Byron Writers Festival 2017 features a stellar line-up of more than 130 writers, journalists, politicians, songwriters, artists, astronomers and satirists. Join us as we invite them to explore the myriad forms that stories take.
Nicole Abadee is the books writer for The Australian Financial Review Magazine. Nicole is also a literary consultant.
Sessions: 9, 32, 42, 53
Deng Adut’s journey from South Sudanese child soldier to successful lawyer and 2017 NSW Australian of the Year is told in Songs of a War Boy.
Sarah Armstrong has written three novels. Before moving to Byron Bay to write, she was a journalist at the ABC, where she won a Walkley Award.
sessions: 83, 108
Dr Melissa Ashley is the author of the historical novel, The Birdman’s Wife, about the incredible life of 19th century bird illustrator, Elizabeth Gould.
Hilary is a close associate of the elusive H.I. Larry, author of the popular middle primary series, Zac Power. She also wrote a young adult novel, State of Grace.
Sessions: 21, 39, 74
Julia Baird is a journalist, broadcaster, columnist and political commentator. In 2016, she published Victoria: An intimate biography of the woman who changed the world.
Sessions: 6, 101
Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author. His books include the weird-funny-gross My Life series, the award-winning Two Wolves and new novel The Fall.
Sessions: 54, 73, 97
Paul Barclay is a Walkley Award winning journalist and broadcaster on ABC Radio National with an appetite for ideas and in-depth analysis and discussion.
Sessions: 2, 56
Jimmy Barnes is Australia’s most successful rock’n’roll singer. His bestselling 2016 memoir, Working Class Boy, garnered huge critical acclaim. Volume two arrives later this year.
Sessions: 21, 49, 61, 90
Caroline Baum has had a distinguished career in arts journalism and was founding editor of Good Reading magazine. She is the author of Only: A Singular Memoir.
Sessions: 6, 10, 59, 104
Dr Jesse Blackadder is the author of seven novels for adults and children and an emerging screenwriter. Her forthcoming novel is Sixty Seconds.
Sessions: 70, 110
Sarah Blasko is one of Australia’s most beloved songwriters. Over the course of 15 years and five studio albums she has proved herself an irrepressible artistic force.
Laura Bloom is a novelist for adults and young adults. Her most recent novel, The Cleanskin has recently been released by The Author People.
Sessions: 37, 69, 79
Award-winning novelist Merlinda Bobis (2016 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction & Philippine National Book Award) celebrates her new poetry book Accidents of Composition.
Sessions: 79, 109
Lisa Brockwell, a poet, lives on a rural property with her husband and young son. Her debut collection, Earth Girls, was published in 2016.
Sessions: 76, 92
Phil is Arts Editor at The Courier-Mail and a weekly columnist whose commentary appears in QWeekend and lifestyle magazine Brisbane News.
Sessions: 14, 40, 58
Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media, and has hosted ABC-TV’s Book Club since 2006.
Sessions: 39, 91
Edna Carew has been a teacher, journalist and commentator. Her many books include bestsellers Paul Keating, Prime Minister and Westpac, the bank that broke the bank.
Sessions: 95, 97
Susan Carland has been listed as a ‘Muslim Leader of Tomorrow’ by the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Her book Fighting Hislam is out now.
Over a long career, Alan Close has published fiction, memoir and poetry and been a teacher and mentor to many other writers. He lives in Mullumbimby.
Sessions: 18, 23, 50, 86, 90
Roger Cohen is an award-winning columnist for the New York Times. His latest book, The Girl From Human Street is an intimate and moving family portrait.
Laurel Cohn is a developmental book editor passionate about the power of stories in our lives. She has been working with writers for over 25 years and is a popular workshop presenter.
Sessions: 1, 32, 85
Kate Cole-Adams’ novel Walking to the Moon was published in 2007. Her second book, Anaesthesia, was released in June 2017. She writes very slowly.
Sessions: 16, 43
Matthew Condon is a prize-winning Australian journalist and author of several novels and non-fiction works. His latest book is Little Fish are Sweet.
Sessions: 6, 9
The award-winning Cosentino has been called 'a supercharged showman', a 'daredevil performer' by National Nine News and is said to 'mirror the legendary Harry Houdini.'
Arielle Cottingham is the 2016 Australian Poetry Slam Champion, is an Afro-Latina performing writer from San Antonio, TX. Her book, Curls and Other Wars, will be released in 2017.
Sessions: Remembering John Clarke
Bryan Dawe is a writer, actor, broadcaster, and photographer. In his spare time, he pretended to interview Mr John Clarke, who pretended to pretend to be someone else.
