You know you’ve got the makings of a good Writers’ Festival when you realise that you aren’t going to be able to fit in all the sessions you want to attend. Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is taking place in the specially erected ocean-side tent compound from Friday 2nd August to Sunday 4th August.
Situated just outside the main town but serviced by a very efficient mini-bus service, the festival is a perfect combination of holiday at the sea and cultural destination. Later in the year Byron, which is on the northern NSW Coast about 700kms from Sydney and 160kms from Brisbane, will play host to the popular Bluesfest and the Boomerang Festival which highlights indigenous culture.
Fabulous weather contributed to the overwhelming success last year so it’s fingers crossed in the countdown to the 2013 event, particularly considering the recent rain that’s been lashing the country. The layout is very similar to the wonderful Hay-on-Wye festival where all the action takes place in a series of marquees inside a fenced off area allowing people to mingle and chat inbetween attending the various events. There’s also food stands and an excellent bookshop.
Amongst the highlights for me this year are Peter Carey, star literary newcomer Hannah Kent (Burial Rites) pictured right, MJ Hyland (This is How), Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project), Robert Drew (Montebello) and Ma Thanegi, author and former personal assistant to Aung San Suu Kyi and Richard de Crespigny, the Qantas pilot who safely landed his plane after a catastrophic engine explosion.
If last year is anything to go by, the liveliest place to be will be the New Philosopher Marquee on Sunday when the whole day is devoted to authors of work aimed at children and young adults. Among those appearing are Leigh Hobbs (creator of the fabulous Old Tom), Jesse Blackadder (Chasing the Light and Raven’s Heart) and Phillip Gwynne author of the innovative The Debt series.
The daily ticket gives access to all the events at all marquees which means that if your chosen speaker isn’t quite as stimulating as you’d hoped then you can just meander over and listen in somewhere else.
For the full Festival Program go to http://byronbaywritersfestival.com.au