Chrissy Sharp – CEO

Chrissy joined the Festival in July 2018. In 2009 Chrissy was appointed inaugural Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. Prior to establishing the Wheeler Centre she was General Manager of Sadler’s Wells in London and a Board Director of Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company. 

Chrissy was previously General Manager of the Sydney Festival, Head of Policy at national broadcaster SBS, and Executive Director of the Australian Writers’ Guild. 

She was Chair of the Dance Board of the Australia Council (2009-2012), and Acting Executive Director of the Sydney Dance Company (2016). Chrissy was also a Board Director of Para Site, Hong Kong’s only independent contemporary art organisation. 

Chrissy is currently a Board Director of Sydney Dance Company.

Michaela McGuire – Artistic Director

Michaela is a journalist, author, programmer and curator, and joined the Festival in December 2016. Prior to taking up this appointment, she was Director and Co-CEO of Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival.

Michaela is the author of Last Bets: A true story of gambling, morality and the law, the Penguin Special A Story of Grief and Apply Within: Stories of career sabotage. She has worked as a regular columnist for The Saturday Age, Q Weekend and The Monthly, where she wrote a weekly blog on politics and current affairs throughout 2013 and 2014, and regularly reviewed books for Fairfax.

In 2010, Michaela co-founded the international literary phenomenon Women of Letters. She programmed and hosted more than 160 sold-out shows all around Australia, as well as in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and New Zealand. From 2014 to 2018, she co-curated the monthly series in New York City.

Michaela is the programmer-at-large for This Alien Nation, a monthly celebration of immigration staged at the iconic Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City. Each month, host Sofija Stefanovic welcomes some of her favourite people for a celebration of immigration and invites a live audience to hear anecdotes about language barriers, cultural missteps, rumbles, romance and more. Past guests include Paul Holdengräber, Siri Hustvedt, André Aciman, Françoise Mouly, Aparna Nancherla, Julio Torres, Christine Lewis and Anil Dash.

Kylie Anania – Head of Development

Kylie joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2019. With more than 10 years' experience fundraising for the cultural sector, at home in Sydney and in Hong Kong, she has worked at Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Premiere Performances of Hong Kong and most recently as the Director of Development at Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Kylie studied Australian literature and has a Masters in Arts Management.

Daniela Baldry – Program Coordinator

Daniela joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in 2017. Daniela has worked for a variety of Sydney’s performing arts venues and festivals; most recently at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company, and previously for the Sydney Film Festival and the Sydney Festival. Daniela holds a BA in Communications (Theatre/Media) and a Masters in English and Drama Education.

Jessica Block – Development Consultant

Jessica Block’s background is in arts/law, with five years as a solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons (then Mallesons Stephen Jaques), followed by two years as one of the Nine Network’s Corporate Counsel. 

She then moved into the Arts, with two years as Bell Shakespeare’s Business Development Manager, three years as Sydney Festival’s Business Development Manager and then 14 years as the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Deputy General Manager and Development Director, where major projects included the establishment of the ACO’s National Education Program, Instrument Fund and current Capital Campaign. 

Jessica has consulted to a wide range of clients including Belvoir, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation and Pinchgut Opera.  She is a member of the Board of the Australian Youth Orchestra, ACO US, Inc. and the ACO Instrument Fund and has previously chaired the Board of Legs on the Wall.  Jessica holds a degree in Arts/Law from the University of Sydney.

Andrew Bondfield – Production Manager

Returning to his home country after 20 years in North America, Andrew joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2020. Andrew has a wide spectrum of experience in event production, from corporate lighting for TED conferences to fire performing at Burning Man. Preferring to be out of the limelight, Andrew thrives on working with people who are passionate about their projects. Production for Sydney Writers’ Festival is the perfect opportunity for this Melbourne-born, new Sydney resident to become acquainted with the city’s vibrant artistic and cultural landscape.

Poppy Burnett – Marketing Coordinator

Poppy joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2020, having previously held positions in marketing, content creation and customer service at City Recital Hall, Carriageworks, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has also worked in radio production, journalism, refugee casework, and as a freelance video editor. Poppy holds an Honours degree in sociology from the University of Sydney, and has also completed postgraduate studies in journalism and Spanish at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Amy Conway – Events & Education Project Manager

Amy has been part of the production team at Sydney Writers’ Festival for the last two years, joining as Project Manager for the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories in September 2019. Amy has more than 10 years’ experience in project management in the boutique events industry, specifically in children-centered workshops and interactive events. Amy studied Arts in Communication and Journalism at UTS and is passionate about children’s development and literacy.

Louise Davidson – Head of Customer Service

Louise joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2020 having worked in the Australian arts industry for more than 10 years. She has worked predominantly in customer services, ticketing and IT. Louise previously held the roles of Application and Database Manager, Application and Database Administrator, Data Analyst, Season Tickets Manager, Acting Customer Services Manager, Assistant Customer Services Manager, Box Office Coordinator and Usher at Sydney Theatre Company.

Her career in the arts sector began in 2002 after graduating from The Queens University of Belfast with a degree in Drama Studies and Film Production. Prior to moving to Australia, she worked in London for various arts companies including The Hampstead Theatre, The National Theatre and several Off West End venues.

She is an avid Dr Who Fan, a lover of Irish mythology and good whiskey.

Luke de Zilva – Digital Manager

Luke is a digital and arts specialist who has worked for some of Australia’s biggest arts organisations including Sydney Opera House, the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, Sydney Festival and Sydney Writers’ Festival. He is a graduate of English Literature and Art History & Theory. 2020 will be Luke’s fifth Sydney Writers’ Festival. 