Sessions: 42, 95, 116
Throughout his fifty-plus years as a priest, Tony Doherty has written and published widely. His letters in The Attachment are an extension of that work.
Sessions: 29, 115
Jennifer Down is the author of Pulse Points (2017). Her debut novel Our Magic Hour was highly commended in the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.
Sessions: 38, 71
Robert Drewe’s novels, short stories and memoirs have won national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, radio and theatre around the world.
Sessions: 8, 74, 102
Jill Eddington has recently been appointed CEO at UQP. Jill has a long association with the literary sector nationally, most recently she was Director, Literature at the Australia Council.
Sessions: 5, 72
Malcolm Farr is national political editor at news.com.au, Australia's highest rating online news site. He has worked in Canberra for 25 years, previously for the Daily Telegraph.
Richard Fidler presents ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler’, an in-depth, up close and personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio.
Angie is a producer and partner in Aquarius Films. She produced the Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated feature film Lion.
Sessions: 43, 82
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, and Chair of the Australian Republic Movement. He is the author of 30 books.
Sessions: 73, 96
Tim Flannery has published over 30 books including the international bestseller The Weather Makers. In 2007 he was named Australian of the Year.
Sessions: 18, 49, 100
Mei Fong is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent over a decade reporting in Asia. She is the author of One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment.
Sessions: 46, 99
Andrew Ford is a composer, writer and broadcaster, and has won awards in all three capacities. Since 1995, he has presented The Music Show on ABC RN.
Sessions: 31, 32, 51, 97
Clementine Ford is a freelance writer, broadcaster and public speaker based in Melbourne. She writes on feminism, pop culture and social issues. Her first book Fight Like a Girl was published I 2016 and was an instant bestseller.
Sessions: 87, 111
David Free’s literary criticism has appeared in The Australian, The Atlantic, and Best Australian Essays. Get Poor Slow is his first novel.
Antony Funnell is a Walkley Award winning journalist and broadcaster. He presents the weekly program Future Tense. Antony is author of The Future and Related Nonsense.
Session: 1, 4, 68
Nikki Gemmell is a best-selling author whose new book, After, is a fiercely brave and powerful memoir; an attempt to understand the ‘death of choice’ of her mother.
Sessions: 76, 98, 117
David Gillespie is a former corporate lawyer and the best-selling author of the Sweet Poison books, Big Fat Lies, Free Schools, Toxic Oil, Eat Real Food and his latest, The Eat Real Food Cookbook.
Sessions: 86, 94
Madeline Gleeson is a lawyer and Senior Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW.
Sessions: 63, 86, 101
After writing almost 40 books for young people, award-winning Morris Gleitzman is one of Australia's most popular children's authors.
Sessions: 8, 36, 64, 93, 115
Roanna Gonsalves came to Australia as an international student in 1998. She has been published in India and Australia. The Permanent Resident is her first book.
Sessions: 1, 30, 98
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's most celebrated writers. Her most recent book is The Case Against Fragrance.
Sessions: 12, 15, 71, 94
Sophie Hamley is a publisher at Hachette Australia. As Sophie Green she is the author of The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club, to be published in Australia, the UK and Europe.
Sessions: 16, 27, 63, 68, 74, 82, 107
Chris Hanley OAM is the Founder of Byron Writers Festival and was Chair for 20 years until 2016. He is the Principal of Byron Bay First National.
Sessions: 47, 65, 77
Professor Peter Harrison is a marine ecologist specialising in coral reefs and whales and is the Director of the Southern Cross University IDEAS Research Institute.
Sessions: 54, 96, 109
David George Haskell
David Haskell is a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of the South. The Forest Unseen was a 2013 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Sessions: 13, 44, 67, 105
David Marr is one of Australia’s most respected journalists. His latest Quarterly Essay is The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race.
Sessions: 8, 54, 108
Dr Lynda Hawryluk is Course Coordinator of the Associate Degree of Creative Writing at Southern Cross University and is published in academic and creative publications.
Sessions: 1, 30, 34, 71, 83
Ashley Hay’s latest novel is A Hundred Small Lessons. Her previous novel, The Railwayman’s Wife, received the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies’ Colin Roderick Award, and the NSWPLA’s People’s Choice.
Sessions: 29, 106
Jerath Head is a writer and editor. He works for Griffith Review and Griffith University’s Policy Innovation Hub.
Jim Hearn is a researcher, writer and chef. He is the author of High Season.Shanghai Baby is his fourth publication with Griffith Review.
Sessions: 93, 104
Anita Heiss (Wiradjuri Nation) manages the Epic Good Foundation and latest novels are Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms and Our Race for Reconciliation.
