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.
Michaela McGuire – Artistic Director
Michaela is a journalist, author, programmer and curator, and joined the Festival in December 2016. Prior to taking up this appointment, she was Director and Co-CEO of Melbourne’s Emerging Writers’ Festival.
Michaela is the author of Last Bets: A true story of gambling, morality and the law, the Penguin Special A Story of Grief and Apply Within: Stories of career sabotage. She has worked as a regular columnist for The Saturday Age, Q Weekend and The Monthly, where she wrote a weekly blog on politics and current affairs throughout 2013 and 2014, and regularly reviewed books for Fairfax.
In 2010, Michaela co-founded the international ‘literary phenomenon’ Women of Letters. She programmed and hosted over 160 sold-out shows all around Australia, as well as in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and New Zealand. From 2014-2018 she co-curated the monthly series in New York City.
Michaela is the programmer-at-large for This Alien Nation, a monthly celebration of immigration staged at the iconic Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City. Each month, host Sofija Stefanovic welcomes some of her favourite people for a celebration of immigration and invites a live audience to hear anecdotes about language barriers, cultural missteps, rumbles, romance, and more. Past guests include Paul Holdengräber, Siri Hustvedt, André Aciman, Françoise Mouly, Aparna Nancherla, Julio Torres, Christine Lewis and Anil Dash.
Daniela Baldry – Program Coordinator
Daniela joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in February 2017, and returns for her third year to work on the 2019 Festival. Daniela has worked for a variety of Sydney’s performing arts venues and festivals; most recently at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Theatre Company, and previously for the Sydney Film Festival and the Sydney Festival. Daniela holds a BA in Communications (Theatre/Media) and a Masters in English and Drama Education.
Jessica Block – Development Consultant
Jessica Block’s background is in arts/law, with five years as a solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons (then Mallesons Stephen Jaques), followed by two years as one of the Nine Network’s Corporate Counsel.
She then moved into the Arts, with two years as Bell Shakespeare’s Business Development Manager, three years as Sydney Festival’s Business Development Manager and then 14 years as the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Deputy General Manager and Development Director, where major projects included the establishment of the ACO’s National Education Program, Instrument Fund and current Capital Campaign.
Jessica has consulted to a wide range of clients including Belvoir, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation and Pinchgut Opera. She is a member of the Board of the Australian Youth Orchestra, ACO US, Inc. and the ACO Instrument Fund and has previously chaired the Board of Legs on the Wall. Jessica holds a degree in Arts/Law from the University of Sydney.
Mel Colvin – Head of Production & Operations
Mel joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team as the Head of Production and Operations in September 2018.
Mel has a career spanning the arts and events sector working in a diverse range of roles and on a wide spectrum of projects. Recently Mel has worked with Barangaroo Delivery Authority as Producer, Events, bringing the spectacular Marri Dyin to the Barangaroo waterfront for Vivid; Sydney Writers’ Festival to deliver the digital outreach program - Live & Local - using livestream technology; NAISDA Dance College to bring their 40TH celebrations to Carriageworks; on Mobilise - APACAs national conference; and with Sydney Theatre Company where she devised the Green Design Policy as part of the Greening the Wharf project.
Previously Mel spent several years in Melbourne working as Event Manager and Production Administrator with Melbourne Theatre Company, and has been involved in projects with NIDA, the Really Useful Company Australia, the Sydney Opera House and the NSW Centenary of Federation where she received a Centenary Medal for her contribution as Producer of the Centennial Ceremony.
Luke de Zilva – Digital Manager
Luke is a Digital and arts specialist who has worked for some of Australia’s biggest arts organisations including Sydney Opera House, the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, Sydney Festival and Sydney Writers’ Festival. 2019 marks Luke’s fourth Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Travis Green – Head of Customer Relations
Travis joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in February 2016. He has over 8 years experience in Arts Management, focusing on the customer experience and developing patron retention in the arts sector.
Travis previously held the role of Education Systems and Client Services Manager at the Sydney Theatre Company, Customer Relations Manager at the Bell Shakespeare Company, Season Tickets Manager at the Sydney Theatre Company, and Customer Services Manager at the Griffin Theatre Company. He has a passion for the performing arts and literature, and its engagement in the wider community.
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 over 10 years of 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 – Volunteer & Internship Manager
Misty is excited to be leading our amazing team of volunteers once again in 2019. Originally from Perth, her first introduction to Sydney Writers' Festival was in 2012 as a volunteer, then in 2013 she took on the FOH Manager role at the Festival's major city events. In 2014, Misty returned as the Volunteer Coordinator and since then has expanded the Festival's internship program for university students and led the volunteer team through five successful festivals. In 2019, she returns as the Volunteer & Internship Manager.
Misty graduated with BA (Honours) at Western Sydney University in 2013, receiving the university medal, and in 2015 began PhD research into innovative digital festival formats. She now teaches undergraduate students in the School of Humanities & Communication Arts at WSU. Misty is a co-producer of Made in the West Film Festival, a grassroots film festival for Western Sydney filmmakers. She has worked previously as a creative producer with the Digital Writers’ Festival, works ongoing with Still Searchin’ Productions, and is a freelance copyeditor in her spare time.
Georgie Neve – Philanthropy Manager
Georgie joined the Sydney Writers’ Festival team in January 2019. Georgie is the former Donor Program Executive of Sydney Theatre Company (STC), where she supported the growth and development of its philanthropy program. In this capacity Georgie was responsible for fundraising towards STC’s Education Program and looked after its portfolio of private Trusts and Foundations.
Georgie began her career in the world of books, working in the publicity team at Profile Books in London. She has a BA (Honours) degree in English Literature from The University of Manchester, UK.
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.
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.
Natasha Younger – Finance & Administration Manager
Natasha joined the Sydney Writers' Festival team in 2013. Prior to moving to Sydney she worked for seven years as the Event and Program Manager for the MBS Festival in London. With over fifteen years experience in systems, events and teams, Natasha’s love of learning and the arts have influenced her career from the onset. Working with Sydney Writers’ Festival combines Natasha’s passion for new ideas and events that inspire, with her love of numbers and the world of literature.