NT Writing Centre

NT Writers’ Centre supports, develops and showcases vibrant writing and storytelling in the Northern Territory – celebrating the unique contribution of NT stories and storytellers to Australia’s cultural identity.
Our cornerstone event – the NT Writers Festival – is the Northern Territory’s premier literary showcase. Held alternately in Mparntwe | Alice Springs and Garrmalang | Darwin, it is a festival like no other: bringing readers, writers and storytellers together in an annual celebration of ideas, words, stories and languages that showcases our unique NT culture and rich First Nations heritage.

NT Writers Radio features audio from the NT Writers Festival

In a world full of distractions, how do we take the time to listen deeply – to ourselves, to others, to the natural world? How do we shift our attention to the things that matter?

In Arrernte, mwantye-le awaye means to listen closely, to give things attention. Deep, careful listening encourages understanding and awareness. It entails an openness or receptivity – to other people and ways of being in the world, to other species and the living land around us. It also involves listening to ourselves, as Arrernte Elder Kumalie Riley explains, giving ourselves the space to hear inner thoughts or feelings before responding or acting.

This festival we invite readers, writers and lovers of stories to come together and listen deeply – to each other, and to a diverse line-up of writers from across the country as they speak truths and share stories that help us hear the land, as well as the reverberations of the past and the possibility of a different future.

NT Writers Festival Podcast

6 Oct 2023, 1:00am

6 Oct 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – A Minor Chorus – Billy-Ray Belcourt A writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation, Billy-Ray Belcourt is a rising literary star. His debut book of poetry, This Wound is a World, won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize. His second collection of poems, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, and his collection of essays and vignettes, A History of My Brief Body, were both bestsellers. Joining us livestreamed from Vancouver, Billy-Ray discusses his brilliant debut novel, A Minor Chorus. An incisive and moving exploration of what it means to be queer and Indigenous today. A Minor Chorus weaves conversations, interviews and stories of grief and survival in a North Alberta community with lyrical existential reflections. A Minor Chorus explores how the self is entangled with the social, the sayable with what remains unsaid, and how we can breach the prisons we live inside. Billy-Ray is in conversation with Alyawarr scholar, Kathryn Gilbey.

29 Sep 2023, 1:00am

29 Sep 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – Morning Meditations – Uti Kulintjaku Clear your mind and learn about the Pitjantjatjara concept of listening in this special presentation by Alison Milyika (Tjulapi) Carroll and Margaret Smith from the NPY Women's Council Uti Kulintjaku Collective. Be guided through a Pitjantjatjara meditation, and learn about the work of the collective and about the words ‘kulintjaku/kulintja/kulini’, which combine concepts of both listening and understanding. In Pitjantjatjara, uti kulintjaku means ‘clear thinking with an intention to understand'. The Uti Kulintjaku initiative brings together ngangkari, senior Indigenous women, and western health professionals to explore mental health concepts from both Aboriginal and western perspectives. Interpreter Kathy Tozer translated from Pitjantjatjara for this session supported by NPY Women's Council. This podcast contains the Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) of the nangkari (traditional healers) and senior women from Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands.Dealing with any part of this traditional knowledge for any purpose not authorised by the custodians may be a breach of their ICIP. 

22 Sep 2023, 1:00am

22 Sep 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – Horse by Geraldine Brooks Pulitzer Prize–winning author and journalist, Geraldine Brooks, joins us via livestream from Sydney to discuss her sweeping historical novel, Horse. Weaving together the tale of a painting discarded in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the true story of America’s greatest racehorse, Horse is a multi-layered novel that reckons with the corrosive legacy of slavery and racism in America. Revered for her ability to vividly evoke the textures of different historical eras, Geraldine appears in conversation with Alex Barwick. This event was presented in partnership with Sydney Writers' Festival.

15 Sep 2023, 1:00am

15 Sep 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – Solidarity and Survival In this powerful panel, three queer First Nations writers with ancestral connections to different continents – Ellen van Neerven (Mununjali Yugambeh), Victoria Alondra (Mestizx), and Billy-Ray Belcourt (Driftpile Cree) – discuss how they survive and resist oppressive social structures, finding love, joy and solidarity in community, culture and country, as well as through writing and art. This conversation is facilitated by Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic, Jeanine Leane. Billy-Ray Belcourt joins the conversation via videolink from Vancouver.  CW: This discussion briefly references suicidal ideation.

8 Sep 2023, 1:00am

8 Sep 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – Voices Of Nature How can we hear what the non-human world has to tell us? How can writers and storytellers translate this ‘voice’ into art, opening us up to new ways of listening and being attentive? And how might activists conceive of the voices of nature in order to defend the rights of the environment? This discussion features Yankunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann, author Chris Flynn and journalist Maria Taylor. Facilitated by Kate Rendell. This panel was supported by Magabala Books. CW: This episode discusses the experience of a survivor of the Stolen Generations and instances of colonial violence.

1 Sep 2023, 1:00am

1 Sep 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – Unsettling Narratives of the Past Three practitioners of historical fiction – Anita Heiss AM, Geraldine Brooks and Christopher Raja – discuss how their writing challenges dominant narratives of the past. Anita Heiss’ award-winning novel, BilaYarrudhalangdhuanggray, is an epic tale of love, loss, belonging, and the struggle for freedom, told through the eyes of a young Wiradyuri woman named Wagadhaany. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks’ latest novel, Horse, is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. Christopher Raja’s forthcoming novel explores the experiences of Afghan cameleers in Australia, finding their way in a strange new place. Facilitated by Eleanor Hogan, with Geraldine joining from Sydney by videolink. This panel was sponsored by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

25 Aug 2023, 1:00am

25 Aug 2023, 1:00am NTWF 2023 – The Voice To Parliament Handbook In this timely panel, author and Uluru Statement from the Heart campaigner, Thomas Mayo, is joined by esteemed journalist, Kerry O’Brien, to discuss their new book, TheVoicetoParliamentHandbook. Designed to answer common queries about how The Voice might operate, The Voice toParliamentHandbook is an accessible and engaging guide to this important topic. Facilitated by Wardaman woman and Executive Manager of Policy and Governance at the Central Land Council, Josie Douglas, this lively discussion is your chance to hear from advocates of The Voice and to learn more. This event was presented in partnership with NT Press Club.

23 Aug 2023, 4:59pm

23 Aug 2023, 4:59pm Acknowledgement of Country