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What you need to know for the EWF 2018 artist call-out!

Linh Nguyen  

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Keen to be a part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2018? We have an open artist call-out running until the 3rd of December.

Here is a run down about what we would like from YOU in the submission process.

About us

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a  festival for writers – our audience and our artists are all storytellers of various kinds. Our artistic mission is to develop, nurture and promote Australia’s new writing talent. The EWF program encompasses two streams; to give opportunities and professional development to writers to extend their artistic practice, and to support emerging writers to engage new and larger audience.

Diversity, inclusivity and accessibility are the core values that 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. You can have a look at some of our programming commitments here.

The call-out

Each year we program almost 300 artists from around Australia, and are committed to selecting 25% of these from the open artist call-out. Last year, the total number of artists programmed in the festival was 269, so that translates to just over 65 spots for artists from the open call-out. To give you a ballpark figure, last year we had over 300 applications, and each year this number grows.

However, don’t let this discourage you! 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 this year’s program.

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

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

What does ‘emerging’ mean?

  • ‘Emerging’ doesn’t necessarily mean young!
  • Can mean that you’re an established writer moving into a different genre or form (e.g. an established journalist starting out in fiction)
  • 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.

What does ‘writer’ mean?

  • ‘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

The application

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 cannot overstate the importance of the first three questions. 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.

Common mistakes:

  • Not including enough information
  • Unnecessary waffle
  • Impersonal information – it’s OK to put your own twist on what you tell us. We’re reading a lot of these!
  • 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 to place you

Top tips:

  • 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 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.

The 2018 Emerging Writers’ Festival will take place from June 19 – 29. Submit your application here before December 3.

You can also watch our live-streamed information session about the open artist call-out.