A calendar of Australian Writers’ Festivals for 2021

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Let’s face it – 2020 was a gut punch for in-person events across Australia (and the world!). But as we slowly start to go back to whatever “normal” now means, the great news is that literary events are once more becoming places to gather in person and celebrate writers and reading. We’ve compiled a calendar of Australian writers’ festivals taking place for the rest of 2021 – so get out your diary, grab your hand sanitiser, and plan your perfect literary event near or far…

(Be sure to bookmark this list as it will be updated as new events are announced.)

Castlemaine Dialogues
24-28 March 2021
Part of the biennial Castlemaine State Festival in regional Victoria, this five day festival of ideas and literature includes presentations, panels, debates and discussions celebrating the notion of ‘community’. All events held at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens. 

Melbourne Art Book Fair
26-28 March 2021
Held since 2015, this event brings together publishers, artists and designers to showcase some of the world’s best art and design publications. It includes events across Melbourne and (for the first time this year) regional Victoria. Venues include the National Victoria Gallery, bookstores, art spaces and even rooftops.

Words at Wagstaffe
27 March 2021
A one-day literary event at Wagstaffe Hall, in support of the upcoming Words on the Waves Writers Festival being held in June on the Central Coast.

Swancon, Perth, WA
24 – 26 April 2021
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
26 April – 2 May 2021
Returning to Carriageworks, this year’s theme is “Within Reach” and focuses on the strength and depth of Australian literature. Includes a diverse schedule of educational programs, workshops, interactive sessions and entertainment for all participants.

Scribblers Festival
3-9 May 2021
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. Bringing together a cast of authors, illustrators and other creative minds to tell their tales and reveal what goes into making them. 

STREWTH Bendigo Writers Festival
6-9 May 2021
From a conversation about secrecy to a discussion about tyrants, from soul searching to truth seeking, from filling in the gaps to opening up vistas, Bendigo Writers Festival 2021 is a shout-out to the best words for the very best thoughts. Festival events will be live and online this year – you can attend from the comfort of your home.

Brisbane Writers Festival, Qld
7-9 May 2021
Brisbane Writers Festival is back in 2021 for its 59th year, as it turns the page on a new chapter for the Festival. Events will be held at the State Library of Queensland, with an incredible program of writers, thinkers, dreamers, and artists.

Kyogle Writers Festival
14-16 May 2021
Bringing the best of contemporary Australian writing to Kyogle, NSW, through an exploration of the different meanings of ‘country’ in the area. The festival runs for three days and is packed full of ideas, writing and art.

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival
14-16 May 2021
A storytelling spectacular held in the heart of WA’s Margaret River wine region. The festival includes author talks, interviews, Q&A sessions, panel discussions, book signings and entertainment for the whole family.

Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival, SA
14-16 May 2021
Held since 1991, the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival celebrates Penola’s rich literary history, artists, live music, performing arts, film, kids activities and Coonawarra’s fine food and wine. 

Capricorn Coast Writers Festival
11-13 June 2021
This biennial event is taking place in Yeppoon, Queensland – “where curiosity meets inspiration” – with some of the most experienced and exciting voices in Australian literature via workshops and conversations with national authors and publishers.

Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival
11-14 June 2021
With a focus on contemporary Australian writers, this festival will be presenting an exciting line-up of literary talent, workshops, readings, and displays over the June long weekend in this picturesque NSW river town.

Words on the Waves Writers Festival
12-13 June 2021
The inaugural Words on the Waves Writers Festival will be held on the scenic Central Coast, NSW with storytelling and energising conversations, book signings with your favourite authors, workshops, a kids’ program and more.

Outback Writers Festival
22-24 June 2021
Taking place in Winton, Queensland. If you enjoy writing, reading, meeting authors, learning how to write or just enjoy outback books in general, this annual festival is for you. Meet locals and visitors alike and attend book launches.

Emerging Writers Festival
16-26 June 2021
This is one of Australia’s most established and well-respected literary festivals – existing to develop, nurture and promote Australia’s new writing talent, creating platforms for connecting writing communities and their audiences.

Rockingham Writers Convention, WA
12 July 2021
Rockingham Writers Centre has announced that registrations for the Rockingham Writers Convention 2021 are now open. The program includes workshops, opportunities to pitch to publishers, and have a critique from editors and agents. And one of AWC’s lovely presenters, Annabel Smith, will be there!

Kiama Readers Festival
23-25 July 2021
A weekend celebration of writing and reading by the sea in picturesque Kiama NSW. Featuring author talks and workshops.

Corrugated Lines: A Festival of Words, WA
30 July – 1 August 2021
Held in Broome, WA, Corrugated Lines: A Festival of Words celebrates the town and the wider region’s wealth of talent in storytelling. It is an inspirational event for both local lovers of words and visitors to the town who enjoy Kimberley stories and sharing tales of their own. 

Byron Writers Festival
6-8 August 2021
The annual Byron Writers Festival is Australia’s largest and leading regional celebration of storytelling, literature and ideas. With more than 150 sessions during Festival Week and an audience of approximately 12,000 people in the stunning surrounds of Byron Bay.

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival
13-15 August 2021
In its tenth year, the biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is on this August. The Festival brings together the regional community of writers and readers with Australian and internationally revered authors and celebrities, inspiring the community with their love of writing through workshops, masterclasses, seminars and so much more.

Canberra Writers Festival, ACT
18-22 August 2021
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.

Writers Unleashed (The Sutherland Shire Writers' Festival), NSW
21 August 2021
Writers Unleashed (The Sutherland Shire Writers' Festival) is back in 2021 with an exciting line-up of your favourite authors and presenters. Featuring: Candice Fox, Allison Tait, Patti Miller, Sue Whiting, Sandie Docker, Pamela Cook and more! With author talks, workshops and presentations across three rooms, Manuscript Consultations with publishers and catering included for the whole day, it's a local Festival with a big heart!

NT Writers Festival
26-29 August 2021
Held annually, this festival’s location alternates between Darwin and Alice Springs – this year it’s in Alice – taking place across four days at the Olive Park Botanic Garden and emphasising Australia’s cultural and linguistic diversity through unique immersive experiences. 

Melbourne Writers Festival, Vic
3-12 September 2021
With events over ten days across the city’s literary precinct. There’s always an incredible line-up of speakers, performances, workshops and talks. Keep an eye out for major announcements regarding authors and events.

BAD Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival, Online
10-12 September 2021
An annual event at the State Library of NSW, BAD explores what crime can tell us about humanity, both contemporary and historical. The speakers include crime fiction writers, journalists and film-makers, and professionals from the justice system such as detectives, judges and psychologists.

Greek-Australian Writers’ Festival, NSW
25 September 2021
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.

The York Festival, WA
2 October 2021
The York Festival Writers Program is a day-long event consisting of multiple panel sessions and Q&As with local West Australian authors held in the iconic town of York, Western Australia. There are over 20 events in the program on Saturday 2 October starting with a breakfast with The West Australian Travel Editor and renowned author Stephen Scourfield.

Once Upon a Festival, SA
28-29 October 2021
Held at the Immanuel Campus in the Novar Gardens Adelaide, this school-based Literary Festival kicks off in October. There will be many fun and inspiring events including authors and illustrators talks and workshops for attending students.

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