Two of them are New Yorker staff writer Katherine Boo and former BBC Pakistan correspondent Mohammed Hanif.
Katherine Boo, who is visiting Australia for the first time, has spent the last 20 years reporting on how societies distribute opportunity and how individuals get out of poverty. Her reporting has been honoured by a MacArthur Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
She has recently published her first book Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in one of the world’s most lively but treacherous cities – Mumbai. The book is the result of more than four years of research and hundreds of interviews.
The Australian’s Jose Borghino writes, ‘it proclaims an astonishing ambition and a prodigious talent to match. She delivers a nonfiction novel that combines all the emotional power of a story well told with the added intoxication that readers know all this is really happening.’
Also trained in journalism is Mohammed Hanif who after graduating from the East Pakistan Air Force Academy as a pilot, decided to pursue a career in journalism. For many years he worked in London before returning home to Karachi, Pakistan where he is a special correspondent to the BBC. His first novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Commonwealth Book Prize for Best First Book. He has also written for the stage and screen including the feature film The Long Night (2002).
His most recent book, published in 2011, is Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, a story of second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in unlikely places, set in the febrile streets of downtown Karachi.
Widely regarded as one of Australia’s premier literary events, the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival takes place over 3–5 August. It draws thousands of literature lovers and hundreds of guest writers for three days of intelligent discussion, passionate interaction and fun. Phone the booking hotline on 1300 368 552 to buy your earlybird tickets now or go to www.byronbayvvritersfestival.com for further info. The full program will be announced on 15 June.