Writing On Our Calendar / May 2019

May is packed so full of events, competitions, and book launches, you won’t know where to begin! A good place to start might be the Sydney Writers’ Festival in the first week of May, then have a read below to find out where to go next if you’re wanting to be inspired, encouraged and challenged!

Monday 29 April – Sunday 5 May: Sydney Writers’ Festival. Each year, Sydney Writers’ Festival presents more than 300 events, attracting audiences of up to 100,000 for a week-long conversation of books and ideas. From 29 April to 5 May 2019, thousands of readers and hundreds of writers will come together at the Festival hub at Carriageworks and venues across the city such as Sydney Town Hall and City Recital Hall. Head to the SWF website for the full program. Click here to check out the Writing NSW staff picks for the Sydney Writers’ Festival!

Wednesday 1 May: Submissions close for the Bristol Short Story Prize. Open to writers worldwide with unpublished stories on any theme or subject. First prize is worth £1000, with smaller cash prizes awarded for runners-up and shortlisted authors.

Wednesday 1 May: Submissions close for the Big Issue Fiction Edition. Open to unpublished fiction stories between 300-3000 words from any genre. Entry is free, and every published author is paid $500.


Wednesday 1 May: Punch Lines: Poets Play Duchamp. Presented by the Red Room Company and the Art Gallery of NSW, a series of poetic provocations to the pioneering art of Marcel Duchamp for Sydney Writers’ Festival. On display and performed live, six poets respond creatively to the artistic giant of the 20th century who ushered in an age of conceptual art. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney at 6-7pm. Free entry.

Thursday 2 May: 2019 Ngana Barangarai Black Wallaby Indigenous Writers’ Night. The South Coast Writers’ Centre’s most notable Indigenous literary event of the year, with the launch of Dreaming Inside — Voices from Junee Correctional Centre, Volume VII. Wollongong Art Gallery at 6-8:30pm. Entry donation at the door. No booking required.

Saturday 4 May: Australian Poetry Slam (APS) Youth Sydney Final at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Hosted by APS and Word Travels. Paramatta Riverside Theatres, Toongabbie at 6-7pm. Free entry.

Saturday 4 May: Bankstown Poetry Slam and Sydney Writers’ Festival present an all-female line-up of Western Sydney performances, hosted by Sara Mansour. Carriageworks, Sydney at 6.30-7.30pm. Free entry.

Saturday 4 May: SWF Wollongong Live & Local. Sydney Writers’ Festival will stream its headline events from Carriageworks in Sydney direct to Wollongong on Saturday 4 May, alongside live literary arts events provided by the South Coast Writers’ Centre. Wollongong Town Hall at 10am-5.30pm. Tickets $20 

Sunday 5 May: Submissions close for Cordite Poetry Review, Issue 91: NO THEME VIII. Open to everyone. Submit up to 3 poems.

Sunday 5 May: Heritage Festival 2019: Tour of Neglect and Vision. Ever been curious about the surrounds of Writing NSW, the beautiful heritage-listed Callan Park? Come along for a tour and find out about the connections of the park to the Wangal people, learn about the early colonial history, the innovative psychiatric care, extraordinary horticulture and clever sustainable practices. Callan Park, Rozelle at 2-4pm. Bookings essential. Tickets $20, children under 12 free.

Monday 6 May: Applications close for Overland Writing Residency. Two residencies open. First residency is for a writer who identifies as a woman, and is the sole primary carer of one or more children. Open to writers anywhere in Australia. Second residency is for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writer at any stage of their career. Writers will be mentored, receive feedback and receive weekly payments.

Tuesday 7 May: The May Poetry Night at Sapphos Book Café and Wine Bar. The Overland Judith Wright Prize Celebration. Toby Fitch will host a celebration of Prize short-listees and winners. Sapphos Book Cage and Wine Bar, Glebe at 7-10pm. Free entry.

Wednesday 8 May: The Society of Women Writers NSW hosts author, Caroline Baum as Keynote speaker at their monthly Literary Luncheon. In her talk titled ‘Secrets and Scars: battle stories from the literary frontline’, Caroline will share insights from a career talking to writers both on and off the stage, illustrate her experience of reading for a living and the pleasures and pressures of these author encounters. Be prepared for candid revelations! The Dixson Room, State Library of New South Wales from 12-2pm. Click here for info and to book.

Wednesday 15 May: Submissions close for the Grieve Writing Competition. Open to Australians over 18 years old. Participants may submit a maximum of 500 words of prose or 36 lines of poetry. Total prize pool is $7800.

Wednesday 22 May: Queers in Exile Lecture with Dr Ellen Smith. Literary scholar Dr Ellen Smith explores the relationship between expatriatism and queer identity in mid-twentieth-century Australian writing through a number of case studies of writers whose decision to leave Australia can be linked to their sexuality. The National Library of Australia, Canberra at 5.30-6.30pm. Free entry, bookings essential. Book here. 

Thursday 23 May: A Wealth of Words: WestWords Fundraising Dinner. Join WestWords for an evening of great food, amazing silent auctions, excellent speakers – Jane Caro and Bryan Brown AM – and rich conversation with published writers and illustrators who will share their personal stories and experiences at each table. Tickets include live music, a three-course dinner and drink upon arrival. Manning Road, Camperdown at 6:30-10pm. Tickets $130. Book here

Thursday May 25: Black Wallaby Indigenous Writers’ Night and Launch of Dreaming Inside Vol.V. The Black Wallaby Indigenous Writers’ Night will serve as the launch event for the fifth volume of Dreaming Inside – Voices from Junee Correctional Facility, and a celebration of the diversity of Aboriginal literature and art. ​Wollongong Art Gallery from 6pm. Tickets $5

Thursday 30 May: Westwords Poets’ Corner. On the last Thursday of each month, one poet will read from and talk about their work around a theme of the poet’s choice. Tonight’s event will feature Australian poet Richard James Allen on the theme of Poetry as Afterlife. Westwords Centre for Writing at 7pm. Free entry, bookings essential.


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