An abandoned ballroom at the State Library will play host to a gaggle of writers sharing their most frightening tales for Fright Night, part of this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF). It’s an event at the top of outgoing director Lisa Dempster’s list.

“I am a real ghost stories nerd,” she says. “I am both compelled and creeped out by them.”

In her third and final year as director, Dempster will be at home among a community of proud young literary minds at this year’s EWF – a celebration of the craft of writing featuring over 350 artists across more than 50 events in the only festival of its kind in the world.

“We are a festival for writers,” says Dempster. “A lot of other writers’ festivals are about books and ideas, but we actually do all our programming with writers in mind – to inform, inspire and connect them.” Indeed, the program includes a futuristic incarnation of the library, a series of cutthroat panels and, most importantly, chances to catch up with likeminded wordsmiths for a drink.

But the thing Dempster’s most proud of in her time has been the festival’s ability to keep pace with technological and cultural shifts. Running in conjunction with the physical program, EWF Digital will see emerging writers, bloggers and social media maestros log into festival cyberspace to participate in interactive keynotes, Twitter panels and blog exhibitions.

Tailored to the writer’s budget, EWF is mostly free or low-priced. See you there!

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The Emerging Writers Festival runs from May 24 until June 3.