WestWords is proud to announce Booktober, a unique and innovative initiative to raise awareness and funds for books and literacy programs in disadvantaged Western Sydney communities.

There are walks, runs and shaves for charity but Booktober invites you to stop, take a breath, and read a book – all for a great cause. Participants can decide how many books they’ll read during the month of October and make the pledge. For every book you read you can donate yourself, $10 per book, or you can rally friends and family to sponsor you for each book read. Funds raised through the Booktober initiative will put books into the hands of underprivileged kids in the Greater Western Sydney region.

Booktober hopes to raise much needed funds for brand new books and ongoing Westwords’ literacy programs run in Western Sydney.

To take the pledge to Booktober, and turn the page on disadvantage for children in Greater Western Sydney go to—turning-the-page-on-disadvantage-2019.


What does it mean to write from western Sydney? How can our stories be used to challenge perceived ideas of what it means to be from here? How are these stories reaching larger national and international audiences? What can arts institutions do to foster complex, engaging and diverse stories from this region? How can the stories of this region be used to engage young people by fostering dialogue about the issues that matter to them?

The evening will be starting with live performances from our exceptionally talented line-up of Western Sydney slam poets and writers. Writing in Western Sydney is BIG right now, and if you haven’t sat in a room and felt the energy radiating from a bunch of slam poets, this is your chance. After the performances, we will hear how writing cultures in western Sydney have developed over time and how writers and the organisations that support them can bring this work to wider audiences.

WestWords is proud to be partnering with the Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group SAMAG for this event. They offer an annual program of events to share practical, inspiring and innovative ideas to grow an inclusive and resilient arts sector. Their monthly events are designed as professional development for artists and arts workers and encourage knowledge sharing across the sector.

The evening will start with live performances from our exceptionally talented line-up of Western Sydney slam poets and writers. Writing in Western Sydney is BIG right now, and if you haven’t sat in a room and felt the energy radiating from a bunch of slam poets, this is your chance. After the performances, we will hear how writing cultures in western Sydney have developed over time and how writers and the organisations that support them can bring this work to wider audiences.

What does it mean to write from western Sydney? How can our stories be used to challenge perceived ideas of what it means to be from here? How are these stories reaching larger national and international audiences? What can arts institutions do to foster complex, engaging and diverse stories from this region? How can the stories of this region be used to engage young people by fostering dialogue about the issues that matter to them?

The host for the night will be Michael Campbell, the executive director of WestWords and member of Create NSW’s literature panel, and the Creative Arts and Humanities panel at the Australian Research Council.

6.15pm -7.45pm
Monday 28th October 2019

University Of New England
Parramatta Campus
level 1, 211 Church Street Parramatta  2150

Non-members: $20
Student non-members: $10
​Members: Online RSVP essential
Companion card tickets available


Members RSVP via SAMAG website
SAMAG Membership Purchase a SAMAG membership online now

Aishah Ali is a fourth-year law and political science student of Fijian-Indian descent who has emerged as a fresh new face of spoken word poetry in Sydney. Her poetry has been published in a number of books, magazines and online forums and she has featured in major events such as the Sydney Writers’ Festival and took out the winning title in the 2018 Bankstown Poetry Slam. Aishah has curated two short films with Amnesty International.

Troy Wong was born and raised in Western Sydney. He helmed the Parramatta Poetry Slam and the Granville Poetry Slam as host and creative director and was a national finalist in the 2015 Australian Poetry Slam. Troy’s work has featured in Australian Poetry JournalCordite Poetry Review, and more.

Sunil Badami is a writer, academic, performer and broadcaster. He has written for publications including The Sydney Morning HeraldGood WeekendThe AustralianThe MonthlyThe New DailyThe Australian Literary ReviewAustralian Gourmet TravellerArt and AustraliaSoutherly, Island, Westerly and Meanjin. His work has been published in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.

Our MC will be Dr Felicity Castagna, an academic, teacher and arts leader who has either won or been a finalist for many of the nation’s top literary awards. She has featured in writers’ festivals, on the ABC and has collaborated with artists across the country. For the past four years, Felicity has run a storytelling night called Studio Stories and has co-run a mentorship scheme called The Finishing School at The Parramatta Artists’ Studios.

The 2019 CA WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writers’ Fellowships offers 3 Fellowships of $4,000 each to emerging writers aged 16 years and over from the Greater Western Sydney region.

In 2019, one of the Fellowships will be granted to an emerging writer specifically writing for children and/or young people.

The Fellowships are open to emerging writers* working in genres including fiction, non-fiction, journalism, poetry and song lyrics, writing for performance, writing online or new media and other forms of creative writing. Illustrators and graphic designers with a demonstrated interest in narrative through visual media may also apply. As part of your Fellowship you will receive a tailored program of mentorship.

