Jeanette Winterson Keynote Speaker at Byron Bay Writers Festival 2014

“The rebellion of art is a daily rebellion against the state of living death routinely called real life." Jeanette Winterson, The Paris Review

We’re excited to announce that celebrated author Jeanette Winterson will deliver the 2014 Keynote Address at the Festival this year. Winterson is travelling to Australia in August for a tour arranged in collaboration with Sydney Opera House and Brisbane Powerhouse. Winterson will feature in several Festival sessions from 1-3 August (details to be revealed on 6 June), followed by events in Brisbane and Sydney.

Jeanette Winterson OBE is one of the most acclaimed international authors of our time. Whatever the genre - novels, screenplays, essays and journalism - Winterson takes risks and challenges us to think differently about identity and relationships. The Guardian (UK) recently listed Winterson as being one of the world’s Top Ten writers to see live, ‘She walks on with such confidence and never has any barrier between herself and the audience…’ It’s an experience not to be missed.

At 15, Winterson’s teenage love affair with another woman came to light. She was condemned by her church, leading to her expulsion from the community and her decision to leave home. She worked odd jobs, from an ice-cream van driver to a funeral parlour make-up artist, supporting herself as she obtained her English B.A. from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. She would go on to write over 15 books, including the celebrated novels Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Her most recent work includes Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?  and the horror novella about witchcraft and superstition, The Daylight Gate

We’re featuring more than 100 authors in the 2014 Festival. The program includes some of Australia’s best writers and thinkers from Malcolm Fraser, Clare Wright, Julian Burnside and Tim Flannery to Ashley Hay, Alex Miller, Andy Griffiths and many more. The full program including the complete international line-up will be available from 6 June 2014.

Early Bird release date

BBWF cropped website

The Byron Bay Writers Festival discounted Early Bird 3-Day Passes for the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2014 will be on sale Friday 11 April. This is your opportunity to make significant savings on passes for the main program of the BBWF, prior to the release of the full program on 6 June.

We’re delighted to announce that the guest-list for Byron Bay Writers Festival 2014 is finalised and the Festival is shaping up to showcase a diverse and eclectic program of stimulating, engaging and entertaining conversations with some of the best thinkers and writers in Australia today, as well as a smattering of international guests.
Byron Bay Writers Festival brings writers together in an environment that nurtures and invigorates them as much as it does our audiences. We endeavour to create a program where writers will engage with each other and dig beneath the surface of their writing processes in long conversations, and to discuss at length latest books and projects in public conversations. Our Festival is a series of encounters with interesting minds across genres including poets, songwriters, politicians, historians, comedians, journalists, biographers, literary and mass market fiction writers, bloggers and tweeters: we celebrate wordsmiths of all kinds.
Keep an eye out for US author Poe Ballantine. His latest book, Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, part memoir, part true crime, is a compelling story about his neighbour, a college math professor who disappeared and whose mutilated body was found three months later. Author Cheryl Strayed says ‘Reading his work is inspiring, agitating, and invigorating… This is his best book ever.’ And Tom Robbins comments ‘Mark Twain would have admired his wit, and had Oscar Wilde read him, he would have bought an old Ford pickup and moved to Nebraska the day he got out of the slammer, hoping that some of his style rubbed off on him.’

Now in its eighteenth year, the Byron Bay Writers Festival takes place between 1-3 August, with workshops beginning on 28 July. The full Festival guest list and program will be announced on 6 June when the entire range of tickets, feature events, workshops, lunches and launches will be unveiled. Audiences are advised not to wait until August to purchase Festival Passes. Early Bird discounted 3 day passes are released from 11 April and provide access to the full marquee program on the Festival site. The Festival team looks forward to welcoming you back in 2014.


New York Times Best-Seller M.L. Stedman joins Festival line-up and Last Chance for Early Bird Tickets

Don’t think, just book!

These are the last days of Early Bird ticket sales and they're selling out fast. Now’s the time to book your discounted 3 Day Pass or Youth Pass to enjoy over 100 international and Australian literary stars.

We’re delighted to announce multi-award winning author M.L. Stedman will join the stellar line-up at this year’s Festival. Stedman’s novel The Light Between Oceans has been a New York Times’ best-seller for the past 60 weeks. So far it has been translated into more than 30 languages, and the Hollywood movie rights were recently snapped up by Dreamworks, with David Heyman of Harry Potter fame set to produce it. An incredible achievement for a debut novel.

See Stedman in conversation with Geordie Williamson, Chief Literary Critic of The Australian on Festival Friday. She’ll also participate in three other panels, including one on Lighthouses, a lovely fit for Byron Bay as this is where Tom, one of her protagonists, learns the craft of lightkeeping.

Stedman’s hauntingly beautiful novel has won many awards in Australia, including the ABIA Book of the Year 2013 and The Indie Award Book of the Year. If you haven’t read this book, we highly recommend it. It’s a remarkably powerful read.

So pick up your Early Bird tickets now. Sale ends this Thursday, 5 June at midnight. Don’t miss our keynote speaker Jeanette Winterson, US author Poe Ballantine, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Clare Wright, Julian Burnside, Tim Flannery, Ashley Hay, Alex Miller, Andy Griffiths and many, many more. We can’t wait to reveal the full program including the complete international line-up this Friday, 6 June.



