Secondary School Days 2020

In light of the current Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Government’s directive to restrict public gatherings of more than 500 people, and in the interest of the health and safety of students, teachers, authors, volunteers and Festival staff, we regret to announce the cancellation Secondary Schools Days 2020.

Read the full statement about the Sydney Writers' Festival 2020 cancellation here

The Secondary School Days program is a wonderful opportunity for students to hear from some of the world’s most exciting authors, thinkers and storytellers.

Led by international and Australian YA authors, these interactive sessions are designed to grow students’ enjoyment of books and reading, encourage them to consider their own creative pursuits, and inspire and challenge them through the discussion of literature and ideas. During each session, writers and illustrators perform from their work, talk about their craft and take questions from the audience.


Please arrive at 9.30am for a 10am start 

The Creativity Myth

Why did it take New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo (Grishaverse) so long to write her first book? Why is dreaming so much easier than doing? And how does the creative process actually work? In this practical and revealing session, Leigh discusses five big myths about creativity, explains what to do when you come up against fear and self-doubt, and gives insight into the way she outlines, drafts and writes her enthralling fantasy books.

Drawn from Life

First published when she was a teenager, and with an extraordinary seven books now under her belt, 24-year-old Alice Oseman has taken the YA world by storm with her heartfelt stories of fandoms, friendship and love. Join Alice for a fascinating discussion with Wai Chim about her early publishing success, why she chose to self-publish her comic series Heartstopper online, and the importance of writing stories inspired by her own life.

Wrestling Your Writing Demons

Ideas come easily to some writers and harder to others – but either way, the ideas inside your head have to be turned into words on the page. That’s when the hard work begins. Join author and screenwriter Malla Nunn (When the Ground is Hard) for an insider’s guide on how to make friends with your inner critic, learn to trust your words and characters, and take on your writing demons...and win!

The Long and Winding Road

Join author Jeremy Lachlan for an in-depth discussion about the creative life – and what it really takes to write and publish a book. Jeremy talks the long and winding road to becoming an author, the inception of his epic action-adventure series Jane Doe and the Cradle of All Worlds, his creative process, and how personal triumphs and tragedies have shaped the plots of his award-winning novels.


9.30am Arrive at the venue

10am Morning sessions

11.30am Book signings and lunch break

12.30pm Afternoon sessions

2pm Book signings and finish

All sessions run for 45 minutes. We recommend students bring their own lunch.

For more information about Secondary School Days, please contact us:

(02) 9256 4200