My Top 10 Picks for EWF 2020



Every year the Emerging Writers’ Festival swings around and I get very excited, hop on a plane and feel guilty about the carbon emissions I’ve racked up travelling from lutruwita/Tasmania to birrarunga/naarm/Melbourne, even as I’m guiltily lapping up the artistry of emerging writers and performers from across the globe.

But this year, the events are all online, and you can enjoy the splendour of performance from your couch or a library wifi connection! Hooray!!!!!!

This is a by no means comprehensive list of the top ten events I’m most looking forward to at EWF 2020:

Kiss Me Through the Phone

I read the title of this event and immediately the Tiktok version of the Soulja Boy song filled my ears, sending a jet of adrenaline through my veins. A true banger.

Quarantine has forced us to get creative with romance – so a night of storytelling about love in the time of COVID, from a stellar lineup of writers, is very welcome.

Gird your loins and grab your tickets here!

Creative Responses to the Climate Crisis

Love a good Pecha Kucha? Hate the climate crisis? Me too…

That’s why I’m looking so forward to this evening of presentations about climate justice by such artists as Florence Folole Tupuola and Ryan Prehn. I’m hoping for poetry and multimedia, cute slides and calls to action.

The livestream is free and will launch on the 18th of June at 7pm. *scrawls in diary*

The Early Words: Iuara the Vindictive Mermaid with Ana Maria Gomides

Usually at 8:30 in the morning I’m milking cows, but in this case I’ll make sure to have headphones in so I can listen to Ana Maria Gomides, who is an incredible writer and storyteller.

Also I feel like the world really needs an alternative story to make up for the The Little Mermaid, and so I really want to hear about the vindictive mermaid.

Lunchtime Literature: The Cost of Writing

In a time when the future of arts funding looks particularly dire, I think we cannot emphasise enough the old adage: pay your writers.

Literary communities often emerge in tight networks of yarns spun from shoestring budgets, but without financial resources, writers are in a tight space. I’m especially looking forward to hearing from Leah Jing McIntosh, founding editor of Liminal mag.

This event will be held at lunchtime 12:30pm on the 22nd of June, on a livestream at the EWF website. And it’s FREE!

Creative Memoir

Eloise Grills wrote a book that I personally keep beside my bed to pick up in the morning in order to make me feel like getting out of bed (it’s called If You’re Sexy and You Know It Slap Your Hams) because it is hilarious and speaks to me from a deep place:

“If you’re a snack-motivated sexpot with limited critical faculties when it comes to pop culture and a tendency to overshare, clap your ass.”

Anyway, I’m super keen for the above event and literally cannot believe. it’s. free.

Fresh Air

Ah, Voiceworks. Where would we be without you? Generations of young emerging writers have clambered onto its platform like baby birds and found our wings.

Like EWF, this year the good ship VW is going digital. They will be releasing a periodical online magazine, which is very exciting.

And … I’m lucky enough to have a piece about sheep and whales in it, called Shifting Baseline Syndrome! So please come to the launch on Friday the 19th of June at 6pm via Facebook Watch Party :3


“We live amid unpredictability; tears in the fabric increasingly reveal themselves. Can we take a glitch and re-fashion it to suit the mood? Can a glitch be a sign of disaffection, of continued existence, of intimacy?”

Glitches are rifts of possibility. When I was younger I used to go to the library every afternoon to play computer games, and my favourite thing was finding glitches that allowed me to variously:

  1. fill a bathroom cubicle with grumbling gnomes generating their own spawn point
  2. create a permanent mushroom-like shield that pulsated around my character
  3. get stuck in a shifting portal between virtual worlds

So when I saw Liminal magazine was launching a series of digital art, writing and more, I got very excited. Tickets are free and the launch will happen on Facebook watch party, so there’s no excuse not to go.

Showcase: the Pasifika Storytellers Collective. You Didn’t Civilise Us, You Syphilised Us

I’m looking forward to hearing the Pasifika Storytellers Collective as they unravel Western concepts of Pasifika representation in creative media, which is well due – my g-g grandmother was taken from Samoa by white missionaries, and I think there’s a lot of work to be done in order to hold our media to account about how they represent Pasifika people.

This event launches on Tuesday the 16th of June on the EWF website. Time TBA.

Space Mall: Choose Your Own Adventure

A shopping mall in space. A Twitterverse adventure. Need I say more? I can’t wait.

This event launches on Tuesday the 16th of June.

Amazing Babes

With Veronica Gorrie, Maya Hodge, Raelee Lancaster, Alice Skye and Adut Wol, the finale of EWF 2020 wraps up the festival with an ode to the Amazing Babes who carried us through and made writing possible.

It also includes the announcement of the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction and a DJ set by Papiwhatsgood.


The best thing is, the festival won’t really end, because everything is immortally live on the internet.


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