Frequently Asked Questions

What is Russ the Story Bus?
Russ the Story Bus is Sydney Writers’ Festival’s much-loved ‘library-on-wheels’. In 2014, Sydney Writers’ Festival transformed an ordinary bus into a bright and colourful creative space decked out with bookshelves (full of the latest children’s books) and spots for kids to read and listen to stories. Russ the Story Bus is a magical place for children that celebrates storytelling, reading and creativity, and fosters the lifelong connection we have with books that begins in childhood.

Watch a video of Russ the Story Bus in action here.

What happens during a Russ the Story Bus visit?
Students are welcomed on board Russ the Story Bus by the Sydney Writers’ Festival team. Inside the bus they can browse a library full of the latest children’s books, listen to stories read by Festival staff, chat to the visiting children’s book author and choose a book to take home. Students will also enjoy taking part in an interactive talk run by a children’s book author or illustrator. The author will share their love of books, discuss their craft and inspire children to think creatively about reading, writing and storytelling.

Who are the authors accompanying the tour? 
An author or illustrator will be joining each Russ the Story Bus visit to talk about their craft. This year Sophie Beer, Cristy Burne, Nicki Greenberg, Sandy Fussell, Jeremy Lachlan, Rebecca McRitchie, Martine Murray, Yvette Poshoglian and Damon Young.

When is the Russ the Story Bus on tour?
The Children’s Festival of Moving Stories will take place from Monday 22 October to Friday 14 December (inclusive).

Where is Russ the Story Bus going?
Russ the Story Bus will be travelling to schools in Western Sydney, North Coast Regional and the ACT from Monday 22 October to Friday 14 December (inclusive).

How do I book Russ the Story Bus?  You can book by using our online booking form.
How long will Russ the Story Bus be at our school on the day?
Sydney Writers’ Festival will be at your school for up to four hours: two hours for the Russ the Story Bus session and two hours (an hour each side of the session) to pack up and pack down.

What year levels is Russ the Story Bus suitable for?
A visit from Russ the Story Bus is suitable for primary-aged children (from Kindergarten to year 6). When you make your booking we ask that you specify the year level so that we can ensure that the books on the bus and the author talk is suitable.

How many students can visit Russ the Story Bus? 
Up to 80 children can join the two-hour session and a maximum of 30 students can explore Russ the Story Bus at one time. If your year group has more than 80 students, please contact the Festival at to discuss whether we can facilitate more students.

Who manages the visit?
Sydney Writers’ Festival staff work alongside teachers and librarians to manage the visit. Our Russ the Story Bus Manager will be in touch beforehand to confirm all the details.

Do Sydney Writers’ Festival staff have a Working With Children Check?  
It is a requirement that all Sydney Writers’ Festival staff and volunteers have a Working With Children Check.

Where does Russ the Story Bus park?
Russ the Story Bus will need a space to park away from traffic to park in. We prefer to bring Russ the Story Bus into the school grounds if this is possible; however, we can park outside the school grounds as well.

Risk Assessment  
We will provide a risk assessment and Working With Children Checks for all staff and volunteers attending your school. Our Russ the Story Bus Manager will be in contact before your visit – please let them know if you know if you require any specific risk or compliance documents. We would be happy to provide them.

Who designed Russ the Bus’ exterior?
Each year, Russ the Story Bus’ exterior is adorned in colourful illustrations by one of Australia’s best children’s book illustrators. This year, Russ is covered in artwork from the children’s book Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer.

My students have special access requirements. Who shall I speak to?
Please get in touch with our team via email or on (02) 9256 4200

Is the Festival going to photograph my students?  
The Sydney Writers’ Festival employs the services of a professional photographer to record selected Russ the Story Bus visits. These photos are for archival and marketing purposes. Each school will be notified if a photographer is booked with enough time to ensure parent permissions, if required, are sought. The Festival photographer will not take photographs of students without parental permission.

Who designed the interior of Russ the Story Bus?
Russ the Story Bus’ interior was designed by award-winning architectural firm LAVA.

What is the Children’s Festival of Moving Stories?
The Children’s Festival of Moving Stories is Sydney Writers’ Festival’s annual touring schools program. The main component of the 2018 program is Russ the Story Bus. 

Terms and Conditions 

The services that will be provided by the Sydney Writers’ Festival are as follows: 
a. Visit by our travelling story bus, in the form of a 12-metre long bus. 
b. One (1) children’s author/illustrator will conduct a 30-minute talk for students at your school. 
c. Three 3m x 3m marquees will be set up by the Sydney Writers’ Festival and weighted accordingly. 
d. A small PA (2 x speakers on stands, 2 x microphones and Sound desk) to play background music and be utilised by staff on the bus. 
e. Small generator (2 x 15A outlets) to power the PA and bus if external power for the bus can’t be supplied. 
f. Arrival at the site 1 hour before the 2-hour book giveaway starts and 1 hour to pack down Russ the Story Bus. 
g. Insurance certificate of currency for Public Liability. 
h. Assurance that all the Sydney Writers’ Festival staff and volunteers have valid Working with Children Checks. 
i. Small pop-up signage to be placed within the immediate vicinity of the bus. 
j. Two (2) staff members to manage Russ the Story Bus’ operations: a driver and onboard management. 

The services that will be provided by your school: 

a. Teachers to manage the children entering and exiting Russ. 
b. Teachers to ensure students book choices are not too far above their reading levels 
c. Teachers to make Sydney Writer’s Festival staff aware of any students who do not have permission to be photographed. 
d. Teachers to maintain order on Russ the Story Bus. 
e. A safe parking space away from traffic for Russ the Story Bus to park in. 
f. Provide contact information to the Sydney Writers’ Festival so that the Russ the Story Bus team can contact them (if not already provided). 
g. Provide an internal wet weather option for the author talk if required. 

Each organisation releases and holds harmless the other party, including its respective officers, agents and employees, from and against all claims, damages, liabilities, costs and expenses (including any reasonable legal costs and expenses) incurred or suffered by or arising out of, in connection with, or incidental to the acts, or omissions (other than those involving negligence or wilful default) of either party, its agents or representatives in connection with the Festival or this memorandum.