The Swinburne Writers Festival wrote its way into history as the first event to draw together writing students from all sectors of the university, as well as the outside writing community, in a four day event that spanned the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne bars, and Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.

Uniting students from TAFE to Higher Education to Postgraduate and part of Melbourne’s Emerging Writers Festival, the event attracted over 500 attendees to sessions as varied as poetry and self-publishing workshops, panels on storytelling and memoir writing, and an interactive ‘pitch your idea’ presentation.

The festival gave students the chance to develop event management and curatorial skills, and let them mingle with the writer panellists. These included highly-awarded and prolific children’s writers Mark Carthew and Nic Brasch, young adult fiction author and non-fiction writer Jacqui Ross, memoirists Spiri Tsintzirasis and Larry Schwartz, Herald Sun theatre critic Kate Herbert, and award-winning writers Julian Novitz, Josie Arnold, Carolyn Beasley and acclaimed poet Dominique Hecq.

Led by Swinburne’s Carolyn Beasley, Program Director of Writing in the Department of Media and Communication, Daniele Noel from Student Advancement, and deputy director of Writers Victoria and CBDI TAFE writing teacher, Nicolas Brasch, the Festival also held a booked-out session at the Wheeler Centre and open mic and trivia events in Melbourne bars. Student participation was a key aspect, with a student invited to participate in each panel.

“People were blown away by the talent, experience and other lives of the panellists and workshop facilitators – all of whom teach at Swinburne and have also been very successful writers in many different fields,” co-organiser Nicolas Brasch said.

The festival was kindly funded by Student Advancement and the school of Media and Communication. Chapter Two of the event will run in June 2016.