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Julia Gillard, Helen Garner, Kate Grenville, Joan London, Jackie French and many more ….Byron Bay Writers Festival is thrilled to announce the first round of writers for the 2015 Festival!

Five immensely successful, talented Australian women have top-billing at the 2015 Byron Bay Writers Festival to be held from 7-9 August. Already the Festival is shaping up to deliver a diverse and eclectic program of stimulating and engaging conversations with some of Australia’s most celebrated writers, as well as the strongest line-up of international guests in the Festival’s history.

Festival Director Edwina Johnson said the Festival team has worked hard to bring the best writers and thinkers together to share stories, triumphs, challenges and ideas; to debate, laugh and cherish; to connect, nurture and celebrate literary talent and new friendships down by Byron Bay’s scenic ocean shore.

“In what is shaping up to be a Festival showcasing a line-up of strong, female Australian voices including Helen Garner, Joan London and Kate Grenville, a particular coup was securing former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard,” said Johnson.

Ms Gillard’s memoir My Story is a fascinating, at times searingly honest account of her time in office and the life she is now making for herself as a professor and advocate for women and education.

Ms Gillard was Prime Minister of Australia for three years and three days and delivered nation-changing policies including: reforming Australian education, creating an emissions trading scheme, health care, commencing the NDIS and restructuring the telecommunications sector, as well as building a national broadband network.

Ms Gillard will be in conversation with award-winning author and historian Clare Wright on Festival Saturday and will talk candidly about her personal motivations, wins, disappointments and legacies as Australia’s first female Prime Minister.

Festival-goers will also be treated to a number of fascinating sessions with critically acclaimed Australian writer, Joan London, who was recently long-listed for the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and short-listed for the Stella Prize for her novel The Golden Age.

Joan London author image

Two other well-loved Australian literary doyennes Kate Grenville and Helen Garner return to Byron Bay to share intimate personal memoirs and gripping family chronicles guaranteed to resonate with Festival audiences.

Garner_Helen         photo by Darren James   james.darren@gmail.com

Kids too will have the opportunity to meet their literary heroes in Kids Big Day Out which returns in 2015 on Festival Sunday with interactive performances for the whole family.

This much-loved event features the biggest line-up of children’s authors to date including one of Australia’s best loved children’s authors, Jackie French, current Australian Children’s Laureate, whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Kids will also be entertained by the ever-popular illustrator Terry Denton and Australian superstar author Andy Griffiths.

Andy and Terry

Johnson said: “Kids Big Day Out is a special day where kids can meet some of their all-time favourite authors and be introduced to new ones.”

Jackie French cr Kelly Sturgiss

Early Bird discounted three-day passes are released from 17 April. Audiences are advised not to wait until August to purchase Festival Passes as Saturday sold out last year, a first time achievement for this pivotal regional Australian arts festival.

The full Festival guest list and program will be announced on 12 June when the entire range of tickets, feature events, workshops, lunches and launches will be unveiled.

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