Previous recipients have included Peter Polites who worked on the manuscript for his debut novel Down the Hume click here (published 2017 by Hachette), Maryam Azam whose debut poetry collection The Hijab Files click here was published by Giramondo in 2018, essayists Sheila Pham and Eda Gunaydin whose work went on to be published in Griffith Review, Voiceworks and Meanjin, Chloe Higgins whose debut novel The Girls has just been published by Pan Macmillan click here and Joseph Chebatte whose short film Entrenched which he developed and went onto to direct has just been and released online click here 

Previous mentors from the past two years have included Maxine Beneba Clarke, Melina Marchetta, Judith Beveridge, Bryan Brown, Sara Knox and Walter Mason.

There are three parts to each Fellowship:

  1. Development of your work as a writer
  2. Mentorship opportunities
  3. Working with young people in western Sydney

Applicants must be 16 years or over at 1st November 2019  and be able to demonstrate a strong and recent connection to the Greater Western Sydney region.

You may:

  • have been born and raised in Greater Western Sydney
  • have lived in Greater Western Sydney for more than 2 years
  • have worked in the region for a substantial length of time and within the past 5 years

9am, 4th November, 2019
Guidelines: CA WW WS Emerging Writers Fellowships_guidelines
Application form: CA WW WS Emerging Writers Fellowships_application form

For more information:
p 02 8677 4815

* Emerging is defined as in the first five years of their practice as a writer.

What previous recipients have said:
Without WestWords there would be no book. 
Peter Polites: 2015 Western Sydney Emerging Writers Fellow

WestWords is an organisation that truly puts its money where its mouth is with regards to empowering people from Western Sydney in the arts, and strengthening our community. Every young writer from Western Sydney that I’ve spoken to knows about, and wants, this Fellowship! This opportunity has opened more doors for me, as well as for many Fellows who have come before me, than any other opportunity I’ve had in my career.
Eda Gunaydin: 2016 Western Sydney Emerging Writers Fellow


The Fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the
Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency.

Join us for a unique opportunity to have a creative writing session with one of the best American slam poets!

Desireé will run a 90 minute workshop at WestWords, including a reading of her work.

Desireé Dallagiacomo is a full-time touring poet originally from rural California. She has been teaching creative writing for close to a decade. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and she has been a finalist at every major national poetry slam in the United States. Her poems have been featured widely in such places as Bustle Magazine, The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, and the New Orleans Fringe Festival. A collection of her work has been adapted for the Vagina Monologues at Tulane University.
She has taught & performed extensively across the USA, Canada, & Australia–being a guest speaker, teacher, and performer at more than 70 universities worldwide. Videos of her performances have over 3 million views on YouTube, and she is the co-host of a Southern Poetry podcast, Drawl.
Desireé believes deeply in community education, and in 2016 she founded an annual writing retreat in a writer’s house in rural New Mexico for folks or all skill levels, experiences, and economic class. Her first full-length collection of poetry, SINK, is available at
When: Thursday 17 October
Where: WestWords Centre for Writing, 91B Grose St North Parramatta.
Cost: $10
Limited spaces available so make sure to book a spot at

2019 WestWords-Parramatta Artist Studios Artist in Residence is Martin Ed Chatterton!

Martin’s residency spanned over the last week of term 3 and the first week of school holidays!
(24th Sept-6th Oct 2019)

WestWords had a blast having Martin here! We think he did too, look at all that work in the studio! Martin was looking for inspiration for his new book ‘Green’. After all his school visits through Western Sydney he came up with a cover for his book! Scroll down to have a look!


Final Product

Martin has written many children’s books for a variety of age ranges and has illustrated more than a hundred books for many other writers, including best-sellers Anthony Horowitz, Tony Mitton, Tony Bradman, as well as UK Children’s Laureates Julia Donaldson and Michael Rosen. He co-writes (and illustrates) extensively with publishing phenomenon, James Patterson as both crime writer, and on the globally successful Middle School series. In recent years he has moved into screenwriting and has recently co-written (with Brian Viner) Dotty, a six part drama TV series currently in development with BKL Film in the UK with Jenny Seagrove as the lead. A full-time writer, illustrator, film-maker and performer, Martin has previously spent time as a graphic designer and lecturer. In 2011 he began writing crime fiction (as Ed Chatterton) and his latest thriller, The Tell, will be published by Penguin Random House in May 2020. In 2017 he completed his PhD on the legacy of the Atlantic Slave Trade in Liverpool. This PhD has spawned his next children’s picture book, Winter of the White Bear, which is currently in development as an animated feature film with Hungry Head Productions. He is also a partner in Sugartown Media, a film and media company based in Vancouver.

He divides his working year between the UK and Australia and is married with two grown up children. He is a popular public speaker at schools and festivals in Australia and overseas.

We were delighted to have you here Martin!

In partnership with

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Word of Mouth is the culmination of a series of writing workshops where participants from refugee backgrounds developed their stories. The writers presented them at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre as part of Liverpool’s contribution to celebrating Refugee Week 2019.

