COVID concerns force Emerging Writers Festival online

To combat the challenges of COVID-19, the EWF will once again operate digitally.

In order to ensure the safety of artists and attendees during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) 2021 will be migrating online. The now entirely digital festival starts tomorrow, Wednesday 16 June, and runs through to Saturday 26 June.

‘Although we wish more than anything to proceed with the original version of the festival we had put so much love and hard work into, we feel it is best to move our festival online for 2021,’ said EWF Artistic Director Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh.

‘This decision was not made easily, but in the interests of the health and safety of our team, artists, and community. Our 2020 digital festival demonstrated that the internet is an incredible platform for the arts.’

The EWF, which is focused on new writers and the craft and business of writing, pivoted to a digital platform under similar conditions in 2020.

This year, in honour of its 18th birthday celebrations, the festival has commissioned over 50 writers to appear in panels and and projects over its 11-day duration. Guests include: Tony Birch, Alice Bishop, Evelyn Araluen. Anna Spargo-Ryan and Jamie Marina Lau.

There will be over 60 events on show, including conferences (4×4 Rules for Writing, The Editors, and Writing Character & Place), lunchtime literature workshops (Writing for Children and Writing Across Genre), panel discussions on debut publications and Own Voices narratives, and even an Amazing Poetry Race, where you can set out on a treasure hunt across the City of Port Phillip to collect five poems.

The festival opens with Collective Imaginings, featuring four First Nations women reflecting on storytelling, and closes with a nostalgic ‘Be kind, Rewind’ session as artists share what they wish they knew upon coming of age.

The program is being updated daily as changes are made to events – updates are viewable on the Emerging Writers Festival  website.


Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy