Wordstorm 2014: Top End Writers Festival

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Wordstorm 2014: Top End Writers Festival
Thursday May 28 – Sunday June 1
Various venues, Darwin, NT

Literary Tempest ready to hit Darwin

Prepare for this year’s WordStorm to rip through your mind stimulating it with compelling, often challenging and always entertaining subject matter that will leave you in a state of pleasant disruption and discovery.

Thirty [30] writers from across the country will join forty [40] local writers from Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Tiwi, Katherine and Borroloola as part of this year’s program for the WordStorm Top End Writers Festival. The jam-packed program will feature seventy [70] writers, fourteen [14] panel sessions, eleven [11] workshops, five [5] book launches, and FREE events the whole family can enjoy.

This year’s line-up of literary heavyweights is focused around seven [7] themes chosen to represent not only the diversity of Darwin but also to highlight some of the issues faced in the writing industry across the country. The seven deadly themes as they will become known will span across cultural issues, journalism, music, children’s literature, trans-media, and the wonderful comic book world of graphic novelists.

The festival officially kicks off at the NT Library with a night of awards on Thursday 29th May at 5pm. The 2014 Territory Read Awards  and the NT Literary Awards will award both published and unpublished NT writers respectively and offers $14000.00 in prize money up for grabs this year.

Rave on local writers and book launches.

Nick Bland – NT writer. NT Barry John won every book award this year.

Indigenous headliner is no doubt the multi-awarded author Alexis Wright. Her novel Carpentaria won five national literary awards in 2007, including the Miles Franklin Award and the ASAL Gold Medal. Indigenous headliner is no doubt the multi-awarded author Alexis Wright. Her novel Carpentaria won five national literary awards in 2007, including the Miles Franklin Award and the ASAL Gold Medal. Her latest book The Swan Book has been shortlisted for the 2014 ALS Gold Medal, The Stella Prize and last week was long-listed for this year’s Miles Franklin Award.

How many free events?


Alexis Wright – … and Kate F

Pat Grant – Award for BLUE.

Antony Loewenstein

Omar Musa

Katherine Thompson

Mark Mordue

Nicki Greenberg

John van Tiggelen w Clayton Bennett.

Annette Shun Wah

Claire Scobie

Bestselling author Christos Tsiolkas [The Slap/Barracuda] is a definite headliner not to be missed and is sure to be an instant sell-out. Two of Australia’s Top 3 music writers Bernard Zuel and Mark Mordue; the latter having just completed writing Nick Cave’s imminent biography titled ‘Tender Prey’; will no doubt give rollicking accounts of Sex Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll from some of the world’s biggest rock stars. In an “In Conversation Session” exploring how music journalism has changed over the years this session will also contemplate Frank Zappa’s famous quote “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

One of Australia’s most accomplished young graphic novelists Pat Grant will take you on a rapid-fire introduction to graphic storytelling in his solo presentation Politicos, Potheads, Nerds and Perverts. In panel sessions to follow Pat will be joined by other leading graphic novelists to discuss Graphic Fantasy and the deep dark graphic mind…Modern day poet, writer and rapper Omur Musa is sure to be a festival favourite along with The Great Comedy Debate hosted by local Alice Springs based writer Yvette Holt.

“This festival takes a different twist from past WordStorm events. We challenge our audiences to be both entertained as well as to focus on a range of challenging and contemporary themes around literature and writing. We do this in the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that makes tropical Darwin so unique.” Panos Couros Executive Director

Comic books have been with all of us at some stage in our growing up. It is an art form that has touched children and adults alike. In recent years comic book artists have gained recognition in the literary world – called Graphic Novelists these days – and the proliferation of talent that has emerged in the last decade has been staggering. Graphic Fantasy is one theme that features the country’s most accomplished young graphic novelists. Comic book artist Pat Grant will take you on a rapid-fire introduction to graphic storytelling in his solo presentation Politicos, Potheads, Nerds and Perverts and joining him later in two panel sessions are Nicki Greenberg (who has adapted The Great Gatsby and  Hamlet to comic book form) and the internationally renowned Simon Hanselmann, who’s unique, darkly humoured work sells prolifically across the USA.

