Organisers if the 2017 Byron Writers Festival are well chuffed to say the least with the event over the weekend and say the 21st birthday was hugely successful.
With more than 130 writers, thinkers and commentators from across Australia and around the world converging on the beautiful Festival grounds at Elements of Byron to discuss, debate, enlighten and soak up the glorious Byron sunshine, festival director Edwina Johnson said the resounding highlight of the Festival for her was the incredible generosity of the writers.
‘The connections made at the festival – between the writers and the audience – can be profound’, said Ms Johnson. ‘It’s so gratifying to know that visitors will carry stories back to their own communities, extending conversations started at the Festival far and wide. Whether that be about human rights, the environment, reflecting on national identity, refugees, or indeed talking about great books.
‘Another of the great joys of the Festival is seeing children of all ages transported by their favourite story-tellers.’
Festival Saturday sold out and overall there were 70,000 pair of eyes on 117 on-site sessions, 14 workshops, 20 off-site feature events and the Schools Program as well as the Byron Writers Festival Road Trip to regional towns.
The top-selling books at Mary Ryan’s Festival bookstore were Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes, The Song of Trees by David Haskell, Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, Songs of a War Boy by Deng Adut and Ben Mckelvey, and Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford.
The festival was a hit with the authors as well. ‘This is my first time to Byron Writers Festival and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,’ said Charles Massy. ‘The ambience and setting immediately relaxes you. It’s a terrific line-up of speakers and beautifully organised.
‘The whole thing has run like a dream.’
More than $8000 was raised for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation via generous donations from Festival patrons.
For more Festival highlights visit the Byron Writers Festival blog at byronwritersfestival.com/blog.