Extraordinary fables, memoirs, political analysis and tales of hope and tragedy all made for another successful Byron Writers Festival, held at the Elements of Byron resort under crisp blue winter skies.
Festival director Edwina Johnson said, ‘We were honoured to have so many writers grace our stages to share their stories and help us find meaning, connection and the power of hope in our fast-spinning world. The connections made at the festival – between the writers and the audience – can be profound and it is my hope these vital conversations will continue to resonate long after the festival has finished.’
Organisers say more than 12,000 patrons attended over the three days, which also included 117 sessions on the festival grounds, 12 workshops, 14 off-site feature events, primary and secondary schools programs and the Byron Writers Festival Road Trip to regional towns.
Incoming festival chair Adam van Kempen said, ‘A lively community atmosphere pervaded the entire festival, owing in large part to the extraordinary work of 150 volunteers who put everything into delivering the best experience possible for our patrons,’
Numerous sessions attracted capacity crowds including former president of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs delivering the annual Thea Astley Address, ‘Memoir: Making a Place for Myself’ with Hyeonseo Lee, Manal al-Sharif and Anne Aly, ‘Making the Beast Beautiful’ with Jessie Cole, Dervla McTiernan, Sarah Wilson and Sarah Krasnostein discussing the relationship between anxiety and their creative muse, Oliver Phommavanh’s raucous and hilarious performance at the Kids Big Day Out tent and Kitty Flanagan, Andrew Hansen and Mandy Nolan sharing laughs and insights into why ‘Comedy is the most addictive thing you’ll ever do’.
Nearly $10k raised
Thanks to the generous donations of festival patrons, organisers say more than $9,600 was raised for the festival’s partner organisation the Indigenous Literary Foundation.