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March 4, 2021

No shortage of controversy at Writers’ Festival

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Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Interview with Janet Swain

Janet Swain is 14. She’s in love with the tragic and brilliant cellist Jacquleine DuPré. But one day her mother arrives home with a bassoon.

There is a universal obsession with news and ever increasing forums for its dissemination. Does this mean we are smarter, wiser, more informed or simply mired in minutiae?

Journalist and author M J Akbar
Journalist and author M J Akbar

Jann Burmester

Expect scoops and exclusives at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival when a who’s who of top journalists across all media go head to head across the marquee program.

M J Akbar from India, Charles Lewis from the United States, Michael Vatikiotis from Singapore and Karl Schembri from Malta will join a host of Walkley Award winning senior political and investigative reporters, bringing intrigue and controversy to a program bristling with ideas.

In addition to international guests, the list includes media stalwarts Kerry O’Brien, Anne Summers, Peter FitzSimons, Norman Swan, Karen Middleton, Ross Coulthart, Chris Wallace, Belinda Hawkins, Alex Mitchell and George Megalogenis, with Byron Shire’s Mungo MacCallum, Craig McGregor and Russell Eldridge adding local weight.

‘This is a festival for thinkers, as well as for readers and writers. There is a universal obsession with news and ever-increasing forums for its dissemination. Does this mean we are smarter, wiser, more informed or simply mired in minutiae?’ festival director Jeni Caffin asks. ‘I can promise feisty debates, stimulating and passionate conversations and gobsmacking revelations. These men and women don’t just report the news: they make it.’

Charles Lewis is known as the godfather of non-profit journalism. An investigative reporter for more than 30 years, Charles founded The Centre for Public Integrity and is the executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in Washington DC. Meet him on Saturday August 3 in the SCU Marquee at 11.30am where he will join Alex Mitchell and Norman Swan in Paper trails: the evolution of the investigative journalist.

M J Akbar is one of India’s best-known journalists and a pioneering editor of news magazines. His latest book, Tinderbox, critically examines one of the most important issues of our day: the past and future of Pakistan.

M J will discuss this most troubled and conflicted country in conversation with Christopher Warren on Saturday August 3 in the New Philosopher Marquee from 2.45pm.

Must-see sessions include Cleaning up the spill, the key-note conversation featuring Simon Crean, Labouring the point: tales from the political trenches pairing Maxine McKew in conversation with Kerry O’Brien, and Reporting the tip of the iceberg: what journalism ignores with Peter FitzSimons, George Megalogenis, Karen Middleton and Alex Mitchell.

Festival dates are August 2–4 and North Byron Events once more plays host to the marquees.

Full program and tickets available at www.byronbaywritersfestival.com or 6685 5115. Bookings essential.

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