from the editor's desk

A Wrap-up of the Australian Short Story Festival!

“What’s [the short story] for, really? Why do it? What does it give us, that keeps us coming back for more? What’s this hardwired impulse to keep pursuing it, or being pursued by it? What makes this form so fascinating, and brings us all here tonight, round this particular fire, full of this expectation of pleasure and connection and enlightenment?”

– Cate Kennedy’s Opening Address at the Australian Short Story Festival

Last weekend’s Australian Short Story Festival was a fantastic success which saw the bringing of writers, oral story tellers and industry experts together to celebrate the short story form at the Centre for Stories in North bridge! With over 25 events under Perth’s clear blue skies, the Festival reaffirmed why story telling is one of the most important things that makes us human.

The Festival opened Friday night, with a warm Welcome to Country from Barry McGuire, and a wonderful keynote address from Cate Kennedy. Barry’s Welcome opened up with the need to share stories, to keep stories alive, sentiments Cate Kennedy followed with in exploring empathy as a force in short stories, driving our need to write. The evening was made complete by lovely conversations and great music from the Eduard Cossio trio in the lobby afterwards. We’re excited to say that Cate’s address will feature in our next issue (Westerly 61.2), which will be released in November. Subscribe here to make sure you get your copy!

As the weekend moved on, we were thrilled by the rich and diverse panels and events. We listened as authors like Julie Koh and Michelle Wright read extracts and short stories during the Streetside Readings Walk Trail. We explored the intricacies of the short story through exciting conversations with writers like Ellen van Neervan, Paddy O’Reilly and Ryan O’Neill. UWA Publishing, Midnight Sun and Fremantle Press also parted invaluable advice for those of us wanting to get our short stories published.

To top things off, Westerly also launched its second Online Special Issue, Westerly: New Creative on the last day of the Festival! It was a wonderful success and an amazing pleasure to see many familiar faces join us to celebrate the talented and emerging voices in our very own state. Westerly: New Creative is available for free download on our website in PDF and EPUB formats!

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Festival. You made it a special one to remember!


The Westerly Team


Cate Kennedy at the opening, image by Mathew Barnes Photography

Barry McGuire on the opening night, image by Mathew Barnes Photography

The Festival bookstore with Beaufort Street Books, image by Mathew Barnes Photography

The opening night! Image by Mathew Barnes Photography

Laurie Steed reads as part of the Streetside Reading Trail. Image by Anna Solding

Elizabeth Tan, Image by Nina Thomas

Elizabeth Tan performs her work at the launch of Westerly: New Creative.  Image by Nina-Marie Thomas


The editors and authors of Westerly: New Creative. Image by Nina-Marie Thomas


Rachel Robertson, Westerly‘s new Prose Editor, launches Westerly: New Creative. Image by Nina-Marie Thomas



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  1. Adam Axford says:

    Very nice post! Thanks for sharing this information. All the festival images are amazing. Keep sharing content like this.

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