“I want to emphasise the importance of hearing refugees’ stories told in their own words. Our nation’s understanding of refugees and asylum seekers is often through the lens of news media or through politically motivated debates. Rarely do we have the opportunity to hear from the people at the centre of the stories. Stories are powerful ways to connect people with each other and to cross cultural and linguistic barriers. Projects like these are crucial in sending a message to our community that our stories matter and are part of the fabric of Australian society.”
– Councillor Charishma Kaliyanda, Liverpool City Council

“It was a small wooden boat. But there were a hundred of us.”
– Asma

“It all started when ISIS attacked and bombarded our cities on 10th of June 2014.”
– Sameem

“My story is a small part of a bigger story.”
– Mariam

To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult: it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.”
– Jehan

Sunday Afternoon Creative Writing with Roanna Gonsalves

Presenting the next instalment of our Sunday Afternoon Creative Writing workshop series. Septembers’ 3-week workshops will be with award-winning author, Roanna Gonsalves!

Sep 8: Rewilding your language (focus on the use of language in fiction)
Sep 15: Who is telling the story? (focus on point of view)
Sep 22: Tension Extension (Focus on tension)

Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident (UWAP) published in India and South Asia as Sunita De Souza Goes To Sydney (Speaking Tiger Books). The book won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Multicultural Prize 2018 and was longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award 2018. Roanna was born and brought up in Mumbai, India, and attended St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She came to Australia as an international student in 1998. She was recently awarded the inaugural Varuna – Cove Park residency in Scotland, funded by The Bridge Awards. She currently serves on the Board of Writing NSW.

Sunday 8th, 15th and 22nd Sept, 2-4:30 pm.
WestWords Centre for Writing, 91B Grose St North Parramatta

An Evening with Richard Glover

You are invited to spend an evening with Richard Glover!

Meet, Australian radio host, author and journalist, Richard Glover as he takes us on a journey into The Land Before Avocado.

About the book

This is a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: the Australia of the late ’60s and early ’70s. The Land Before Avocado will make you laugh and cry, feel angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago. Let’s break the news now: they didn’t have avocado.

‘This is vintage Glover – warm, wise and very, very funny. Brimming with excruciating insights into life in the late sixties and early seventies, The Land Before Avocado explains why this was the cultural revolution we had to have’ Hugh Mackay.

Tickets from this event will go towards raising funds to provide literature development for Children and Young people across Western Sydney. 

There will be raffles and lucky door prizes on the night. 


Richard Glover’s most recent book is “The Land Before Avocado” – a journey into a lost Australia, the bizarre Australia of the late 60s and early 70s. It’s been described by Hugh Mackay as “warm, wise and very, very funny”, and by Annabel Crabb as “Hilarious and horrifying, the ultimate intergenerational conversation starter’ .

Richard is also author of “Flesh Wounds – a comic romp for anyone whose family was not what they ordered.” It’s been described by the British writer Jeanette Winterson as “Sad, funny, revealing, optimistic and hopeful” and by The Australian as “a breathtaking accomplishment in style and empathy”.

Richard’s weekly humour column has been published in the Sydney Morning Herald for over twenty years. He writes regularly for The Washington Post and also presents the top-rating Drive show on ABC radio in Sydney. In December 2011 he and Peter Fitzsimons achieved a record for the world’s longest radio interview, supervised by the Guinness Book of Records.

When: Thursday 5th September 7:30pm for 8pm
Where: WestWords Centre for Writing, 91B Grose St North Parramatta
$45 incl. copy of The Land Before Avocado
Purchase your tickets via EventBrite: 




Applications are now closed. Watch this space to find out who the successful applicant is!


WestWords and the Sydney Review of Books invite applications for a two to three week residency in September-October 2019 at the WestWords Centre for Writing in Parramatta. This residency will be an opportunity for an emerging or established Western Sydney writer to write an essay on place for publication on the Sydney Review of Books. It will allow the writer to develop a site-specific practice and to have their work published alongside Australia’s best writers. This year we are seeking applications that engage with some aspect of the themes of urbanism, suburbanism and sub-urbanism.

This essay will form part of an ongoing portfolio of essays on place published on the Sydney Review of Books. Our place essayists have drawn on history, memoir, urban studies, literary history and other disciplinary tools to explore relationships between place and culture. We’re looking for pitches that are rooted in the physical and social geography of Western Sydney from writers who will benefit from working at one of the WestWord Centre for Writing. To apply for this residency, writers will submit a >300w pitch outlining the essay they want to write and a brief cover letter that maps their writing experience, relationship to Western Sydney, and interest in this project.  The successful applicant will workshop their pitch and process with the SRB editor before taking up the residency; they will work the draft essay into its final published form with the SRB editor at the conclusion of the residency. The successful applicant will be expected to deliver a complete draft of their essay (2500-4000w) within four weeks of the commencement of the residency. The residency essay will be published on the Sydney Review of Books in October 2019.

The successful applicant will receive a $1200 stipend, desk space at the WestWords Centre for Writing in Parramatta, Campbelltown or Blacktown for two weeks (between September and October 2019), editorial oversight and publication on the Sydney Review of Books.

Apply via Submittable.

The applications will be read and judged by a selection panel composed of SRB and WestWords representatives.

Applications due: 23 August 2019.

Send any queries to SRB editor Catriona Menzies-Pike on