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At Food & Words we’re interested in food,  writing and reading. We organise food events with a literary bent, including the annual writers’ festival of the same name.

Our events are gathering places for people interested in food, words, books and cookery books. You can find out about the next festival and our other events here and we’d be thrilled if you signed up to receive our newsletter.

About us

Photography Michael Agzarian  © Advision 2017

Barbara Sweeney, a Sydney-based foodwriter with a thing for food and books, is the person behind the scene. For many years, she wrote about food, farmers, chefs and restaurants  – and now she talks about the people who wield the pen and write about food and cooking. You can read examples of her work here.  Barbara haunts second-hand bookshops in pursuit of lovely, old and tattered tomes. She likes to cook. Her favourite job is as a honey judge at the National Honey Show, held annually at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Who's behind Food & Words?

We follow the Live Performance Australia ticketing code of practice. A summary is provided when you purchase tickets to events or book a course.

Our online shop is hosted on Ecwid Inc and our Payment Gateway is Square Payments. They provide us with the online e-commerce platform that allows us to sell our products and services to you.

Terms & conditions

Food & Words does not disclose any personal contact information provided by subscribers or event ticket holders for use by a third party in compliance with the National Privacy Act and 

relevant Anti Spam Act.

If you have received the Food & Words newsletter, it’s because you’ve made contact with Food & Words (or one of the other projects: Talking Cookbook, CookbookLove) or have attended an event. If you no longer want to receive the newsletter, simply unsubscribe. 

Data and privacy

We like to acknowledge the creators of any photographs or illustrations used on the site ‘cos they’re usually by our friends and it’s just and right. Thank you to Sam McAdam, the official Food & Words writers’ festival photographer in the early years (Erica Vera Williams stepped in to help in 2014 when Sam had her hands full with a new baby) and, in 2016,  Samantha Mackie took over the reins. Luisa Brible shot our Magnus Neilson The Nordic Cookbook author event. Any scone shots on the site are by Alan Benson.

Photography & other credits

Photo credits: Samantha Mackie; Barbara Sweeney portrait (at top) Michael Agzarian  © Advision 2017

Photo credits: Samantha Mackie; Barbara Sweeney

Funny how, when you get an idea, your friends and family gather around like months to a flame to help you realise it. Food & Words has had its fair share of supporters and believers for which I am eternally grateful.

In particular, I would like to thank Nicola D’Alpuget, an encouraging voice from the get-go; Sharna St Leon, a wise friend, good counsel and event organiser of prodigious talent, incredible efficiency, style and aplomb; Brian Doherty and Jane Richens, Lisa Hoerlein, and Melanie Feddersen of i2i Design, for graphics and web design in the early days; Mary Barr, who saw the need for a social media strategy and then went a got a better job; Roxane Lancaster for always being an enthusiastic supporter and good friend; Joanna Savill for her unflagging enthusiasm and for the introduction to event supremo Meghan O'Hanlon, who has been such a valuable sounding board.

My sisters (their husbands and children too) have always offered quiet and consistent support. Thank you Teresa, Christine, Noelle and Judy. Thanks also to many close friends who have lent an ear (and more). I trust you know who you are. Much love.

The team

Food & Words

PO Box 1144

Potts Point NSW 1335

0413 259 535

Contact us


Food & Words 2022

Tiny, but mighty personable, the Food & Words writers' festival turns 10 this year. To celebrate, we plan to serve cake. Other than that, we are committed to delivering a festival program that features some of the country's leading writers on food in an atmosphere that is both generous and hospitable. Read more on the Writers' Festival page or go straight to the booking page to purchase your ticket.

Date Sunday October 9

Time 10am-4pm

Location Enid Cook Room, Level 1, 405 Crown Street (above Surry Hills Library), Surry Hills

Cost $330 (plus booking fee)

The world's most intimate writers' festival

“I just spent a wonderful rainy afternoon watching the talks, yet another thought provoking, fascinating and compelling collection of ideas and authors.”

Read about the speakers here

Three writers whose work ranges across Instagram and printed books talk about their experiences with both. Hear from cookery writers Belinda Jeffery (A Year of Sundays), Lucy Tweed (Every Night of the Week) and Emiko Davies (Torta dell Nonna).

What exactly is Australian food? Chef Ross Dobson, author of Australia, The Cookbook, along with fellow writers Paul Van Reyk (True to the Land, A History of Food in Australia) and Lee Tran Lam, freelance food writer & co-founder Diversity in Food Media and Editor of the anthology New Voices in Food take on the question in this panel.

Session 2

Read about the speakers here


Coffee partner The Little Marionette 

Tea and tisanes partner Apotheca by Anthia 

Wine partner Lowe Family Wine Co.

Bookshop Potts Point Bookshop

Venue and food Martin Boetz, Cooks Shed

Food & Words seeks the best vittles

We are proud to work with

Food & Words Literary Event


Join chef Martin Boetz from Cooks Shed and home cook and food writer Barbara Sweeney in this Zoom chat as they talk food, cooking and cookbooks. It's a #bloodylockdown project, only here as long as the Sydney lockdown lasts. Join the conversation. 

BYO. Tickets $11.

Every Sunday while lockdown lasts, 5pm 

The Sunday Session 

Food & Words Literary Event


Food & Words Literary Event

A storytelling session about food, books and cooking. Written and presented by Barbara Sweeney, it’s an amusing and thoughtful exploration of this publishing genre and its place in the world. Of particular interest is the handed-down, hand-written recipe book and their stories.

In development

Cookbook Love

Food & Words Literary Event

Responsible for our Food & Words poster illustration – copy to go here. 

Canberra artist

Meet Ella Phillips

Food & Words produces food events with a literary bent

Writers’ festival

Author talks & dinners 


& writing classes

Writing Courses

Where we connect over the pleasures of the table and enjoy good food and stimulating conversation (about food!). Where we support and enjoy the hospitality offered by creative cooks and chefs.  Where we flex our conversational and listening skills and remember our table manners. Everyone's invited. Tables are kept small, so that everyone is an active pacticipant. Outings monthly.

Supper Club



Four-course set menu and interesting wines to complement. 

Club Fontana
Upstairs, 133a Redfern Street, Redfern

June 20

King Clarence, City 

May 9

Club Fontana, Redfern


Sunday lunch, noon

Two generous courses. Drinks at Club prices from the bar.

Rowie's By The Sea

Newport Surf Life Saving Club, 394 Barrenjoey Road, Newport

April 21

Rowie's by the Sea,




Banquet menu and interesting wines with the meal.

King Clarence
171 Clarence Street, Sydney

Coming up

Our first residential food memoir writing workshop is being held at the home of Jillie Arnott at Coolah Creek in central west NSW in late autumn, in May, 2024.

Jillie, an amazing country cook, and her husband Will are our hosts. Guests/students are invited to stay at the homestead for one, two or three nights. Or, you can travel in daily for the workshop, which runs from 10am–4pm on May 4–5.

Here's your chance to tackle that long-held dream to write your family food stories and recipes down for future generations to enjoy.

We're bound to spend as much time in the kitchen and around the dining table as we do writing – although you don't have to, there is a veranda chair with your name on it.

May  4–5

Food memoir writing