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Welcome to Wollongong’s Home of the Performing Arts

South Coast Writers Festival

3 - 4 Jun

Discover the best new Australian writing by talented authors in our region and beyond.

Join the South Coast Writers Festival for readings, conversations, panels, and book launches in venues across Wollongong Town Hall. 

Enjoy three days of events with award-winning authors and fun for readers and writers of all ages at the South Coast Writers Festival, and celebrate the literary talent of the South Coast.


‘So, you want to be a writer?’ Publishing Workshop with A.L. Tait  

1 – 3 pm in the Music Lounge

Want a better understanding of the nuts and bolts of working in the literary world? Have your pressing questions about how to succeed in publishing answered by bestselling author A. L. Tait. This workshop also features live guest interviews with authors Lisa Heidke and Christine Sykes discussing their writing practice and publishing experiences.  

Writing Fantasy Stories – Writing Workshop for young people 

4 – 5 pm in the Ocean Room  

Do you love exciting adventures, strong characters and vivid worlds? Learn the basics of creating fantasy stories with fantasy author A. L. Tait. Dream big in this writing workshop for 9-12 year olds!  

South Coast Writers Festival – Opening Night 

6 – 9 pm in the Music Lounge

Join us for the opening night of the South Coast Writers festival. The evening will feature four stellar women writers on conversation about politics, writing and life. Christine Sykes, author of the memoir Gough and Me, speaks with columnist Jane Caro on growing up in the Gough Whitlam era and the life impacts of progressive politics; and Kathryn Heyman, author of the memoir Fury, joins journalist Caroline Baum to talk about writing her story of trauma, transformation and becoming heroic against the odds.   


Dreaming Inside – A Decade of Anthologies 

9 – 10:15 am in the Music Lounge 

Join us for a Welcome to Country from Aunty Barbara Nicholson, who will discuss the 10-year publishing history of Ngara Bangarai’s anthology project: Dreaming Inside: Voices from Junee Correctional Centre, in conversation with Simon Luckhurst.

In Translation: The Lovers

10:30 am – 12 pm in the Music Lounge 

French-Australian author Catherine Rey’s speaks about the process of writing in translation, the French Literary Tradition, and her novel The Lovers, with Xavier Hennekinne.  

From This Hot Mess to Hope   

10:30 am – 12 pm in the Main Auditorium

Scott Ludlam, ex- Greens Senator and author of Full Circle, and Jonica Newby, ABC TV science journalist and author of Beyond Climate Grief, discuss the realities of climate change, how we can face it, and how we can find the courage and strength to work for change with hope, with Robyn Williams.  

Beyond Representation  

12:30 – 1:45 pm in the Music Lounge 

Much representation continues to focus on the ‘struggle’ of living with a marginalised identity, but with publishing increasingly recognising the importance of diverse representation, is it time to decentralise marginalised identities and normalise them to the point that they are a non-issue? Authors Helena Fox, Vivian Pham and  Kirli Saunders discuss the pros and cons with Jamilla Dempsey.  

Jane Caro on ‘The Mother’  

12:30 – 1:45 pm in the Main Auditorium

Toxic relationships, coercive control, motherhood, and feminist politics: popular columnist Jane Caro discusses the contemporary issues that feature in her novel The Mother with Meredith Jaffè.  

The Eulogy: Challenging the limits of autofiction 

2 – 3:15 pm in the Music Lounge 

Join Jackie Bailey and Roanna Gonsalves as they discuss Jackie’s autofiction novel, The Eulogy. Described as an “astounding debut”, it is a story about family, death and grief, weaving together storylines and relationships over decades, that is full of love, humour and life. 

The New Queens of Crime  presented by BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival.

2 – 3:15 pm in the Main Auditorium

Are you mad for crime fiction? Then join Bad: All About Crime’s podcast host Andy Muir as he speaks to two local debut crime authors, Dinuka McKenzie, author of The Torrent, and Hayley Scrivenor, author of Dirt Town who may be the next Australian queens of crime fiction. 

From West to South   

3:30 – 4:45 pm in the Music Lounge 

Western Sydney’s West Words Academy presents a curated panel introducing three of their exceptional emerging writers: authors Zaheda Ghani and Vivian Pham, and playwright James Elazzi.   

Telling Hard Stories and Re-grounding in Culture  

3:30 – 5 pm in the Auditorium 

After Story and The Boy from the Mish, the recent novels of First Nations creatives Larissa Behrendt and Gary Lonesborough, have been highly acclaimed. Larissa and Gary sit down with Judi Morison to yarn about otherness and our common humanity, untold stories which become too hard to bear, and the healing power of culture.   

‘Sneaky Little Revolutions’: Revisiting the Legacy of Charmian  Clift

5 – 6:30 pm in the Music Lounge  

Born in Kiama, Charmian was a writer and thinker ahead of her time. Her biographer Nadia Wheatley discusses Charmian’s re-released essays and her turbulent and fascinating life.  

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