Young writers learn from best in the West

Western Sydney University’s eighth annual Young Writers’ Day attracted over 200 high school students from across Greater Western Sydney.

The record number of Year 10 and 11 students gathered for a day of listening, learning and most importantly writing - with students given the opportunity to engage with each other and 22 published and celebrated authors at the Campbelltown campus.

Second-generation Vietnamese-Australian writer Shirley Le, who won a WestWords Emerging Writers’ Fellowships in 2017, shared her writing journey with the students as the keynote speaker.

Shirley spoke about living in Western Sydney and her involvement with the Sweatshop Writers Collective, a literacy movement which empowers marginalised communities in Western Sydney through self-expression in literature and art.

Along with the Sweatshop Writers Collective, The Writing Workshop, Red Room and WestWords partnered with the University to bring students from 25 high schools a day of author-run interactive workshops.

The sessions ranged from experimental writing techniques to interrelated poetry and character creation, developing students’ skills and passion for storytelling, creativity and critical thinking.

Anne McLean, Manager of Schools Engagement at Western Sydney University, reflected on the growing interest in the event and the importance of engaging students in writing.

“By recognising the talent and potential of our young writers and challenging them to explore new perspectives and techniques, we give them tools and confidence,” she said.

“The value of good writing, its influence and impact, manifests in so many areas of life but at the same time is often taken for granted.

“Young Writers’ Day encourages students to draw upon their own experience growing up in Western Sydney to create powerful stories and demonstrates ways in which all types of writing can have transformative effects.”

Author led workshops facilitated by:

  • Barbara Alysen
  • Bokkie Robertson
  • Dr Ben Peek
  • Dr Bernard Cohen
  • Dr Felicity Plunket
  • Dr Luke Carman
  • Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad
  • Dr Rachel Morley
  • Dr Richard James Allen
  • Eileen Chong
  • Elliot York Cameron
  • Eunice Andrada
  • Evelyn Corr
  • Katie Sutherland
  • Murray Robertson
  • Natalie Conyer
  • Pola Fanous
  • Samantha Trayhurn
  • Shirley Le
  • Stephen Pham
  • Tamar Chnorhokian
  • Toby Fitch
  • Winnie Dunn

High schools who participated:

  • Ambarvale High School
  • Bossley Park High School
  • Camden High School
  • Campbelltown Performing Arts High School
  • Canley Vale High School
  • Caroline Chisholm College
  • Casula High School
  • Cecil Hills High School
  • De La Salle Revesby
  • Holsworthy High School
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School
  • John Therry Catholic High School
  • Leumeah High School
  • Macarthur Anglican School
  • Macquarie Fields High School
  • Magdalene Catholic
  • Moss Vale High School
  • Mount Annan High School
  • Mount Carmel Catholic College
  • Penrith Anglican College
  • Richard Johnson Anglican School
  • Rouse Hill Anglican College
  • St Gregory’s College
  • St Paul’s Grammar School
  • Unity Grammar


15 November 2018

Media Unit.

Photo credit: Joseph Kwan