Asphyxia is a Deaf ex-circus performer, artist and puppeteer who is now an author. Over the past decade, she has toured nationally and internationally performing trapeze, hula-hoops, and marionette puppetry. Asphyxia spent 18 months designing and building the Grimstones. She handcrafted old world marionettes and miniature household objects from recycled materials - and taught herself carpentry to build the set. The show has since toured nationally and internationally to great acclaim, and has now been turned into a delightful children’s book series, The Grimstones.
She is passionate about drawing, painting, art journaling, sculpture, metalwork, sewing and anything she can make with her hands. When she’s not writing and making, Asphyxia is kept busy by her urban eco-farm, where she raises the majority of her family’s food and lives in a tiny mud brick cottage she built herself.
Session: 74. 96
Amy Andrews is an award-winning, best-selling Aussie author who has written forty contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Escape, Entangled, HarperCollins and Momentum. To date she's sold 1.6 million books and been translated into over a dozen different languages including manga. Amy spent six years on the national executive of Romance Writers of Australia including a two year term as president and after many years of unofficial mentoring of emerging writers, Amy and her fellow Harlequin author Anna Cleary have started their own manuscript assessment business, Word Witchery, specialising in romantic fiction.
Amy loves good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel - preferably all four together. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.
Jonathan Atkins grew up and went to school in the rural town of Dungog in the Hunter Valley. After graduating from Newcastle University In 2001 he joined ABC Radio as a regional content maker for radio and online in Mout Gambier. After various ABC postings across Australia Jonathan settled in Lismore in 2008 with his young family. His passion for creating opportunities for young people from regional Australia led him to ABC Heywire.
“It’s a story telling competition, develops leadership skills and provides a forum for ideas from the youth of regional Australia. It provides a platform for young people to have a say.” Jonathan wants young people attending the Byron Bay Writers Festival to grab the opportunity and share their own story on the ABC. Check out the Heywire alumni and see how it can change a life http://www.abc.net.au/heywire/
Appearing: Secondary Schools Day
Born in the same year that Disneyland opened, Poe Ballantine spent the majority of his adult life wandering North America. His reports from the trenches, the bottom-rung jobs, desperate characters, seedy rooms, loneliness, and rejection slips, have recently been classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as mood elevators. For thirty years he lived on four hundred a month, often unable to buy coffee or cheese or to see a movie or have his hair cut professionally.
He lived largely alone, learned to read the curvature of night, the dials on laundromat dryers, and the cruelty of men. He read a few thousand books and dozed through a few thousand wayward days on a Greyhound or a Trailways bus. For sixteen years he did not see a dentist, until one day at the age of forty-six he married one. Like a desert in bloom, a beautiful son and several books followed. Having worked in eighteen restaurants, Poe enjoys cooking for friends and family. His specialties all come from peasant traditions: soups, stews, sauces, breads, garden brines, cheladas, bean dishes, and chiles roasted black until they crack.
He is the author of six books, his most popular title Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, though he believes that Things I Like About America might be better. He lives with his gorgeous Mexican wife and son in a small town in the northwest corner of Nebraska, not far from the famous Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He says howdy to you and would like to drink all of your beer.
Session: 4, 49
Appearing: Secondary School Day. Friday 1 August, in conversation with Richard Fidler. Followed by a screening of Ballantine's acclaimed documentary Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere.
Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His most recent books are Two Wolves, a crime-mystery novel for middle-graders (Random House Australia 2014, Macmillan US 2015) and My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong, a book of weird-funny-gross short stories. His other books include My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up, Mac Slater Coolhunter (Australia & US), Galactic Adventures First Kids in Space and the Nit Boy series (about a kid with the worst case of nits in world history).
Tristan’s short films as writer and director have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV. Tristan is excited by the future of storytelling and inspiring others to create. Check out Story Scrapbook, his free multimedia story brainstorming tool, and chat to Tristan at www.tristanbancks.com
Session: 43, 46, 96
Appearing: Secondry School Day
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is On Parole (Picaro Press, 2009) and Nothing Here Needs Fixing (Picaro Press, forthcoming). As a spoken word performer, Maxine’s work has been delivered on stages and airways, and in festivals across the country. Her short fiction, essays and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Big Issue, Cordite Poetry Review, Harvest, Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging, Unusual Work and Peril.
Foreign Soil, Maxine's debut collection of short stories, was the winner of the 2013 Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Award. She is currently working on a memoir and was awarded the 2014 Hazel Rowley fellowship to research her family history. Maxine lives in Melbourne, Victoria.
Dr Jesse Blackadder is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women, animals and very cold places. A winner of literary awards in the USA and Australia, she is the author of three adult novels, including Chasing the light: a novel of Antarctica (which she wrote as part of her doctorate) and two children’s novels, the most recent being Paruku The Desert Brumby. Jesse was the 2011/12 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow and has been a writer-in-residence in Alaska, Antarctica, outback NSW, Varuna, and Byron Bay.
