Cairns Tropical Writers Festival

The Cairns Tropical Writers Festival was established in 2008 as 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.

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

Cairns is accessible by plane, car or taxi.

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The 2018 program will include addresses from keynote speakers, our ever popular book fair, workshops, Masterclasses, seminars and much more. The full program will be announced shortly but make sure you secure your early bird weekend pass now, so you don’t miss out! This offer will only be available until 30 June.

Upcoming Events

Early Bird Weekend Pass to 30 June

Grab an Early Bird Weekend Pass for the biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival on 10 to 12 August 2018 at the Hilton Hotel, Cairns.

Tracey Spicer AM and the #MeToo Movement

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival will host a breakfast with award-winning author, journalist and broadcaster Tracey Spicer AM as a satellite event at The Hilton in Cairns on Monday 23 July 2018.

Breakfast with Julian Burnside AO QC

Cairns Tropical Writers Festival will host a breakfast with Julian Burnside OA, QC on Friday 10 August, as part of the biennial Cairns Tropical Writers Festival 10-12 August 2018. Bookings are now open for individuals, or tables of 8 friends or colleagues.

Expression of Interest

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

Our 2018 program is taking shape and will be announced soon. 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 advocate, and author.

  • 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 Radio.

  • Elliot Hannay is an author and veteran journalist. His latest work, Conversations with Katter … Politics, Life and What Matters, was released this …

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

  • Angela Murphy is a playwright, story writer, and trained facilitator.


Interested in Sponsorship

Buy Tickets

Early bird festival tickets are on sale now! To secure your weekend pass, simply book before 30 June and save.

A full list of tickets prices and events will be announced shortly.

Join Us

We rely on corporate partnerships, donations and the generous support of volunteers to bring the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival to life.

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