Win a double pass to festival

Climate change, politics, parenting, sex and art are just some of the many topics that will discussed by Australias leading literary stars during the annual Byron Bay Writers Festival from August 3-6.

For anyone who hasnt yet attended, its a hugely enjoyable, moving feast of writers and readers shuttling between presentation areas, food tents, bars and lawns. Held at the Byron Bay Beach Resort, its an event you can enjoy at your own pace, taking in the wise words and witty banter or relaxing in the sun with a glass of chilled wine.

This year is the festivals 10th birthday and according to director Jill Eddington, who is leaving after seven years in the top job, the Writers Festival is for lovers of words what Splendour In The Grass is for music fans.

The Writers Festival gives readers, writers and thinkers in the community a place to gather together to debate, to discuss and to share ideas. Its food for the mind, said Jill. Its not just for people who love literature, its for anyone with an interest in reading of any kind sport, cooking, poetry or whatever. Its such a diverse program and thats reflected in the wide range of people who visit for one weekend you have this incredible community of different people sharing their thoughts and words.

This years celebrities include Janette Turner Hospital, who been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award three times, and is travelling from America for her first appearance at the festival. The Queensland-born author will take part in several panels, discussing her book Due Preparations for the Plague among other things.

Other luminaries include Peter Corris, creator of the Cliff Hardy series of crime novels, plus popular fiction writers Nick Earls, Monica McInerney and Celestine Hitiura Vaite. Literary fiction will also be well served by Peter Goldsworthy, Arabella Edge, Roger McDonald and Adib Khan.

Meanwhile, three members from the ABC satire The Chasers War on Everything (Julian Morrow, Chris Taylor and Dominic Knight) will discuss what they do best taking the mickey.

Other highlights include the panel discussion A Decade of Politics: The Howard Years with Federal Member for Fremantle Carmen Lawrence, political commentator Mungo MacCallum, journalist Kate Legge and Victorian Minister for the Arts and Womens Affairs, Mary Delahunty.

Showing its appreciation of the wider world of the arts, the Writers Festival will also welcome theatre and film director Neil Armfield, Lismore-born painter Margaret Olley, and Byron resident Irina Baronova, whose life in Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo was the subject of a recent best-selling biography.

Kids will also be able to get up close and personal with their favourite authors including Mem Fox, creator of the timeless classic Possum Magic, Andy Griffiths, Shaun Tan and Scott Monk.

These writers will all be involved in a variety of discussions, panels and lunches, plus theres film screenings, live performances, book launches and a whole heap more.

Tickets are selling fast, so book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets and full program details are available from the website www.byronbaywriters festival.com or phone Jetset Byron Bay on 6685 6554 or 6685 6262.

Freebie: The Echo has a double pass to the Byron Bay Writers Festival to give away. To go in the draw to win phone 6622 2888 between 10.30 & 10.45am next Monday, July 24, and tell us in which Australian state was Janette Turner Hospital born.


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