In Conversation: Artist Curation with Michaela McGuire

What does it take to be an Artistic Director? How do you bring in the masses while also ensuring diverse voices? Is the role provocateur or uniter?

Join UTS Professor Deb Verhoeven as she sits down with Sydney Writers’ Festival’s Artistic Director Michaela McGuire. Deb will explore with Michaela the challenges and triumphs of curating one of Sydney’s largest festivals and her learnings from her first season. At 31 and new to Sydney, there are bound to be tales!

Attendance is free but numbers are strictly limited, please RSVP.

Michaela McGuire biography

Jim MacnamaraMichaela 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 Q Weekend, The Saturday Age and The Monthly, where she wrote a weekly blog on politics and current affairs throughout 2013 and 2014, and regularly reviews books for Fairfax.

In 2010, Michaela co-founded the international ‘literary phenomenon’ Women of Letters. She has 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, and has since established Women of Letters as a monthly series of events in New York City, running concurrently to the Australian shows. With this unique platform, Michaela has created a celebration of women’s voices, the likes of which include Molly Ringwald, Jean Grae, Kathleen Turner, Margo Jefferson, Martha Wainwright, Aparna Nancherla, Siri Hustvedt, Edie Falco, Elaine Welteroth, Susan Orlean, Emma Straub, Alexis Okeowo, Sonia Manzano, Eileen Myles, Suki Kim, Tavi Gevinson, Yael Stone, Amber Tamblyn and many more. Women of Letters has been praised widely for fostering a unique intimacy between artists and audiences.

Globally, Women of Letters has raised over $850,000 for charity to date.

Michaela continues to co-curate the New York series from Sydney and is the programmer-at-large of This Alien Nation, a monthly show in New York celebrating immigrant stories.


Events are complimentary for alumni and friends of UTS, but we invite you to consider making a voluntary contribution to the UTS Alumni Scholarship Fund, to help talented UTS students achieve their potential, regardless of financial, social or other disadvantages. Know a fellow graduate who missed their invitation? If you are in touch with any UTS graduates who might not have missed out, please share this invitation with them.

Find out more about UTS International Alumni Reunions and other upcoming alumni events.