Chrissy Sharp – CEO
Chrissy joined the Festival in July 2018. In 2009 Chrissy was appointed inaugural Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. Prior to establishing the Wheeler Centre she was General Manager of Sadler’s Wells in London and a Board Director of Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company.
Chrissy was previously General Manager of the Sydney Festival, Head of Policy at national broadcaster SBS, and Executive Director of the Australian Writers’ Guild.
She was Chair of the Dance Board of the Australia Council (2009-2012), and Acting Executive Director of the Sydney Dance Company (2016). Chrissy was also a Board Director of Para Site, Hong Kong’s only independent contemporary art organisation.
Chrissy is currently a Board Director of Sydney Dance Company.
Michael Williams – Artistic Director
Michael Williams joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in September 2020, as the Artistic Director navigating the post-pandemic landscape going into the 2021 festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding Head of Programming in 2009, and then as its Director from September 2011. A regular host and interviewer for literary and ideas events around Australia – including a long-standing association with Sydney Writers’ Festival – his background is in publishing and broadcasting. He has hosted two shows on ABC Radio National – Blueprint for Living (2015-2016) and Talkfest (2017-2018) – was a regular on ABC TV’s The Book Club, and remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing in Australia and New York, and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere. He is currently also host of Guardian Australia’s monthly book club.
Kylie Anania – Head of Development
Kylie joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2019. With more than 10 years' experience fundraising for the cultural sector, at home in Sydney and in Hong Kong, she has worked at Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Premiere Performances of Hong Kong and most recently as the Director of Development at Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Kylie studied Australian literature and has a Masters in Arts Management.
Amy Conway – Project Manager – Children’s Festival of Moving Stories
Amy has been part of the production team at Sydney Writers’ Festival for the last 2 years and joined as Project Manager for the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories in September 2019. Amy has over 10 years experience in project management in the boutique events industry, specifically in children-centred workshops and interactive events. Amy studied Arts in Communication and Journalism at UTS and is passionate about children’s development and literacy.
Louise Davidson – Head of Customer Service
Louise joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2020 having worked in the Australian arts industry for more than 10 years. She has worked predominantly in customer services, ticketing and IT. Louise previously held the roles of Application and Database Manager, Application and Database Administrator, Data Analyst, Season Tickets Manager, Acting Customer Services Manager, Assistant Customer Services Manager, Box Office Coordinator and Usher at Sydney Theatre Company.
Her career in the arts sector began in 2002 after graduating from The Queens University of Belfast with a degree in Drama Studies and Film Production. Prior to moving to Australia, she worked in London for various arts companies including The Hampstead Theatre, The National Theatre and several Off West End venues.
She is an avid Dr Who Fan, a lover of Irish mythology and good whiskey.
Luke de Zilva – Digital Manager
Luke is a digital and arts specialist who has worked for, and consulted to, some of Australia’s biggest arts organisations including Sydney Opera House, the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, Sydney Festival and Sydney Writers’ Festival. He is a graduate of English Literature and Art History & Theory from UNSW.
Aimee Huxley – Head of Marketing & Digital
Aimee joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2016. Prior to the Festival, she had been working in arts marketing roles for the previous six years, including positions at Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival, Sydney Theatre Company and Perth International Arts Festival.
Aimee has also worked as an editor and copywriter for various organisations across the arts, film, not-for-profit, education, health and publishing sectors. Aimee studied literature at Curtin University and publishing at the University of Melbourne.
Amelia Lush – Head of Children's & YA Programs
Amelia joined Sydney Writers' Festival in October 2018. She has more than 10 years' experience in bookselling, focusing on children’s and YA literature.
Amelia is the former general manager of Better Read Than Dead, an independent bookstore in Sydney and has worked as a consultant and volunteer for a variety of organisations including Stella Schools, Twenty10, the CBCA and ACON.
Misty McPhail – Volunteers & Internships Manager
Misty is pleased to be returning in 2020 for her seventh year managing the Volunteers and Internships portfolio. She is a current PhD student with the Writing & Society Research Centre, undertaking research into innovative online writers’ events, and since 2018 has been a tutor at WSU in the School of Humanities & Communication Arts. Misty also co-produces Made in the West Film Festival, a grassroots film festival for Western Sydney filmmakers, works ongoing as a producer with Still Searchin’ Productions, is executive producer at Made in the West TV and enjoys writing in her spare time.
Ashleigh Morton – Office Manager
Ashleigh joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in March 2016, and has now worked a variety of roles within the organisation. They include supporting the Festival as an intern, administrator and volunteers coordinator. Ashleigh has worked for a variety of arts organisations around Australia; most recently with the Australian Production Design Guild and Brisbane Festival. Ashleigh holds a BA in the Arts and a Masters in Publishing.
Benython Oldfield – Media Manager
Benython has been working on the promotion of Sydney Writers’ Festival since 2013. He is the Director of publicity & writers’ agency, Zeitgeist Media Group.
Lydia Tasker – Program Manager
Lydia joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in August 2019. She comes from a background in book publishing, and prior to her appointment at the Festival she worked for five years at Hachette Australia, ultimately as Publicity Manager, touring with and building media campaigns for a broad range of international and Australian authors. She has been involved in publishing industry initiatives such as the Australian Book Industry Awards, the Publisher’s Publicity Circle and The Australian Reading Hour. Lydia holds a degree in English Literature and Writing from Macquarie University.
Aden Wessels – Head of Production & Operations
Aden joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2019 and has worked in production, operations and technical design related roles across the arts-cultural, not-for-profit, media and commercial event sectors for the past 20 years.
As a seasoned project manager, Aden has engaged in the delivery of a vast number of exhibition-related projects and activities. These include public performance events, arts and music festivals, large-scale calendar event celebrations, immersive contemporary art exhibitions, interactive audio-visual and projection-mapped installations, community-focused initiatives and art-for-social-change-related projects.
Before joining Sydney Writers' Festival, Aden was working for the Biennale of Sydney, responsible for production and operations.
Bernie Witham – Partnerships Manager
Bernie joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in September 2018. Prior to this, she was part of the development team at Sydney Film Festival, managing corporate and government partnerships.
Bernie’s career began in publishing, where she worked on major publicity and marketing campaigns across fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. She completed her Masters in Literature and Theatre at University College Dublin.