CAPTIVATED: Audiences at the 2017 Byron Writers Festival.
CAPTIVATED: Audiences at the 2017 Byron Writers Festival. Kate Holmes

Writers Festival announces exciting line up

BYRON Writers Festival has announced its line up for 2018 and it features a special selection of Australian women in power.

The group, that has been touted by organisers as "a formidable contingent of inspirational and outspoken women in politics", includes deputy leader of the oposition Tanya Plibersek, former senators Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network) and Christine Milne (Greens), Australia's first federal female parliamentarian of Muslim faith Anne Aly (Labor), and the former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, who will deliver the annual Thea Astley Address.

Local Authors 

Some of the writers living in the Northern Rivers to feature at this year's festival will be Robert Drewe - who will launch his new collection of short stories The True Colour of the Sea at the Festival, Jessie Cole - author of the acclaimed and heartbreaking memoir Staying, and Southern Cross University Lecturer Gregory Smith - who came Out of the Forest after spending more than 10 years surviving in near total isolation in the forest of Goonengerry.

They join Sixty Seconds novelist Jesse Blackadder, debut novelist Jarrah Dundler, who has caught the attention of the literary world with his devastating portrait of youth, rage and tenderness in Hey Brother, and advocate for gun control and children's rights Walter Mikac.

Also featured are contemporary women's fiction writer Lisa Walker, award-winning climate scientist and writer Joelle Gergis, Fergus & Delilah children's authors Misa Alexander and Erin Knutt. Also in the list are Emma and Tom Lane, who will release a book later in the year about their experience of creating local enterprise The Farm.                                                     

Locally based Powderfinger front man Bernard Fanning, plus comedians Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs will also bring music, laughter and delight to this year's festival. 

International Guests 

Guests travelling from across the globe to Byron Bay include best-selling UK authors Matt Haig and Hannah Richell, award-winning author of The Reader, Bernhard Schlink (Germany) and celebrated poet and UK based broadcaster Lemn Sissay.

They join Woman in the Wilderness author Miriam Lancewood (The Netherlands), and North Korean defector Hyeonseo Lee, whose memoir The Girl with Seven Names was a global bestseller.

True Stories 

The 2018 Byron Writers Festival will reverberate with real-life stories: from young Saudi activist Manal al-Sharif (Daring to Drive); Bri Lee, whose recently released memoir Eggshell Skull tells of her journey through the Australian legal system as a survivor of sexual assault, and Danger Music author Eddie Ayres, whose travels through Afghanistan teaching the cello to children led to a self-discovery almost too hard to bear.

Also sharing important stories are Asylum Seeker Resource Centre founder Kon Karapanagiotidis (Power of Hope), Jessie Cole (Staying), Sarah Krasnostein (The Trauma Cleaner), Sarah Wilson (First, We Make the Beast Beautiful), Dr Anita Heiss (Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia) and acclaimed historian Henry Reynolds (This Whispering in Our Hearts Revisited).

Broadcaster Richard Fidler will take his turn in the hot seat with Saga Land co-author Kari Gislason transporting audiences on a viking journey to the edge of world. 

Locals Tickets 

Byron Writers Festival offers $80 Sunday Locals Tickets, a saving of more than $50.

Available to residents of Byron Bay, Ballina, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed council areas, tickets are only available for purchase from the festival office in Byron Bay during weekday business hours (Level 1, 28 Jonson St, Byron Bay).

Purchasers will need to present proof of address and are limited to a maximum of two tickets per person. This is a limited release offer and will be available until sold out.

Feature Events 

The Festival has partnered with local arts organisations to present a range of events, including live performances by Ailsa Piper and Kate McDowell in Lismore, Liane Moriarty in conversation at Lennox Head, and Draw Your Weapons author Sarah Sentilles from the UK at Art in the Pub in Mullumbimby.  

Other events are taking place at a number of locations in Byron Bay. 

  • Byron Writers Festival 2018 will be held from August 3 to 5 at Elements of Byron resort. Visit or call (02) 6685 5115.

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