like to support us or collaborate with us?