Sign up to receive our regular news and events announcements – we send about one newsletter per month.

Open Right

Nicole Hayes

Author, Broadcaster

Nicole Hayes is an award-winning author and podcaster who teaches storytelling to adults and kids of all ages. Whether for the page, your ears, or the screen, Nicole’s workshops explore all aspects of story , including: finding ideas, understanding character, building narratives, and how to bring it all together. As an award winning author of YA fiction and feature film scripts, co-author of AFL junior fiction, and founding member of the award winning AFL podcast, The Outer Sanctum, Nicole can help students find and build stories across different platforms for all different audiences.

Recently, Nicole has written opinion pieces for The Guardian, Griffith Review and The Lifted Brow, and co-edited an anthology of writing, From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It (2016) with Alicia Sometimes, as well as a children’s book celebrating the inaugural year of the AFLW, A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. She has written chapters for two books – Balancing Acts: Women in Sport (Brow Books, 2018) and for kids, Speccy-tacular AFL Stories (Penguin Random House, 2018).

Nicole runs writing programs for adults and young people, and is a Stella Prize Ambassador and a regular guest on ABC and commercial radio and digital networks talking about books, sport, gender, and writing, and has appeared at major festivals, including Melbourne Writers Festival, ANZ Literature and Arts Festival (London), Rock and Roll Writers Festival (Brisbane and Melbourne), Somerset Festival of Literature (Qld) and International Women’s Day events.

The Outer Sanctum podcast has grown from a homemade DIY podcast to an ABC hosted show, expanding this year to a live radio show covering the AFLW season, and the AFL finals series. In 2018, they performed their first live show, which was an immediate sellout.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter @nichmelbourne, Instagram: nicolehayes9706, or Facebook: Or see what’s The Outer Sanctum is doing at Twitter: @outersanctum01, Instagram: @theoutersanctumpodcast, and Facebook.


Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne but spent more than a decade living in various countries around the world, including the UK, France, and Japan, and then Hawaii for three years after I met my American (military) husband. We moved back to Australia before our kids were born, and found our way back to Melbourne as soon as the US government allowed it.

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve worked as an English conversation teacher in Japan, a journalist and publishing assistant in Hawaii, an editor and communications specialist in Canberra, and a writing teacher in Melbourne. As a backpacker in Europe, I took virtually any job that presented itself.

What themes are recurring in your work?

Feminism, family, friendship, footy, politics, grief, and forgiveness, as well as the power of creativity in aiding wellbeing. In particular, I write stories about girls and women making their way in worlds or spaces where they’re not ordinarily welcome.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Being involved in The Outer Sanctum podcast which has helped drive the national conversation around women and sport. Winning the following awards: Children’s Peace Literature Award (2015), CBCA Notable Book 2016, Varuna/Hodder Headline Manuscript Award (YA), Varuna Manuscript Award (Adult fiction), New Feature Film Writers Award (Film Victoria), and shortlisting in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards (2016), YABBA Award (2014), and long-lasting in the Gold Inky Award (2014) for my Young Adult novels.

Where have your works been published?

Apart from my two YA novels, One True Thing and The Whole of My World (Random House), with a third coming out in 2017, (A Shadow’s Breath) as well as co-editing an anthology of footy stories (From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It) I’ve also co-written a children’s book about women’s football called A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. Both books are collaborations with Alicia Sometimes and published by Black Inc. I’ve had feature articles published by Griffith Review, The Guardian, The Wheeler Centre, Writers Victoria, Newswrite, Mamamia, and Newtown Review of Books, among others.

What are you passionate about?

Stories! All stories, in whatever form they need to be told. As a woman and the mother of two daughters, I’m particularly passionate about stories for and about girls.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Recently, I’ve spoken at Melbourne Writers Festival, Emerging Writers Festival, Willy Lit Festival, Somerset Literary Festival, Carey Literary Festival, Word for Word, as well as various media appearances including Fox TV’s AFL 360, and ABC Radio 774 and Radio National.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have a Master of Arts in Communications (Creative Writing) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Media Studies.



Nicole was an excellent speaker and was brave to get students designing their own story. She handled this very well.

Nicole is an engaging speaker who encourages audience participation. Students gained an insight into the challenges of creating a captivating story that will hold the readers attention.

—David Easton, Leibler Yavneh College, 2019

Staff and students responded positively to Nicole’s speech at assembly. Students who attended Nicole’s writing workshops were engaged and enthusiastic, and there was much lively discussion. Nicole had a warm and encouraging manner, and was able to provide some useful tips and guidance in generating ideas and characters.

We can highly recommend Nicole Hayes for running writing workshops for years 7-12. She was confident working with students in this age range, and approachable, friendly and professional to all.

—Esther Johnson, Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School, 2018

Enquire about booking Nicole Hayes

    Find A Speaker