Brooke Webb – CEO
Spanning 25 years, Brooke’s career has seen her travel the globe, working as an Executive Director, Executive Producer and Artistic Director for leading global entertainment and production companies. Honing her skills on theatrical shows and large-scale concert experiences (both touring and residential) Brooke soon found herself producing and directing large-scale, commercial festivals and major events.
Previous experience includes Artistic Director for Cirque du Soleil creating three touring shows, Mel Brook’s ‘The Producers’ (Broadway and Australian National tour), Julie Taymor’s ‘Lion King’ (Broadway) as well as producing internationally recognised festival’s and events for the Sydney Opera House; Vivid LIVE, Graphic Festival and the Outdoor Music forecourt series. As Executive Producer for Universal Music in New York City Brooke has also toured with some of the most iconic rock n’ roll bands of her generation.
Prior to joining Sydney Writers Festival, Brooke was the Festival Director for The Taste of Tasmania, injecting her signature energy and passion for shared experiences into a lively program of events aimed at sharing Tasmania’s incredible culinary culture with the world.
Ann Mossop – Artistic Director
Ann is an ideas curator and festival programmer. Throughout her career she has been involved with important initiatives to bring the work of writers and thinkers to broader audiences.
Prior to her appointment at the Writers’ Festival, she was the Director of the Centre for Ideas at UNSW Sydney, a new program she established that hosts live and digital public conversations about important issues. Recent highlights include talks with speakers like Dr Anthony Fauci, Daniel Kahneman, Grace Tame and Julia Gillard as well as writers William Dalrymple, Geraldine Brooks, Masha Gessen and Daniel Lavery.
As Head of Talks and Ideas at the Sydney Opera House from 2010-2017, she established the Opera House’s extensive talks and ideas program. The Ideas at the House series featured writers, thinkers, artists, cooks and comedians including Jackie Chan, Noam Chomsky, Roxane Gay, Elizabeth Gilbert, Stephen Hawking, Alicia Garza, Jamie Oliver, Yoko Ono, Grayson Perry, Jennifer Saunders, Alice Waters and many more. She led key projects like the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, which brought substantial audiences to hear speakers like Slavoj Zizek, Salman Rushdie, Vandana Shiva and Naomi Klein on Opera House stages. She was also the founder of the All about Women festival, which has taken place annually at Sydney Opera House since 2013.
She is a past member of Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Board and was involved with the establishment of the Sydney Writers’ Festival as an independent entity in 1998.
Nathan Luff – Manager of Children's & YA Programs
Nathan joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in September 2022. He is the author of multiple books and plays for young readers, including The Nerd Herd series and Bad Grammar. Nathan previously worked as a primary school teacher, focusing on literacy and the performing arts. Prior to that, Nathan was a Creative Producer for the Powerhouse Youth Theatre in Western Sydney, and Festival Director of the Wakakirri National Story Festival, an arts festival for Australian schools promoting education through the telling and sharing of stories.
Lauren Bennett – Festival Producer
Lauren joined Sydney Writers' Festival in October 2022. She is a creative producer with experience across the small to medium arts sector in both Melbourne and Sydney. Most recently, Lauren was Associate Producer at Australian Theatre for Young People. In mid-2022, she commenced her first board position with Theatre Works.
With a passion for new writing, Lauren has worked as a producer on 30+ productions, programs and developments since her practice began in 2017, including with Theatre Works, Midsumma Festival, Lab Kelpie, Drama Victoria, and various independent theatre companies. Previous projects have spanned sketch comedy, circus, dance, musical theatre, and predominantly, new Australian plays.
Lauren completed a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Politics) at the University of Melbourne, and has a background in writing, performing and directing for the stage.
Drew Bourgeois – Head of Development
Drew joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in November 2020. Prior to this, Drew was working in development and finance roles across the arts sector, including at the Australian Museum, Carriageworks and the Australia Council for the Arts. Drew holds an honors degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of Sydney.
Georgia Wilson – Development Manager
Georgia joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2022. Georgia has previously worked in roles across philanthropy, development and partnerships for organisations such as the Australian Museum, Australian Theatre for Young People and Sydney Living Museums. She holds a Bachelor of Art Theory from the University of NSW.
