Emerging Writers’ Festival appoints Izzy Roberts-Orr as Artistic Director and co-CEO

Else Fitzgerald  
March 1, 2017

The Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) announces the appointment of Izzy Roberts-Orr as Artistic Director and co-CEO.

Roberts-Orr joins EWF with a wealth of festival programming experience as former co-director of the National Young Writers’ Festival.

The Melbourne producer, writer, editor and broadcaster leads an agile and digitally-savvy generation of writers expanding the definition of what it means to be a writer.

EWF appoints Roberts-Orr after the recent departure of previous director Michaela McGuire for the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Following last year’s highest-ever attendance (17,000 people over 11 days) EWF appoints Roberts-Orr for her commitment to fostering new literary talent.

“Emerging writers need space to cut their teeth, and to connect with each other, in order to work towards establishing a sustainable practice. We are very lucky in Australia to have a rich tapestry of storytellers working across many different mediums with rigour, precision and depth,” says Roberts-Orr.

“Fostering the talents of these storytellers at the early stages of their careers is incredibly important in order to ensure that they keep working, and that their voices keep reaching the audiences they are speaking to.

“The Emerging Writers’ Festival provides a space for writers at the early stage of their careers to develop, explore and – perhaps most importantly – to find their community,” she says.

Under her leadership the festival will delve further into debates around feminism, class, internet culture and the socio-political landscape in Australia; and continue its work in creating an inclusive and accessible space for new writers.

“Since Michaela’s wonderful and well-deserved appointment as director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, we have conducted a thorough process to identify the right candidate to continue the wonderful lineage and record of our previous directors (two of whom now fill the artistic director roles at both the Melbourne and Sydney Writers Festivals). We have found that person in Izzy,” EWF board deputy chair Craig Semple says.

“Izzy brings to the Festival wonderful experience gained working in festival environments, with not for profit arts organisations, in podcasting and broadcasting, and as a leader within the emerging writers’ community.  She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for the values the EWF wishes to promote, and is committed to connecting people, sharing skills and fostering engaged and critical communities that welcome and celebrate difference. In short, she is perfect for the job,” he says.

Roberts-Orr is an Executive Producer of The ReReaders and Sisteria podcasts. She has produced radio for SYN, RRR and FBi radio’s ‘All the Best’.

As a facilitator, curator and provocateur, she has worked with Voiceworks, Express Media, the Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival, Writers’ Victoria, SIGNAL, ARTillery, the University of Glasgow and most recently as a co-convenor of ‘Independent Convergence’ at MPavilion.

She has been a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow, a Melbourne Fringe Uncommon Places artist and a featured artist at Junction Arts Festival.

She has also featured at Noted Festival and You Are Here, and her work has been published in various journals and anthologies including Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, Cordite, Visible Ink and the Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry Anthology.

This year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival will run from June 14 – 23 in venues across Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding suburbs.

For further information, interviews or photo opportunities please contact Bella Arnott-Hoare, EWF marketing and publicity coordinator.
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