I’m thrilled to announce that Early Bird tickets for the 18th Festival go on sale on today. Food, history, true crime, travel, music, politics, screenwriting, memoir, journalism, sport, surf, poetry, art, romance, education, comedy…whatever your literary love, we have it covered.
We’ve dedicated the last five months to assembling an incredible program of literary stars all of whom will converge on Byron for three days in August in celebration of writing. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you a taste of what we have in store before the launch of the full Festival program on 6 June.
A coup of which we’re particularly proud is securing US author Poe Ballantine. His latest book, Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, part memoir, part true crime, is an incredible story about his neighbour, a college math professor who disappeared and whose mutilated body was found three months later. Author Cheryl Strayed says ‘Reading his work is inspiring, agitating, and invigorating… This is his best book ever.’ And Tom Robbins ‘Mark Twain would have admired his wit, and had Oscar Wilde read him, he would have bought an old Ford pickup and moved to Nebraska the day he got out of the slammer, hoping that some of his style rubbed off on him.’
Poe told me: ‘I’ve been a vagabond most of my adult life, living in at least seventy different places all over North America, but leaving the continent FINALLY and getting a chance to see Australia is the biggest thrill yet.’
Poe will feature at the Festival in various sessions including a conversation with ABC Radio presenter Richard Fidler at the Byron Community Centre. The interview will be recorded for later broadcast on his program ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler. So keep your eye out for that one.
We’re also bringing you a fascinating insight into Australia’s future direction on the world stage by our 22nd Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. He will discuss his new book, Dangerous Allies, in which he asks whether our country should continue to follow our policy of strategic dependence or move towards a more strategically independent foreign policy. He makes an impassioned argument for breaking the current agreement with the US, to have an independent relationship with the superpower to allow Australia to have a more mature role in the region, most especially with China. I anticipate we will have a packed marquee for that session.
The line-up in the children’s marquee on Sunday is shaping up to be action-packed and great fun. It’s a special day for kids where they can meet some of their all-time favourite authors and be introduced to some new ones. Remember, we offer a Youth Pass especially designed for kids to take advantage of our dedicated children’s program.
A headline act for this year’s children’s marquee is Mem Fox, one of Australia’s best-loved picture-book authors whose books Possum Magic and Where is the Green Sheep? have sold millions of copies around the world.
Just a reminder that the Festival is being held from 1- 3 August with workshops commencing on 28 July. Our discounted Early Bird tickets are available for a limited time only so why not head to our website now and book.
Edwina Johnson, Director, Byron Bay Writers Festival