For three days in early August Byron Bay Writers Festival, Australia’s largest regional literary event, will deliver a stimulating program comprising over 160 sessions featuring celebrated international and Australian authors, thinkers and innovators.
Among the guests in this year’s line-up are global heavyweight Tariq Ali and bestseller David Vann. They will be matched by a chorus of strong, female Australian voices including: Helen Garner, Joan London, Kate Grenville and former prime minister, Julia Gillard.
Festival director, Edwina Johnson says she hopes to build on the success of the 2014 festival and ‘amplify its reach within the region.’
‘More and more there is a need to cultivate and conjure community conversations about the issues that matter, and to explore the creative process.
‘What drives it, sustains it, and affects it in our harried lives.
‘Throughout the festival our guest poets, novelists, historians, journalists, biographers, memoirists, comedians and songwriters will challenge, entertain and share their inspirations and insights,’ says Ms Johnson.
In an Australian exclusive, BBWF is proud to present Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma whose startling debut novel The Fishermen has received plaudits from across the literary world.
The festival’s partnership with Griffith Review explores our ties with Asia and presents the best young writers in Asia today led by Chinese author Sheng Keyi (Death Fugue), Philippine Miguel Syjuco (Illustrado) and Indian writer Annie Zaidi (Known Turf).
Other powerful and talented international authors appearing include Jennifer Clement (Prayers for the Stolen), Noah Rosenberg (founder of Narratively), Joanna Rakoff (My Salinger Year) and Nury Vittachi (The Feng Shui Detective), who will be joined by an array of riveting Australian writers including the 2015 Stella Award winner Emily Bitto (The Strays), Peter Singer (The Most Good You Can Do), Don Watson (The Bush), Tim Costello (Hope) and Mamamia’s Mia Freedman.
And then the spotlight turns to politics.
Who better to examine the challenges and issues that most concern all Australians than one former prime minister, her treasurer, two former state premiers and the journalist who unseated a prime minister? Yes, Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Anna Bligh, Carmen Lawrence and Maxine McKew will all be appearing in Byron Bay.
‘Where else can you walk along pristine ocean beaches inspired by the writings of some of the world’s most famous authors?’ asks festival Founder and Chairman, Chris Hanley.
Kids Big Day Out returns in 2015 with even more live interactive performances for the whole family where kids will meet their literary heroes.
This popular segment features the biggest line-up of children’s authors to date, including one of Australia’s best loved children’s authors, Jackie French, current Australian Children’s Laureate.
Ever-popular illustrator Terry Denton and Australian superstar author Andy Griffiths are Byron bound too.
The 2015 Byron Bay Writers Festival will unfold from August 7-9 at the newly named Elements of Byron.
It will be preceded by a series of hands-on skills development workshops commencing on August 3 at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre, and associated schools programs.
Tickets available from the Byron Bay Writers Festival website.