WestWords would like to thank all our writers, illustrators, teachers, schools, partners and supporters we worked with in 2019

WestWords has had a lot of firsts this year. From our first After School Creative Writing program, hosting the West Side Poetry Slam and Poets’ Corner, to launching Hemingway’s Polydactyl Kitten Club & Speakeasy, our monthly spoken word night in Katoomba.

In 2020, all these wonderful programs will be back with a whole load of new programs that will add another layer of spice to the western Sydney literary landscape, including all new opportunities for emerging and early career writers and creatives.

We will be announcing these very soon so watch this space!

WestWords will be closed for the rest of the year until the 20th January. We will be keeping an eye on our emails so feel free to get in touch within this period.

A year in review

In 2019

  • we ran and managed the Centre for Writing in Parramatta along with satellites in Blacktown, Blue Mountains and Campbelltown, incorporating writers’ room in each location.
  • activated the Centre for Writing through
    • offering affordable venue and meeting space, office and desk rental for artists and arts/creative industry organisations, location for a film shoot
    • Comprehensive program of workshops, masterclasses, after-school writing classes, writers’ groups, monthly slams, monthly poetry readings, launches and author events.
  • employed 104 professional writers and illustrators, of which 63.5% were from Western Sydney to the value of $93,500

“Last week was so amazing! Thank you so much for asking me to be part of this mammoth week. I can only imagine the work that went into making this program happen.” – Deb Abela, Cherrybrook Technology High School residency.

  • we undertook 148 activities including events, residencies, publications, workshops, after school writing classes, writers’ groups, schools’ engagement, illustration exhibitions
  • showcased the work of Western Sydney writers and writing through
    • a fortnightly two-hour radio program on community radio Alive 90.5FM
    • publication of:
      • 5 anthologies and one playscript
      • Contributed 14 stories to Standing on a Book: Stories from classrooms around Australia published by PEETA
      • 1 postcard series
      • 2 commissioned essays in Sydney Review of Books
      • commissioned writing and illustration by young people for Blume Magazine


It is the oily black colour of a hasty scribble.
It happens when you are stressed and overwhelmed.
It sounds like disappointment in voices
And smells like the salty tears of a breakdown.

– Kaylee
From Northreads: another anthology of short writings from Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School

  • five exhibitions of children’s book illustrations including two touring
  • held the first of our annual fundraising dinners, raising over $40,000
  • we offered targeted developmental opportunities to individual writers/illustrators including:
    • three fellowships with tailored mentorship (of a minimum of six months) for writers on the brink of their first publication
    • week-long residency for four emerging writers and two mentors at Varuna: The Writers’ House
    • week-long residency for an emerging illustrator at Pinerolo: The Children’s Book Cottage
    • two week residency at Parramatta Artists Studios
    • two commissioned essays for emerging Western Sydney essayists arising from residencies at WestWords’ centres
    • online tailored mentorship for individual writers
  • we partnered with 73 organisations to maximise impact and reach, and build career pathways for writing, including
    • 26 schools

“Our students benefited a great deal from WestWords’ writing workshops. The lessons were engaging, enjoyable and led to the production of a number of original work samples. It was a privilege to have a published author work with our students and guide them through the writing process. Thank you for providing our school with this opportunity.” Amer Etri, Head Teacher English, Granville Boys High School – Andy Muir residency

“It was such a great session! Thank you again for thinking of us.” Kate Young, Assistant Principal, Parramatta North PS – Tamsin Janu school visit

    • 4 Universities
    • 10 Libraries
    • 23 independent organisations including
      • 5 refugee and community agencies
      • 12 arts organisations including Varuna: The Writers’ House, Sydney Review of Books,Pinerolo: The Children’s Book Cottage, Parramatta Artists’ Studios, MCA.
    • 9 Funding partners including six councils
  • Project managed, including the judging processes of
    • Youth Write. City of Parramatta and Parramatta Libraries writing competition for young people
    • 2019 Mayoral Creative Writing Prize for writers of short stories and poetry
    • The Blake Poetry Prize applications open December 2019 for 2020 prize