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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

You’ll love the Byron Writers Festival if…

Latest News

A win for the roughy

The battle for the 'roughy had been a tough road for conservationists and hopefully this win will be the last fight.

Other News

Burnt, logged and flogged? Unsustainable forestry continues unabated

The North East Forest Alliance is calling for an immediate 10% reduction in wood supply commitments to north-coast sawmillers from public forests because of the widespread death of trees due to the Black Summer bushfires.

West Bank apartheid

Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay The ABC’s Religion and Ethics Report this week featured an interview with former Israeli cabinet...

NSW coal power stations still emitting dangerous levels of air pollution

New National Pollutant Inventory data shows that toxic air emissions from the state’s coal-fired power stations fell 15% in the year to June 2020, but they are still among the most polluting industrial facilities in NSW.

Police busy over Easter

Local police say they continue to be disappointed with driver behaviour after being kept busy over the last few days with various kinds of illegal activity.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: The Mask of Freedom

Today in Mullumbimby I witnessed a woman blowing bubbles on people. She was walking with her dog and blowing bubbles over passers-by. What is usually the magical work of the fairy tribe, today it had a kind of aggression. The bubbles weren’t by accident. This was a ‘Fuck You’ to mask wearing. A fuck you to people wearing masks. A fuck you to the existence of this coronavirus.

Dili facing double disaster

The capital of East Timor, Dili, is reeling after flood waters swept through the city on the weekend, leaving at least 27 dead. The President of East Timor, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, described the floods as a 'great calamity'.

Clockwise: S.L. Lim, Michael Robotham, Tracey Spicer, Kevin Rudd

You’ll love FRIDAY at Byron Writers Festival if…

  • You want a day of free thinking while the kids are at school
  • You’re a fan of fiction and memoir
  • Politics, psychology, and philosophy are your thing
  • You want to hear conversations around gender, equality, and justice

Fiction and memoir

Festival Friday features some extraordinary life stories as the 2019 Stella Prize winner Vicki Laveau-Harvie (The Erratics), Rick Morton (100 Years of Dirt) and Andrew Stafford (Something To Believe In) share the highs and lows of writing true life in the session Memoir: Running in the Family.

Best-selling author Markus Zusak will talk about the 13-year hiatus between the career-rocketing publication of The Book Thief and 2018’s Bridge of Clay.

Lovers of darker tales will delight in Crime Fiction, a session with former anti-mafia prosecutor and one of Italy’s bestselling crime writers Gianrico Carofiglio (The Cold Summer), Lambs of God author Marele Day, and Aussie crime heavyweight Michael Robotham (Good Girl Bad Girl).

Politics, psychology, and philosophy

Why are voters so disaffected? Join The Saturday Paper’s Paul Bongiorno, political journalist and author of Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up Gabrielle Chan, and writer and broadcaster Jeff Sparrow as they discuss this and other questions with ABC RN’s Paul Barclay.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd headlines a notable lineup of politicians – expect an insightful conversation about his time as PM with Karen Middleton.

In the session Exploring Evil, psychologist Dr Julia Shaw, investigative journalist and author Matthew Condon, and crime writer Gianrico Carofiglio will delve in to the darker side of humanity. Meanwhile, Professor AC Grayling explores how ideas have shaped the world, and how the world has shaped great thinkers in his lecture How Philosophy has Changed History.

Gender, equality, and justice

Panel discussion Growing Up Queer in Australia will feature authors, performers, activists, and commentators S.L. Lim, Evelyn Ida Morris, Nevo Zisin, and Benjamin Law discussing personal stories from across the spectrum of sexual and gender identity.

In Power, Control, and Domestic Violence, author of See What You Made Me Do, Jess Hill will shed light on radically rethinking how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.

#MeToo: Where To? is the complex question being tackled by social-justice journalist Ginger Gorman, author and screenwriter Amal Awad, and award-winning journalist David Leser with Tracey Spicer.


Clockwise: Bruce Pascoe, Leigh Sales, Tim Costello, Min Jin Lee.

You’ll love SATURDAY at Byron Writers Festival if…

  • You’re fascinated by ideas that are out of the everyday realm of thinking
  • You want to hear conversations with big names 
  • You’re an eco-warrior
  • You’re a Leigh Sales fan

Out of the ordinary

Saturday invites you to discover a world beyond words with these cerebral sessions. Alice Gorman, aka Dr Space Junk, will reveal some of her most fascinating encounters as a space archeologist. Griffith Review contributors Scott Ludlam, Phillipa McGuinness and Mark Pesce will talk high-tech lives in The New Disruptors, while Adam Spencer and Eddie Woo share the wonders of numbers in Amazing Mathematics.

