WORD FEST: Byron Writer's Festival director Edwina Johnson.
WORD FEST: Byron Writer's Festival director Edwina Johnson. Kate Holmes

Kerry keen to find the write stuff from festival authors

NEW Australian Television hall of fame inductee and well-known Byron personality Kerry O'Brien will once again be an integral part of the Byron Writers Festival.

This year's event - its 23rd - runs from August 2-4 with more than 140 Australian and international speakers spanning fiction, memoir, crime, environment, society politics, poetry, art, comedy and music.

O'Brien, one of the most trusted journalists in Australia and former host of ABC's 7.30 Report, will be one of the interviewers on-hand to introduce the authors to the crowd.

Fellow Byron Shire resident and comedian Mandy Nolan, The ABC's Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski and journalist Tracey Spicer are also among the many popular presenters on hand to expertly host inspiring and compelling conversations with festival guests.

Festival director Edwina Johnson admitted that O'Brien, who was elevated to the TV Logies Hall of Fame on the Gold Coast at the end of June and is close to National Treasure status, and Nolan were big draw cards for the event.

"There are some people who organise their whole festival around where Mandy will be," Edwina laughed.

Now in her sixth year as director, it is obvious that Edwina, who has worked from Paris to Sydney for publishing companies, leading book stores and writers' festivals loves her job and her team who work hard on the annual event.

"Now more than ever our world needs writers, environmentalists, poets, commentators, politicians and artists who together can shape stories of hope, courage and change," she said.

"Now in its 23rd year, Byron Writers Festival embraces audiences and authors from far and wide for three unforgettable days that celebrate the power of words and storytelling, creating lasting memories for all who attend."

Festival audiences will be able to take part in 120 different sessions over the three days of the event at Elements of Byron Resort as well as writers' workshops and a program for children.

But the festival has moved beyond just one location now encompassing the whole region with satellite events in venues across the Northern Rivers.

This year's guests include former anti-mafia prosecutor and one of Italy's best-selling crime authors Gianrico Carofiglio, former prime minister Kevin Rudd and queen of Australian children's stories Alison Lester.

With festival attendees expected to come from around Australia, there will also be a limited number of special Sunday Locals tickets for residents of Byron, Ballina, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed council areas.

Sunday Locals tickets are a limited offer and will be available until sold out. Regular priced 3-Day and 1-Day Passes are also available.

For the full program and tickets, go to byronwritersfestival.com

/festival.


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