Each year, Emerging Writers’ Festival selects Ambassadors that are invited to share their experience and insight with the next generation of writers at the National Writers’ Conference.

This year, we are proud to announce four incredible writers as our Ambassadors.

They are: activist, historian, essayist and novelist Tony Birch (Ghost River), speculative fiction author Claire G. Coleman (Terra Nullius), poet and editor Elena Gomez (Body of Work) and memoir and non-fiction writer Sisonke Msimang (Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home).

“We have chosen ambassadors that we think will truly inspire the voices of tomorrow. We are truly excited to have them lend their expertise during this year’s festival and to highlight their ongoing contributions to the literary sector during their sessions at the National Writers’ Conference. We have no doubt that our cohort of emerging writers will be equally thrilled to hear and learn from some of the very best,” says Emerging Writers’ Festival Artistic Director Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh.

Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

Claire G. Coleman is a writer from Western Australia. She identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. Her family are associated with the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Claire grew up in a Forestry settlement in the middle of a tree plantation, where her dad worked, not far out of Perth. She wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie is her second novel.

Elena Gomez is an experienced freelance book editor, speaker and writer. She has previously worked at Penguin Random House and Text Publishing, facilitated workshops for Queensland Poetry Festival and Express Media, and guest lectured at the University of Technology Sydney and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She is the author of Body of Work and Admit the Joyous Passion of Revolt.

Sisonke Msimang is the author of Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela. She is a South African writer whose work is focused on race, gender and democracy. She has written for a range of international publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Newsweek, Bloomberg, and Al Jazeera. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the Bellagio Centre. She is currently a fellow at the WISER Institute, at the University of the Witwatersrand.

All four ambassadors will present keynotes during the National Writers’ Conference, as well as participating in 4 x 4 Rules for Writing.

This year NWC will take place entirely online, this Saturday 19 June 2021. Tickets for the National Writers’ Conference are on sale now. The Emerging Writers’ Festival takes place 16-26 June 2021 #EWF21