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Student Sessions

Student Sessions is a full-day program of engaging and lively discussions linked directly to the Stage 6 NSW English syllabus.  

This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from the authors of prescribed texts and to learn writing skills from some of the world’s most esteemed writers.

In 2024, there are two strands of sessions on offer, with each session running for 45 minutes. You can create your own schedule, combining sessions from either strand. The TEXT FOCUS series is an in-depth discussion of a particular work with either the creator(s) or a dedicated expert. THE CRAFT OF WRITING sessions are deep dives into the craft of writing with experts in different forms. These latter sessions complement both the Craft of Writing modules and the English Extension 2 course. All sessions will be moderated by highly experienced secondary school educators.

Recommended for Years 10 to 12.

Student Sessions is presented in partnership with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). 

Tickets are $10 per student, per session. There is one free teacher’s ticket allocated per event for every 20 paying students. Additional teachers can purchase tickets at student prices.

Tickets are free for schools with an ICSEA value of under 1,000. You can check your school's ICSEA value at myschool.edu.au.

Each Student Session runs for 45 minutes. You can create your own schedule of sessions with options to select one, two or three sessions per student.

Book Student Sessions

🗓️ Wednesday May 22: Carriageworks

Sessions

10am Text Focus: Richard III with Damien Ryan

Damien Ryan is the Artistic Director of Sport for Jove Theatre, where he has worked extensively with the works of Shakespeare, performing in or directing over 70 productions in Australia and overseas. The company has a comprehensive Education Program and works with tens of thousands of Australian students annually at secondary and tertiary levels. Damien’s latest production of Richard III, a unique staging through the eyes of Elizabeth I, will run at the Seymour Centre in March and, in this session, he will provide insight into staging the work. Richard III is a prescribed English text for the Advanced English Module A: Textual Conversations.

10am The Craft of Writing: The Craft of Creative Non-Fiction with Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin is a cultural historian, essayist, non-fiction writer and an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, where she teaches creative writing. Maria’s latest non-fiction work, Axiomatic, is a boundary-shifting fusion of thinking, storytelling, reportage and meditation. Come explore the different and exciting new ways to approach creative non-fiction.

11.30am Text Focus: Contemporary Asian Australian Poets with Michelle Cahill & Kim Cheng Boey

We are joined by two of the editors from this ground-breaking anthology of poems written by migrants, their children and refugees of Asian heritage. These poems explore the hyphenated and variegated ways of being Asian Australian and they demonstrate how the different cultural backgrounds and traditions transplanted from Asia have generated new and different ways of being Australian. Contemporary Asian Australian Poets is a prescribed English text for the Standard English Module A: Language, Identity and Culture.

11.30am The Craft of Writing: The Craft of Short Fiction with Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Moth: Fifty True Stories, Meanjin, Griffith Review and The Monthly. Her story, 'Dreamers', is included as a prescribed text for Standard English Module C: The Craft of Writing. Also an award-winning novelist, Melissa is perfectly placed to examine the skills and approaches specific to crafting short stories.

1pm Text Focus: Past the Shallows with Julian

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett is an Australian novel that tells the story of three brothers growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers' lives are shaped by their father's changing mood which, like the ocean he fishes, is wild and unpredictable. Julian Larnach has adapted Past the Shallows into both a play (produced by Archipelago Productions and Australian Theatre for Young People) and an experimental feature film. Julian joins us to discuss this important work and the adaptation process. Past the Shallows is a prescribed English text for the Standard and Advanced English common Module: Texts and Human Experience. 

1pm The Craft of Writing: The Craft of Poetry with Maxine Beneba Clarke and Solli Raphael

Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian author and slam poet of Afro-Caribbean descent. The recipient of the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize, her poetry collection, Carrying the World, also won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry. Named an icon of 21st-century poetry, Solli Raphael has broken barriers in making poetry more accessible and relatable for everyone. He was crowned the youngest ever Australian Poetry Slam champion at only 12-years-old and his books have received accolades for their capacity to engage children and teenagers in poetry and social concerns. Together they will discuss the power of verse and share insights into their writing processes.

For more information about Student Sessions, please contact us:

📞 (02) 9256 4200

📧 ticketing@swf.org.au

Education FAQs

Writers

Kim Cheng Boey

Since emigrating from Singapore in 1997, Kim Cheng Boey has made a home in Berowra, NSW. His poems have featured in the literature syllabus of the GCE A Level, the HSC and the International Baccalaureate. His sixth collection of poetry, The Singer and Other Poems, won the 2023 Kenneth Slessor Prize. He has also published a travel memoir, Between Stations, and Gull Between Heaven and Earth, a novel based on the life of the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu.

Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill (she/they) is a poet and novelist of Indian heritage. She was the 2023 Hedberg Writer in Residence at the University of Tasmania. Her short story collection, Letter to Pessoa, was awarded the NSW Premier's Literary Award for New Writing. Daisy & Woolf was longlisted in the ALS Gold Medal and the Voss Literary Prize. She has been shortlisted in the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Prize, the Peter Porter Poetry Prize and received the KWS Hilary Mantel International Short Story Prize. Cahill is the artistic director of Mascara.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of the Australian Book Industry and Indie Book Award–winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil (2014), the critically acclaimed memoir The Hate Race (2016), the poetry collections Carrying the World (2016), and How Decent Folk Behave (2021) and many other books for children and adults. Maxine is the inaugural Peter Steele Poet in Residence at The University of Melbourne and her latest poetry collection, It’s the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people was shortlisted for the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Award for Children’s Literature.

Julian Larnach

Julian Larnach is a Sydney-based playwright and screenwriter. He is Literary Associate at Griffin Theatre Company. Julian’s theatrical adaptation of Favel Parrett’s novel Past the Shallows has won 6 Tasmanian Theatre awards including Best Production and Best New Writing. It has been developed into a feature film and premiered at Ten Days on the Island Festival. He is currently working on new plays for Bell Shakespeare, Australian Theatre for Young People and Queensland Performing Arts Centre. 

Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a multi-award-winning novelist from the Bundjalung nation. Too Much Lip won the 2019 Miles Franklin Award and the QLA Prize for a Work of State Significance. Melissa’s most recent novel, Edenglassie, was released to critical acclaim in October 2023. She is a Walkley Award winner and a founding member of Sisters Inside.

Solli Raphael

Solli Raphael is an award-winning author, poet, advocate and acclaimed keynote speaker. Solli has authored three books, which have received accolades for their capacity to engage children and teenagers educationally. Solli has spoken at hundreds of schools, universities and events and has been regularly featured on radio and TV shows, in printed media and in books, reaching a global audience of two billion people with his work. His latest book is 29 Things You Didn't Know About Me.

Damien Ryan

Damien Ryan is Managing Director and Artistic Director of Sport for Jove Theatre. The company’s comprehensive Education Program works with tens of thousands of Australian students annually. He has worked extensively with Shakespeare, performing in or directing over 70 productions in Australia and overseas, and has worked as actor, director and writer across Australia’s major companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir and Sydney Festival.

Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin writes books, essays, reviews and pieces for performance and radio. She collaborates with sound and visual artists and has had her work carved into dockside tiles. She is the author of four books of ideas. Her most recent book, Axiomatic, won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award (US), the Stella Prize, and the Prime Minister’s, NSW Premier’s and Victorian Premier’s Awards. Axiomatic was named a New Yorker Top 10 Book of 2019. Maria is a recipient of the 2020 Windham Campbell Prize in the category of non-fiction. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Melbourne.

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