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June 24, 2024

Byron Writers Festival takes on climate challenge

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L-R Zoe Pollock, Byron Writers Festival Artistic Director, and local authors Bronwyn Bancroft, Damon Gameau and Ella Noah Bancroft. Photo Jeff Dawson

We are seeing the impacts of climate change around us daily. The upcoming Byron Writers Festival is taking the opportunity to imagine ways to create a future where we can look for and drive positive change. In curating the program, incoming Artistic Director Zoë Pollock reflected on the theme of ‘radical hope’ in the wake of fires, pandemic and floods. 

‘Radical hope imagines a future goodness that transcends our current reality. It is a provocation to seek and create a new world in the face of incredibly challenging circumstances. Radical hope is a denial and refusal of cultural destruction and a determination to build a new culture for a changed environment,’ she explained. 

At this year’s festival you will hear from social and environmental experts on how we can tackle the challenge that is climate change. You will be uplifted by listening to our most gifted storytellers explaining how they celebrate the human condition and render our experiences so magnificently on the page. You will meet talented emerging and established writers who are challenging the status quo. In hearing and engaging with these ideas you are playing your part in making the world anew and I am very much looking forward to welcoming you.’

Full lineup

The Festival will feature more than 140 writers, thinkers and commentators, including Trent Dalton, Hannah Kent, Ben Quilty, Indira Naidoo, Bruce Pascoe, Robert Drewe, Masha Gessen, Evelyn Araluen, Damon Gameau, Steve Toltz, Julia Baird, Aaron Fa’Aoso, Costa Georgiadis, A.C. Grayling, Bronwyn Bancroft, Emily Bitto, Nikki Gemmell, Bryan Brown, and Marcia Langton. 

International guests include revered British philosopher A.C. Grayling and Russian-American journalist, author and activist Masha Gessen whose 11 books include The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. The Festival also welcomes novelist Becky Manawatu from Aotearoa whose bestselling multi-award-winning novel Auē introduces a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction, and talented Zimbabwean spoken word poet Thando Sibanda.

The annual Thea Astley Address will be delivered by Professor Judy Atkinson whose ground-breaking book Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia offered a pathway to healing through the listening and telling of stories. Three ground-breaking critical thinkers, Professor Marcia Langton AO, Chelsea Watego and Veronica Gorrie discuss the importance of Indigenous intellectual sovereignty.

Change of venue

This year will be the first time the Byron Writers Festival will take place at North Byron Parklands and it will continue to have feature events, Kids Big Day Out and more, with climate change front and centre of the discussions at this year’s festival. 

Tickets are on sale now with 3-Day Passes and 1-Day Passes for the Festival available to purchase at byronwritersfestival.com/festival.


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