The inaugural Australian Muslim Writers Festival was launched on Saturday 25 September 2021 by The Right Pen Collective featuring renowned writer and journalist Waleed Aly and author and academic Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah.

Taking place online from Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October, the week-long festival is aimed at celebrating the work of Australian Muslim writers. Many of its sessions have already been sold out.

The festival features a stellar line up of well-known Muslim writers such as Miles Franklin shortlisted and Sweatshop Literacy Movement founder Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad; Peter Porter Poetry Prize winner poet Sara Saleh; and Archibald Prize finalist artist and author Amani Haydar.

List of the panellists.

International bestselling Muslim authors Ausma Zehannat Khan and Uzma Jalaluddin will join in for a special panel to discuss publishing as Muslim authors overseas.

The panels have a mix of established authors and emerging authors.

Ozge Sevindik Alkan, joint founder of The Right Pen Collective and a self-published author, said the unique feature of this festival was the connection of independent authors alongside traditional published authors.

“I found that many Muslim authors choose to self-publish to tell their stories as authentically as possible.

“Unfortunately, this can limit the events authors are invited to speak at.

“We want to amplify and give voice to all Muslim writers in Australia, regardless of how they were published,” she said.

The Right Pen Collective joint founder Aksen Ilhan is an emerging writer who will share her story about a relentless pursuit of a traditional contract with Australian publishers.

All panels will be chaired by The Right Pen Collective joint founder, book blogger, and emerging Sydney author Annie Mcann.

Well, known for her warm and engaging style, Annie regularly interviews authors through her Read3r’z Re-Vu network of bloggers and readers. She most recently hosted panels at Sydney SuperNova.

Annie said growing up as a Muslim in Australia she never seen herself represented in books.

“This virtual festival is an opportunity for us see and learn from amazing talent that resides with the Australian Muslim community – there’s so much out there and it’s time they took to the stage,” she said.

The panels are organised by the age group and the genre the authors write in. They will be talking about all aspects of the craft of writing including but not limited to diversity.

Ms Sevindik Alkan said the authors invited to present at the festival all wrote from an unapologetically Muslim and own voice perspective.

“The festival organisers are looking forward to showcasing the voice of Muslim authors beyond what they add to the diversity of books available,” she said.

The festival is free for all to view. The bookings for the program was made available from Wednesday 15 September 2021 via Eventbrite