Byron Writers Festival 2016 highlights

Michelle Morgan - Thursday, August 11, 2016

It was a wet and windy three days at Elements of Byron in Byron Bay for the Byron Writers Festival 2016, but what an amazing program and range of authors.

So many sessions to choose from with six concurrent sessions from 9am to at least 5pm every day, not to mention two literary dinners.

Annabel Crabb was in fine form in her conversation with Chris Hanley. Her witty insights into political shenanigans brought gales of laughter and tears to the eyes. Annabel was joined by other political journalists, including Kerry O'Brien, Sarah Ferguson, Leigh Sales, Nikki Savva and Paddy Manning, all of whom have written books on political subjects in recent years. Their forensic discussion of recent events and players was fascinating.

Being a YA author, I was keenly interested in what authors such as John Marsden, Anna Feinberg, Nick Earls, Damon Young and Tristan Bancks had to say about their novels and writing process. Other authors that contributed to lively literary discussions, include Thomas Keneally, Debra Adelaide, Charlotte Wood, Anna Funder, Kathryn Heyman, Emily Maguire, Drusilla Modjeska, Kate Forsyth, Louise Doughty and Dominic Smith, all of whom gave thoughtful insights into their books and writing.

Something completely different was Archibald Prize Unwrapped, in which Rosemarie Milsom did a great job keeping the loquacious barrister, Charles Waterstreet in check while encouraging her introverted and talented artist brother, Nigel Milsom, who won the Archibald in 2015 with his stunning portrait of Charles Waterstreet.

My favourite sessions were Feminism Now and Indigenous Lives through Women's Eyes. Anne Summers did a brilliant job as chair of Feminism Now, allowing the younger feminist writers, including Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Melanie Joosten and Emily Maguire, to voice their concerns and individual viewpoints. You couldn't help but be impressed by their lively discussions and thought-provoking arguments.

The Indigenous writers were just as impressive, with Melissa Lucashenko chairing and contributing to the discussions with Delta Kay and Tara June Winch. Their love of Aboriginal culture, story and writing was inspiring. After hearing Tara read from her beautifully written novel, Swallow the Air, I went to the bookshop marquee and bought the book.

Mary Ryan's Books did an amazing job selling books at the festival. The bookshop marquee was often busier than the food and coffee stalls.

The sky was blue and the sun was shining when I left Byron Bay, inspired by all the wonderful authors I'd met.

Many thanks to the organisers, sponsors and volunteers who did an amazing job.

» Share this post

Recent Posts


sandy fussell good reading magazine dymocks seven mile beach plays copyediting Anniversary Day elizabeth gilbert storytellers festival indie publishing barbara braxton children's book council of australia indigenous literacy day Moss Vale Campus Library eBook better read than dead 12 curly questions heart of australia Bookshop Bowral arielle gamble read3r'zrevu australian federation of graduate women eBook mall spark award 2017 barnes&noble children's book council of australia NSW branch martin luther king, jr too late for love jamberoo public school giveaway Spotlight On telopea park school Taree Library bay of fires ulladulla library national simultaneous storytime tasmania playwriting festival booktopia Port Macquarie Library romy sharp 19 March 1932 Newcastle writers' festival CBCA Children's Book Week middle grade fiction frankfurt book fair valentine's day scbwi australia refugees john reed books ann harth bookstop[ Reading Time theatre kids' book review writing process blog hop sydney believing blog tour Good Reading Sydney Harbour Bridge skylight books Historical Novel Society australian literature bradman museum smsa library playwriting byron writers festival books festival of golden words St Paul's Primary School YA fiction readhowyouwant sir charles kingsford smith Broadbeach Library combined book exhibit australian reading hour narrabundah college karma writers' festivals all the buzz about books ubud writers & readers festival goodreads Books + Publishing Abbey's Bookshop kate gordon playwrights retreat Grafton Library alexander mccall smith Mitchell Library bookshops mETAphor children's / YA literature literary lunch griffin press book tour Dymock's Canberra big book day out ainslie + gorman arts centre Gordon Library illustrators tanika gupta amazon kindle michelle morgan libraries buzz words NAIDOC week sydney mechanics school of arts library shoalhaven libraries southern cross Woollahra Library self-publishing Dymocks Brisbane luke johnson goodreads giveaway Paperchain Manuka CBCA book of the year awards Bowral Art Gallery atyp WritingNSW awards decimal currency writing workshops chloe mauger bushwalking clancy tucker smashwords nook gerringong historical society museum berkelouw book barn nowra library bologna children's book fair book launch short plays australian standing orders book fairs book depository QBD Tamworth Country Music Festival author videos kobo autumn revel scbwi holidays Kings Cross Theatre refugee week literary events nsw writers' centre Reader's Companion Armidale coming-of-age fiction mother's day just write for kids iTunes allen & unwin sally odgers deep sky interviews reviews ubud, bali ANZAC Day sydney writers festival 2019 bookworld amazon kindle songs State Library of NSW Australia Day tom keneally centre elaine ousten book trailer sydney opera house gorman arts centre fran knight KXT Quirindi Library author talks berkelouw books racing the moon southern highlands writers' festival lovereading4kids lyn linning book cover design ReadPlus act writers centre Lismore Library historical novel society australasia international children's book day 2014 paperback society of children's book writers and illustrators hans christian andersen jackie french historical fiction festivals hnsa spark award older readers 2017 teachers' notes two of a kind Waterstones highlife magazine fishpond children's book council of australia national conference griffin theatre mabo day Muswellbrook Library bill condon school visits reconciliation MacLean's Booksellers lachlan philpott sophie masson canberra southern highland news teen fiction festival of dangerous ideas Tamworth City Library flying through clouds australian text di bates potts point bookshop goodbye frankie 14 february 1966 indigenous literacy foundation captain tobias furneaux children's book council of australia illawarra south coast bookloons deb robins authors Magpies sharon mcguinness jump for jordan