An unforgettable line-up of Indigenous and culturally diverse Australian writers appeared at Bankstown Arts centre on the 28th of October for a full day of showcasing powerful voices. Writers in attendance included Sarah Ayoub, Helen Chebatte, Roanna Gonsalves, Julie Koh, Benjamin Law, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Ellen van Neerven, and Markus Zusak. 

WestWords is proud to have supported three workshops at the festival:

Writing Your Origin Story with Wai Chim

This is a workshop for kids aged 10-12.

Be the hero of your own epic adventure! Join Wai Chim in exploring how to write about your own life. Find out how to how to pick a real experience to write about and fictionalise it for an exciting tale! You’re the hero – are you ready to write your own beginning? Presented by WestWords.


Chim-WaiWai Chim is the author of Freedom Swimmer and most recently Shaozhen. She was born to Chinese immigrant parents in New York and now lives in Sydney. Read more about Wai’s work here.





What Needs To Be Said with Sarah Ayoub, Helen Chebatte, Roanna Gonsalves and Irini Savvides (convenor)

This is a discussion for young people aged 12-16. What fires you up? How do you write about difficult, uncomfortable issues? Sarah Ayoub, Helen Chebatte, and Roanna Gonsalves discuss these questions in relationship to their work and what people expect them to write about and deal with. Convened by Irini Savvides.

Gonsalves-Roanna-Dr Roanna Gonsalves is the author of The Permanent Resident (UWAP, 2016), an acclaimed collection of fiction that is being studied at a number of Australian universities. She is an experienced creative writing workshop facilitator and is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award.


CHEBATTE-HELEN-Helen Chebatte won the CBCA’s Aspiring Writers’ Mentorship Competition and the inaugural Charlotte Waring Barton award, before publishing her debut YA novel, BRO. Helen is also an actor with credits in All Saints, Crownies, and the feature films Cedar boys and Alex and Eve.


Ayoub-SarahSarah Ayoub is a widely published freelance journalist and author. Sarah teaches journalism at The University of Notre Dame, where she is currently researching the representations of culturally diverse females in Australian YA literature. She is the author of Hate is Such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee. Read more about Sarah’s work here.


From Potential to Publishable with Sarah Ayoub


Where do ideas come from? And how do you take that seed of an idea and branch it out into a bigger, publishable story? Join journalist and author Sarah Ayoub for some quick tips and tricks on giving your ideas publishing potential. Presented by WestWords.

Presented by the NSW Writers’ Centre, Bankstown Arts Centre, Sweatshop, WestWords, Urban Theatre Projects, Bankstown Youth Development Service, CuriousWorks and the Bankstown Poetry Slam.