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.
Brooke Webb – Acting CEO
Spanning 25 years, Brooke’s career has seen her travel the globe, working as an Executive Director, Executive Producer and Artistic Director for leading global entertainment and production companies. Honing her skills on theatrical shows and large-scale concert experiences (both touring and residential) Brooke soon found herself producing and directing large-scale, commercial festivals and major events.
Previous experience includes Artistic Director for Cirque du Soleil creating three touring shows, Mel Brook’s ‘The Producers’ (Broadway and Australian National tour), Julie Taymor’s ‘Lion King’ (Broadway) as well as producing internationally recognised festival’s and events for the Sydney Opera House; Vivid LIVE, Graphic Festival and the Outdoor Music forecourt series. As Executive Producer for Universal Music in New York City Brooke has also toured with some of the most iconic rock n’ roll bands of her generation.
Prior to joining Sydney Writers Festival, Brooke was the Festival Director for The Taste of Tasmania, injecting her signature energy and passion for shared experiences into a lively program of events aimed at sharing Tasmania’s incredible culinary culture with the world.
Michael Williams – Artistic Director
Michael Williams joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in September 2020, as the Artistic Director navigating the post-pandemic landscape going into the 2021 festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding Head of Programming in 2009, and then as its Director from September 2011. A regular host and interviewer for literary and ideas events around Australia – including a long-standing association with Sydney Writers’ Festival – his background is in publishing and broadcasting. He has hosted two shows on ABC Radio National – Blueprint for Living (2015-2016) and Talkfest (2017-2018) – was a regular on ABC TV’s The Book Club, and remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing in Australia and New York, and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere. He is currently also host of Guardian Australia’s monthly book club.
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.
Michelle Balogh – Marketing Coordinator
Michelle Balogh joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2021. Prior to this, she worked as marketing coordinator at Sydney law firm Addisons and as a writer and online producer at an online lifestyle publication. With experience in graphic design, writing and social media management, Michelle has worked across the marketing spectrum. She is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Creative Writing at UTS and her debut book, Her Kind of Luck, was published by Brio Books in 2019.
Andrew Bondfield – Production Manager
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.
Drew Bourgeois – Development Manager
Drew Bourgeois joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in November 2020. Prior to this, Drew was working in development and finance roles across the arts sector, including at the Australian Museum, Carriageworks and the Australia Council for the Arts. Drew holds an honors degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Sydney.
Amy Conway – Operations Manager
Amy has been part of the production team at Sydney Writers’ Festival for the last 3 years, joining as the Project Manager for the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories in September 2019. Amy has over 10 years’ experience in project management in the boutique events industry, specifically in children-centred 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 Services & Systems
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.
Luke de Zilva – Digital Manager
Luke is a digital and arts specialist who has worked for, and consulted to, some of Australia’s most respected 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 from UNSW.
Erin Garman – Ticketing Manager
Erin returns for her fifth Sydney Writers’ Festival following more than 15 years of experience working in event ticketing. Most recently she completed a tenure as Acting Ticketing Manager at Darwin Entertainment Centre. Erin’s other roles have included work for Darwin Festival, Sydney Festival, Griffin Theatre Company, Sydney Film Festival, Palace Cinemas and Ticketmaster.
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.
Kerry Littrich – Volunteers and Internships Coordinator
Kerry joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2021 after participating as a volunteer for five years. She is a writer who won an Australian Society of Authors mentorship award in 2020 and the Affirm Press mentorship award in 2017. Her most recent manuscript is under consideration with several agents and publishers. Her career began in sales and marketing for Qantas Airways and British Airways. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from UNSW.
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.
Alice Moore – Publicity Associate
Alice joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January of 2021. She also works at Zeitgeist Agency as an Assistant Literary Agent and is completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney.
Ashleigh Morton – Administration 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.
Mel Piu – Ticketing Coordinator
Mel joined Sydney Writers' Festival in February 2021. Her previous box office employers include Sydney Opera House, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has also worked in various roles for Sydney Film Festival and British Film Institute.
Luke Purse – Audio Engineer
Luke Purse has been working in and around Sydney Writers’ Festival as a recording or mix engineer since the late 2000s, and sometimes even being lucky enough to drive Russ the Story Bus. Luke was also an audio engineer for ABC's Radio National, SBS Radio and numerous venues across Sydney including The Factory Theatre and Camelot Lounge. Luke began his career with a humble education in audio engineering, a passion for music and radio, and some fortuitous encounters with community and grass roots arts and culture organisations.
Katherine Rajwar - Programming & Digital Satellite Events Assistant
Katherine Rajwar joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in March 2021. Prior to this, she was selected for the Hachette Summer Internship 2020, where she focused on working alongside marketing and publicity teams. She is also a bookseller at Better Read than Dead where she has worked for the last two years, and before this worked at the Best Little Bookshop in Town. Katherine finished her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) last year during which she worked as a news presenter for 2SER and a non-fiction writer for Vertigo.
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 is pleased to return to the Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2021 after supporting the Festival in 2020. Emma has worked as a writer and editor across the business, publishing, finance, government, cultural and not-for-profit sectors for the past six years. She has supported marketing and corporate communications campaigns for world-leading organisations as part of her role with Editor Group, Australia’s preeminent corporate writing firm, and most recently managed communications for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. 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.