Photo credit: Mae Hartrick

Keen to be a part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2023? We have an open artist call-out running until 5pm AEDT, Tuesday 20 December.


Here’s a run-down of what’s in the application, and how to make yours stand out!

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is primarily a festival for writers – our audience and our artists are all storytellers of various kinds. Our mission is to champion, develop and promote Australia’s new writing talent. Two of our core artistic drivers are to provide professional development opportunities to emerging writers, and to support emerging writers to engage new and larger audiences.

A commitment to diversity, inclusivity and accessibility underpin EWF’s artistic program. Through our annual festival we seek to cultivate a national community of storytellers who are inclusive, critical, rigorous and engaged.

Each year we program artists from around Australia, and are committed to selecting 25% of these from the open artist call-out. In recent years, the total number of artists programmed has been around 150, so that translates to roughly a minimum of 30 spots for artists in the open call-out. Often, though, we program more than this 25% from the call-out!

You’ve already taken a great step to standing out from the staggering talent we see in the submissions by reading this blog post. Which leads us to our next point…

Do your research! This goes for any application process. If you’re not familiar with the festival, have a look through the 2022 program.

Our programming shifts yearly in terms of content and format, but we can tell you that there will be:

There is certainly space for innovation and experimentation with event formats in our program, so dream big!


  • ‘Emerging’ doesn’t necessarily mean young!
  • Can mean that you’re an established writer moving into a different genre or form
  • Can mean that you’ve recently published your first book
  • Can mean that you’re just at the beginning of your writing journey
  • Can mean that you’re not yet published, or that you only have a few publications to your name

Essentially, if you consider yourself ‘emerging’ and you think that you can get something out of the festival, EWF is for you.


  • ‘Writing’ can come in many different forms. Essentially what we’re interested in is storytelling, not necessarily just the written word
  • Audio and visual forms definitely fall under ‘writing’ in our minds – comic artists, filmmakers, game designers, podcasters, photographers and more are all welcome, as long as your work encompasses storytelling in some shape or form
  • Equally, if you work in one medium or are specifically interested in the written word, we also want to hear from you.
  • Fiction and nonfiction will always have a place in the festival. Come critics, come playwrights, come poets, come all
  • We encourage multidisciplinary approaches, and we’re interested in intersections between forms, mediums, disciplines and thematic content

We get a lot of applications. Even if you think we know you and what you do, tell us in your own words. You know yourself best, so tell us what your strengths are; think about which topics and themes that you specifically have something valuable to contribute to. We also want to know if you’re keen to try something different, or build your skills in an area you’re not yet super confident in.

We read and re-read these applications, and the information you give us here is how we figure out where you would best fit into the program. We can’t make decisions with information that isn’t there – include everything you think is relevant to help us decide where to put you in the festival.


  • Not including enough information, or assuming we know you and your practice
  • Unnecessary information or waffle
  • Impersonal information – it’s OK to put your own twist on what you tell us. We’re reading a lot of these!
  • As a general rule we don’t program solo shows or events that have been staged or programmed before from the Open Artist Call-out

Please don’t say ‘put me anywhere’ or ‘I’d like to be involved in any way possible’. We understand that you’re super keen to be part of the festival, but this doesn’t help us figure out where best to place you! Let us know which topics interest you and what kind of event you would like to be a part of.


  • Do your homework. Look at previous festivals and programs; think about how your voice and work fits in with what we do
  • Be succinct, clear and concise – it’s OK to use dot-points!
  • Think of this as a pitch; tell us why this topic/event and why you. Be specific and detailed
  • Think outside the box – don’t just pitch us what you always do, or something that you’ve seen done a million times before

We do artist training around public speaking and moderating a panel, so don’t be afraid to pitch us something a bit out of your comfort zone. After all, that’s how we grow.

Looking for more tips? You can watch our live-streamed information session about the open artist call-out.

The 2023 Emerging Writers’ Festival will take place over 11 days from 14 -24 June. Submit your application before 5pm, Tuesday 20 December. Now click here to apply!