Writing On Our Calendar / December 2023

Check out some of the wonderful literary events happening in Sydney and around NSW (and online) this December!

For our monthly Writing On Our Calendar feature, we bring you a round-up of literary events happening in Sydney and around NSW. Check out some of the final writing events taking place in 2023 this December! 

Final Events in November:

28 November: Bankstown Poetry Slam ft. Rob Waters (Western Sydney)

The final Bankstown Poetry Slam of the year features Rob Waters, a Gomeroi man with deep cultural connections to the North West of NSW. He is a poet, storyteller, cultural educator and spoken-word artist who has been sharing Story for over 20 years. Rob has been a three time NSW State Poetry Slam finalist and a two time National finalists in the Australian Poetry Slam. He most recently won the NSW Poetry Slam and is the current Australian Poetry Slam Champion.

30 November: Enough Said Poetry Slam ft. Rob Waters (Wollongong)

Enough Said Poetry Slam is a slamily where you can share your poems/words/stories/etc, listen to other people share theirs, click for your faves and maybe even win a prize! The slam features current Australian Poetry Slam Champion Rob Waters.

1 December: Graham Akhurst In Conversation with Professor Heidi Norman (Sydney)

Join UTS academics Graham Akhurst and Professor Heidi Norman at UTS Central in Ultimo to celebrate the release of Graham’s debut novel Borderland, through UWA Publishing.

2 December: Boundless Festival – Writers of Colour Write Nature (Bankstown)

Do you have to be an authority on nature to write about it? What are the intersections of nature writing with race, colonialism and the immigrant experience? Women writers of colour Zohra Aly, Kavita Bedford and Uthpala Gunethilake converse with academic Sujatha Fernandes to discuss their essays on nature, which were published in Island’s Nature Writing Project, and reflect on what it means to carve out a space for themselves in the predominantly white, male-dominated landscape of nature writing.

2 December: Poetry at the Bay (Batemans Bay)

Enjoy a convivial evening of poetry and music with performance poet Jacqui Malins, an open mic for local poets, and music from four-piece Emily and the Millers. Jacqui Malins will perform ‘Matter of Life’, a show that takes you into uncanny museums, suburban streets, deep water and your own body. Using poetry, performance and projections, Matter of Life happens at the place where science, story and wonder collide. Local poets and writers are invited to share their work at the open mic.

2 December: Kill Your Husbands Book Launch with Jack Heath (Sydney)

Join an exciting evening with #1-bestselling crime writer Jack Heath as he presents his latest thrill ride, Kill Your Husbands. Packed with twists and suspense, it’s the perfect summer read—and an excellent Christmas gift for your sister-in-law.

3 December: Poetry Reading & Workshop (Nowra)

A reading of new poems in the Art Museum from Bundanon artist in residence alumnus, & acclaimed Wiradjuri author Jeanine Leane; followed by a participatory workshop that draws inspiration from artworks on display. Jeanine Leane is an award-winning Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales.

4 December: Deep in the Forest: Erina Reddan In-Conversation (Sydney)

A gripping thriller with a shocking conclusion that will leave you spellbound, Deep in the Forest raises questions about who we trust and why. Join Erina Reddan in-conversation with Sarah MacDonald at Better Read Than Dead to celebrate the release of Deep in the Forest.

5 December: Bulk Nuts Book Launch (Sydney)

Read To Me is an artist-run project that puts the illustrated story in front of an audience, celebrating the art of Australian graphic storytellers by presenting their work to live audiences. For their final event of the year they have nine readers and are also launching Mandy Ord’s new book, Bulk Nuts. Mandy will be reading (and projecting images) from her new book, and it will be available for purchase on the night.

5 December: Books in Bars with Karina May (Sydney)

From Mudgee’s magnificent wine country to buzzingly beautiful India, Never Ever Forever is a delightfully surprising romantic comedy that shows that real love doesn’t always look the way you expect. Join Dymocks’ Books in Bars for a conversation with author Karina May, followed by a signing after the event.

5 December: Author-Rised Writing Group (Central NSW)

Do you have a passion for writing? Join Author-Rised, Parkes Shire Library’s writing group where all writers 18+ share their passion for writing over snacks and tea. They welcome writers of all stripes; poets, non fiction writers, fiction writers, scriptwriters.

5 – 6 December: Jane Franklin & Rajah Quilt (Western Sydney)

This tragic, yet moving play tells of the unjust dismissal of the highly intelligent and enlightened Governor’s wife, Jane Franklin, after working tirelessly to change Tasmania from a cruel penal colony to a cultural community, where girls are state educated in a male curriculum; and convict women removed from the abuse of assignment, to be taught skills to give them financial independence. This World Premiere is by Writing NSW member and acclaimed writer of the female convict rebellion, Forgotten, Cate Whittaker.

