Writing On Our Calendar / May 2020


Afraid of missing out on all the wonderful events our favourite bookstores, festivals and venues have to offer this quarantine season? Writing NSW has collated all the best events on the internet this May.


Scheduled Events:

Monday 4 May: Writers’ Bloc will be hosting its Online Writers In Residence Festival with such luminaries as Tanya Vavilova, Sophie Harcastle, Ronnie Scott and Katerina Bryant. Registration details available here.

Tuesday 5 May: Avid Readers’ Australian Bookclub will be discussing Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe. Registrations essential.

Wednesday 6 May: Join Dr Terri Janke, a Wuthathi and Meriam woman and international authority on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, in a webinar dedicated to exploring First Nations protocols in digital spaces as part of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Creative Connections Series.

Wednesday 6 May: Avid Reader’s Queer Literature Bookclub will be discussing In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. Registrations essential.

Wednesday 6 May: Cass Moriarty joins Anna Whateley in conversation for the launch of Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal. Register via Avid Reader’s website.

Wednesday 6 May and Thursday 7 May: Avid Reader’s Fiona’s Bookclub will be hosting one daytime and one evening meeting to discuss Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Registrations essential via Avid Reader’s website.

Thursday 7 May: Live Stream: Words for Now: Poetry as Processing: join Mununjali Yugambeh writer and editor Ellen van Neerven in conversation with Maxine Beneba Clarke as discuss their shared passion for the poetic form, and consider ways in which poetry can help us process what’s happening in the world today. This unmissable event will be live-streamed via the Wheeler Centre website.

Thursday 7 May: Avid Reader’s The Young & The Restless Bookclub will be discussing In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado. Registrations essential.

Thursday 7 May: Avid Reader’s Her Voice Bookclub will be discussing The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. Registrations essential.

Thursday 7 May, Thursday 14 May and Thursday 28 May: Avid Reader’s Lust in the Time of Coronavirus convenes on three Thursdays of the month in May. New short erotic stories by Australia’s queen of erotic fiction Krissy Kneen will be read by her (and/or guest readers) at 8.30pm. The sessions are $5.00 to join.

Friday 8 May: First Friday Club, our monthly conversation with an industry professional, is moving online! This May, we invite you to join Head of Practice, Literature at the Australia Council for the Arts, Wenona Byrne, in conversation with Writing NSW CEO Jane McCredie. Wenona will speak about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on writers and the Australia Council’s response. Register to attend here.

Friday 8 May: Join Ananth Gopal and Tom Henderson from Polykala as they explore the balance and boundaries between authority and leadership as part of the Australia Council’s Creative Connections webinar series.

Friday 8 May: Join Natasha Lester online for the launch of The Paris Secret with Avid Reader.

Saturday 9 May: Renowned Australian authors will come together on Saturday 9 May for the inaugural Yarra Valley Writers Festival special online event. The Festival will also host one-hour online discussions with various authors at 3.00pm on every Sunday in May and the Yarra Valley Writers Festival Book Club Taking place at 6.00pm on the last Wednesday of the month, hosted by YVWF Director Brook Powell and Ambassador Michael Veitch. For programming and booking details visit their website.

Saturday 9 May: Join Daniela Wilson for the launch of Onward and Upward: How to supercharge your life to overcome difficulties and live with joy and fulfilment with Avid Reader.

Saturday 9 May: Avid Reader’s Short On Classics Bookclub will be convening on two Saturdays this month to discuss Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Registrations essential.

Tuesday 12 May: Join contributors Charlotte Wood, Tony Birch and Vicki Laveau-Harvie, along with editor Ashley Hay, for the launch of Griffith Review 68: Getting On with Avid Reader.

Tuesday 12 May: Join Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of the acclaimed Unfree Speech, Joshua Wong, in conversation with Sally Warcraft about the evolution of Hong Kong’s democracy movement and the impact of COVID-19. This event will be live-streamed via the Wheeler Centre’s website.

Wednesday 13 May: Join Lara Thoms and Mish Grigor from the collective APHIDS, as they explore creative collaboration, unpack what meaningful exchange looks like now, and what it could like in the future. This webinar is part of the Australia Council’s Creative Connections webinar series.

Wednesday 13 May: Anita Heiss will launching Ellen van Neerven’s poetry anthology Throat with Avid Reader. Throat is the explosive second poetry collection from award-winning Mununjali Yugambeh writer Ellen van Neerven. Exploring love, language and land, van Neerven flexes their distinctive muscles and shines a light on Australia’s unreconciled past and precarious present with humour and heart.

Wednesday 13 May: The Society of Women Writers will host Jan Latta, author and wildlife photographer, in a Zoom event dedicated to her exciting wildlife adventures. Registration details available here.

