Participating / attending the festival


How much does the festival cost to attend?

All our core events are FREE. On rare occasions we have a one-off session with a ticket price; in these cases entry fees are charged to recoup production costs rather than for profit. We are committed to being as financially accessible as possible, and will not charge for events unless there is no other way to create them.


How does NYWF deal with safety and anti-discrimination? Is there a code of conduct and who do I contact if something’s not right?

We require all of our artists, attendees and crew members to follow our Code of Conduct. Breach of the Code of Conduct will result in action. Read the Code of Conduct.


When will the program be released? What are the festival dates?

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. In 2020 the program was released on the evening of 10 September.


How do I participate in events?

Our 2021 program will be a hybrid model; we are retaining a digital program that will exist alongside the usual festival which takes place across the October long weekend in Newcastle, NSW. Your best way to access online events is to create an account – this allows you to save your own festival schedule, RSVP for limited-capacity sessions, and comment on event broadcasts. More information about the Newcastle festival will be available when the program is launched. Here’s our guide to attending the festival, and accessibility information.


Where is your access information?

Each digital event’s page shows how it will be broadcast, and other relevant access information. A number of our events have closed captions. We also have a general guide to accessibility. If there’s something we’ve missed, please contact us!


Do I have to book tickets or reserve a seat?

Most of our digital sessions will be broadcast directly to the website, with no cap on attendance. However, some of our programmed sessions have limited capacity, or have limited access for privacy reasons. When logged in to your account, you can RSVP for these special events to make sure you can get in on the day. Each event’s information page will let you know if you need to book a spot. More information about the Newcastle festival will be available when the program is launched.


What is this year’s theme?

The 2021 theme is MOBILISE, asking writers to respond with vitality and vigour to the challenge of imagining a better world; and to make the most of the brief time we’re given. We have collectively reached a crossroads with a degree of clarity rarely afforded to any generation before. Now it’s up to us to decide the direction we will take.


Where are the festival’s events held? 

The festival’s events are usually held across a number of different venues in Newcastle; these venues vary from year to year depending on their availability and suitability. The festival program will clearly indicate where any given event will be held. In 2021 we are holding a hybrid festival, with a combination of digital events, and events live in Newcastle. Digital events will be hosted on our website, with various sessions also being broadcast on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere.


Does the NYWF have an age limit? How young 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, get involved with our Younger Young Writers’ Program (filter for YYWP in the first filter menu to see only these events).



Applying as an artist

Applications for 2021 have closed. If you would like to start preparing your application for next year’s festival, please read our guide on applying to NYWF and check out our 2021 Artist Call Out Info Pack.


Who can apply to be a festival artist?

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 – if you want to pitch your involvement, contact us


What are you looking for in applications? What should I include?

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.  



Background on NYWF

Read about NYWF.


How long has NYWF been running?

NYWF was founded in 1998.


Who runs the festival?

The day-to-day operations of the festival are run by NYWF’s team of staff (who largely work as volunteers); supervised and assisted by the festival’s board.


How can I get involved? 

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?

Contact us to find out more about volunteering, becoming a team member, or partnering with us.


What is Octapod and This is Not Art (TiNA)? How does NYWF fit in?

Since its creation in 1998, NYWF has partnered with Octapod, a Newcastle-based leading regional arts and cultural development organisation, to present the festival as part of This is Not Art (TiNA). This is Not Art is an experimental environment where artists can test and exchange ideas that belong outside of institutions. It usually comprises three sub-festivals: Crack Theatre Festival, Critical Animals and the National Young Writers’ Festival, and in the past has included special guest events from Electrofringe and City Evolutions. In 2021 we are presenting NYWF as a solo festival while TiNA takes a break.