NT Writers’ Festival

Storytellers and writers from across the country will gather in 2019 for the NT Writers’ Festival – Alice Springs under the theme lyapirtneme | returning.


Home to the Arrernte people, Alice Springs or Mparntwe is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the McDonnell Ranges, that carry the stories of giant caterpillar totemic ancestors, a daily reminder that this is a storied landscape.


In Arrernte, lyapirtneme translates as something growing back or appearing again, after an absence. For example, new shoots returning after fire. This can only happen when the roots are still alive, when seeds lie dormant. In the same vein, the English returningspeaks of regeneration, renewal, and repatriation. It might also make us think about going back to places, to the past, or something coming back to us. Both languages speak of cycles and patterns; both reckon with loss, and reference hope. 


Writers and storytellers whose work illuminates this theme will converge for the four-day festival of ideas, culture, conversation, ‘storied walks’, book launches, talks and more.


The NT Writers’ Festival – Alice Springs runs 16-19 May 2019.


Watch this space for program developments and announcements.

Full program announced March 2019.


Book your flights now! For Visitors


Each year, the Festival alternates between Darwin and Alice Springs. With a thousand miles between locations, the festival shifts from the tropics to the desert, from wet to dry, from coastal to inland, from Larrakia to Arrernte country, creating a contrasting character between festivals which reflects the diversity – environmental, cultural and social – of the Northern Territory itself.


Here is what people have to say about the NT Writer’s Festival:

There are few writers’ festivals in Australia that I would argue are unique – that mould into the landscape and cannot exist anywhere else – but this is the exact nature of the NT Writers’ Festival.

By far one of the greatest festivals I have ever attended as both a writer and punter…such a range of voices, stories and contributors – a true reflection of the literary and creative community in Australia.

I have been to quite a few writers’ festivals, but this one made the deepest impression by far.