About Us

The inaugural Newcastle Writers Festival was held in 2013 and was a resounding success. More than 70 writers participated in 38 sessions – half of which were free. In 2014, the festival was enhanced by the addition of a popular children’s program. More than 100 writers participated in the extended festival and more than 6500 people attended the event, from preschoolers to adults. The 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 festivals were bigger and better still, and we’re looking forward to exceeding expectations with our eighth event in April 2020.

Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom is supported by the dedicated NWF board – Frances Crampton (President), Warwick Sommer (Vice President), Jenny Blackford, Laura Jackel, Sharon Roberts, Kate Robinson, and Lyn Thurnham. We look forward to sharing with you our passion for brilliant writing and thought-provoking ideas. See you in April 2020!

Thanks to our past Committee Members for their hard work and dedication: Maryanne Church, Carol Edmonds, Nicole Hellyer, Amy Hurrell and Katrina McKelvey.


The Newcastle Writers Festival is a not-for-profit organisation with official DGR status endorsed by the ATO. Donations over $2 are tax deductible, and will help make the festival even more amazing.

If you would like to make a donation online, please go to our trusted partner GiveNow. Otherwise, please email us for details.

About Rosemarie Milsom

Newcastle Writers Festival Director

“I want to create an eclectic, welcoming festival that celebrates words and ideas, as well as the depth of local writing talent.”

Rosemarie Milsom wasn’t the first person to wonder why Newcastle didn’t have its own writers festival, but she was crazy enough to do something about it. She was then lucky enough that supporters jumped on board, including the University of Newcastle, Hunter Writers Centre, Newcastle NOW and Newcastle City Council.

Rosemarie has been a journalist for more than 20 years. She was a feature writer at the Newcastle Herald for four years before becoming a freelance feature writer in October 2015. In 2016, she joined 1233 ABC Newcastle as a presenter.

For four years she was a Sun-Herald section editor and was responsible for book reviews and author profiles. She has been reviewing books and interviewing authors her entire career. She has also been a feature writer and editor at Sunday Life magazine and has written for VogueMedical Observer and The Australian Way (Qantas’ in-flight magazine). In 2012, she was awarded Journalist of the Year at the MEAA Northern NSW Media Awards and in 2014 was awarded Best Feature in the NSW Regional Media Awards. She was a finalist in the same category in 2015. Rosemarie has has facilitated at the Sydney and Byron Bay writers’ festivals and has travelled to festivals throughout Australia and overseas. She lives in Newcastle with her husband and three children.

Download past festival programs