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About Us

Sydney Writers' Festival acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation. They are the first storytellers. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our events take place. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Sydney Writers’ Festival brings together a broad and engaged community around the sharing of books, writing and ideas.

Each May, we host brilliant storytellers across all forms in a thoughtful, challenging, riotous fun week-long celebration of writing, books and ideas at our home at Carriageworks in Sydney’s Inner West and across the city. Since our first Festival in 1997, the world’s best novelists, poets, journalists, public intellectuals, economists, politicians, podcasters and scientists have come together to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our times on our stages. By showcasing a wide range of Australian and international writers, the Festival helps sustain Australia’s literary community and culture as a whole. We are proud to present a Festival that through careful curation acts as a barometer of the world around us, and offers an invitation to hear new ideas, stories and voices in our beautiful city.

Our programming speaks – urgently and clearly – to the world as it is today and showcases contemporary and diverse writers including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, this land’s first storytellers.

We are a not-for-profit organisation and audience accessibility is at the heart of our Festival programming. We run a free podcast program, which has had over 3.5 million downloads since it inception in 2016. One-third of our events are free, and our Live & Local streaming program beams the Festival from our home in Carriageworks to regional libraries and community centres right across the country.

The 2024 Festival will run from 20–26 May.

To keep up to date about our authors and events, sign up to our e-newsletter.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival brings writers and readers together in an atmosphere of curiosity, joy, enlightenment and – sometimes – provocation.

The past year has brought grief and suffering to many on this continent and beyond.

We understand the power of words to transform lives, communicate complicated ideas, and open a window for readers into other experiences. We program broadly knowing writers have different perspectives on many issues.

Freedom of expression is fundamental to writing. We believe authors should be free to express their views within the limits set by anti-discrimination and other Australian laws. 

Our role is to connect writers and readers in all their diversity. We invite writers to speak about the work they’ve done, the lives they’ve lived, the worlds they inhabit, and the beliefs and experiences that have shaped them. Likewise, we invite readers to listen to these uplifting, insightful and sometimes challenging stories to broaden their understanding of what it is to be human.

More than usual, as the world tests the limits, we thank our writers, readers, audiences, patrons and publishers, volunteers and staff who choose to be open-minded and empathetic.

Ann Mossop: 2022–current
Michael Williams: 2020–2022
Michaela McGuire: 2017–2020
Jemma Birrell: 2013–2016
Chip Rolley: 2010–2012
Wendy Were: 2007–2009
Caro Llewellyn: 2003–2006
Meredith Curnow: 1999–2002
John Nieuwenhuizen: 1998

You can read the 2023 Sydney Writers' Festival Year in Review here

You can read our Annual Financial Report here.