Speculative Fiction Festival 2017

Get up close and personal with some of Australia’s finest spec fic authors this July, as Cat Sparks directs her second Speculative Fiction Festival. Alongside a genre-spanning program of panels, the popular kaffeekaltsches are back, giving attendees the opportunity to take part in intimate group chats with the likes of Sean Williams, Margo Lanagan, Garth Nix, Kaaron Warren, John Birmingham, Marlee Jane Ward and Angela Slatter.

Explore short fiction, genre-bending, and the influence of superheroes and legends. Hear from writers imagining future realities – from the ramifications of AI to the repercussions of climate change. Learn how to craft and sell stories from people who have done it successfully and gain direct advice from editors and publishers.

“Contemporary speculative fiction is a literature of ideas,” says Cat, and this is the perfect opportunity to engage with the ideas most relevant to spec fic writers today, alongside a community of peers both emerging and established.  Join us for an unforgettable day of fantasy, speculation, and know-how, where professional authors share their secrets and new authors are forged.

Book tickets | Download the full program

Saturday 22 July, 10am-6pm

NSW Writers’ Centre, Callan Park, Balmain Rd, Rozelle

Members – $60, Conc. Members – $50, Non-Members – $90

Program and speakers are subject to change without notice.



Alan Baxter writes supernatural thrillers and urban horror, rides a motorcycle and loves his dogs. He also teaches kung fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website warriorscribe.com or find him on Facebook or Twitter. @AlanBaxter


John Birmingham wrote features for magazines for a decade before publishing He Died With A Falafel In His Hand. He won the National Award For Non-Fiction with Leviathan: an unauthorised biography of Sydney. He now writes alternate history and time travel novels. @JohnBirmingham




James Bradley is a novelist and critic. His books include the novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist and Clade; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. In 2012 he won the Pascall Prize for Australia’s Critic of the Year. His latest book is The Silent Invasion, the first in a trilogy of novels for young adults. He blogs at cityoftongues.com @cityoftongues



Claire Corbett is a writer and teacher. Her first novel, When We Have Wings, was shortlisted for the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award and the 2012 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction. Recent fiction and essays have been published in Best Australian Stories 2014 and 2015, Griffith Review, Overland and The Monthly. Her second novel, Watch Over Me, has just been published by Allen & Unwin. @ccorbettauthor



Cathy Craigie is a Gamilaroi and Anaiwon woman from northern NSW and has worked in media and the arts for over 20 years. She has written several plays and short stories and is often commissioned to write on historical and cultural topics. In 2016, Cathy was awarded the NSW Indigenous Arts fellowship to research and develop a novel transforming a Kamilaroi traditional story.


Rebecca-Anne C. Do Rozario lectures at Monash University, teaching fairy tales and speculative fiction. She publishes in a variety of scholarly journals and collections on topics including Disney princesses, pantomimes, Wizard Rock, and old witches. She also publishes short fiction including “The Death of Glinda, the Good Witch” in Aurealis Magazine. Her book, Fashion in the Fairy Tale Tradition: What Cinderella Wore, will be coming out with Palgrave. @docinboots



Thoraiya Dyer is an Aurealis and Ditmar award-winning Sydney-based writer and lapsed veterinarian. Her short science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in Clarkesworld, Apex, Cosmos, Analog and boutique collection Asymmetry. Magical rainforest-set novel Crossroads of Canopy, first in the Titan’s Forest Trilogy, is out now from Tor books. @ThoraiyaDyer



Daniel Findlay is a historian by training and an editor by trade. Dan has over 10 years’ experience editing Australia’s leading youth magazines. He also has over a decade of freelance experience as a writer and photographer for Rolling Stone as well as contributing to the Sydney Morning Herald and a wide variety of other pop culture titles.


