Every year there are hundreds of literary events across Australia (and the world!). The great news is that these are not just confined to the major cities, with events also being held in regional areas. We’ve whipped up a calendar of Australian writers’ festivals for 2020 so get out your diary, unfold your map, and plan your perfect literary holiday.
Perth Festival Literature & Ideas, WA
7 February – 1 March 2020
As part of the Perth Festival, the Literature & Ideas program will be packed with all the things that matter: land, money, power, sex. The full program will be revealed on 16 January 2020, and Neil Gaiman is already a confirmed guest.
Adelaide Festival Writers Week, SA
29 February – 5 March 2020
In 2020, the Adelaide Festival Writers’ Week will focus on the theme of Being Human, exploring how humans engage with each other, with technology, with the natural world. There’s also a series of events especially for younger readers. The full program will be announced in January 2020.
Australian Romance Readers Romantic Rendezvous
Brisbane – 6 March 2020
Sydney – 8 March 2020
Melbourne – 14 March 2020
Perth – 15 March 2020
Adelaide – 17 March 2020
A Romantic Rendezvous is a multi-author, multi-city signing event, and 2020’s special guests will be Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan. Tickets start at $20 for most cities, although the Brisbane event is completely free.
Newcastle Writers Festival, NSW
3 – 5 April 2020
The Newcastle Writers Festival has been welcoming readers and writers since 2013. As well as panels, workshops, masterclasses, book launches and performances, there’s also a dedicated schools program. The festival aims to be as inclusive as possible, so even if you’re short on cash there are a bunch of free events you can attend.
Swancon, Perth, WA
25 – 27 April 2020
One especially for speculative fiction, Swancon is an annual convention celebrating sci-fi and fantasy. It’s not just literature, with events covering books, TV and pop-culture. It is the longest continuously running science fiction convention in Australia and even features quidditch!
Sydney Writers Festival, NSW
27 April – 3 May 2020
Sydney Writers Festival is Australia’s biggest celebration of writing and ideas. Each year there are more than 300 events which are enjoyed by 100,000 people. The main festival hub is at Carriageworks in Redfern with other events held at Sydney Town Hall and City Recital Hall.
The National Young Writers’ Festival
8 May 2020
This one is for all young writers between 18-35 years old and at any stage of their career. The National Young Writers’ Festival is looking for young writers or artists who are interested in becoming part of the NYWF 2020 family; it’s time to flex those application-writing muscles! The theme of this year’s festival is THE RAUCOUS TWENTIES, reflecting on the parallels between the social and political upheaval of the 1920s and today, as well as encouraging our artists to look to the past as they march into a future of change, prosperity, and hope. Applications to pitch your ideas are open until 8 May 2020.
SCRIBBLERS FESTIVAL 2020, WA
6 – 10 MAY 2020
The Scribblers Festival is held annually to inspire children about the importance of books and creativity for understanding and communicating with the world around them. The 2020 Festival welcomes schools and families to enjoy presentations from a large cast of Australian and International authors and illustrators, and fun activities.
NT Writers Festival, NT
14 – 17 May 2020
NT Writers Festival is a four-day celebration of books, language and stories. It alternates each year between Darwin and Alice Springs and this year it’s in Darwin. The theme is “Gunamidirra garawa birditj – When the tides turn” and the full program will be out in February.
Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival, WA
15 – 17 May 2020
The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival is the biggest regional literary event in Western Australia, bringing together novelists, journalists, academics and storytellers. And naturally, many of the events feature wines from the region.
Football Writers’ Festival, NSW
30-31 May 2020
If you love football (or soccer) and writing, Jamberoo has you sorted with the Football Writers’ Festival. There’ll be a pre-festival football match to start the festival off, followed by a weekend full of book launches, a fundraising trivia night, and a hoard of journalists, authors, and international and local guests discussing football hot topics.
Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival, SA
The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival celebrates its 29th year in 2020. The program is usually full of performances, events, and workshops across music, art, literature and design. For writers, there’s the Catherine Martin Literary Awards. And yes, there’s a definite focus on regional wines.
Sydney International Storytelling Conference, NSW
5 – 7 June 2020
The Sydney International Storytelling Conference celebrates the art of storytelling and its relevance within education, health, welfare and artistic performance. They are currently looking for contributions for workshops, performances and posters, so if you’ve got a great idea this is an ideal opportunity. Tickets are $530 for the full conference.
Willy Lit Fest, Williamstown, Vic
20 – 21 June 2020
Located in the waterfront suburb of Williamstown, just 15 minutes from Melbourne, the Willy Lit Fest hosts talks, soirees, and workshops and attracts readers and writers from across Australia. Session tickets are normally around $20 and there are also some free events.
StoryFest, Milton-Mollymook-Ulladulla area, NSW
19 – 21 June 2020
StoryFest is a writers and storytelling festival in the stunning Milton-Mollymook-Ulladulla area on the NSW south coast. StoryFest focuses on storytelling in all its forms, whether literary, film, illustration, music or poetry. The weekend includes workshops, panels, breakfasts and a film night.
CYA All-Stars Writers and Illustrators Conference, QLD
10 – 12 July 2020
The All-Stars Conference is a professional development weekend for writers who can take part in workshops and masterclasses conducted by published writers, illustrators and industry professionals. This conference is for all writers: emerging and established of any creative genre or market.
Byron Bay Writers Festival, NSW
7 – 9 August 2020
The Byron Bay Writers Festival is Australia’s largest regional literary festival, held on the beautiful NSW north coast. It’s renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and a focus on Australian writers and thinkers. There are one-day and three-day passes as well as a program of separate workshops.
Melbourne Writers Festival, Vic
7 – 16 August 2020
Each year, around 50,000 people participate in the Melbourne Writers Festival, with events over ten days across the city’s literary precinct. There’s always an incredible line-up of speakers, performances, workshops and talks. Festival passes start at $79 or you can buy tickets for individual events.
Canberra Writers Festival, ACT
12 – 16 August 2020
The Canberra Writers Festival is a five day celebration of literature and ideas, bringing together readers, writers and thinkers. There are author talks, panel discussions, family activities and a number of free events at locations like the National Library, ANU, and the National Museum.
Gold Coast Writers’ Fair, Gold Coast, Qld
12 September 2020
Come and meet like-minded authors, illustrators and book lovers; find out more from guest speakers and workshops about the craft of writing and associated processes. Explore the local writing scene by meeting Gold Coast creatives. Grab a signed book and a selfie with your favourite local author.
Brisbane Writers Festival, Qld
The Brisbane Writers Festival has been going strong for almost 60 years. There’s no official date yet, but it’s usually held in September, welcoming thousands of readers, writers and thought-leaders to ignite imaginations, ask big questions, showcase literature, and celebrate stories in all forms.
Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra, WA
The Kimberley Writers Festival prides itself on its informal environment, providing a completely different experience to big city festivals. There’s no date yet for 2020, but it’s usually held in September and features workshops, readings, a literary breakfast and a champagne brunch on the Ord River.
Wollongong Writers Festival, NSW
27 – 29 November 2020
Just an hour south of Sydney, Wollongong hosts its own festival with a weekend of literature, art and ideas. The program features free and ticketed literary and cross-art form events. There is also an international short story competition with a $1000 prize.