Alexis Wright, an Indigenous Australian writer best known for winning the Miles Franklin Award for her 2006 novel Carpentaria will join celebrated and bestselling author of The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas and a swathe of other Indigenous and non-Anglo migrant writers to discuss this theme. Both writers will also be presented In Conversation style, with Alexis being interviewed by past NTWC director Sandra Thibodeaux and Christos by the dazzling SBS TV presenter Annette Shun Wah. It’s not Black and White will see some vibrant discussion occurring in the panel sessions as well and these will be the stand out moments of the festival.

Contemporary music lovers also get a treat in Rock Words. Music writing is often overlooked by the literary world but without it most of our music industry would not get the leg up that it needs – especially in the early days of musicians careers. Coming across to discuss the inner workings of the music world, and what it takes to be a writer in this arena are Mark Mordue who has recently written a biography of rock star Nick Cave and Bernard Zuel an Australian music journalist and senior music writer and reviewer for Fairfax Media. Local ABC presenter Vicki Kerrigan will be chatting with these two great music writers, and the panel sessions will also include Kate Hennessey and Jen Jewel Brown, who has a long history with Darwin and a close association with one of our own great local music writers the late, great Andrew McMillan.

The world of journalism has been undergoing massive and fundamental changes over the past few years with the overhaul of the news and media industry. Many journalists have found it increasingly difficult to maintain freelance careers and the sector has fundamentally changed. Here to talk about this are the lively and outspoken writer Antony Loewenstein a journalist who has managed to forge a strong independent voice in what is becoming a very moderated arena. Joining him are Parliament House Gallery Journalist Kerry-Anne Walsh and editor of The Monthly John van Tiggelen. These sessions promise to look hard and deep into the future of journalism in this country and explore the avenues and possibilities for writers who once were the stalwarts of news and the ‘purveyors of truth’.

The other three areas of the festival look into what our future may be in the world of literature and books, as well as how some work has been successfully translated from one medium to another. Digital Children asks just what how will the learning experiences be affected by the advent of digital technology on the world of children’s books. Will our children be distracted by the colour and movement of the world of iPad and neglect the basics of literacy development? Is this new medium something that will enhance our developing minds? Local writers Nick Bland and Leonie Norrington have been making forays into the digital publishing world and they are joined by digital children’s publisher Ana Vivas from Snappy Ant productions to discuss this emerging digital arena.

WordStorm 2014 promises to be a vibrant, stimulating and most of all thoroughly entertaining writers festival offering Writers Talks, Panel sessions, workshops, readings and more.

Closing party – One final bash… slammers, novelists, journos, cartoonists and readers unite! Glittering literati shake their hips and work their lips in a final explosion of live performance, music and good ol’ fashioned boogieing!

Top End Writers Festival will be held on Thursday May 29 – Sunday June 1

at the Old Town Hall Ruins by night and Brown’s Mart and the NT Library by day.

 For the full program & bookings please visit: wordstorm.org.au

 Media Enquiries: Chryss Carr // 0417 800 869 // aum@aum.net.au



•  Adaptation – looking at at how a work transforms from one medium to another.

•  It’s Not Black and White – will generate a dialogue between Aboriginal Australia and the non-Anglo migrant cultures.

•  Digital Children – looking at interactivity, transmedia (writing for multiple platforms) and writing for children on electronic platforms, and how this affects young minds.

•  The Liquid Page – looking at how the digital world has changed writing including crowd writing, multimedia, transmedia, hyper textual and robotic writing, and other digital writing experiments.

•  Rock Words – Writing around contemporary rock music.

•  News Media Wars – a look at where journalism is going and its relationship with the rise of literary non-fiction writing (essays etc) by independent publications.

•  Graphic Fantasy – Whats happening in the world of graphic novels.


For more information: wordstorm.org.au