Thursday 14 May: Join Miranda Tapsell in conversation with comedian, playwright and co-star of the BuzzFeed podcast Pretty for an Aboriginal, Nakkiah Lui, about Miranda’s latest project Top End Girl, a thoughtful memoir chronicling the process of making Top End Wedding. Actor, writer and producer Miranda Tapsell is a beloved figure of Australian screen culture, with starring roles in Love Child, Get Krack!n, Play School, Newton’s Law, Cleverman and Wolf Creek, and the globally successful film The Sapphires. This event will be streamed via the Wheeler Centre’s website.

Thursday 14 May: Lee Kofman will join Hayley Katzen to discuss her memoir Untethered with Avid Reader.

Saturday 16 May: Join Austin Film Festival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Educational Initiatives for an afternoon full of seasoned advice from industry professionals– from discussions on the current state of the industry to steps you can take right now to further your craft and jump-start your career. Information on registration here.

Saturday 16 May: Emma Kate Lewis will join Julia Baird in conversation for the launch of Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark with Avid Reader. Julia Baird is a globally renowned author and award-winning journalist. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Monday 18 May: Krissy Kneen will host expert panelists James Bradley, Madeleine Watts and Lucy Treloar discussing Writing the Anthropocene – fiction as a mirror to nature and a warning of things to come with Avid Reader.

Tuesday 19 May: Alice Ansara will join Julie Janson in conversation for the launch of her novel Benevolence with Avid Reader. Co-recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize and winner of the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, Julie Janson is a multiply-published novelist, poet and playwright.

Wednesday 20 May: Join Dr Tristan Schultz, Gamilaroi man and Co-Director and Founder of Relative Creative, in the Australia Council’s for the Art’s webinar on workshops and facilitating online.

Thursday 21 May: ABC Radio National’s Paul Barclay joins musician and activist Billy Bragg to discuss the Three Dimensions of Freedom, Bragg’s latest polemic on the crisis of accountability in Western Democracies, with Avid Reader.

Friday 22 May: Join Australia Council’s webinar, led by PR and Communications expert, Elly Baxter exploring how we can adapt to constantly changing circumstances and communicate with clarity and flexibility.

Sunday 24 May: Join Cass Moriarty in her Crafting Words Workshop hosted by Avid Reader dedicated to exploring the ins and outs of character development. The workshop will be a mix of writing exercises, examples and discussion, with plenty of handouts and take-home information.

Wednesday 27 May: Join Founder and Managing Director of PCC Productions, Brad Holder, in Understanding the technology for non-technology people: Streaming, a webinar hosted by the Australia Council for the Arts. This session will provide some background into the key technical considerations and opportunities available across a variety of digital platforms, with a focus on streaming.

Wednesday 27 May: Megan Daley will join Trent Jamieson in conversation to discuss his debut children’s picture book The Giant and the Sea with Avid Reader.

Thursday 28 May: Home Is Where You Make It is your room-by-room guide to making and DIYing your own place, with hundreds of clever styling hacks, repurposing and upstyling ideas, and easy weekend projects to create the home of your dreams. Join Geneva Vanderzeil in this online demonstration as she talks you through a DIY project you can do whilst in your isolation.

Saturday 30 May: Avid Reader’s Bronte 200 Bookclub will be discussing The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Registrations essential.

Ongoing Events:

Ongoing: Over the coming months, Sydney Writers’ Festival will be presenting over 50 re-imagined sessions from the 2020 program as a series of podcasts. These are available for free on all major podcast platforms.

Ongoing: Cuplet TV is a live streaming event featuring a new poet each week for half an hour, 8pm on Thursdays. Be sure to tune in to Cuplet’s next live stream on Thursday 30 April, featuring Rebecca Jensen, author of the verse novel Gap.

Ongoing: Queensland Poetry Festival will be releasing poetry on their Youtube channel all pandemic-long as part of their Panacea Poets series.

Ongoing: West Words are moving some events onto their Youtube channel, including their monthly Poets’ Corner, West Side Poetry Slam and Hemingway’s Polydactyl Kitten Club. Also check out West Side Poetry Slam’s online poetry share-space to share work and give feedback!

Ongoing: Tune in to the CBCA NSW Branch Facebook page or website at noon every weekday to meet some of Australia’s finest children’s authors and hear them read their stories. Visit either their website or their Facebook page.

Ongoing: The Social Distancing Festival has an excellent global line-up of music, art and performance live-streamed throughout May. Each day features a poetry/spoken word piece, as well as a theatre performance in the evening.

Ongoing: Access a range of panels, discussions and performances via the Sydney Opera House YouTube channel. You can browse through the archives and watch live-streamed performances.

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More from Writing NSW

Check out our full range of in-person writing courses in Sydney, our online writing courses and our feedback programs to see how we can help you on your 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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