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Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) is Australia’s largest festival of literature and has been running for 25 years. The week-long celebration of books occurs in venues across Greater Sydney each year featuring 400 Australian and international writers from all stages of their careers and drawing audiences of up to 80,000. Our deep international networks of writers, illustrators, thinkers and commentators means that we are uniquely placed to provide the most compelling and inspiring reading education programs for students of all ages.

Russ the Story Bus is a retired school bus that has been converted into a moving children’s library.  Across an 8-week annual tour, Russ brings a high-profile writer talk to over 40 schools in Western Sydney and Regional NSW, as well as the opportunity for children to pick their own book to take home. For many of these students, this will be the first book that they own.


Russ the Bus has been inspiring a lifelong love of reading in students from disadvantaged schools since 2014. Since that time, we have reached a total of 24,000 students. We reach 8,000+ students in each tour. Teachers are left with classroom learning packs to extend the impact of the author visit.


Schools selected for a visit from Russ the Story Bus score below 1000 on the ICSEA measure – a broad and robust metric of economic disadvantage in schools – have more than 5% First Nations enrolment and at least half of the student population speak languages other than English at home. This ensures that Russ’ fun, heartwarming program only visits the schools that are in most need and would benefit the most from a visit. We currently focus the tour on Western Sydney and parts of regional NSW.

Waratah Education Foundation support the Russ the Bus program

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