The Byron Bay Writers' Festival is delighted to announce the addition of award winning writer Elliot Perlman to the list of first release writers attending this year’s festival. Perlman’s first novel Three Dollars won The Age book of the year in 1998 and later his co-adaption of his book to film with director Robert Connolly won the Australian Film Critics Award for Best Adapted screenplay in 2005.
His second novel, Seven Types of Ambiguity, was a national bestseller in France, described as a ‘literary sensation’ (Deutschlandradio) in Germany and a national bestseller in the United States where the Washington Post described it as one of its all-time dozen favourites 'on the pain of love'. In Australia it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. His third novel released late last year The Street Sweeper brings together an unlikely pair, an African American probationary janitor in a Manhattan hospital with an elderly patient, a Holocaust survivor who had been a prisoner in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The book spans the twentieth century to the present, and moves from New York to Melbourne, Chicago to Auschwitz. The Street Sweeper has been described as:
"Excellent...Harrowing, humane and brilliant." - The Times (UK), "Wonderfully rich, engaging and multilayered." - Washington Post
His latest novel once again displays the depth and humanism that made France’s Lire magazine call him “one of the 50 most important writers in the world”.
Also part of our first release of writers is the celebrated historian Brenda Niall. Meticulous research and attention to detail is the hallmark of historian Brenda Niall’s work. Her latest book True North: The Story of Elisabeth and Mary Durack examines the lives of two women synonymous with the Kimberley region. With unprecedented access to family archives Niall gets to the heart of this uniquely Australian story spanning the 20th century.
The ABR has described the book as “….a graceful and perceptive biography of two extraordinary creative women.” In 2004 Niall was awarded the Order of Australia for ‘services to Australian literature, as an academic, biographer and literary critic.”
Our Festival also supports local talent and we are immensely proud to be presenting Shamus Sillar a local boy, who in 2009 pitched his unpublished manuscript to publishers. Three years later Sillar’s first book Sicily – Not Quite Tuscany hit the bookstores and is a delightful memoir evoking the challenging charm of living in Sicily.
Limited number of Early Bird tickets on sale now. Tickets available until the full program is announced 15 June or they sell out. Early Bird tickets on offer are substantial discounts on a three day festival pass as well as a day pass for our Children’s Day program, Sunday 5 August.
The big reveal of the entire program and the huge list of writers and thinkers will take place 15 June. From that point on you’ll be able to purchase the full range of day passes, workshops and feature events - everything a passionate reader and writer could desire! Please note that with the release of the full program, the Early Bird tickets, unless already sold out will be replaced with full-price tickets, so you only have until then to buy your 3 Day Pass at an Early Bird price. The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is managed by the busy team at the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre. If you’re not already a member of the Centre, now would be the perfect time to join and access all the benefits available to members, including reduced ticket prices for the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. To join please go to www.nrwc.org.au
Come and join in the conversation as ideas collide and morph across politics, history, the arts, sport, sex and science, and get ready for your mind to soar. We look forward to seeing you at this year’s festival.
As always we have a number of special international guests mixing with the best of Australian writing both fresh and established. Katherine Boo, in her first visit to Australia, is a staff writer for The New Yorker and has spent the last 20 years reporting on how societies distribute opportunity and how individuals get out of poverty. Her reporting has been honoured by a MacArthur Fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. She has recently published her first book Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in one of the world’s most lively but treacherous cities – Mumbai. The book is the result of over four years research and hundreds of interviews and The Australian’s Jose Borghino writes, “It proclaims an astonishing ambition and a prodigious talent to match….she delivers a non-fiction novel that combines all the emotional power of a story well told with the added intoxication that readers know all this is really happening.”
Also trained in journalism is Mohammed Hanif who after graduating from the East Pakistan Air Force Academy as a pilot, decided to pursue a career in journalism. For many years he worked in London before returning home to Karachi, Pakistan where he is a special correspondent to the BBC. His first novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008) was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Commonwealth Book Prize for Best First Book. He has also written for the stage and screen including the feature film The Long Night (2002). His most recent book published in 2011 is Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, a story of second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in unlikely places, set in the febrile streets of downtown Karachi.
Announcing more Australian guests Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He also won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for The Ancestor Game. In 2007 Landscape of Farewell was published to wide critical acclaim and in 2008 won the Chinese Annual Foreign Novels 21st Century Award for Best Novel and the Manning Clark Medal for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. Lovesong won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Awards, The Age Book of the Year Award and The Age Fiction Prize for 2011. Alex is published internationally and widely in translation. His tenth and latest novel is Autumn Laing.
They’re off: discounted Early Bird 3 Day Passes and Youth Passes for the Byron Bay Writers' Festival are on the wing! Festival dates are 3 -5 August with workshops beginning Monday 30 July. Until 14 June, you can snaffle healthy savings on a ticket to this year’s most dynamic and comprehensive literary event.
WONDERING WHO'LL BE AT THE FESTIVAL THIS YEAR? Here’s a taste…
Jane Caro is an author, novelist, journalist, columnist, lecturer, advertising writer and media commentator. She has published three books The Stupid Country; How Australia is Dismantling Public Education (co-authored with Chris Bonnor), The F Word; How we Learned to Swear by Feminism (co-authored with Catherine Fox), and a novel Just a Girl. She appears regularly in the media including on the ABC’s iconic The Gruen Transfer. She is also on the boards of Bell Shakespeare, where she chairs the company’s Artistic Advisory Panel, and The NSW Public Education Foundation.
Stuart Littlemore QC is an Australian barrister and former journalist and television presenter. He is probably best known for his writing and presentation of the ABC TV programs Media Watch for nine years from 1989 to 1998 and Littlemore in 2001. His memoir of professional life, The Media and Me, published by ABC Books, was a best-seller in 1997. More recently, Stuart Littlemore has penned the Harry Curry books (Harry Curry, Counsel of Choice and Harry Curry, The Murder Book), both of which, according to Littlemore, are ‘authentic, all based on real (although extraordinary) cases.’
This year the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is proud to present two writers whose books are loved by children of all ages – Andy Griffiths and Isobelle Carmody
Anna Rose is well known to many of us from her recent television appearance on the ABC documentary I Can Change Your Mind About Climate, featuring former Liberal Minister, Nick Minchin.
Anna’s passion for social and environmental justice was sparked at the age of 14, when she set up recycling, composting and a school sport called “environmental campaigning” at her school in Newcastle.
Anna Rose is co-founder and Chair of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, a movement of over 70,000 young people working to solve climate change before it’s too late.
She is the former Environment Minister's joint Young Environmentalist of the Year and a Fellow of the International Youth Foundation. The Sydney Morning Herald named her one of Sydney’s most influential people (in 2009) and one of the top five most powerful grassroots organisers in NSW (in 2011).