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We have announced our program for Byron Bay Writers Festival 2015!

See what our Festival Director Edwina Johnson had to say below.

In early August, more than 140 influential writers and thinkers will converge on Byron Bay for Australia’s largest regional literary event; an ocean of minds unfolding stories against a backdrop of migrating whales.

Throughout the Festival our guest politicians, novelists, historians, journalists, biographers, poets, memoirists, comedians and songwriters will challenge, entertain and share their inspirations and insights. Don’t miss: Julia Gillard in conversation with Clare Wright, Tariq Ali with Kerry O’Brien, Helen Garner with Caroline Baum, Kate Grenville with Rosemarie Milsom, and Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year.

Julia Gillard crPeter Brew-Bevan    Tariq Ali (credit Nina Subin)     Helen Garner    Kate Grenville cr Darren James       Joanna Rakoff

Be moved by Karen Hitchcock whose controversial Quarterly Essay Dear Life, examines our capacity to care for the elderly, and delve into country with Don Watson whose latest book The Bush is a multiple prize-winner. Be inspired by the panel discussion Community Service Begins at Home featuring Anna Bligh, Tim Costello, David Mann and Renata Singer. The State of the State was a Festival highlight in 2014. So this year we bring you The State of the Nation led by Barrie Cassidy with panellists Kate McClymont, Greg Sheridan and Wayne Swan.

In an Australian exclusive, BBWF is proud to present Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma whose startling debut novel The Fishermen has received plaudits from across the literary world. Mexican-based Jennifer Clement whose compelling novel Prayers for the Stolen was shortlisted for this year’s PEN Faulkner Award for Fiction will also debut. Jennifer Byrne from ABC TV The Book Club will join us to interview both of these international writers.

Chigozie Obioma             Jennifer Clement        

We also offer you a chance to catch up with some of your favourite writers and discover new voices in our new one-on-one sessions ‘30 Minutes with…’ including Stella Prize winner Emily Bitto, Man Asian Literary Prize winner Miguel Syjuco, New York Times bestseller Liane Moriarty, artist Joshua Yeldham, master of psychological thrillers, Michael Robotham and Noah Rosenberg of Narratively, a platform for untold stories.

We are delighted that literary cabaret Liner Notes is returning to Byron. This year their attention turns to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Be sure to book early as it sold out last year. Delighted too, to offer you the opportunity to see First Dog on the Moon on the eve of the Festival, while the poster girl of Country Music Beccy Cole is joining us on Festival Friday with her knockout cabaret: The Cowgirl and the Showgirl.

Every Festival day promises delight and discovery. This year’s program is informed by a belief in the importance and power of literature in shaping our lives. I invite you to join us to examine the world as it is and imagine how it might be.

Edwina Johnson, Festival Director


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