7 National Young Writers’ Festival 

28 Sept – 1 Oct 2017, Newcastle NSW

Artist call out info pack 

Application deadline: Midnight, 31 March 2017                  Application link: http://tinyurl.com/NYWF2017

The National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) is a free and accessible four-day festival held annually in Newcastle, NSW, under the umbrella of the This is Not Art (TiNA) festival, produced by the Octapod Association. This is our 20th year and we will be celebrating two decades of the writerly extravaganza that is NYWF by doing what we always do (with only a small amount of navel gazing).

The NYWF is committed to celebrating diverse voices as well as creating a stomping-ground for writers to learn the ropes of festival participation; we also insist on having a good ol’ time swaying our hips around on dance floors and in bars. Writing of all forms is on the agenda and we are eager to showcase challenging content, revolutionary practice and new forms.  

The NYWF provides a safe space for young writers to share, perform and create. You can take part in panels, readings, roundtables and workshops. We also like to mix things up with combinations of these forms as well as comedy debates, street and outdoor events and so much more.

The best news is, we want YOU in our 20th year of the festival! This year we want to shake it up with a fresh batch of writers who will be the journalists, poets, novelists, essayists, bloggers, podcasters and content-makers of tomorrow and beyond. If you have never applied to the festival before, or don’t even think that you should, think again. You definitely should. It will be the long weekend you’ll never regret. If you don’t believe us, ask any member of the NYWF alumni. Over the course of the year we will be reconnecting with festival friends and stalwarts who will share all of the many hi-jinks and love-ins of festivals past as well as where they are now.

In your application please let us know what you want to do, but also what you want to see. This festival is for you and we want to provide not just the things you want, but the things you NEED! We are also oh-so keen to give you space to experiment with that event idea burning a hole through the back of your brain.

If you have any questions about the application or would like to pitch a specific event idea, get in contact with one of our lovely co-directors listed below. Our emails, skypes and coffee breaks are open for you to consult.

Here are our details:

Annie Waters - Adelaide: annie@youngwritersfestival.org

David Graham - Newcastle: david@youngwritersfestival.org

Izzy Roberts Orr - Melbourne: izzy@youngwritersfestival.org

Khalid Warsame - Melbourne: khalid@youngwriters.org

Please note: we are changing the way we consider applications from collectives this year (see below for details).


Artist FAQ

Can I apply?

If you’re between 18 and 35 (inclusive) and you’re passionate about writing, then congratulations! You’ve met all the selection criteria. If you’re under 18, look into our Younger Young Writers’ Program on our website.


The purpose of this call out is to discover new and exciting voices. We’re looking for people with fresh ideas and fascinating things to say, not just those with heaps of writing experience. You don’t need to have published a book or have your own TV show (although you can!), all you need is a passion for writing and a willingness to share that passion with others.


NYWF is an organisation that values diversity and strongly encourages Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, people from the LGBQTI community, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disability to apply.

I’m from a regional or remote area.

We understand that getting to Newcastle for the festival isn’t always the easiest task, especially if you’re coming a long way, cross-country. Currently, the NYWF is not able to cover travel but we always look into ways we can help subsidise these costs for people outside metropolitan areas. If the cost of travel is likely to be debilitating and/or ridiculous, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.


There are some quick response grants available for writers from regional or remote locations in some states (eg. WA, NT, SA and Tasmania). If you’re interested in applying for one of these grants, don’t hesitate to get in touch - we've had success with them in the past and we're happy to provide supporting material.

What do I need to include in my application?

There are three sections to the application. The whole thing is submitted via a simple online form. It’s easy, quick and there’ll be a chance to edit your responses at the end. We recommend drafting the wordier parts of your application in a Word document (or similar) in case of sudden blackouts/internet failures. It also helps to have a copy for your records. Here's what you can expect from the application:

About You

About Your Work

General Demographic Information

This section contains questions about basic statistical information for our records. Your answers won’t be used to assess your application. The reason we’ve included this section is that it’s very helpful for us to know who the call out is reaching and who’s interested in being part of the festival this year. Only NYWF will use this information and it will be used anonymously, separate from your application. If you have any concerns or questions, let us know.

What happens if I’m successful?

You get to be an artist at NYWF 2017! Exciting! We’ll be in touch to confirm that your application has been successful. We’ll be putting together our program once all the applications have been processed and will be in touch closer to the time about what events we’re keen to have you involved in.


What we can provide to successful applicants:

What we can’t provide:

What happens if I’m not successful?

We’ll be in touch to let you know. Please don’t be discouraged if your application is not successful. Remember that we receive hundreds (literally hundreds) more applications than we have spots in the program. Also, an unsuccessful application does not mean you can’t come to our festival. In fact, we’d love to have you. There will be heaps of other ways you can be involved on the ground at NYWF (as a volunteer, trivia contestant, or at one of our readings and open mics, just to name a few examples).  

What if I’m in a collective or want to work with a specific group of people?

In previous years, collectives have been able to apply through the same application form as individuals. This sometimes creates confusion for us with points of contact, reimbursement and on the ground. If your collective wants to be part of NYWF, we ask that each participating member make an individual application but explain who you want to be working with in the ‘what would you like to do?’ section of the form. This way we can consider you as part of a collective but also as an individual artist in your own right!

Confusing? Yes. Collectives are such a fluid and variable thing and it’s hard to have a system that encapsulates you all. Contact us if you have any questions or want more clarification so we can tell you what’s right for you.

I want my arts organisation to partner with NYWF. How do I do that?

If you are a member of an organisation that would like to partner with the NYWF, or co-present an event with NYWF, please email us at: info@youngwritersfestival.org 

If you have any questions, please get in contact with us via email: info@youngwritersfestival.org


Submit your application via our Artist Call-out Form by midnight 31 March 2017.


Please circulate this call-out to your networks! Tweet it! Post it on Facebook! Email it to your creative writing teacher! Tell all your friends at the next party you go to!


We can’t wait to hear from you!


David, Izzy, Annie and Khalid

NYWF Co-Directors