The Northern Beaches first-ever writers’ festival is set to be a page-turner, with more than 50 authors taking part.

It’s a first for the Northern Beaches and is set to be a literary delight; the Manly Writers’ Festival will celebrate the power of storytelling when it kicks off from 14 to 16 March. This page-turning event will feature more than 50 local, national and international authors.

Various locations around the Manly and Brookvale area will play host to the festival, which will be opened by Booker Prize winner and Manly local author Tom Keneally.

Festival organiser Bonita Mersiades lives in Balgowlah and is a book publisher. Bonita thought a writers’ festival needed to be added to the Manly calendar.

“Writers’ festivals have tended to take the big city names. But there’s no reason why we can’t make it local,” she said.

“There are some big-name authors amongst the group,” Bonita said. “But a lot of the authors are people who don’t necessarily have an opportunity to talk about their book. People pour their heart and their soul into writing a book, so it’s great to give them an opportunity to talk about it.”

Tom Keneally will open the festival


Authors in conversation at the festival will include local writers Ingrid J Adams, Tracy Hall, Summer Land, Lisa Gallate, Amy Hutton, Sarah McKay and Jill Valentine.

Nick McKenzie, investigative journalist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald has won 16 Walkley awards for his work. Nick will discuss his book Crossing the Line: The inside story of murder, lies and a fallen hero. It details how he and journalist Chris Masters unearthed the truth about disgraced Australian soldier Ben Roberts-Smith.

Popular former Socceroo and Australian of the Year 2023, Craig Foster, will also speak at the event. Craig has been known in recent years for his humanitarian work – when he is not talking soccer for Stan or SBS. Crais is also a lawyer and co-chair of the Australian Republican Movement, and a human rights ambassador with Amnesty International.

Other highlights include a special Friday lunchtime panel with journalist and author Catherine Fox, a book launch, poetry and jazz on Friday evening, and a stellar panel discussion led by journalist Michael Brissenden on Saturday afternoon.

There will also be presentations and workshops for children, with appearances from children’s authors such as Ursula Dubosarsky and Carla Fitzgerald.

International authors include Olympian Michelle-Ford Eriksson of Switzerland and Sally Freedman from the UK.


Olympian Michelle-Ford Eriksson


The festival is supported by Northern Beaches Council and all profits will be shared between the festival’s charity partners: Northern Beaches Community Cancer Charity and the Literacy for Life Foundation, an aboriginal-led entity.

Bonita hopes the festival will be a yearly event but said it would depend on the response. “I hope that people will embrace the idea and come along. “There’s really something for everyone.”



Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March


– Darley Smith Building, Manly

– Manly Pacific, North Steyne

– Manly Spirits Co Distillery, Brookvale


From $20 per session. Day passes are available. School program events from $7.50.

For more information, visit