It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the slew of great writing events and festivals that have had to be cancelled or postponed due to COVID. We are sending our love and support to the organisers and share in the disappointment of the public. We can only hope that these great artistic pursuits will return bigger and better than ever in 2022.
Please note that due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 in Australia the delivery of these events is subject to change with little notice and some events may be cancelled.
Byron Writers Festival
Byron Writers Festival, which was meant to take place in August, was regrettably cancelled for 2021 due to COVID. You can listen to a host of podcasts from the 2020 festival here and view their Digital Program here. Hopefully the festival will return next year.
Mudgee Readers’ Festival
Mudgee Readers’ Festival, which was meant to take place in August, was also cancelled for 2021 due to COVID. There’s a silver lining though! One of the authors, Rebecca Wilson, has been interviewing fellow authors who were meant to participate in the festival on her ArtVox podcast.
The Northern Beaches Readers’ Festival
The Northern Beaches Readers’ Festival was meant to launch in 2020, was delayed to September 2021, and has once again been delayed until 2022. The Northern Beaches Readers’ Festival is an event focused on connecting readers with popular Australian authors and will feature panel discussions and more intimate ‘in conversation’ events. Keep up to date with the festival here.
1 September: Indigenous Literacy Day
Indigenous Literacy Day provides a window into the richness, diversity and multilingual world of First Nations peoples, through storytelling. This year, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation is hosting a free virtual celebration for all Australians, going live 9am Wednesday 1 September. Find out more here.
3 – 15 September: Melbourne Writers Festival Digital
Following the extension of Melbourne’s lockdown, Melbourne Writers Festival has made the difficult decision to cancel its live events as part of this year’s program. It’s not all doom and gloom though – MWF Digital brings some of the world’s essential literary voices into your home via video, from Pulitzer Prize winners to exhilarating debut authors to the most talked-about novelists of the year. Find out more about the digital program here.
8 September: Allee Richards: Small Joys of Real Life
Set in inner-city Melbourne, Allee Richards’ debut novel Small Joys of Real Life is already being described as a 21st-century Monkey Grip. Dealing with friendship, grief, self-absorption and desire, this contemporary work has been chosen as the inaugural title in the 2021 Melbourne City Reads initiative. Join Richards as she and Jacinta Parsons, Afternoons presenter with ABC Radio Melbourne, discuss the novel, its diverse cast of characters and the choices that its twenty-something protagonist, Eva, must make to find joy and meaning in life. Find out more here.
8 September: BAD Online: Why Did Daniel Have To Die?
BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival presents Paula Hawkins in conversation with Suzanne Leal about Paula’s latest bestseller A Slow Fire Burning, in which long-smouldering secrets finally burst into flame and result in murder. Find out more here. BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival will return to the State Library of NSW from 2 to 5 December for four days all about crime.
10 – 15 September: Mighty Playwrights 2021
7 young writers 7 original ideas 7 amazing stage plays. The 2021 Mighty Playwrights gala performances showcase the plays writted during Goulburn Mulwaree Library’s Mighty Playwrights program, inspiring young people to discover the power of their own thoughts and voices through literacy eduction, story telling, and the performing arts. Find out more here.
11 September: Writing SUPER! Creative Kidlit with Henry Lien
Be inspired and have (a lot of) fun exploring diversity in narrative structures and the transformative power of enthusiasm with US-based author, Henry Lien. This is an intensive workshop, using focused exercises to work through concept generation, analysis and development. Tap into Henry’s unique brand of energy and enthusiasm to step out of the box and differentiate yourself! Book here.
11 September: Our Exceptional Friend
Does Australia really have no option but to side with the United States at the expense of our relationship with China? In a special edition of the long-running series The Fifth Estate, historian and Our Exceptional Friend author Emma Shortis speaks with host Sally Warhaft about whose interests our relationship with the US really serves, and why we don’t have to make a binary choice between subservience to an increasingly broken democracy and abandoning a long-standing alliance. Find out more here.
15 – 19 September: Write Around the Murray 2021
For five days in September, Write Around the Murray (WAM) brings people together in Albury Wodonga for a festival of storytelling unlike anywhere else. The festival you know and love has been reshaped for 2021. Local audiences are invited to gather in person or watch from home without missing out. Find out more here.
18 September: Michael Robotham in conversation
International best-selling Australian crime writer, Michael Robotham in conversation with host of popular podcast, Talking Aussie Books, Claudine Tinellis. Find out more here.
25 September: 7th Annual Francis Webb Reading
A lively afternoon of poetry and discussion in celebration of the life and work of much loved Australian poet Francis Webb (1925-73). Hosted by MC Toby Davidson (Macquarie University, editor of Webb’s Collected Poems) and special guests. The reading is followed by afternoon tea. Although this is a free event, registration is essential. Find out more here.
25 September: Greek-Australian Writers’ Festival
Presented by the Greek Festival of Sydney and UTS Journalism and Writing. The 39th Greek Festival of Sydney is devoting a day to presentations of recently-published books in English by Greek-Australian writers. Although very different in style and content, all the books are united by common themes of migration, displacement and identity. Find out more here.
30 September – 3 October: National Young Writers’ Festival
The National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) is an annual gathering of young writers. A place to show work, share ideas, and learn. Their programs are free, and made by and for young writers who create across stage, page, web and beyond. In 2021, They are returning with a hybrid model; retaining a digital program that will exist alongside the usual festival which takes place across the October long weekend in Newcastle, NSW. Find out more here.
12 October: Jonathan Franzen: Crossroads
This online conversation isn’t taking place until October, but we thought it was worth mentioning since the Newcastle Writers Festival was postponed due to COVID. Celebrating the release of the highly anticipated novel Crossroads, the online event will be hosted by ABC Radio’s Sarah Kanowski. Franzen will discuss family, America, and where the modern novel must go from here. Find out more here.
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