The Byron Writers Festival has revealed its first guest authors for the 2019 festival, to be held August 2 till 4 at Elements of Byron.
Kurdish-Iranian refugee Behrouz Boochani will be taking part in this year’s festival, appearing via livestream from Manus Island, where he has been detained since 2013.
Boochani is the recipient of one of Australia’s most prestigious literary prizes, The Victorian Prize for Literature.
It was awarded for his memoir No Friend But the Mountains, written secretly on a mobile phone, one text at a time.
The first roll-call of festival guests also includes celebrated Australian author Markus Zusak (Bridge of Clay), US-based author Min Jin Lee, whose sweeping four-generation saga of a Korean family Pachinko was a New York Times best-seller, and Walkley Award-winning ABC journalist Leigh Sales, who will share insights from her book Any Ordinary Day.
Also appearing will be Sisonke Msimang (The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela), daughter of a South African freedom fighter, and Tara June Winch, whose new novel The Yield is described by Richard Flanagan as ‘a groundbreaking novel for black and white Australia’.
Award-winning writer Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu) will return – his vast knowledge of Aboriginal agriculture captivated 2016 festival audiences, says festival director Edwina Johnson.
Johnson says, ‘Whatever your passion, be it fiction, the environment, social issues, poetry, or politics, the festival has something to inspire and entertain you’.
Other notables include filmmaker and author Damon Gameau (2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration), writer and broadcaster Benjamin Law (Growing Up Queer in Australia) and children’s author and illustrator Alison Lester.
Many more names will be announced soon, say organisers.
Earlybird tickets are available for one week only, from May 8 till 14.
The full program will be announced and all tickets will be on sale from 12 June. For more info and tickets visit www.byronwritersfestival.com/festival.