Sarah Hunt – Head of Marketing & Digital
Sarah joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2023. She has worked in arts marketing across Australia and the UK, including positions at Opera Australia, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, Dark Mofo and Sydney Opera House. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Italian Studies from the University of Sydney.
Luke de Zilva – Digital Consultant
Luke is a senior digital and arts consultant, board member, and Digital-Strategist-in-Residence for Australia Council for the Arts. He has worked with Sydney Opera House, the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, Sydney Festival, Force Majeure dance theatre and Brisbane Writers' Festival amongst other Australian and international arts organisations. Luke is also a Committee Member and the Community Liaison for the Life for Koori Kids charity, and is on the board for Music in Exile.
Jennifer McGrath – Digital Marketing Manager
Jennifer joined Sydney Writers' Festival in January 2023. Prior to this she worked in arts marketing for Bell Shakespeare and in publishing with Allen & Unwin. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Sydney, holding a Masters of Publishing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy.
Ch'aska Cuba de Reed – Digital Marketing Coordinator
Ch’aska joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2023. She previously worked in social media and communications across the public and not-for-profit sector. Ch’aska completed a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Writing & Publishing, at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Kate Farquharson – Marketing Coordinator
Kate joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in February 2023. She has worked in marketing, social media and in media agencies across various arts, entertainment and cultural organisations including Sydney Festival, Secret Sounds, Harper Collins and Live Nation. Kate is a musician engaged in the Sydney and Australian music scene and holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Art in Photomedia and English Literature from UNSW.
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.
Iain Shand – Ticketing & Customer Service Manager
Iain joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in October 2022. Prior to this, Iain had been working within membership, ticketing and consumer products since 2019 for the Central Coast Mariners FC. Iain also has a vast background in hospitality and in sports leisure, working across Australia and back in Scotland where he is from. Iain studied Sport and Exercise Science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Jo Jukes – Office Manager
Jo joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in October 2021. Prior to this, she held the position of general manager of operations for a New Business Development agency, leading projects and managing a busy team of inside sales agents. She studied Commercial Photography at the Arts University Bournemouth in the UK and has held a variety of roles in photography and media, both in Sydney and London. Jo is also a freelance writer; her work has been published both nationally and internationally.
Tristan Taylor – Head of Production
Tristan has played various technical roles in arts and entertainment events for over thirty years. Previous highlights include festivals and productions at Sydney Opera House, national and international touring with Performing Lines, being part of the lighting team at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London, and teaching Theatre Technology in Hanoi, Vietnam. Tristan is a graduate of the University of Wollongong, Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre Technology), and Deakin University, Graduate Diploma of Arts and Entertainment Management.
Amy Conway – Events & Education Manager
Amy has been part of the production team at Sydney Writers' Festival for the last four years, going as the Russ the Bus Project Manager in September 2019 and managing the education programs ever since. 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.
Annette Hughes – Travel & Logistics Coordinator
Annette joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2023. She is a cultural producer with long experience in the book industry as an editor, a literary agent (Cameron Creswell) and artistic director and event manager of Reality Bites Festival in Queensland. Prior to publishing, she worked in the visual arts as gallery and exhibition manager at the Ray Hughes Gallery (Brisbane and Sydney). She is also a published author and singer/songwriter. Annette is a graduate of UNE BA Hons (Literature & Communications).
VOLUNTEERS & INTERNS
Misty McPhail – Volunteers and Interns Manager
Misty has been managing the Volunteers and Internships portfolio since 2014 and is pleased to return to the Festival again this year. She is a current PhD student with the Writing & Society Research Centre undertaking research into online writers’ festivals and 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 filmmaker.
Valerie Leung – Volunteers & Interns Co-ordinator
Valerie joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in January 2023 following five years as a volunteer at the Festival. Prior to this, she had worked for more than 20 years as a Project Manager/Consultant in IT and Business, including Deloitte Consulting, CBA, AMP, and Vodafone. Valerie is a graduate at UNSW (Bachelor of Commerce) and MGSM (MBA).