The centrepiece of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the National Writers’ Conference is the place to be for emerging writers hungry to hear from leaders in the field, develop their skills, and meet other excited word-nerds. Two days at Town Hall is a great way to spend a weekend, and this year’s timetable is packed.
THE CONTROL ROOM
Get up close and personal with our festival ambassadors and special guests. Ask them the big questions, the little questions, the good questions. Now’s your chance!
Saturday 11am – Kylie Ladd
Saturday 12pm – Anna Poletti
Saturday 2pm – William McInnes
Saturday 3pm – Sulari Gentill
Sunday 12pm – Oslo Davis
Sunday 2pm – Ni Made Purnamasari, Aan Mansyurin Conversation with Deryn Mansell
Sunday 3pm – Working in the Arts: In Conversation with Joe Toohey, Justine Hyde and Esther Anatolitis
Park yourself in the spectacular Swanston Hall and
hear the emerging and emerged tackle contemporary
Is the freelance lifestyle all mid-morning
coffee dates and endless free time, or is the
reality more 2 Minute Noodles and chasing
invoices? Four writers with a knack for
freelance talk about what it looks like to work
unconventionally, and how to make it work for
you. Featuring Sam Cooney, Gillian Terzis,
Ellena Savage and Connor Tomas O’Brien.
Why do we like what we like, and should we
even care? Why do we dissect things, and
what value is there in examining the merits of
the latest band, book, or show? Hear some of
the newest and best voices in criticism chat
about how they approach reviewing work,
be it a book, film, stage show or everyone’s
favourite: music. Featuring Chad Parkhill,
Jane Howard, James Tierney and
Cut, paste, print, draw, photocopy, staple:
zines are an enduring art form in the age of
the digital. What makes the zinesters tick?
What makes a good zine, and what do you
need to start? Hear from some creators with
a range of different projects on where they
got their start and just what it is about the call
of the stapler that keeps them coming back.
Featuring Cameron Baker, Anna Poletti,
Oslo Davis, and Alexandra Duguid.
Emerging is not a synonym for ‘young’,
but these writers definitely fall into both
categories. What they lack in age they make
up for with talent, already having published
debut novels. What’s the trick to moving
so fast? Pick the brains of Oliver Mol, Eli
Glasman and Eliza Henry-Jones.
While many of us have been saying we
‘want to be writers when we grow up’ our
entire lives, others have had some less than
conventional journeys to the written word.
From boxing to ghostwriting, come along
and hear the stories of these writers whose
work and lives have taken some colourful
turns. With Trent Kusters, Mischa Merz, and
Adeline Teoh. Hosted by Geoff Orton.
Having a conversation with a stranger can
be daunting at the best of times, let alone if
you’re grilling them about their work. What’s
the best way to talk to someone about their
work, and how hard should you push? Get
some tips from experts Emily Laidlaw,
Madeleine Dore, Neha Kale and
It’s the dream, isn’t it? To have your novel
published and feel like a ‘real writer’. While
the ways we read and write are constantly
evolving, for many writers it’s still the ultimate
goal. We chat to some writers about their
journey to the finished piece, about living the
novel dream and what the future may have in
store for novelists.
Featuring William McInnes, Kylie Ladd,
Sulari Gentill. Hosted by Alice Robinson.
The television machine is always rumbling,
and it can be easy to forget that each
program has a team behind it. Who are the
writers behind the TV shows we love, and
how did they get there? Is writing for TV really
like the 30 Rock writers’ room? These writers
chat about their careers and what it’s like to
see your words spoken on the little screen.
Featuring Lawrence Leung, Fiona Harris,
and John Richards.
YOU ARE HERE
Over the weekend EWF staff will be going
around to find four audience members most
keen to get up on stage and share what
they write and what they’re going to go
home and write after a weekend of inspiring
Join the intimate atmosphere in the Yarra Room and add your voice to the discussions about these writing forms.
While writing your first novel feels like pulling
teeth, song writing’s effortless end product
sometimes makes us think the process is all
strumming guitars, staring out a window at
beautiful scenery. Pick the brains of these
talented music makers and see if song writing
is as romantic as it seems. Featuring Gena
Rose Bruce, Adam Curley and Evelyn Morris.
POP CULTURE WRITING
From Broad City to Taylor Swift, these guys
know what’s worth knowing in the pop culture
world. But what even is pop culture – and why
should we write about it? Across the web and
print, these writers promote the cause of pop.
Featuring Mel Campbell, Sinead Stubbins
and Meg Watson.
It seems like you can’t go a day without seeing
a Facebook friend post their snaps from their
latest trip – everyone’s always globetrotting
without you. Past the photos and past the
check-ins, how do we write about travel and
how should we? Featuring Lorna Hendry,
Alister McKeich and Torre De Roche.
Some people are romance junkies, others like
to be immersed in the world of sci-fi. Some
of us dip our toes into a plethora of genres all
at once – good writing is good writing, right?
Come along to see the genre worlds collide
as we chat romance, sci-fi and all things
genre. Featuring Karys McEwen, Liam Jose
and Elizabeth Beaton
What protocols should we follow when writing
the other? How can we educate ourselves on
language that is inclusive and how do we avoid
language and terms that are offensive and
damaging? Featuring Fotis Kapetopoulos,
Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, and Jessica Yu.
Writing can be isolating even in the biggest
city. How do you stay connected when you’re
physically isolated too? These writers might
not be from the big smoke, but they’re on fire.
Join their conversation on how living rural can
influence your work. Featuring Erin Handley,
Esther Anatolitis, and Honey Brown.
Reading and writing is changing, with more
works online than ever before. Are bloggers
really the pioneers of online publishing? What
are the advantages of publishing your own
work and how can you form a successful
and enduring platform? Featuring Sam van
Zweeden, Michelle McLaren and
What we talk about when we talk about
talking. In the solitary world of writing it’s
nice to hear a voice that’s not on the page,
especially if they’re talking about your
favourite book. From the funny to the surreal,
these podcasters live in your headphones and
help your quiet afternoons. Bring the chat,
IRL. Featuring Rebecca Shaw, Peter Taggart
and Ben McKenzie.