Cairns Tropical Writers Festival

The Cairns Tropical Writers Festival was established in 2008 and is a biennial event. It brings together our regional community of writers and readers with Australian and internationally revered authors and celebrities, who inspire us and feed our literary minds.

For national and international visitors, it is a cultural experience that allows them to touch the inspirational heart of the region in an environment of immense natural beauty.

With such a rich, tropical backdrop, it’s no surprise that the Festival continues to gain national and international appeal, allowing us to continue to showcase the distinctive voices of our tropical region.

2018 marks our tenth year since the Festival was established and we are delighted to announce that this year, we will be based at Hilton on the Waterfront.

This beautiful, well-appointed hotel is immersed in spectacular scenery, with excellent facilities, luxurious accommodation and alfresco dining where you can relax and take in the atmosphere as you unwind for the evening.


Tropical Writers Inc launched the inaugural Cairns Tropical Writers Festival in 2008 to meet the needs of the regional writing community of Far North Queensland. In 2012, the festival was re-named the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival to give a feeling of ownership to the regional community and to stimulate direct involvement from members of the Tropical Writers Inc and regional writers. This initiative has progressed the opportunities for the community to meet, connect with and be motivated by published Australian authors and the wider writing industry. The profile of the festival has grown considerably as a direct result of building a following in the larger community and has gained recognition from organisations such as the Queensland Writers Centre and the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Originally, the festival was timed with being a part of the broader Cairns Festival in 2008 and 2010. However, once it was reviewed and the benefits it offered considered, Tropical Writers Inc. determined that it was preferable not to compete with the larger event and so it looked at other dates. In each pre-planning phase, the festival’s committee looks at what other events have emerged in the region, what the national calendar of writers’ festivals is and if there is any festival that we can partner with to potentially share audience and presenters.

With the 2016 festival offering the most expansive program to date, we now look forward to a 2018 festival in August 2018 that serves our members, the regional community and the wide audience of writers, readers and thinkers, encouraging them to pursue and fulfill their goals and ambitions.

Event Details

The 2018 Tropical Writers Festival will this year be held at Hilton on the Waterfront on 10-12 August.

Conveniently located in the heart of Cairns, Hilton on the Waterfront is a fully accessible venue with all facilities required for people with limited mobility.


Rooms can be reserved at a discount of 10% off their best available flexible rate between 7 August – 15 August 2018.

Cairns is accessible by plane, car or taxi.


As well as keynote speakers, there will be Masterclasses and our ever-popular Literary Dinner.

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The 2018 program will include addresses from keynote speakers, our ever popular book fair, workshops, Masterclasses, seminars and much more.

Upcoming Events

Playwriting Masterclass - Characters and Turning Points

In this half-day masterclass, award-winning playwright Hannie Rayson will help you hone your techniques for creating a dynamic and engaging play.
FRI 10 AUG, 9.00 am

MASTERCLASS Making Documentaries that Matter

This includes a discussion about Anna’s work as a filmmaker, exploring how she chooses her non-fiction subjects, and the challenges, rewards and dangers associated with the documentary-maker’s life.
SUN 12 AUG, 9.00 am - 12.30 pm

Festival Weekend Pass

Grab a Weekend Pass for the biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival.
An initiative of Tropical Writers Inc., this year celebrates the 10-year anniversary of this major literary event in the northern Queensland region, with local and visiting national and international authors.
10 - 12 AUG 2018, Hilton, Cairns.

Conversations Richard Fidler - Literary Dinner

The Cairns Tropical Writers Festival is pleased to host Richard Fidler as our Literary Dinner guest. Richard is a writer and broadcaster who presents Conversations with Richard Fidler, an in-depth, up-close-and-personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio throughout the week.
SAT 11 AUG, 6.30 pm - 9.00 pm

Breakfast with Julian Burnside AO QC

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival will host a breakfast with Julian Burnside OA, QC on the Friday, as part of the biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 10 - 12 August 2018.
FRI 10 AUG, 7.00 am - 9.00 am

Biggest Book Club

The BIGGEST BOOK CLUB is a regular and popular event at every tropical writers festival. It brings together a panel of literary-minded people, in front of an audience, to have an animated discussion about the three chosen books.
SUN 12 AUG, 11.00 am - 12.30 pm

Expression of Interest

Expression of Interest is now closed.

If you’re interested in speaking at the 2018 Tropical Writers Festival, we would love to hear from you.
Please submit your biography, proposed topic and any other relevant information here.

Festival Presenters

The 2018 Program Schedule. Make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on our social media channels.

  • Julian Burnside AO QC is celebrated nationally for his work as a barrister in Australia, as well as a human rights and refugee …

  • Jane Caro is a writer, speaker, social commentator and broadcaster. She is a feminist, an atheist and an advocate for public education. She …

  • Robert Drewe is an Australian literary legend with more than 20 highly acclaimed books – novels, short stories and memoirs – that have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.

  • Richard Fidler is a writer and broadcaster who presents Conversations with Richard Fidler, an in-depth, up-close-and-personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC …

  • Ashley Hay’s work has been praised for its “incandescent intelligence and a rare sensibility”. Her awards include the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies’ …

  • Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her first novel Plains of Promise was shortlisted for …


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