The LitLink New Manuscript Award- shortlist

Congratulations to...

Remission by Joshua Lobb - A massively over-populated novel, about forgiveness, loneliness, grief and embarrassment in regional Australia.

Don't go near the Water by Eileen Naseby – What do you do when your child goes missing?

Empty Beach by Bruce Nash - A novel which re-imagines the coastal landscape

Iranian Elegy by Gary Ovington - An Iranian gay love story: where does sadness end and joy begin?

Pangs by Gary Woodland - To bite or not to bite is the question Bob wrestles with when long-buried needs for love and family threaten his world.

 Jansis O'Hanlon from Varuna will announce the winner on Sunday 3 August at the SCU Marquee 2pm, The Book and the Academy session.

Byron Bay Writers Festival launches 2014 Program

‘If there’s a story to be told and if the story has some validity, some resonance, then you don’t keep it to yourself.’
From Stories We Tell by Canadian Film Director Sarah Polley


The Byron Bay Writers Festival proudly opens the pages of the 18th edition of this major literary event showcasing a cavalcade of more than 130 writers, thinkers and creative spirits and a world of ideas over three action-packed days.

Read more: Byron Bay Writers Festival launches 2014 Program

Stella Prize Winner Clare Wright features at the Byron Bay Writers Festival

WRIGHT Virginia CumminsWe’re delighted to announce that historian and author Clare Wright, winner of the recently announced 2014 Stella Award, will feature prominently at Festival.  We’re looking forward to her insights into the often overlooked role of women in history.
Clare won the $50,000 Stella prize for her ground-breaking book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka which tells the story of the Eureka Stockade from the female point of view.
Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2014 Stella Prize judging panel, says: ‘The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story. In her account of the Eureka Stockade and the years leading up to it, historian Clare Wright revisits that well-trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat and the parts they played, not only in its society but also in its public life, as they ran newspapers, theatres and hotels with energy and confidence.’
In her acceptance speech, Clare announced that she would donate 10% of the prize money to be split between two organisations close to her heart, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (the Byron Bay Writers Festival charity partner) and Northcote High School.  Photo by Virginia Cummins.

Tim Flannery and Bob Brown…

Bob Tim...Byron Bay Writers Festival brings Australia’s favourite environmentalists to town

It’s with great pleasure we announce that Tim Flannery, the Former Head of the Australian Climate Commission and 2007 Australian of the Year and Bob Brown, the Former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, will head up the environmental component of this year’s Writers Festival.  We’re thrilled two of Australia’s foremost eco warriors will feature prominently in the program this year.

Flannery highlighted the passion Australians hold for the environment when he and his co-Commissioners raised an impressive $1 million via crowd-funding in just five days. These funds were used to launch the Climate Council after the Climate Commission was dismantled in 2013.

In his recent book, Among the Islands, Flannery outlines his ground-breaking work on the mammals of the south-west Pacific. His findings allowed the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to rank these mammals’ vulnerability to extinction.

'In so many ways, this is the critical decade for sustainability in Australia,’ says Flannery. ‘I look forward to being in Byron Bay with Bob Brown. Together we can outline what’s required of our country over the next six years.'

We’re delighted Bob Brown was able to accept the invitation to return to Byron Bay Writers Festival. His determination and commitment to informing Australians about threats to our environment is truly inspiring. The marquees at his 2012 Festival appearances were overflowing and he received standing ovations at the end of his sessions.

Brown’s visit to the Festival coincides with the launch of his new book, Optimism. In Optimism, Brown shares his stories and insights from both his public and private life, revealing the events that have made an impression, the ideas that have caught his imagination and the people that have stayed in his thoughts. Byron Bay is the first stop on Bob Brown’s Optimism book tour.

Both Tim Flannery and Bob Brown have contributed significantly to the preservation of our unique environment. It is a great privilege to host them in Byron for the Festival.

Remember, the big reveal of the entire program and huge list of over 100 writers and thinkers will take place on 6 June. So watch this space.

Early Bird tickets on sale now

Fraser web-


Mem Fox, Malcolm Fraser, Poe Ballantine with Richard Fidler and so much more…Early Bird tickets on sale now

Food, history, true crime, travel, music, politics, screenwriting, environment, memoir, journalism, sport, surf, poetry, art, romance, education, comedy…whatever your literary love, the Byron Bay Writers Festival has it covered. Early Bird tickets for the 18th Festival go on sale today and if history is any indication, they sell fast.
These Passes are all you need to gain access to the main marquee program between 1 and 3 August. Remember, Sunday 3 August offers the riotous Kids Marquee. The line-up of children’s authors is shaping up to be great fun and you can pick-up the discounted Youth Pass now too.
We’ve been working tirelessly to bring you the best Australian talent and some big name international guests to make this year’s Festival an event to remember.

A particular coup has been securing US author Poe Ballantine. His latest book, Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, part memoir, part true crime, is a compelling story about his neighbour, a college math professor who disappeared and whose mutilated body was found three months later. Poe told us that he’s lived in at least seventy different places all over North America, but leaving the continent finally and getting a chance to see Australia is his biggest thrill yet. Poe will feature at the Festival in various sessions including a conversation with ABC Radio presenter Richard Fidler at the Byron Community Centre.

Read more: Early Bird tickets on sale now