For an illuminating discussion on death, oncologist and writer Ranjana Srivastava will share her wisdom on how to live and die well in A Better Death.

Conversations with big names

Saturday offers in-depth conversations with big names including US-based author Min Jin Lee (Pachinko), multi award-winning writer and Bunurong man Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu), prolific Australian author Di Morrissey (Arcadia), and survivor of the Stolen Generations, Indigenous elder, actor, musician, and activist Uncle Jack Charles (Born Again Blakfella).

Not to be missed for Leigh Sales fans is a conversation about her bestselling book No Ordinary Day and also the panel discussion Resilience and Strength During Adversity with Tim Costello (A Lot with a Little) and Chloe Hooper (The Arsonist).

Mother Earth

On Festival Saturday scientist Lisa-ann Gershwin, and environmental historian Stephen Pyne will share their insights in the session Mother Nature: Humanity’s Relationship with Nature. Lisa-ann Gershwin will also join Sophie Cunningham and Harry Saddler to ponder What We Can Learn from Trees, Birds and Jellyfish.

The Gourmet Farmer’s Matthew Evans (On Eating Meat) will bring gastronomic passion and forensic research to the question of how to be an ethical carnivore.


Clockwise: Sarah Hanson-Young, Tim Flannery, Zoe Norton Lodge, Matthew Evans.

You’ll love SUNDAY at Byron Writers Festival if…

  • You enjoy the community vibe of the Locals Day
  • You like to get your teeth into social issues
  • You want to share your love of books and storytelling with your kids (or grandkids)
  • You want to end your weekend on a high

Modern-day matters

Sunday morning kicks off with an inspiring exploration of Living Consciously with tree-enthusiast Sophie Cunningham, conservationist Tim Flannery, and Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans. Meanwhile, Kurdish-Iranian refugee and award-winning author of No Friend But the Mountains Behrouz Boochani will appear via livestream from Manus Island where he has been detained since 2013.

Next up, we open the floodgates to online decorum in We Need To Talk About Trolling with The Saturday Paper columnist Maxine Beneba Clarke, Troll Hunting author Ginger Gorman, Greens senator and author of En Garde Sarah Hanson-Young, and Tracey Spicer.

Later we will hear former World Vision CEO Tim Costello discuss the role and challenges of fighting for change in the session Social Activism.

Igniting young imaginations

Festival Sunday sees one marquee dedicated to five hours of non-stop book-loving action for all the family at Kids Big Day Out. With interactive author presentations and free drop-in workshops, it’s a day for children to be inspired and get creative.

The Kids Big Day Out program includes local author Zanni Louise, sister-act duo Georgia and Zoë Norton Lodge, illustrator Tony Flowers, childhood fave Alison Lester, Bundjalung artist Bronwyn Bancroft, Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman, poet Maxine Beneba Clarke, and bestselling fantasy writers John Flanagan and Isobelle Carmody.

Meet the Author book signings will follow each session. Books will be on sale or bring along your well-loved copies for their heroes to sign, and make them even more special.

End your weekend on a high

They say laughter is the best medicine and what better way to end your weekend than with comedians Hung Le, Zoe Norton Lodge, Mark Swivel, and Mandy Nolan in Comedy: Is Everything Up for Grabs?.  Take a breath of fresh air and join Sophie Cunningham and Ailsa Piper for a conversation about Trees, our love of them and their meaning in our cities and our lives.

Finally, let the happy vibrations resonate long after the Festival by joining Shire Choir for an interactive pop-up singalong at the end of the day.

For 1-day or 3-day passes, head to byronwritersfestival.com/tickets.


Recent Writers Festival news and articles:

Gran Slammers premier at Byron Writers Festival

The Grans slammed at yesterdays screening of the first Gran Slam poetry competition at the Byron Writers Festival.

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Welcome to Byron Writers Festival 2019! 

Now more than ever our world needs writers, environmentalists, poets, commentators, politicians, and artists who together can shape stories of hope, courage, and change. At Byron Writers Festival 2019 we proudly bring more than 140 writers together to create a program brimming with diverse voices.

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You’ll love the Byron Writers Festival if…

Check out what's to love at the Byron Writers Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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