Writing On Our Calendar / May 2021


Fill your May with these wonderful writing events. There’s a mix of online and in-person events including the Emerging Writers’ Festival program launch, panel discussions, workshops, film festivals, plays and more!


26 April to 2 May: Sydney Writers’ Festival
The Sydney Writers’ Festival is returning for the year with a splendid mix of in-person and online events. The festival will feature local authors including Melissa Lucashenko and Bruce Pascoe, as well as international authors such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Rachel Cusk. Take a look at the full program here and our staff picks here.

1 May: Addi Road Writers’ Festival
The festival marks the first step towards an annual literary and storytelling event in Sydney’s Inner West. The inaugural theme, ‘An Unruly Idea’, reflects the rebellious spirit and formative energy of the event. There event will explore politics, media, music and poetry. Check out the line-up here.

1 May: Riverside Theatres – Good With Maps
The Saturday 2:30pm performance will be Auslan Interpreted  and will also have a Q&A with Playwright Noëlle Janaszweska after the performance. Book your tickets to the last show here.

Image source: Siren Theatre Co

2 – 6 May: Not Today
An intimate cabaret experience, Not Today is a frank, funny, and emotion-charged song cycle about a queer young woman trying to make the most of her life, while she can. Featuring an entirely original score, Ally will take you on a bumpy ride through life as a not-yet-famous 26-year-old. Book your tickets here.

3 May: Conserving the Arts and the Environment
What is the impact of the arts and cultural sector on the environment? How can art most effectively speak to our environmental concerns? Listen in on a focused panel discussion, including Rox De Luca, on art, artistic practice, sustainability and climate change. Find out more here.

11 May: Emerging Writers’ Festival – 2021 Program Launch: The Words That Shaped Us
Celebrate the texts that have influenced our lives literally and literarily, alongside the reveal of the jam-packed 2021 Emerging Writers’ Festival program. The event is free, however bookings are required.

Image source: Emerging Writers’ Festival

12 May: Workshop – The Shape of a Story with Pippa Kay
The Society of Women Writers NSW presents a workshop exploring ways to pull your reader into the story on page one, build a bridge to span the middle and resolve the story at its end. Reserve your spot here.

12 May & 19 May: The Writer’s Space – Training for Editors and Publishers
Join Varuna for two free sessions focusing on how publishers can engage more inclusively with writers with disability. Book here.

13 May: BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival – Candice Fox in conversation with Michael Duffy
Catch critically acclaimed crime writer Candice Fox on her latest book, in conversation with Michael Duffy. Purchase your tickets here.

14 – 16 May: Dreamscapes Film Festival
Dreamscapes is a weekend-long exploration of hopes, dreams and imagined worlds from independent screening collective Static Vision. Featuring Australian feature and short film premieres, a performance from New Jersey’s UNiiQU3, retrospective screenings of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and Richard Linklater’s Waking Life. Get your tickets here.

14 – 16 May: Inaugural Kyogle Writers Festival
With its theme of ‘Country,’ the Festival will be a fabulous celebration of writing and ideas. It takes place in the NSW Northern Rivers town of Kyogle. Take a look at the program and buy your tickets here.

18 May: Rose Scott Women Writers’ Festival – Emily Maguire in Conversation with Suzanne Leal
Catch the author of Love Objects, Emily Maguire discuss her award-winning book with fellow author, Suzanne Leal. Get your in-person or Zoom tickets here.

20 – 23 May: Watch Twisted Ladder and Expectations at Short+Sweet Theatre
Written by Pauline Bleach and Gabriela Loza, Twisted Ladder is a psychological thriller play in less than 10 minutes. It follows election volunteers Amanda, Chris and Scott as they arrive back at Chris’s house after the election victory party.

Expectations on the other hand is a haunting play about power and the lives of women, by award-winning US writer and poet Jennifer O’Grady.

Make sure to book the Bondi/Manly sessions.

22 May: Campbelltown Arts Centre’s I am a heart beating in the world: Diaspora Pavilion 2
In partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and the International Curator’s Forum (ICF), the exhibition presents the navigations, imaginings and lived experiences of six artists based in Australia, the UK and the Caribbean. Check it out here

22- 23 May: South Coast Writers Centre – The Business of Publishing
A two day symposium presenting perspectives on Australian publishing from authors, editors, literary curators and publishers. Hear from industry professionals, learn about publishing models and trends, ask your burning questions, and find out what’s happening in Australian publishing today. Reserve your spot here.

27 – 27 May: Restart: Workshop for Writers with Disabilities + d/Deaf Writers
Byron Writers Festival is offering a two-day workshop for NSW writers with disability or who are d/Deaf, as part of their Restart program. The Restart program is funded by Create NSW. Applications close 30 April. For more info visit here.

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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