Sessions: 24, 55, 101
Peter Helliar is an Australian comedian, TV presenter and author of the best-selling time-travel adventure for children, Frankie Fish and the Sonic Suitcase.
Sessions: 33, 41
Lex Hirst is a commissioning editor for Penguin Random House, a festival director and an arts programmer driven by a love of great writing and exciting ideas.
Sessions: 46, 92
From 70’s pop star to hit songwriter to Australian Idol judge and barrister, Mark Holden has done it all and now can include author in that list with My Idol Years.
Sessions: 11, 13
Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's foremost researchers on social trends and the head of research at Essential Media. She is the author of numerous books including Still Lucky: why you should feel optimistic about Australia and its people.
Sessions: 88, 100
Jane’s new book – China Baby Love was published by ABC Books in May. She hosts the ABC-TV interview program One Plus One. She has served as ABC Correspondent in China, the Middle-East and Europe. Her first book From Rice to Riches, documented her family's connections and her reporting experiences in China.
Sessions: 9, 94, 107
Graeme Innes AM is a human rights lawyer, company director and author. Graeme is always "Finding A Way", as a human rights advocate, disability leader, and through marriage and family. He writes with passion and humour.
Sessions: 31, 35, 69, 115, 117
Zacharey Jane’s novel The Lifeboat was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award. Her picture book Tobias Blow is on the NSW Premier’s Reading List.
Sessions: 67, 70, 72, 105
Erik Jensen is the author of Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen. He is editor of The Saturday Paper.
Sessions: 3, 87
Tony Jones has worked as a reporter and foreign correspondent for over 30 years. Today he hosts ABC’s Q&A program on Monday nights. Twentieth Man is his first novel.
Sessions: 46, 52, 84
Hon. Dr Barry Jones is a writer, broadcaster and former Labor member of the Victorian and Federal parliaments. His latest book is The Shock of Recognition.
Sessions: 3, 7, 56
Sarah Kanowski is a presenter of the Books and Arts program on ABC RN. Her essays have appeared in Griffith Review, The Monthly and Australian Book Review.
An Arakwal Bumberbin Bundjalung woman and proud mother and grandmother, Delta is passionate about sharing her culture and protecting Country.
Sessions: 22, 89, 108
Hannah Kent’s debut novel, Burial Rites won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book and the Indie Awards Debut Fiction. Her second novel is The Good People.
Sessions: 75, 110, 113
Anneli Knight is a writer, journalist, and business writing trainer and consultant. She has a PhD in creative writing and is a Byron Writers Festival board member.
Sessions: 18, 50, 100
From the front lines of the Arab Spring revolutions, to the circus of American politics, ABC correspondent Ben Knight has covered the world up close.
Andrew Knight is an award-winning film and television writer and producer. He is currently working on the next series of Rake and Jack Irish.
Hilton Koppe is a local GP and an internationally acclaimed educator and workshop facilitator. His writing has been published in literary and medical journals in Australia and overseas.
Sessions: 22, 27, 89
Laura Kroetsch is the Director of Adelaide Writers’ Week. She is a long-time producer of literary events and an occasional book reviewer and public speaker.
Sessions: 71, 75, 89
Eka Kurniawan was born in 1975 is the author of various novels, short stories, essays, movie scripts, and graphic novels. He lives in Jakarta.
Sessions: 18, 32, 40, 50
Christina Lamb, author of six books, is an award-winning journalist for the Sunday Times and was named Foreign Correspondent of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2007.
Sessions: 26, 96, 102
Award-winning author Steven Lang’s new work, Hinterland, is a gripping novel that captures contemporary Australia in all of its natural beauty and conflicting ambitions.
Sessions: 55, 95
Meshel Laurie is a comedian and radio and television personality. Her latest book is Buddhism For Breakups.
Sylvie Le Clezio
Sylvie Le Clezio is a documentary producer. Her documentaries have been shown internationally. She has won a Walkely, three UN Human Rights Awards and an Atom.
Sessions: 29, 51, 60
Bri Lee is the Founding Editor of the feminist magazine and community, Hot Chicks with Big Brains. Having left a career in the law, her debut memoir, Eggshell Skull, will be published by Allen & Unwin in 2018.
Sessions: 17, 24, 62
David Leser is a multi-award winning journalist who has worked in Australia and internationally for the past 37 years. He is the author of six books.
Hans Lovejoy isThe Echo’s editor, Byron Bay’s independent weekly newspaper. For 31 years it has fearlessly “comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable”.
Sessions: 50, 62, 91
John Lyons was for six years Middle East correspondent of The Australian. He has three Walkleys and a Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award.