6 December: FASStival – Writing Into the Future (Sydney)

Join Wenona Byrne (Director Literature, Creative Australia), Lucy Hayward (Marketing and Communications Manager, Australian Society of Authors) and Sophie Groom (CEO, Writing NSW) in discussion with Dr Delia Falconer, UTS Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing. What are the main opportunities and challenges for the publishing industry in 2024 and beyond? Where does writing sit within the creative industries? What changes can we expect from the Federal Government’s new cultural policy, Revive?

6 December: The Flirtation of Girls/Ghazal el-Banat (Sydney)

Sara M Saleh’s first full-length poetry collection The Flirtation of Girls/Ghazal el-Banat interrogates the complexity of Arab-Australian Muslim women’s identities, delving into both the personal and political through multi-layered conversations and meditations among three generations of women. In this special event Sara is joined by fellow poets Sara Mansour, Anne-Marie Te Whiu and Zainab Syed for an evening of poetic readings and discussion.

6 December: Trivia at the Library Bar (Sydney)

Join the State Library of NSW on the first Wednesday of each month for Trivia in The Library Bar, hosted by writer and editor Cathy Perkins. Test your bookish smarts on literary conundrums and general knowledge, along with the Library’s collections and exhibitions. Prizes include bookshop and bar vouchers, as well as a subscription to the Library’s magazine, Openbook.

7 December: Bread & Butter Poetry Slampionship (Sydney)

Bread & Butter Poetry Slam is the Inner West’s newest, most oven-fresh poetry night, and their December slam is the inaugural Bread & Butter Poetry Slampionship. Be amazed as poetry Champions from every slam of the year return to battle it out across three action-packed rounds for the title of Bread & Butter Poetry Slampion, 2023. Before the Champions take the stage, the program will kick off with a classic, entree-sized poetry slam for which any brave poet can sign up at the door.

7 December: Author Talk: Benjamin Stevenson (Western Sydney)

Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and crime and thriller author. Join Concord Library to hear Benjamin talk about his latest book. Benjamin’s latest novel, Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect is the much-anticipated follow-up to Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone.

7 December: Best Wishes with Richard Glover (Sydney)

Heartfelt and hilarious, serious but sly, Best Wishes is the encyclopaedia of ‘can do better’. It’s a plea for a better world – one wish at a time. Join Woollahra Library to hear much loved author and journalist Richard Glover as he discusses his new book.

7 December: Stop Worrying About Money: Jacqui Clarke In-Conversation (Sydney)

A practical and hands-on guide to dealing with life’s most common and challenging financial obstacles, Stop Worrying about Money is the energising, no-nonsense financial wake-up call that you’ve been waiting for. Join Better Read Than Dead with Jacqui Clarke to celebrate the release, joined by Ben Braysich, National Director, Commonwealth Private.

8 December: Meanjin Summer Launch with Esther Anatolitis (Sydney)

Meanjin‘s writers began 2023 imploring us to get our house in order and prepare for what comes next. At the end of this momentous year, Australia’s journal of record offers that perfect art-fiction focus to accompany all your summer adventures. Join Esther Anatolitis to celebrate the release of Meanjin Vol 82, No 4: Summer. Esther will be joined by Glen, McPherson, Tina Huang, Em Meller and Daniel Nour.

9 December: Meet the Author: Michael Duffy (Blue Mountains)

Meet local author Michael Duffy at Good Earth Bookshop in Wentworth Falls and find out all about his third crime novel and latest release, The Man in Black – Bella #3, set in the Blue Mountains.

9 December: Amy Suiter Clarke in-conversation with Dinuka McKenzie (Sydney)

Join Text author Amy Suiter Clarke in conversation with Dinuka McKenzie to celebrate the release of Lay Your Body Down, at Better Read Than Dead. From Amy Suiter Clarke, author of Girl 11, comes a brilliant psychological thriller about an evangelical pastor’s control over a rural town and the secrets they might be hiding.

10 December: Sydney Poetry Picnic (Sydney)

This annual event acknowledges the efforts undertaken throughout the year by the conveners of poetry in forging poetry communities and developing support of the art form in Sydney and New South Wales. Representatives are invited to attend, speak of their event and read. There is also an opportunity for poets to register to read, or perform in the open reading section. Now in its eighth year, the reading will feature three-time winner of the Nimbin World Cup of Poetry, Tug Dumbly, (Geoff Forrester), as Emcee.

