Sydney Queer Writers’ Festival – EnQueer 2021

EnQueer-Courtney-ActFeaturing over 60 established and emerging writers and poets from across the gender, sexuality, cultural and ability spectrum, the inaugural Sydney Queer Writers’ Festival – EnQueer – will take place entirely online from 4 – 6 November 2021.

Given the current environment, the offering online has enabled EnQueer to include an incredible line-up of queer voices – a unique opportunity for you to connect with queer writers and their readers from across Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

EnQueer’s 2021 program features personalities, writers and poets including Courtney Act, Benjamin Law, Ellen Van Neerven, Kaya Wilson, Kate Lilley, Gary Lonesborough, Krissy Kneen, Chris Tse, Stephen House, Melissa Lucashenko, Huw Griffiths, Tim Spencer, James Elazzi and Michael Sun, to name just a few…

A night of memoir, poetry, activism and pure passion, EnQueer’s Opening Night on Thursday 4 November brings together prominent queer Australians to acknowledge and celebrate writing and experience. Guests include:Courtney Act, Benjamin Law, Kate Lilley and Alex Greenwich MP.

Highlights of EnQueer 2021 include:

Whose Camp is it Anyway?
Thursday 4 November: 8.30pm
This panel will try to dig a little deeper in understanding the aesthetics, writing and humour of camp. Especially now with the mainstreaming of camp, has true camp been lost, and if so, can it be reclaimed? Even worse, is queer camp being censored as more vanilla variants become prominent?

Friday 5 November: 12.00pm
Notions concerning gender have become some of the most important literary themes of the early 21st century. But how exactly do gender concepts play into literature? This panel seeks to explore writing about the trans experience, including who exactly gets to write these stories and the stories for trans audiences compared to trans experiences for cis gendered readers.

The Queer and the Writer
Friday 5 November: 5.00pm
What is queer writing? This panel will explore the tension in being a writer who is queer versus a writer who is involved in queer writing – do writers who are queer enjoy the label or are they uncomfortable with it? Does it limit opportunities? Can non-queer writers write queer characters, if we want more representation? Should we free queer writers from this representation?

Beyond Coming Out
Friday 5 November: 7.00pm
This panel will explore what young audiences want from queer stories in an industry that appears fixated on trauma / coming out, and rarely spotlights what comes after. Does the current young adult fiction landscape reflect its audience? In such a fast-growing area of literature, how are young adult fiction writers going about creating work that young queer readers want?

Body of Work
Saturday 6 November: 10.00am
This panel seeks to explore the challenges in writing about the body, understanding the body narrative and the Curse of the Ambassador. What happens when the body becomes a mental narrative phenomenon and do we fear exposure to the part that we’re most conscious about? What bodies are currently included in current literature and what bodies need greater representation?

Decolonising in a Colony
Saturday 6 November: 1.00pm
This panel seeks to explore whether this concept of decolonising narratives is rooted in the colonial experience only and how geographies affect such narratives. What is it in the emotional, historical and social sense? Are there tensions in the contemporary first-world queer experience and decolonising the predominantly white narrative?

Queer Chronicles
Saturday 6 November: 5.30pm
The modern, first-world queer experience is very different to what is used to be. We have brought together a panel of treasured writers and journalists to speak about their experiences of being queer, chronicling and expressing themselves through the decades. This panel will explore how writing about the queer experience has changed over time, and how has it shaped them as writers?

Lesbian Visibility
Saturday 6 November: 7.00pm
With the rise of lesbian TikTok and the vast number of lesbian meme accounts on Instagram, these digital spaces appear to have provided a safe space for queer women to express their identities. Lesbians have seldom had the platform to tell their own story in their own words – what impact does this have on lesbian visibility and positive representation of lesbian lives? Has social media succeeded where more traditional platforms have failed?

What started as a Google search by one queer writer, led to the creation of EnQueer – a platform for queer writers, thinkers, poets and academics to come together to share experiences and talent. We love our queer community and the written word.

Celebrating queer writers and their writing, organisers want EnQueer to become a permanent fixture in Australia’s queer calendar that celebrates the community’s contribution to intellectual and cultural inquiry.

Sydney Queer Writers’ Festival – EnQueer runs 4 – 6 November 2021. To ensure the festival is accessible to all, EnQueer is offering a single festival pass on a ‘pay what you can afford’ basis.

So for as little as AU$20 you will be able to watch one or all of the sessions across the festival. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Courtney Act (supplied)