Session: 22, 46, 63, 96
Jesse John Brand is the residing Australian Poetry Slam National Champion, an award winning writer, and musician. He has performed in the Word Travels Festival and Sydney Writers Festival in Australia, as well as the Bookworm Literary Festival, and JUE Music and Art Festival in China. Later this year he will be attending the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in Bali. Jesse has recently signed with Pitt Street Poetry for his first publication Cranes Falling in Unison, a collection of poems taken from his show of the same name.
Jesse attained a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Literature at the University of New South Wales, where he regularly published articles and was highly commended for his short fiction, The Thirteen Second Hallway. Jesse is currently in the process of editing his first novel. Jesse’s work explores the realms of urban dystopia, modern alienation and human intimacy through history, with interwoven themes of science, mythology, religion and love.
Session: 24, 70
Appearing: Saturday 2 August, Australian Slam Champions on Heat.
Session: 39, 41
James Brown is the author of Anzac’s Long Shadow: The Cost of our National Obsession. He is a former Australian Army officer, who commanded a cavalry troop in Southern Iraq, served on the Australian taskforce headquarters in Baghdad and was attached to Special Forces in Afghanistan. Today he is the Military Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy where he works on strategic military issues and defence policy. He also chairs the NSW Government’s Contemporary Veterans Forum.
Session: 20, 54
Originally from Brisbane, she has been performing on the live comedy circuit across the country for years. 2013 saw her being broadcast to the country in live crosses on Network Ten’s The Project and This Week Live. As well as live performance, she is a seasoned writer with a weekly column in The Courier Mail and her television writing for ABC2 and Pivot TV’s award winning Please Like Me, and Network Ten’s This Week Live.
Session: 51, 69
After graduating Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh, Edna Carew worked in London as a teacher and translator before moving to Sydney in 1974 and switching career paths from working with languages to a job in the finance sector. She later joined the staff of The Australian Financial Review, becoming financial markets editor. As a journalist and author Edna has written on topics ranging from interpersonal relations and sexual health, travel, health, politics, business, finance and economics. She has also been a frequent radio commentator.
Her many books include the best-selling Fast Money and Language of Money series, Paul Keating, Prime Minister and Westpac, the bank that broke the bank. In recent years Edna has concentrated on writing company histories, including Fast Forward, a history of the Sydney Futures Exchange, Brambles, Working its way around the World, and First Port, Future Port, the history of Sydney Ports Corporation. National Market, National Interest, published in 2007, tells the remarkable story of the drive to unify Australia’s securities markets.
Session: 10, 27, 59, 72
Session: 20, 45
Appearing: Friday 1 August, War and Remembrance Literary Dinner.
Antonia Case is Editor-in-Chief of Womankind, a magazine heralding a new era for Australian women, and Literary Editor of New Philosopher magazine. Launching at the Byron Bay Writers Festival in the Womankind marquee, Womankind magazine represents a new direction for Australian women – authentic, inspiring and free from the influence of advertising. Womankind is a celebration of ideas on identity, the self, and ways to live a wonderful life. Featuring an exclusive article from Booker Prize-winning author DBC Pierre, as well as a piece from the winner of the George Orwell Award Flora Michaels, Womankind brings together the best writers, artists, graphic designers and photographers in a perfect-bound 132-page magazine with no advertising. Antonia Case is also the literary editor of New Philosopher magazine, which was the best-selling item at the Byron Bay Writers Festival bookstore in 2013. Antonia is a former staff journalist at Fairfax. She won the AAP Media Professionals' Award this year.
Craig Cliff is the author of the novel The Mannequin Makers, “a superb novel of parental obsession and the lure of the unattainable" (The Hoopla), and the story collection A Man Melting, which won Best First Book in the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He has been a judge for the BNZ Literary Awards and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and participated in the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program in 2013. Cliff writes a column for the Dominion Post newspaper about his double life as a writer and public servant in Wellington, New Zealand, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
Session: 73, 77, 78
Laurel Cohn has spent her adult working life exploring ways of communicating stories – about ourselves and others. As a developmental editor she has been helping writers since the 1980s develop their stories and prepare their work for print and, more recently, online publication. Many writers she has worked with have gone on to be published successfully, and to acclaim. She spent five years with one of Australia’s top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers’ Centre before turning freelance. She works with individual writers, publishers and self-publishers, and is a popular workshop presenter. She is currently working on a research degree in Literature Studies at University of Queensland in the area of Australian Children's Literature.