11 December: Write Off! Workshop and Open Mic (Sydney)

Write Off! is an informal workshop/open mic for practicing writers and the supportive public. Our local community is brimming with writers at all stages of development across the whole range of forms and genres. Come, share your work-in-progress (poems, songs etc) and get constructive peer feedback. Non-peformers are also welcome to attend and observe. Performers are always available to read the work of people who can’t or do not want to perform themselves.

11 – 14 December: Self-Publishing Overview (Mullimbimby)

Keen to publish a book? In this relaxed, introductory course, the author of 21 books—both traditionally and self-published—takes you through some options available for indie authors, from big publishers to DIY sites, with a focus on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (where you format your own eBooks and paperbacks). The course will also look at literary agents, editors, cover design, barcodes, author bios and online marketing.

11 – 16 December: Australian Literature Festival at Sea (Sydney to Tasmania)

Cunard’s inaugural Australian Literature Festival at Sea is a cruise curated in partnership with Dymocks. Join award-winning authors, passionate readers and aspiring writers across five nights of literature, adventure and relaxation in a roundtrip from Sydney to Tasmania aboard Queen Elizabeth, a dream voyage for literature lovers.

12 December: Reading Between the Lines: The Mother Wound (Inner West)

Reading Between the Lines is a series of monthly literary discussions led by special guest presenters from neighbouring universities, and a chance to hear an expert speak about a book they have chosen and offer a greater depth and understanding of the book. This month, the featured book for discussion is The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar, and the guest presenter is Dr Sarah Ayoub.

12 December: Jane Austen Book Club (Sydney)

Better Read’s classics book club is an ode to Jane Austen and other timeless authors. Each month they discuss a different classic novel and what it is about them that makes us swoon. Meeting on the second Tuesday of each month.

13 December: Workshop & Literary Event (Sydney)

This hands-on workshop from The Society of Women Writers is for all writers who want to explore story through poetry. With Magdalena Ball, participants will explore process, using memory, finding and using primary and secondary source material, style and voice choices, creating an arc, and lots more. Following the workshop, there will also be a networking event, book stall and musical Christmas Performance.

1 – 16 December: The Dictionary of Lost Words (Sydney)

Pip Williams’ award-winning New York Times bestseller and book club favourite, The Dictionary of Lost Words, is brought to vivid life in a new adaptation for the stage by Verity Laughton and directed by one of Australia’s best directors, Jessica Arthur (Grand Horizons, Wonnangatta).

16 December: Advent Reflective Writing Workshop (Inner West)

Join poet and creative workshop facilitator Gabi Cadenhead for a reflective writing workshop in the Art Studio at Annandale Creative Arts Centre. Bring your favourite notebook and pen for this 90-minute workshop.

16 December: SCWC 2023 End of Year Celebration (Wollongong)

Join the South Coast Writers Centre in Coledale for their end-of-year celebration the South Coast community’s year of reading and writing. Hear readings from their 2023 Wollongong Writers Studio writers-in-residence, Tonya Lee, Sky Carrall and Lajos Hamers. One of their 2022 writers in-residence, Elanna Herbert, returns with her new poetry collection sifting fire writing coast, and member Paris Rosemount performs from her just- released Banana Girl. SCWC members can step up to the Open Mic and share what they’ve been writing.

16 – 17 December: Finish That Novel (Byron Bay)

If you’ve been struggling to complete that memoir, novel or non-fiction book, it may be time to rethink your approach to writing. Using examples from our greatest writers, this course offers proven tools and tips to restructure your time, workspace, words and inner-critic, to complete the first draft and get that book done. A fun, conversational workshop for anyone hoping to get to ‘The End’.

Early 2024 Events:

4 – 21 January: Jailbaby by Suzie Miller at Griffin Theatre (Sydney)

Due to astronomical audience demand, Griffin Theatre Company presents a special return season of Jailbaby by Suzie Miller, author of the international phenomenon Prima Facie. Don’t miss this crucial interrogation of Australia’s legal system.

10 January: Breakfast Book Club: The Rachel Incident (Bondi)

Join the Bondi Literary Salon for a very special Breakfast Book Club, hosted by Lucy Pearson, to discuss the new novel from Caroline O’Donoghue, The Rachel Incident.

24 January: Our Yarning: Children’s Book Writing Workshop (Western Sydney)

Library For All is creating a collection of 500 mirror books for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children called Our Yarning. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are invited to write a story to encourage children to love reading. The workshop will be led by Jessica Wimbus, a Gubbi Gubbi woman from Queensland Australia with extensive experience in Aboriginal education.

More from Writing NSW

Check out our full range of writing courses in Sydney, our online writing courses and our feedback programs to see how we can help you on your creative writing journey. Find out about our grants and prizes, as well as writing groups across NSW, and sign up to our weekly newsletter for writing events, opportunities and giveaways.

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