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The top seven writers’ festivals in Australia

Woman writing

Whether you’re an established author, an aspiring one or simply love to read, Writers’ Festivals are a place where all of the above are connected in celebration of literary creations. Australians seem particularly fond of them, from the weeklong extravaganza of the Sydney festival with over 450 global writers and thinkers presenting to the myriad one-day options in small towns, there are hundreds on offer throughout the year across the country.

As the act of reading and writing are such solitary processes, these festivals provide the perfect place for like minds to come together, discuss grand ideas and open our eyes to multitudes of perspectives. For the reader, it’s a place to meet the mastermind behind a wonderful novel and ask why their hero took a certain path over another and come across authors we’d not yet heard of ready to offer us entry into further unexplored worlds. Aspiring writers might be the easiest to spot. They’re feverishly taking notes and hanging off every word of the established authors, the festivals offering so much inspiration it’s almost hard to keep up.

However, established authors view them with equal importance. Perth author Natasha Lester has recently become a regular feature on literary festival programs and believes they are integral to her writing process.

“Writing is such a lonely business; most days it’s just me sitting in front of my computer and I hardly talk to anyone,” Natasha admits. “So to have the chance to speak at a writers’ festival and to meet readers there is wonderful. It changes my book from a monologue between me and my computer into a dialogue between me and the reader. There is nothing better than discovering a reader loves my characters as much I do and if I didn’t go to writers’ festivals, I wouldn’t be able to receive this feedback, and it’s the feedback that keeps me going when the writing is hard work.”

Natasha’s favourite festivals are the intimate ones, such as Big Sky Writers’ Festival in Geraldton and the New Norcia Writers’ Festival, because of all the opportunities to interact with the readers.

“The New Norcia festival is held at the monastery so it’s also very atmospheric,” she adds.

Without further ado, here’s our writers’ festival bucket list;

  1. Sydney Writers’ Festival – The pull of being the third biggest in the world stretched over a week in iconic locations such as the Sydney Opera House.
  2. Adelaide Writers’ Week – Pay homage to the first writers’ festival in Australia, originating in 1962 and still going strong.
  3. Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – Soak up your literary magic with a side of acai bowl and endless beautiful beaches at this intimate festival.
  4. New Norcia Writers’ Festival – With Natasha’s tick of approval, plus the incredible monastery location, this small town festival is a must-visit.
  5. Emerging Writers’ Festival, Melbourne – Highlighting the works of up-and-coming literary stars, this is the one where you can boast about discovering an author before they became massive. Get your book signed, you never know.
  6. Perth Writers’ Festival – Set in the gorgeous grounds of the University of Western Australia, you’ll find plenty of free events amidst the big ticket shows with famed authors and the Sunday family morning is always a hit.
  7. Cairns Tropical Writers’ Festival – Held every two years, this festival provides the perfect excuse to escape the colder climes in this tropical paradise while diving into an abundance of creativity. Don’t need to ask us twice.


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