Developing NT stories since 1997
Northern Territory Writers’ Centre acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, meet and live across the Northern Territory. We recognise Australia’s First Nations people as the first and rightful storytellers and keepers of knowledge of our land and pay our respects to elders – past, present and emerging.
The NT Writers’ Centre encourages vibrant literary activity in the Northern Territory, developing and supporting writers in all genres at all stages of their careers. We value quality NT writing as a unique component of Australia’s literary wealth and recognise Indigenous writers and storytellers as a core component of this. We embrace all forms of storytelling as part of our heritage, including oral storytelling and genre writing of all kinds.
Our programs run across the NT and include:
NT Writers Festival Bringing people together to share story, language and culture, NT Writers Festival is a four-day festival shaped by place, that speaks to and from the heart of Australia and the Northern Territory. The festival, whilst annual, is held alternately in Darwin and Alice Springs.
Workshop Program Our year-round workshop program offers career and skills development for writers.
Chief Minister’s NT Book Awards The NT’s premier prize for writers.
Andrew McMillan Memorial Residency Open to an emerging writer who is working on a substantial writing project in any genre.
Member Services Members can access additional services and opportunities
Acting Executive Director, Fiona Dorrell
Since 2015 Fiona Dorrell has dedicated herself to delivering NT Writers’ Centre programs and events across the Northern Territory. In 2020 she was Artistic Director of the NT Writers Festival in Darwin and steered the event through a major Covid-related postponement to present a heart-warming four-day October program in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens.
Festival Director, 2021 NT Writers Festival – Alice Springs, Dani Powell
In 2021 Dani Powell returns to direct her fourth NT Writers Festival in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). Dani’s thoughtful, collaborative and site-responsive programming has set the distinct and intimate tone of the NTWF since 2015. Recently, she worked with senior Pitjantjatjara and Nyaanyatjarra people and ngangkari on NPY Women’s Council Uti Kulintjaku project. Return to Dust (UWA Publishing 2020) is her first book.
Program & Festival Manager, Rita Horanyi
Rita Horanyi holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and was a recipient of the Copyright Agency/Sydney Review of Books emerging critics fellowship in 2018. She was previously the Communications and Administration Officer at Darwin Symphony Orchestra and is currently also employed as Editorial Assistant with Off the Leash.
Development & Partnerships, Mx. Sly
Mx. Sly is born and bred in Canada’s queer theatre scene and founded and runs the performance company Tender Container. They are currently writing their first book for Arsenal Pulp Press with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Program Coordinator, Tam Hanson
Is a Tasmanian who has earned money as a librarian, a bookseller, a musician, and a veterinary nurse. Alongside this, they have produced an array of arts and community events and programs over the past eight years.
Bookeeper, Hamish McDonald
Hamish McDonald has been the NT Writers’ Centre’s trusty bookkeeper since 2013. He was the Artistic Director of the NTWF in 2012. He has a background in producing theatre and lives at a beautiful rural property in Humpty Doo.
Our Board Members as of April 28, 2020 are –
President: Tanya Heaslip (Alice Springs)
Tanya Heaslip was raised in Central Australia through the 1960s and 70s, has practised law for many years throughout Australia, and now returned to live in Alice. In May 2019 she published her first memoir ‘Alice to Prague’ (AU) and is about to publish her second memoir ‘An Alice Girl’. She is an AICD Graduate.
Vice President: Dina Davis (Darwin)
Dina Davis is an Australian woman writer. She holds an MA in English and Linguistics. Dina is a member of the NTWriters Centre, Writing NSW, and the Australian Society of Authors. Dina has twice been shortlisted in the NT Literary Awards. In 2018 she published her debut work of fiction, ‘Capriccio: A Novel’ which was launched in Darwin. Dina’s interests include literature, history, and all aspects of human rights.
Secretary: Varunika Ruwanpura (Darwin)
Varunika Ruwanpura has a Master of Philosophy in Journalism. She is a journalist, writer, researcher and arts professional. Her published children’s books are: Exotic Animal Carers, This is my brother and Breakfast in the Jungle. She is currently working on her PhD on malaria treatment policy at Menzies School of Health Research.Treasurer: Peter Summersby (Darwin)Peter Summersby is an Australian-born and based novelist, speaker, creative writing coach, blogger and teacher. His books include The Mind Hack. In addition to writing, Peter is a regular contributor to the Redstar Magazine in China and visits schools and organisations. He enjoys mentoring fellow emerging authors, spending time with his family and entertaining. He holds a Masters of Novel Writing from Middlesex University, London.
Public Officer: Shona Ford (Darwin)
Shona Ford is two time winner of the NT Literary Awards. She publishes both historical and paranormal romance under the pen name S.E. Welsh and writes a regular column for Romance Writers of Australia. Her debut historical Australian romance, The Gamble, was published in 2020, along with her debut paranormal, Seer.
Bronwyn Druce (Alice Springs)
Bronwyn is the manager of Alice Springs independent bookseller Red Kangaroo Books.
Fred van’t Sand (Darwin)
Fred van’t Sand is a performance poet with a long affiliation with the NT Writers’ Centre.
Michelle Bates (Tennant Creek)
Michelle Bates lives and works on Warumungu manu and with others established the beautiful Paterson St Hub – a community hub and an open co-working space in Tennant Creek. A descendant of the Anaiwan people of the great range and tablelands area, inland from the east coast, Michelle’s willingness and commitment to working with first peoples and others is grounded in the personal as well as the professional.
Renee McBryde (Alice Springs)
Renee McBryde majored in Community Welfare at university. She has worked in the community services sector for the last fifteen years, primarily with disadvantaged children. She lives in Alice Springs with her husband and children. The House of Lies is her first book and she is currently working on her second while undertaking her masters degree in psychotherapy.
Joanna Henryks (Alice Springs)
Joanna has worked in business, marketing, communications and research for over three decades. She has taught and researched these fields in tertiary environments as well as led applied consultancy engagements, and for the past decade with a particular focus on the non-profit sector. Her formal qualifications include a PhD in Consumer Behaviour, an MBA (AGSM) and Graduate Diploma in Counselling and a Bachelor of Business (Marketing).
NT Writers Festival Program Advisory Committee
Each year the NTWF works with a small group of writers and industry professionals with strong local and national networks to develop the festival program.
2021 Alice Springs Advisory Committee
Sylvia Purrurle Neale is an Eastern Arrernte woman born in Alice Springs. Her poetry appears in a number of anthologies and journals and was recently featured in Arelhekenhe Angkentye: Women’s Talk (Ptilotus Press 2020).
Leni Shilton is a poet, nurse, educator and researcher who has lived in the Northern Territory for 25 years. Leni is a founding member of Ptilotus Press. Her two verse novels are Walking with Camels (2018) and Malcolm (2019).
Meg Mooney is a natural scientist and writer who has lived in central Australia since 1987. Her poetry books include Being Martha’s Friend (2015), The Gap (2010) and For the dry country: writing and drawings from the Centre (2005).
Gabriel Curtin is a writer and artist. His novella, Forced Rhubarb, was published in 2018.
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