In 2015, a writer is a lot of things, and nowhere is this more evident than at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. Speakers include novelists, journalists, bloggers and illustrators – the festival is heaving with talent and good advice on how to put that talent to use. An array of masterclasses, performances, discussion panels and industry talks make this an event for people who write, who want to write, or who want to connect with people who write.

The centerpiece of the festival is the National Writers’ Conference, taking place across two days at the Melbourne Town Hall. This is the event for emerging writers hungry to hear from leaders in the field, develop their skills and soak up some insider industry information.

It’s not all educational. Describing the festival as a, “Creative launch pad”, director Sam Twyford-Moore says one of the most exciting and unique aspects of the EWF is that it encourages writers from all over Australia to share their experiences and, yes, have a good time.

“This is really the perfect opportunity for writers to meet each other”, he says. “Writing’s a tough gig, but we’re providing a space for people to come together and connect, which throws off the seriousness of it all and lets us celebrate creativity.”

This year’s program has a strong focus on women in literature, with a day dedicated to a swathe of panels, workshops and performances that allow women to mingle, discuss their challenges and celebrate women in literature.

Young Women in Writing is an event dedicated to high-school students at which inspiring literary women will not only focus on the “hows” of being a writer, but also examine the issues facing women in the industry.

Taking part in this event is writer and critic Rebecca Harkins Cross, who, like Twyford-Moore, says it is the sense of community that makes the EWF such a significant event for emerging writers – particularly women.

“There’s something really important in the camararderie among women, and the festival really gives us an opportunity to build on that,” says Harkins Cross. “It’s really about creating a space where women can talk about these difficulties openly and how we can go about changing them.”

The Emerging Writers Festival will run from May 26 to June 5. Check out the program for more details.