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May 19, 2021

Black Lives Matter address for Byron Writers Fest

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MAYDAY – MAYDAY – One hundred years ago today

One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

Prof Marcia Langton. Photo supplied.

One of Australia’s most eminent Indigenous academics and advocates, Prof Marcia Langton, will deliver the Byron Writers Festival 2020 Thea Astley address.

The address, named in honour of one of Australia’s most influential and distinctive novelists, has been presented annually at the Festival since 2005 by some of Australia’s best writers and intellectuals.

Thea Astley, who died in 2004, wrote The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow in 1996. The novel is based on a violent event that took place on Palm Island, QLD in 1930 perpetuated by a white superintendent of the settlement.

He was eventually shot dead by one of the Indigenous inhabitants, under orders from the white deputy superintendent.

Professor Langton says, ‘I hope Thea Astley in the other world has watched the last few weeks of the Black Lives Matter movement, and pondered on the history of Palm Island. It seems that every generation needs to be told why black lives matter.

‘Here we are again’.

The speech will be available via podcast from Wednesday August 5 at and the full transcript will be published by The Conversation.

The 24th annual festival was regrettably cancelled owing to COVID-19 restrictions.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Great choice. Marcia Langton’s is precisely the kind of voice we need to listen to right now. Well done, Byron Writers’ Festival.

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