The University of Newcastle, Australia

The University of Newcastle is a founding sponsor of the Newcastle Writers Festival, which is in its ninth year and is regarded as the city's premier cultural event.

The Faculty of Education and Arts contributes essential funding to the annual festival, and our academics and students contribute program ideas, participate in panel discussions and facilitate sessions.

“It is probably the only example in the region of an arts and culture festival that has managed to grow into the size and scale and diversity that it has. I think it is a really big success story and a positive thing for the University to be associated with.” Kathleen Hyland, City of Newcastle.

The festival also creates exciting real-world learning opportunities for our creative writing students.  Students have participated as panellists and volunteers; they have also had opportunities to attend masterclasses hosted by guest writers such as Charlotte Wood and Stephen Armstrong. This has allowed them to make connections with nationally recognised writers and to have a platform for sharing their own work with large audiences.

The University’s ongoing support of the festival has contributed to enhanced programming and given our staff, students and alumni access to specialist knowledge and a wide range of free programs.  As the festival continues to grow in scale, it makes positive contributions to our local community and increases pride.

A free program from the University of Newcastle was added to the festival program in 2018, which features topical discussions and features researchers from the Humanities and Social Sciences, including researchers from the Centre for 21st Century Humanities. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences, in partnership with the NSW History Council, also present at the festival.

In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 meant that the Festival went online with Stories To You programmed over two days, and the online program featuring some of our academic staff and postgraduate students. This innovation signals a new engagement with different audiences.

Speakers at the 2018 writers festival
Event info Find out more about the Newcastle Writers Festival

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