About the Festival

Words on the Waves Writers Festival is a celebration of words and ideas set on the scenic Central Coast, NSW, Australia.

It launched in June 11 – 14, 2021, and then delivered its second festival June 3 – 6, 2022. Words on the Waves Writers Festival 2023 dates are May 31 – June 5, with plenty of special events throughout the year.


Words on the Waves is a not-for-profit literary festival based on the Central Coast, NSW. It held its inaugural event in June 2021 after a year of planning by a volunteer-led committee. Based on this initial success, the festival was able to double its programming in 2022, welcoming over 60 authors from across Australia. Approximately 2745 adult and 1375 student attendances were recorded across 30+ sessions, all of which were sold out or close to capacity. 

With author talks and panels, as well as evening conversation events, a cinema screening, literary cruise, family fun day, schools program and more, the festival offers a diverse range of high quality literary events for both the Central Coast community and visitors to the area. 

In 2023 Words on the Waves will expand on the successful formula established in 2021 and 2022, both during the festival period and year-round. It is able to operate with thanks to its Partners (view here). 



The Words on the Waves Writers Festival mission is: To deliver an immersive annual festival of stories, ideas and connection, set against the scenic Central Coast, and to enrich the cultural landscape of the region year-round

The Words on the Waves Writers Festival goals are: * To establish a sustainable and growing organisation that enriches the cultural landscape of the Central Coast through a consistent flow of events *To deliver a program that’s diverse, thought-provoking, and has a commitment to place and community *  To foster literacy in the next generation of readers and writers * To attract visitors to the region, showcasing its natural and cultural offerings, local artists and businesses * To create an intimate gathering place for readers and writers to connect


2022 Festival

With over 60 authors coming from all corners of Australia across six days, Words on the Waves 2022 was deemed a ‘huge success‘ and a deeply enriching experience for all who attended, writers and festival-goers alike. Based on the success of the 2021 event, in 2022 the festival doubled its Adult Day Pass Program for Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5, running simultaneously across not one but two venues with panoramic views, Umina Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and Ocean Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.

The 2022 festival introduced a number of new event offerings, including Late Night Lit (poetry and readings on Thursday June 2), adult writing workshops, and a Book Launch program to spotlight local and emerging authors. This was in addition to its now established offerings of a Friday Night Conversation event held on Friday June 3 (in 2022 with Hannah Kent and Van Badham) as well as its Cinema Screening hosted by Festival Patron Margaret Pomeranz (with BAFTA-winning Luke Davies) and its Literary Cruise on Monday June 6 (with Ian Hoskins, Delia Falconer and lauded poet Robert Adamson). Browse the Festival Gallery here.

Saturday night program 2021

2021 Festival

We were so thrilled to deliver an exciting and diverse program for the first-ever Words on the Waves Writers Festival, taking place over the June long weekend (1114 June, 2021) on the scenic Central Coast.

We kicked off on Friday June 11 with a real treat; an evening with Richard Fidler. On Saturday June 12 and Sunday June 13, we were treated to riveting discussions and debates led by some of our country’s most interesting thinkers and writers, all held at the Ocean Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. And rounding out the festival, on Monday June 14 we joined Grace Karskens and Vicki Hastrich for a memorable literary cruise upon Brisbane Water.

Especially designed for school groups

Community Outreach

Words on the Waves also presented a program dedicated to preschool and primary school-aged children as part of the Schools Program on Friday June 11, 2021, and the Family Fun Day on Sunday June 13, 2021.

With a fantastic line up of well-known children’s authors and an opening address given by the Australian Children’s Laureate, kids left abuzz with new ideas and creative inspiration. We believe heartily in the ability of literacy to empower children to reach their true potential, and we endeavour to bring this to the Central Coast community, its children and families.

Contact us below if you are a local school who would like to participate in 2023.


Support our Festival

As a not-for-profit organisation run with a small team of volunteers, contributions of any size go a long way in enriching the creative culture of our community. The Committee includes local Peninsula residents passionate about bringing the arts to the Coast. We are seeking support from the community to help us create a wonderful and inclusive festival.