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July 15, 2024

2024 Writers Festival brings big names to the Bangalow Showground

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The festival keynote gala ‘From the ground up’ will feature (pictured) Yumna Kassab, David Marr, Louise Milligan, Amy McQuire, Chigozie Obioma, Jennifer Byrne.

In one of the biggest lineups in years, Byron Writers Festival 2024 is presenting over 160 authors, storytellers and experts across four botanical-themed marquees (Acacia, Hakea, Lilly Pilly, Melaleuca), one new stage called The Coolamon, and the A&I Hall, at Bangalow Showground from 9–11 August.

Gala event

At the festival gala hosted by ABC The Book Club’s Jennifer Byrne, high profile guests of the festival will grace the Byron Theatre stage to deliver powerful and entertaining talks inspired by the 2024 theme ‘From the ground up’. Featuring twice Booker Prize-shortlisted Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma, new ABC Radio Late Night Live host David Marr, Four Corners investigative journalist Louise Milligan, Parramatta’s first laureate in literature Yumna Kassab, and Darumbal and South Sea Islander journalist Amy McQuire. See some of the brightest minds of the festival in one night.

In a theatrical feature event, actor-turned-writer William McInnes, Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie, and Georgian author Leo Vardiashvili will appear in ‘Better Off Said’, an evening celebration of ‘living eulogies’ produced by fellow ABC Book Club alum Marieke Hardy, and with First Nations poet Ali Cobby Eckermann and comedian Steph Tisdell.

Literary luminaries

Literary fiction stars include two writers longlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award, Charlotte Wood (Stone Yard Devotional) and Melissa Lucashenko (Edenglassie), The Age’s Fiction Book of the Year Award-winner Tony Birch, International Dublin Literary Award-winning Irish novelist Caoilinn Hughes (The Alternatives), and Dark Emu and Black Duck author Bruce Pascoe with a new novel, Imperial Harvest.

Environment in focus

Deep Water author James Bradley will deliver the annual Thea Astley Address on the wonder and plight of our oceans, and former Greens leader Bob Brown will appear with Walkley Award-winning television presenter Jan Fran for an intimate evening conversation. In a festival book launch, journalist Royce Kurmelovs investigates how the Australian fossil fuel industry learned to wield influence and insert itself into all facets of public life in his latest book Slick, and climate scientist Joëlle Gergis addresses the urgency for government action in Highway to Hell.

Politics and media

Global politics will be comprehensively covered with Balcony Over Jerusalem author John Lyons, USA foreign correspondent Nick Bryant (The Forever War), and Indian anti-caste activist Meena Kandasamy (Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You), and the Murdoch media behemoth will be explored by Young Rupert author Walter Marsh and Crikey owner Eric Beecher.

Moving memoirs

Hear personal stories from Australia’s favourite cricket writer Gideon Haigh who shares his grief in a new memoir My Brother Jaz, while iconic Australian singer Kate Ceberano reveals her life in music in Unsung, and sociologist Rebecca Huntley embarks on a journey to heal her trauma using MDMA in Sassafras. Footy fans are also in for a treat, with a special opportunity to see AFL legend Nicky Winmar discussing his life and Aussie Rules career in My Story.

Food lovers will be welcomed to Kon Karapanagiotidis’ Greek table in his new cookbook  Philoxenia, and explore native foods and recipes for connecting to Country with Byron local Mindy Woods’ new book Karkalla at Home.


• Nourish your mind and fill your creative cup at this year’s big and bold Byron Writers Festival! Tickets and full program at www.byronwritersfestival.com.

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