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June 15, 2024

2023 festival looks to the future with wild imagination

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Byron Writers Festival 2023 is looking to the future with its inspiring new program themed ‘Wild Imagination’, bringing more than 120 writers and big thinkers together at Bangalow Showground this 11–13 August.

In another wild move, this year the festival experience is designed around five themed venues – Deep Dives, Ideas Salon, Imaginarium, Mind Spa and Play Zone – that encourage audiences to explore the program according to their mood and interests.

Reflecting on the theme of this year’s festival, CEO & Artistic Director Zoë Pollock said ‘As humans, our imagination is our superpower. It has set us apart, enabled us to create and transform the world. As the climate crisis is teaching us, we must harness it more than ever.’

‘The moment for our creativity to rise and for us to embrace the wild within is upon us. We must reconnect with nature and re-establish our sense of being as intertwined with all living things.’

The festival keynote, ‘Wild Imagination’ will feature headline guests from the festival including pictured: Grace Tame, Gabriel Krauze, Kevin Jared Hosein, Ellen van Neerven, Jess Scully and Emily Lubitz.

Festival Keynote: Wild Imagination

So, what does it mean to imagine with wild abandon? In this year’s festival keynote, ‘Wild Imagination’, being held in the Imaginarium (A&I Hall) on Friday 11 August at 7pm, a lineup of original thinkers will unleash their imaginations to envision possibilities for our future.

Featuring Kevin Jared Hosein, Gabriel Krauze, Ellen van Neerven, Jess Scully and Grace Tame, with a special performance by Emily Lubitz, Janet Swain & After the Flood Choir, this event is guaranteed to have audiences inspired to explore their wildness within. Tickets for this evening event are sold separately via www.byronwritersfestival.com/feature-events.

Not sure where to go from there? Read on for a handpicked selection of not-to-be-missed sessions that fully embody ‘Wild Imagination’.

Connecting with nature

‘The Elements’, with Robbie Arnott, Debra Dank and Maggie MacKellar, will explore how landscape, the seasons and the nature of life cycles are the driving forces in our lives, and ‘Inner Wilds: Acknowledging the Animal Within’ will see Robbie Arnott, Ben Hobson and Kayte Nunn examine the curious question, are humans ever truly in control of their actions?

Continuing to spotlight our connection to nature, ‘Green Imaginings’ will have Eliza Henry-Jones and Mark Smith discussing how fiction can spark the energy we need to create positive change in the world.

Creative expression

Creativity and ‘Wild Imagination’ go hand-in-hand in ‘What if everything we imagine comes true?’, where historian Michelle Arrow and novelists Grace Chan and Shankari Chandran come together to describe how their approaches to writing allow them to imagine – and reimagine – past, present and future.

In ‘Wild Notes’ two acclaimed songwriters – Bertie Blackman, whose memoir Bohemian Negligence describes her upbringing as daughter of renowned Australian artist Charles Blackman, and Eliza Hull, a singer/pianist who advocates for people with disabilities through her books – discuss how they harness their craft.

The need for artistic expression in difficult times is discussed in depth with Briohny Doyle and Gail Jones in ‘When Feeling Becomes Form’, and the session ‘Fragile Minds’, featuring Ahona Guha, Jonathan Seidler and David Stavanger, who explore the big question ‘is mental fragility necessary for creativity and is it part of our inner wildness?’

Resistance and healing

‘Inner Wilds: Calming the Storm’, featuring Brigid Delany, Ahona Guha and James Kirby, will discuss how worry and trauma can be transformed into compassion, leading to a more peaceful way of being.

Storytellers Maxine Beneba Clarke, Bebe Backhouse and Nakkiah Lui discuss with poet Cheryl Leavy what ‘Black Joy’, an expression of resistance and healing, means to them.

Looking to the future

Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now, and important questions such as ‘can virtual reality replace our bodily selves’ and ‘how bad is the sexism embedded in evolving technologies’ will be discussed in ‘Ethics of AI’, when authors Grace Chan, Suneel Jethani and Tracey Spicer explore the wild frontier of our future.

‘Imagine a Green Future’ looks ahead with curiosity, as experts Jeff Goodell, Ben Roche and Jess Scully speak to the question ‘what could our future look like if we pull off the transition to a circular economy’?

This year Byron Writers Festival 2023 invites you to step away from the everyday, immerse yourself in a world of ideas and stories, and let your imagination run wild!

 

• A festival pass gives you access to all sessions in the festival program on your chosen day or days. Explore program further at www.byronwritersfestival.com/festival.

 


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