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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Books in cafes? Random Acts of Reading

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The Writers Festival, Partnership Co-Ordinator, Aarna Hudson, their Story Board, Program Manager with the Combi Cafe’s Stacey Townsend. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Byron Writers Festival and local cafes across the region are spreading kindness and connection through the act of reading.

In the lead up to Byron Writers Festival (2–4 August), more than 150 books by authors appearing at the Festival will be dropped at cafes across towns in northern NSW for people to pick up, read and pass on. The books will be wrapped so people won’t know what they’re getting when they first pick them up.

Festival director Edwina Johnson says, ‘The joy of reading is something we hold dear to our hearts at Byron Writers Festival’.

‘We love the tradition of books being circulated between friends, passing through many hands and starting conversations. We love the idea of delighting strangers in local cafés across the region with the gift of a book. We hope they pass them on to someone else or return them to the cafe in the spirit of Random Acts of Reading.’

‘Mounting evidence suggests that reading (particularly literary fiction) broadens our minds and improves our ability to empathise with others. What happens when you bring these things together? Random Acts of Reading.

Anthony, from Byron’s Combi cafe, says, ‘We’re grateful for the generosity of Byron Writers Festival for including our customers in this awesome initiative, Random Acts Of Reading. Pop in to Combi, grab an endless cup of Chai or coffee and nestle in the winter sunshine with one of the books’.

Cafes taking part

Cafes taking part in Byron Writers Festival’s Random Acts of Reading include Combi (Byron Bay),

Woods (Bangalow), Jones & Co (Brunswick Heads), Baker & Daughters (Mullumbimby), Shelter – (Lennox Head), The Stockpot Kitchen (Lismore) and the The Bank Cafe (Lismore).

Johnson adds, ‘Just some of the books by authors appearing at the Festival being gifted to cafes include Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak, Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales, The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie and Preservation by Jock Serong’.


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