Good Reading : July 2005
goodreading 23 The Byron Bay Writers Festival traditionally explores the big questions facing contemporary society and individuals. For the 2005 Festival, writers have been asked to consider moments of great change and significant decisions. Above all, the Festival celebrates the art of writing and its value to us all, against one of the most spectacular backdrops nature can provide. Over 100 writers will gather to share their ideas and perspec- tives. Jill Eddington, Festival Director, has captured some of the brightest stars, both familiar and emerging, of the Australian liter- ary firmament. In her own words ‘With audiences from overseas and all over Australia, I am proud to say that this has become one of the most well-attended and well-received Writers Festivals in Australia.This is the festival to which writers request an invita- tion and I urge all readers to join us in Byron Bay for an extraor- dinary literary program.’ Who can you expect to see? Celebrated Australian author Kate Grenville will participate in several panels and will also deliver the inaugural Thea Astley lecture. Kate won the Orange Prize in 2002 for The Idea of Perfection and her new novel, The Secret River, will be released in time for the Festival. A Festival favourite is Booker Prize-winning Tom Keneally. Tom’s conversation with Irina Dunn, in which he reviews a lifetime of writing (over 40 books and numerous screenplays), will be a Festival highlight. A helping of fun will be served up with the broadcaster and comedienne Wendy Harmer. Her first adult novel, Farewell My Ovaries, is already a bestseller and Wendy herself has become the pin- up girl for premenopausal women.A must-see panel event is that in which Wendy and three contemporary writers examine ‘Sex: different approaches to an age old subject’.Who better to chair the discussion than author and sexologist Gabrielle Morrissey? Some of the most hotly contested seats of the Festival will be those for the forum in which Wendy, Australia’s king of satire John Clarke, television’s irreverent John Safran and ABC’s Guy Rundle combine in an event chaired by Radio National’s Mick O’Regan.The topic? ‘Comedy, script versus improvisation and what in today’s political and social landscape tickles the funny bone’. Bound to change the way you perceive the world! Human rights and issues of fundamentalism spur many writ- ers. Exiled Iranian playwright Shahin Shafaei will join with Julian Burnside QC, one of Australia’s most respected and outspoken opponents of mandatory detention, to unravel ‘The Refugee Issue: social justice and change’. Julian is known to readers for his love and mastery of language as exemplified through his book Word Watching and is a passionate supporter of the rights of the refugee.This session has the potential to change lives. Major writers to bump into include Matthew Reilly, Delia Falconer and Isobelle Car mody. Sonya Hartnett, Robert Drewe and Mandy Sayer. Peter FitzSimons, Sally Neighbour and John Bir mingham. And because writers love the Festival and its Byron Bay locale, Festival patrons have numerous opportunities to get up close and conversational with literary legends. Plan your visit now: every year festival organisers post ‘House Full’ signs. Australia’s fastest growing literary Festival at Australia’s breath- takingly beautiful beach resort.The Byron Bay Writers Festival 4 - 7 August, 2005. Full program and tickets are available at www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 02 6685 6262 sun, sand, surf and writers gr promotion Delia Falconer Kate Grenville Tom Keneally Matthew Reilly Winter is upon us and so is the hankering for warmer climes. What better way to shed the doldrums than by attending the annual Byron Bay Writers Festival? Spread across the lush seaside gardens of the Byron Bay Beach Resort, this ninth Festival will take place from 4 – 7 August. Be challenged, entertained, informed and enthralled.