Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

A Festival That Does It Write; Byron Bay Writers Festival Reveals a Stellar 2016 Line Up

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

A Festival That Does It Write; Byron Bay Writers Festival Reveals a Stellar 2016 Line Up

Article excerpt

WHERE do stories take you?

For more than 150 celebrated international and Australian writers, thinkers and commentators, stories will take them to the 20th Byron Writers Festival in August.

Heading the roll-call is lauded American satirist and political commentator P.J. O'Rourke, presented in collaboration with The Centre for Independent Studies as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.

Destival director Edwina Johnson said the 2016 Festival Program reflects passions, persuasions and diverse perspectives.

"(It) is underpinned by a fundamental belief in the importance and power of literature in shaping our lives," she said.

"The age-old art of storytelling can have myriad impacts, least of all starting important community conversations about life and our place in the world."

Among the international guests sharing their stories are best-selling UK novelist Louise Doughty (Black Water, Apple Tree Yard); Irish writer Evelyn Conlon whose epic novel Not The Same Sky traces the forced migration of young orphaned Irish girls to Australia.

There is also Spanish ex-police officer Victor del Arbol, whose novel The Day Before Almost Everything won this year's Premio Nadal, Spain's oldest and most prestigious literary award.

Featured this year are three powerful Indian writers, poets and activists Sharanya Manivannan, Rosalyn D'Mello and Salma, whose works are featured in the anthology of personal narratives by contemporary Indian women Walking Towards Ourselves.

But it is not all just about (good, compelling) fiction.

The Byron Writers festival will be discussing particular topics during the event.

Post-election politics: With Bob Brown, Tony Windsor, Tim Fischer and John Faulkner, plus journalists and thinkers Kerry O'Brien, Sarah Ferguson, Anne Summers, Julia Baird, and Ross Coulthart. Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales will feature in a Literary Dinner outside the realm of politics.

Reconciliation and race: Journalist Stan Grant will deliver the annual Thea Astley Festival Address.

Images: Photo-journalists Ben Bohane, Tim Page, Gary Ramage, Cameron Bloom and celebrated Indonesian photographer and writer Rio Helmi will reveal the worlds through their lenses. …

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