Appearing: Monday 29 July 10am - 4pm WORKSHOP
Jessie Cole grew up in an isolated valley in Northern NSW, and lived a bush childhood of creek swimming and barefoot free-range adventuring. In 2009 she was awarded a HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development, leading to the publication of her first novel Darkness on the Edge of Town, which was shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and longlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award. Her work has also appeared in Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Island Magazine, Big Issue, Daily Life and the Guardian. Many of her stories can be found on her blog:
Session: 38, 84, 105
Matthew Condon is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction, and is the two-time winner of the Steele Rudd Award for short fiction. His novels include The Motorcycle Café, The Pillow Fight and The Trout Opera. His non-fiction titles include Brisbane and, as editor, Fear, Faith and Hope: Remembering the Long Wet Summer of 2010-2011. His latest book- Three Crooked Kings – is the first instalment in a trilogy on the life and times of former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis, and crime and corruption in Queensland and NSW over a half-century. The books tell an epic story of corruption so deeply entrenched it infected the political process, the police and the judiciary to such an extent that it changed Queensland society. It was awarded the John Oxley Library Award 2013, and was shortlisted for several other awards. The second volume, Jacks and Jokers, was published in April 2014. Condon has worked as a journalist for thirty years both here and overseas. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the Creative Arts at the Queensland University of Technology.
Session: 47, 56, 104
Shady Cosgrove lives in the Illawarra and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. Her literary suspense novel What the Ground Can’t Hold (Picador, 2013) tells the story of a group of people stranded in the Andes, all of whom have links to Argentina’s Dirty War. Her memoir She Played Elvis (Allen and Unwin, 2009) was shortlisted for the Australian Vogel Literary Prize and chronicles her adventures busking to Graceland for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Her short stories and articles have appeared in Best Australian Stories, Antipodes, Southerly, Overland, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age. She has also written about the ethics of representation and teaching of creative writing.
For more information and free downloads of her work, see: www.shadycosgrove.blogspot.com.au
Session: 29, 58, 81
Sophie Cunningham has been on the publishing scene in Australia for thirty years. A former publisher and editor, she is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) and, as part of the City Series, wrote Melbourne (2011). Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy, her most recent book, has just been published by Text Publishing.
Until recently she was Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and she was a founding member of The Stella Prize, a prize for Australian women's writing.
She is currently living in Brooklyn, New York, and writing her third novel.
Session: 18, 23, 42, 68, 75
Attending: Thursday 31 July, 9:30 - 12:30 workshop.
Robyn Davidson was born on a cattle property in Queensland. She went to Sydney in the late sixties, then returned to study in Brisbane before going to Alice Springs where the events of her book Tracks began. Since then she has travelled extensively and has lived in London, New York and India. In the early 1990s she migrated with and wrote about nomads in north-west India. She is now based in Melbourne, but spends several months a year in the Indian Himalayas.
Session: 52, 84, 104
Appearing: Secondary School Day
Marele Day's crime novels won her a Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award. Other works include internationally acclaimed Lambs of God, Mrs Cook: The Real and Imagined Life of the Captain’s Wife, and The Sea Bed.
Kate De Goldi writes fiction for all ages. She has been the recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award and twice winner of New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year. Her novel, The Ten PM Question, won the Corine International Book Prize in 2011 and has been translated into many languages. Kate is a regular reviewer in print and broadcast media and teaches creative writing at schools through New Zealand. In 2010 she was awarded the Michael King Scholarship to research a book on children’s literature bibliophile, Susan Price. Her most recent publication (with artist, Gregory O’Brien) is The ACB with Honora Lee.
Session: 21, 60, 78
Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches. She is a freelance journalist has been published in the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Geographic and the essay anthology Fire. She has been exploring and protecting wild places since her teens, working to protect forests and marine environments across Australia for many years as a campaigner for the Wilderness Society.
In 2010, Claire embarked on a year in the bush, completing the Guunuwa Independent Wilderness Studies Program, the subject of her memoir. She is currently studying postgraduate psychology at the University of Sydney.
Session: 29, 84
Appearing: 10:00am - 4:00pm Workshop
Geoff Dyer was born in Cheltenham, England, in 1958. He was educated at the local Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He is the author of four novels: Paris Trance, The Search, The Colour of Memory, and, most recently, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; a critical study of John Berger, Ways of Telling; five genre-defying titles: But Beautiful (winner of a 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize, short-listed for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize), The Missing of the Somme, Out of Sheer Rage (a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award), Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It (winner of the 2004 W. H. Smith Best Travel Book Award), and The Ongoing Moment (winner of the ICP Infinity Award for Writing on Photography), and, most recently, Zona (about Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker). His collection of essays, Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012. He is also the editor of John Berger: Selected Essays and co-editor, with Margaret Sartor, of What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney. A new book, Another Great Day at Sea, about life aboard the USS George H W Bush, will be published in May.
Session: 2, 71
Appearing: Friday 1 August, War and Remembrance Literary Dinner.