Erin Garman – Ticketing Manager

Erin returns for her fourth Sydney Writers’ Festival following more than 14 years of experience working in event ticketing. Over the last couple of years, Erin has worked for a variety of arts and cultural festivals. Most recently she completed her fourth year at Darwin Festival as Ticketing Assistant Manager. Erin’s other roles have included work for Sydney Festival, Griffin Theatre Company, Sydney Film Festival, Palace Cinemas and Ticketmaster.

Cara Heathcote – Volunteers & Internships Coordinator

Cara joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2018, stumbling into her original Box Office role after a stint doing the same with Sydney Festival. Cara has an Arts (Psychology) degree stashed somewhere in a cupboard in her parents’ house, and once upon a time worked as a Business Development Manager at various tourism bodies in Sydney and Melbourne. Having an epiphany while volunteering at Just for Laughs in Montreal, Cara decided that festival people were her tribe, and has been roaming around Sydney Harbour wearing high vis and drinking lots of coffee ever since. Having been endlessly impressed with the Sydney Writers’ Festival volunteer team in the past, Cara is delighted to be working with such an amazing group of humans.

Aimee Huxley – Head of Marketing & Digital

Aimee joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2016. Prior to the Festival, she had been working in arts marketing roles for the previous six years, including positions at Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival, Sydney Theatre Company and Perth International Arts Festival.

Aimee has also worked as an editor and copywriter for various organisations across the arts, film, not-for-profit, education, health and publishing sectors. Aimee studied literature at Curtin University and publishing at the University of Melbourne.

Claire Keenan – Publicist

Claire joined Sydney Writers' Festival as a Publicity intern in 2019 and is returning in 2020 as a publicist. Prior to this, Claire studied a Bachelor of Media in Communication and Journalism at the University of New South Wales. She has recently joined Zeitgeist Agency in 2019 as an Agents’ Assistant and continues to work casually at Ariel Booksellers in Darlinghurst. 

Amelia Lush – Head of Children's & YA Programs

Amelia joined Sydney Writers' Festival in October 2018. She has more than 10 years' experience in bookselling, focusing on children’s and YA literature.

Amelia is the former general manager of Better Read Than Dead, an independent bookstore in Sydney and has worked as a consultant and volunteer for a variety of organisations including Stella Schools, Twenty10, the CBCA and ACON.

Misty McPhail – Volunteers & Internships Manager

Misty is pleased to be returning in 2020 for her seventh year managing the Volunteers and Internships portfolio. She is a current PhD student with the Writing & Society Research Centre, undertaking research into innovative online writers’ events, and since 2018 has been a tutor at WSU in the School of Humanities & Communication Arts. Misty also co-produces Made in the West Film Festival, a grassroots film festival for Western Sydney filmmakers, works ongoing as a producer with Still Searchin’ Productions, is executive producer at Made in the West TV and enjoys writing in her spare time.

Ashleigh Morton – Office Manager

Ashleigh joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in March 2016, and has now worked a variety of roles within the organisation. They include supporting the Festival as an intern, administrator and volunteers coordinator. Ashleigh has worked for a variety of arts organisations around Australia; most recently with the Australian Production Design Guild and Brisbane Festival. Ashleigh holds a BA in the Arts and a Masters in Publishing.

Benython Oldfield – Media Manager

Benython has been working on the promotion of Sydney Writers’ Festival since 2013. He is the Director of publicity & writers’ agency, Zeitgeist Media Group.

Lydia Tasker – Program Manager

Lydia joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in August 2019. She comes from a background in book publishing, and prior to her appointment at the Festival she worked for five years at Hachette Australia, ultimately as Publicity Manager, touring with and building media campaigns for a broad range of international and Australian authors. She has been involved in publishing industry initiatives such as the Australian Book Industry Awards, the Publisher’s Publicity Circle and The Australian Reading Hour. Lydia holds a degree in English Literature and Writing from Macquarie University.

Emma Walsh – Marketing Coordinator

Emma joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2020. Prior to this, she worked as a writer and editor across the business, publishing, government, cultural and not-for-profit sectors. Emma has supported marketing and corporate communications campaigns for world-leading organisations as part of her previous role with Editor Group, Australia’s preeminent corporate writing firm. She has also worked closely with the Newcastle Writers Festival on their social media coverage. Emma holds a Masters in Publishing from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts (English, Philosophy), which she completed at the University of London.

Aden Wessels – Head of Production & Operations

Aden joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2019 and has worked in production, operations and technical design related roles across the arts-cultural, not-for-profit, media and commercial event sectors for the past 20 years.

As a seasoned project manager, Aden has engaged in the delivery of a vast number of exhibition-related projects and activities. These include public performance events, arts and music festivals, large-scale calendar event celebrations, immersive contemporary art exhibitions, interactive audio-visual and projection-mapped installations, community-focused initiatives and art-for-social-change-related projects.

Before joining Sydney Writers' Festival, Aden was working for the Biennale of Sydney, responsible for production and operations.

Bernie Witham – Partnerships Manager

Bernie joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in September 2018. Prior to this, she was part of the development team at Sydney Film Festival, managing corporate and government partnerships.

Bernie’s career began in publishing, where she worked on major publicity and marketing campaigns across fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. She completed her Masters in Literature and Theatre at University College Dublin.