When we first set out to explore our 2020 theme, Gunamidirra garawa birditj | when the tides turn, we expected to talk about change and transformation. We could never have predicted just how sweeping some of the shifts of this year would be. As we emerge from lockdown into a post-pandemic ‘new normal’, we are finding many of the ideas and themes from our May program are still relevant, perhaps more so than before: How are we made and remade? What can we change and what do we hold on to? How do we hold loss alongside possibility? And, we might add: How do we make sense of a shifting world?

So join us, for a somewhat reimagined but no less vital program, from 1-4 October. We feel tremendously excited and deeply fortunate that we are still able to bring you four days of storytelling, discussions, conversations, walks, readings, music and laughter at the beautiful new venue at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, now carefully managed to adhere to safe physical distancing and hygiene principles.

We’ll be bringing together some of the unique NT voices who have thrilled you in the past, plus a few extra-special interstate guests, as well as utilizing digital platforms to help us connect with writers from around Australia and across the seas.

Our new October program will be launched on Wednesday 19 August. Tickets will be on sale from that date onwards. Put the dates in your diary now, to make sure you don’t miss out!

Festival Theme

Gunamidirra garawa birditj, Larrakia for when the tides turn 

The 2020 Festival theme, Gunamidirra garawa birditj | when the tides turn, explores our moments of change.

In Gulumerrdjin, Larrakia country, the sea and rivers reach onto the land. Places flux with cycles of monsoon and dry. How are we made and remade? What can we change and what do we hold on to? How do we hold loss alongside possibility?

In 2020, join writers and storytellers for a four-day celebration of books, language and stories asking us to consider the marks we leave behind, and how we face and create change.

Festival Lineup

Our somewhat reimagined post-COVID program will now launch on 19 August. Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to the NT Writers’ Centre eNews to stay up to date with the all the latest news.


Tickets will go on sale from 19 August 2020, once our full program is launched. 

Our program artwork Mangrove, is part of a series of etchings produced in Darwin and Arnhem Land by prominent contemporary Australian artist, Fiona Hall. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

Thanks to Bilawara Lee, the Larrakia elder who assisted with the language. Also to the 2020 Program Advisory Committee, Johanna Bell, Mary Anne Butler, Penny Drysdale and Sandra Thibodeaux.