On your marks…Get set…Go!
The writers are flying in, the workshops are running, the school students have meet their idols. The week of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival has arrived, the weather is superb and the festivities are underway. Take a break from the Olympics and head down Jonson Street – you may well see your favourite author wandering the town and getting acclimatised.
There’s still time to join in. Tickets for the festival are available online at www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or you can buy day passes on site at North Byron Events (Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay) on any of the three festival days, starting Friday 3 August. While some feature events have sold out, there are still seats available for the literary lunch and dinner, as well as the Saturday night of politics.
In the lead up to the festival itself, our workshop program is in full swing. It began on Monday with Tim Baker’s workshop on Surf Writing and runs through till Thursday, covering writing forms from comedy to tragedy, biography to poetry, film to journalism. Dozens of experienced and aspiring writers are honing their skills and learning new techniques under the expert guidance of festival authors.
On Friday 3 August, under brilliant sunny skies (according to the weather forecast!) the volunteers will be on duty, the ABC NorthCoast on-site broadcast will be underway and the coffee machines will be working hard as the festival proper begins. The hardest part is choosing which of the five concurrent sessions to attend.
You can follow festival on social media as we have a dedicated on-site blogging team, who will report on unfolding events via the festival blog (www.cli.gs/bbwf), as well as Facebook (www.facebook.com/bbwritersfestival) and Twitter (hashtag #BBWF2012). If you’re that way inclined, please join in the conversations.
All of us involved with the festival are delighted to welcome our participating writers to Byron Bay and our audience members to what promises to be an unforgettable event.
See you there!
A Friday night literary tipple
In breaking news just to hand, we’re pleased to announce that our generous sponsor Robert Oatley Vineyards, is providing matched wines for our Friday night literary dinner “Words that matter: The daily news and investigative reporting”. Now as well as enjoying the wit and wisdom of two great journalists – Fran Kelly and Sally Neighbour, in conversation with Mick O’Regan – you can be assured of a delicious drop to help you digest the words. Bookings still open for this event, but it’s filling up fast.
A Festival for the whole family
The Festival is delighted to announce the return of popular television personalities Amberley Lobo and Kayne Tremills from ABC3. Amberley and Kayne will be hosting the children and youth day program in the ABC3 Marquee on Sunday 5 August, the final day of the three day Festival.
Festival Director Jonathan Parsons has secured an incredible line up of writing talent to entertain and capture the imagination of children aged between six and sixteen.
Amberley and Kayne will introduce a variety of international and Australian writers including Singaporean children’s writer Shamini Flint; Australian born Hong Kong resident Sarah Brennan will introduce her delightful children’s books about the animals of the Chinese zodiac, the writer and artist Leigh Hobbs will give children the chance to draw their very own versions of his well know characters Horrible Harriet, Old Tom and Mr Chicken, the slightly crazy and very funny Andy Griffiths, the prolific Morris Gleitzman talking Pizza Cake and other funny stories, the magical Isobelle Carmody, the fresh new talent Leanne Hall with her latest book This is Shyness described as “Bladerunner meets Peter Pan” by the Sunday Age, the national literary treasure John Marsden and the indestructible Nick Earls.
“This is a unique opportunity for the children and young people of the Byron Shire and its surrounds to get up close and personal with some incredible writing talent,” Parsons says. “If you want to inspire your children to read, this is the place to be.”
Congratulations to the following finalists for the Pitch Perfect competition:
- Julia Prendergast from Mount Waverley, VIC
- Kathryn Lyster from Byron Bay, NSW
- Sharon Dean from Alstonville, NSW
- Chris Dewhirst from Mullumbimby, NSW
- Anthony Brown from Myocum, NSW
- David Roland from Bangalow, NSW
The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is well known for bringing Australia’s best political discussion and comedy entertainment to your doorstep. This year’s Festival presents a stellar line-up of talent in two special feature events at the Byron Community Centre Theatre.
On Friday 3 August Stand Up Comedy is the perfect way to end your busy week and be entertained by the larrikin comedian all the way from Perth, Jon Doust, local legend and mother of five Mandy Nolan and the radioactively funny Fiona O’Loughlin (pictured).
The wickedly funny Mandy Nolan and Fiona O’Loughlin draw on a rich seam of material as they explore the trails and tribulations of modern family life. You may never view your family in quite the same way after you have heard from these two extraordinary women and their maternal wisdom.