Alison Green is the CEO and founding director of Pantera Press, a publisher focused on nurturing the next generation of talented Australian writers. This year, Ali was named one of the AFR and Westpac 100 Women of Influence. She is also a director of the NSW Writers’ Centre, and on the Australian Publishers Association’s trade committee and independent publishers committee. @aliisanoun


Lex Hirst is a commissioning editor for Penguin Random House, a festival director and arts programmer driven by a love of great writing and exciting ideas. A previous co-director of the National Young Writers’ Festival, she is a SAMAG committee member and curator for Junkee.com’s Junket unconference. @LexHirst




Robert Hood’s fiction ranges over SF, epic fantasy, crime, children’s stories and weird fiction. His books include Backstreets, Peripheral Visions: The collected ghost stories (2015, Australian Shadows Best Collection winner), and Fragments of a Broken Land: Valarl undead (2014, Ditmar Best Novel). roberthood.net @undeadhood




Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of the memoir Affection, the novels SteeplechaseTriptychThe Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, and the Thomas Shapcott Award-winning poetry collection Eating My GrandmotherAn Uncertain Grace is her latest novel. @krissykneen




Julie Koh is the author of two short story collections: Capital Misfits and Portable Curiosities, which was shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the Steele Rudd Award. She is the editor of BooksActually’s Gold Standard and a founding member of Kanganoulipo. thefictionaljuliekoh.com @juliekoh




Margo Lanagan’s fiction has won four World Fantasy Awards, nine Aurealis Awards and five Ditmars. Her latest collection is Singing My Sister Down and Other Stories. Nexus, the final book in the Zeroes trilogy, will be published in September, and a picture book, Tintinnabula, comes out in October. @margolanaganb




Maria Lewis is the author of the internationally published Who’s Afraid? series, including Who’s Afraid? and Who’s Afraid Too? She worked as a presenter, writer and producer on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program, The Feed. Her work as a pop culture commentator has appeared in the New York Post, Empire, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, Penthouse, SFX Magazine, the Daily Mail and Junkee. She’s the host and producer of the Eff Yeah Film & Feminist podcast. @MovieMazz



Rose Michael is a writer, editor and academic published in Griffith REVIEW, Best Australian Stories, Island, Cultural Studies Review. Her first novel, The Asking Game, was a runner-up for the Vogel and received an Aurealis honourable mention. Her second, The Art of Navigation, is due out this year.




Joel Naoum is a Sydney-based book publisher, editor and consultant. He currently runs Critical Mass (www.critmassconsulting.com), a consultancy for authors and publishers, and previously ran Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-first imprint Momentum. He is on the board of the NSW Writers’ Centre and in 2011 he completed the Unwin Fellowship researching digital publishing experimentation in the United Kingdom. @joelnaoum



New York Times-bestselling author Garth Nix has worked as a literary agent, marketing/PR consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. More than five million copies of Garth’s books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 41 languages. @garthnix



Jane Rawson has written two novels, A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists  and From the wreck, and a novella, Formaldehyde. She is the co-author of The handbook: Surviving and living with climate change. Her short fiction is in Sleepers, Overland, Tincture, Seizure, Griffith Review and Review of Australian Fiction. @frippet



Angela Slatter’s debut novel, Vigil, was released by Jo Fletcher Books in 2016, with Corpselight and Restoration to follow in 2017 and 2018. She is the author of eight short story collections. Angela has won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, one Ditmar Award, and five Aurealis Awards. @AngelaSlatter




Cat Sparks is a multi-award-winning Australian author, editor and artist whose former employment has included media monitor, political and archaeological photographer, graphic designer, fiction editor of Cosmos Magazine and manager of Agog! Press. She’s currently finishing a PhD in climate change fiction. Her short story collection, The Bride Price, was published in 2013. Her debut novel, Lotus Blue, was published by Skyhorse in March. @catsparx



Marlee Jane Ward is a writer, reader and weirdo from Melbourne. Her debut novella, Welcome To Orphancorp, won the Victorian Premier’s Award for YA Fiction. The sequel, Psynode, was released in May 2017. Her short fiction is published in Apex, Terraform, Aurealis, Interfictions and more. @marleejaneward




Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold more than 200 short stories, four novels (including the multi-award-winning Slights and The Grief Hole) and six short story collections including the multi-award-winning Through Splintered Walls. Kaaron is an honorary life member of the Australian Horror Writers Association and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. @KaaronWarren



Sean Williams is an award-winning, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of over 40 novels and 100 stories, some set in the Star Wars universe and some written with Garth Nix. He lives in Adelaide with his family and a pet plastic fish. His latest series is Twinmaker, beginning with Jump, available from Allen & Unwin. @adelaidesean

Join us

Become a member of the NSW Writers' Centre to get Newswrite magazine, discounts to courses and festivals, mentorship, free access to writers' groups, writers' spaces, members' events, the library and more. Join now ›

Follow us on