Bec Mac is an Arts journalist, provocative performance artist and producer, this charismatic, fast thinking, dynamic host never fails to get her story.
Sessions: 8, 32, 48, 115
Kim Mahood is an award-winning writer and artist based in Wamboin, near Canberra. Her latest book, Position Doubtful, was published in 2016.
Sessions: 11, 27, 44, 85
Kenan Malik is a London-based writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a columnist for the International New York Times. His books include From Fatwa to Jihad and The Quest for a Moral Compass.
Pippa has worked at Curtis Brown since 2001. Over the years she has built a comprehensive list of adult fiction - across both literary and commercial markets.
Sessions: 65, 112
Best-selling author, long-time farmer plus PhD in social change, Charles Massy’s fourth book reveals how regenerative agriculture can save our health and planet.
Sessions: 9, 32, 42, 53
Ben Mckelvey is a Sydney-based freelance journalist and author, and is most comfortable writing about triumph, tragedy and derring-do in far-away places.
Sessions: 5, 72
Caro Meldrum-Hanna is a Gold Walkley and a Logie award- winning reporter with ABC Four Corners. Her 2016 program Australia’s Shame sparked the current Northern Territory Royal Commission. Her 2015 greyhound racing exposé brought the sport to its knees.
Sessions: 23, 109
Performing writer Miles Merrill brought poetry slams to Australia from his home-town Chicago. He is now the driving force for spoken-word programs, events and projects in Australia.
Sessions: 19, 42
Rosemarie Milsom is the director and founder of the Newcastle Writers Festival. She is also a feature writer at the Newcastle Herald.
Sessions: 7, 64, 114
Performance storyteller and novelist Dr. Vayu Naidu was nominated for a Commonwealth Book Award for Sita's Ascent. Her latest book The Sari of Surya Vilas is historical fiction.
Sessions: 2, 46, 51, 55
Mandy Nolan is as an outrageously entertaining stand-up comedian who has leapt into print with three humorous memoirs, the latest of which is Home Truths.
Sessions: 18, 84
Kerry O'Brien is one of Australia's most respected journalists, with six Walkley awards including the Gold Walkley and the Walkley for Outstanding Leadership in journalism.
Mick O'Regan is a journalist and broadcaster with more than two decades experience with the ABC and Seven Network.
Sessions: 45, 48, 65
Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong, Tasmanian and Yuin man based in Gipsy Point, Victoria. His book, Dark Emu won the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Book of the Year.
Sessions: 12, 66, 69, 102
A.S. Patric’s novel, Black Rock White City, is the winner of the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Tex Perkins is a singer-songwriter whose music career spans four decades. He is most well-known as the front-man of the ARIA award-winning band, The Cruel Sea.
sessions: 42, 61, 90, 95, 116
Ailsa Piper is a writer, director, performer, teacher, speaker and broadcaster. Writing The Attachment let her pose big questions - to herself and her co-author.
Lucas Proudfoot is one of Australia’s most versatile children’s performers and now author. Music-story and laughter makes The Proud Foots show a ‘must see’ event.
Sessions: 66, 93, 97
Alice Pung is an award-winning Melbourne writer whose books include Unpolished Gem, and Laurinda, and whose edited collections include Growing Up Asian in Australia.
Karen has recently joined the Scripted team at SBS as Commissioning Editor, and continues to oversee Screen NSW’s Amplifier Adaptation program. She is an experienced film & TV producer.
Sally is a Wiradjuri woman and Head of Scripted Production at ABC TV. She is responsible for leading the Drama, Comedy, Indigenous and Children’s production teams.
Sessions: 6, 101
Sally Rippin is the author of the best-selling Billie B Brown series. Her latest book is Polly and Buster - The Wayward Witch and The Feelings Monster.
Sessions: 16, 66
Mirandi Riwoe’s She be Damned is a neo-Victorian crime novel (penned under M. J. Tjia). Her novella, The Fish Girl, will be released in September.
Sessions: 16, 19, 87
Michael Robotham’s 12 novels so far have been translated into 23 languages and in 2016, Life or Death won the British CWA Gold Dagger Award.
Sessions: 48, 78, 96
Nicolas Rothwell is the award-winning author of many books including Belomor, Heaven & Earth and most recently Quicksilver. He was a senior writer for The Australian.
Sessions: 58, 101
Richard Roxburgh is one of Australia's best-loved and most versatile actors. Artie and the Grime Wave is his first book for children.
Sessions: 54, 103
Magdalena Roze is an award-winning television presenter and meteorologist and host of food podcast, The Pass. Her debut cookbook Happy and Whole was published in April.
