Byron Writers Festival 2018 Kicks Off in August

Byron Writers Festival

Byron Writer’s Festival 2018 has all bases covered offering up crime writers, rock stars, politicians, activists, refugees, journalists, comedians, artists, poets and, well, you name it.

Festival stalwarts Caroline Baum, Richard Fidler, Kerry O’Brien, Margaret Throsby and Bernard Zuel will be appearing alongside literary luminaries including Tom Keneally, Richard Drewe, Liane Moriarty, and Matthew Condon.

With so many great ‘In Conversation With’ chats, panel discussions, performances, book signings, workshops, kids events, special events, and competitions on offer, working out what to see might just send you into a tail spin. So here are a few suggestions:


  • Tom Keneally In Conversation With Steven Gale, Friday 3 August, 1.00 – 1.45, because, well, it’s Tom Keneally.
  • Steven Carroll in conversation with Michael Williams, Friday 3 August, 11.15 –  12.00 because Carroll has won the Miles Franklin Award and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for his excellent semi-autobiographical chronicals of family suburban life in Australia.
  • Robert Drewe’s book launch for ‘The True Colour of the Sea’ , Friday 3 August 5.15 – 6.15 and In Conversation With Caroline Baum, Saturday 4 August, 11.15 – 12.00 because I’m a huge fan of Drewe’s writing.
  • Candice Fox in conversation with Chris Hanley, Sunday 5 August, 2.30 – 3.15, and ‘Why Readers Love Crime’ with Fox on the panel Saturday August 4 1.45 – 2.45, because everyone wants to be a crime writer don’t they? Fox is also a New York Times best-seller.

Politics and Society

  • What if Women Ruled the World?,  Saturday 4 August , 4.15 – 5.00 because Muslim MP, Anne Aly will be sharing the panel with Jacqui Lambie. Now that’ll be interesting.
  • Abuse of Power and Privilege, Saturday 4 August, 9.00  – 10.00 because #MeToo, Donald Trump and the Royal Commission into banking, that’s why!
  • Keeping the Blue Planet Green, Sunday 5 August, 11.30 – 12.30 because David Ritter, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific is on the panel.

Inspiring True Stories

  • Living Wild, Friday 3 August 10.00 – 11.00 because this panel will be full of inspirational stories of survival and shunning contemporary society. Gregory Peel Smith is on the panel too. Go to for Blanks’ review of his extraordinary book.
  • Hyeonseo Lee In Conversation With Jane Hutcheon, Friday 3 August, 11.00 – 11.45 because Lee is a gutsy North Korean defector, and her views on unification of the North and South Korea will be fascinating.
  • Tim Rogers In Conversation With Bernard Zuel, Saturday 4 August 12.30 – 1.15, because Rogers is a rock star who has the guts to talk about his mental health issues. He’s also talking Song Writing on Sunday 5 August, 3.15 – 4.15 with Bernard Fanning. Read Blanks’ interview with Tim Rogers here


  • Writers at the Rails, Sunday 5 August 2pm because even though this is a regular spoken word event that has been going for 26 years, anyone can get up and have a crack.
  • Lemn Sissay In Conversation With Adam Shoemaker, Sunday 5 August 10.15 – 11.15 because Sissay, who is from Manchester, England is not only a respected poet and academic, but his story of rising above childhood abuse is inspirational.

Writing for Kids

  • Should Children’s Stories Always have a Happy Ending? Friday 3 August 4.00 – 5.00, because I’ve always wondered this.
  • How to Get Boys Reading, Friday 3 August, 1.45 – 2.45 because it’s the eternal quest of parents of boys.

There are also plenty of kids events and workshops for budding writer’s of all genres. The Kid’s Big Day Out and the workshops cost extra. Take a peek at the festival program at:

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