“Mandy Nolan’s … style is based on the timeless comic technique of telling truths that elicit laughter because the comedian is revealing what everyone knows is true but few people acknowledge or accept. …. and it is very, very funny.” Bruce Elder, Spectrum Sydney Morning Herald, 2012.
Jon Doust has had a diverse career before becoming a celebrated writer. He has been asked to leave jobs in banking, the media, retailing, farming and comedy which gives you an idea of the breadth of material he has to draw on for his stand up performance. In 1993 he wrote How to Lose an Election, an examination of his unsuccessful tilt at federal politics in 1998 when 428 people voted for him.
Flying all the way from Singapore to keep our comedians inline will be our vivacious and charming host, Shamini Flint.
Australia’s Political Future
On Saturday 4 August we host Australia’s leading political thinkers in a lively debate on Australia’s Political Future hosted by current affairs journalist and political broadcaster Fran Kelly. Former WA Premier, Geoff Gallop, local political stirrer Mungo MacCallum and senior journalist and political commentator for The Australian George Megalogenis (photo by Aaron Francis) will ensure you are in for a fascinating discussion on the state of political play in Australia in 2012 and where to now.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Laura Tingle will no longer be able to join this illustrious panel.
Recent books published by all of our panellists delve into different aspects of Australia’s political history and this is your chance to find out what they have learned from their research and acute observations.
ABC RN presenter, Waleed Aly wrote recently of George Megalogenis’ book The Australian Moment: How we were made for these times. “Anyone interested in Australia’s political history and future, anyone who wants to understand our economic and cultural development, has no reasonable choice but to imbibe this. It is indispensably important.”
We Have Lift Off: Full Program on Sale Now
There has been a frenzy of activity in the last few weeks, as Jonathan and his team finalise a dynamic and entertaining program for this year’s Festival. Bringing his own brand of literary curation to the Festival has resulted in a fresh and enticing line up. ‘It’s been an incredible privilege to immerse myself in Australia’s and the world’s literary cultures and curate a program that reflects where we are now in 2012. It’s a delight to shepherd one of Australia’s most loved literary events, and I hope it will again enthral lovers of literature and ideas in the delightful setting of Byron Bay ’ said Jonathan.
International guests at this year’s Festival include: from the U.S. the Pulitzer Award winning Katherine Boo; from Hong Kong, Xu Xi with her trans-global fiction, and Australian girl done good Sarah Brennan; from Pakistan, the ‘rambunctious, vulgar, funny and moving’ Mohammed Hanif; from India, ‘one of world literature’s great cult writers’ Kiran Nagarkar; from Singapore, environmental children’s author and crime writer Shamini Flint; and from Indonesia the best- selling Indonesian author of all time, Andrea Hirata.
Senator Bob Brown to speak at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.
Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is delighted to announce Senator Bob Brown, former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, and Greens Senator for Tasmania has confirmed as a keynote speaker at two Festival events this year.
Inspiring the creative green leaders of our future, Senator Brown will share his values and passions with school students, as part of the Festival’s High School programme on Thursday 2 August.
Reflecting on the challenges and achievements of his life so far and his future plans, Senator Brown will also be a highlight of the main festival program. He will talk about his life inside and outside politics on Friday 3 August.
“I am thrilled that Bob Brown one of Australia’s leading thinkers and activists has found time in his busy schedule to join us at this year’s Festival” says Festival Director Jonathan Parsons.
For three decades, Senator Brown has been an inspiration to people across Australia and the world. His determination and commitment has transformed our country. Sometimes we forget that Australia has often been influential in groundbreaking global trends. Australians who have thought outside the square and articulated new approaches have achieved this. Bob Brown is one such Australian.
Bob Brown, born in 1944, was educated in rural New South Wales, became captain of Blacktown Boys High School in Sydney and graduated in medicine from Sydney University in 1968. He assisted in founding and became the Director of the Wilderness Society who organised the blockade of the dam-works on Tasmania’s wild Franklin River in 1982 and 1983. Some 1500 people were arrested and 600 jailed, including Senator Brown who spent 19 days in Risdon Prison. On the day of his release, he was elected as the first Green into Tasmania’s Parliament.
Source: Byron Bay Writers Festival website http://www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au/v2/index.php
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