Sessions: 15, 44
John Safran is an author, broadcaster, satirist and documentary maker. His new book Depends What You Mean By Extremistdocuments the two years he’s spent Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables.
Sessions: 12, 51, 113
Michael Sala is the author of the multi-award winning The Last Thread (2013) and The Restorer (2017). He lives in Newcastle.
Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review, the award-winning literary and public affairs quarterly journal.
Sessions: 26, 45, 102
Kim Scott’s most recent novel is Taboo. A Noongar man, Kim is Professor of Writing at Curtin University.
Sessions: 16, 27, 113
Jock Serong is the Ned Kelly Award-winning author of The Rules of Backyard Cricket. His current release is On the Java Ridge, available through Text Publishing.
Sessions: 45, 86
Adam Shoemaker is Vice Chancellor of Southern Cross University. He is one of Australia’s leading researchers in Indigenous Literature and has authored and edited eight books in that field.
Sessions: 8, 36, 64
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam is a renowned Pardhan Gond artist. He works with many media and has exhibited widely across the world. Finding My Way is his first book. Venkat lives in Bhopal.
Sessions: 35, 99
Sebastian Smee is the author of The Art of Rivalry and the art critic for the Boston Globe. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2011.
Sessions: 14, 57, 83
Dava Sobel is the author of Longitude, and Galileo's Daughter, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. Her new book is The Glass Universe.
sessions: 41, 57
Australia’s best known (but certainly not best) mathematician is here to make numbers come alive for even the most arithme-phobic of you. Geek on!
sessions: 17, 52, 55
Tracey Spicer is a journalist who’s anchored programs for ABC TV, Network Ten, Channel 9 and Sky News. Her TEDx Talk has 1.5 million views.
Sessions: 112, 118
Jennifer St George
Jennifer St George is an internationally best-selling author of eight romance novels and is the Chair of the Byron Writers Festival.
Adam joined the Copyright Agency as Chief Executive in August 2015 from News Corp, where he was the Director of Policy, Corporate Affairs & Community Relations.
sessions: 4, 69, 106
Heather Taylor Johnson
Heather Taylor Johnson is a novelist, poet and editor with a passion for writing illness and grief, domesticity and trans-nationality.
Peter Thompson is best known as a film critic but he began his professional life as a filmmaker. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1968.
sessions: 106, 110
Holly Throsby is a songwriter, musician and novelist. She has released five critically acclaimed solo albums. Goodwood is her debut novel.
sessions: 5, 13, 72
Laura Tingle has spent most of her 35 year career covering federal politics, and has won two Walkley Awards and the Paul Lyneham Award for Press Gallery Journalism.
sessions: 39, 94, 108
Ian Townsend is a journalist and author. His non-fiction book, Line of Fire, is about an Australian family executed for espionage in World War Two.
sessions: 4, 47, 74
Charlie was the first full-time scientist on the Great Barrier Reef. He has spent 6000 hours diving on reefs and has published widely including his memoir.
sessions: 66, 98
Sandy Verschoor has a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing and a deep love of all things literary.
Lisa Walker is the author of three novels and a radio play produced by ABC Radio National. Her background is in environmental interpretation and education.
Sessions: 25, 114
Dr Wendy Were is an Executive Director at the Australia Council for the Arts and a former Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sydney Writers’ Festival.
sessions: 11, 54, 57, 85
Emrys Westacott is professor of philosophy at Alfred University in New York. His most recent book is The Wisdom of Frugality.
sessions: 12, 29, 33, 106
Kayla Rae Whitaker
Kayla Rae Whitaker was born and raised in Kentucky. She graduated from University of Kentucky and of New York University’s MFA program. The Animators is her first novel.
One of Australia's most respected and admired journalists, Lisa is the former editor of CLEO and Dolly, now host of Channel 9's Today Show and Editor At Large of Huffington Post Australia.
sessions: 57, 59, 83, 85
The author of more than 15 books, Robyn Williams AM has presented science programs on ABC radio and television since 1972.
Sessions: 38, 78, 99. 111
Geordie Williamson is publisher of Picador Australia and former chief literary critic of The Australian. He’s also Editor of Best Australian Essays 2016.
Sessions: 34, 43, 52, 88
Susan Wyndham is a journalist, author and former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Award-winning artist Joshua Yeldham explores a spiritual connection with the Australian landscape across painting, photography and sculpture. Surrender, conceived as a journal for his daughter, is his first book.
sessions: 77, 103
Lawrie Zion has worked for the ABC, The Age, and The Australian, and is Professor of Journalism at La Trobe University. His book The Weather Obsession is out in August.