Regrettably and with a heavy heart we have made the decision to cancel Byron Writers Festival 2020, which was scheduled to run from 7-9 August. In light of current public health advice regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the cessation of non-essential public gatherings, we have come to this difficult and inevitable choice to protect the health of writers and the entire community.
We believe storytelling, ideas and connection matter more than ever at a time like this and we are reimagining how we might connect writers and thinkers with our audiences this year, including investigating the possibility of a virtual version of the Festival. Watch this space.
We understand this comes as disappointing news to many of you and it goes without saying that the coming months will be incredibly challenging for many of us. The importance of creative gatherings has never been higher so we invite you to save the date for next year’s Byron Writers Festival: 6 – 8 August 2021.
There is much we will need to grieve as we confront the daily reality of this new landscape. We know people are looking for beacons of light and that the power of words can help. Evelyn Araluen was due to be a guest at the Festival this year and has kindly allowed us to share her poem K1: Yellomundee with you (below). She explains that K1: Yellomundee is part of a songline that links many nations throughout NSW.
Stay safe, be well and see you when we next gather again.
Edwina Johnson (Director) and the Byron Writers Festival team
K1: Yellomundee by Evelyn Araluen
Beyond your stage
the audience murmur
men and women weep
and silk their skin bare,
for here and gone and taken.
Held by mostly mountains now
you wear crowns
of returning eucalypt:
I can’t see your lashes
but feel them still soft
like that skin they try to skin
to wear you with words
and all them names they reason
and rub out.
All this might be lonely
unmarked and highwayside
but then the stars come here
to shine the shape of song
and hear you say
to have someone
to talk to.
You can listen to Evelyn’s own reading of this poem via Red Room Poetry.
For further details about the 2020 Festival, please refer to our updated FAQs Page.
Did you know that Byron Writers Festival received relatively little public funding – under 20% of our total revenue – with a majority coming from people like you. To ensure we can continue to support and celebrate writers, readers and storytellers please make a donation today. As a not-for-profit organisation run with a small team of staff and volunteers, contributions of any size go a long way in enriching the creative culture of our community. Amounts over $2 are tax deductible. To find out more, click here.
The sun shone under a bluebird sky after a rainbow-dappled Friday to the delight of weekend Festival-goers. An unforgettable weekend for our guests and patrons alike.
And we’re off!
Babara Toner finds her funny bone with Toni Jordan and Mandy Nolan
Lessons in scarf-wearing: Head, neck and shoulders.
Nevo Zisin on growing up queer in Australia
#MeToo: Where To? with Amal Awad, Ginger Gorman, David Leser and Tracey Spicer
Tara June Winch lays down the law when it comes to creativity and motherhood
The PM Years with Kevin Rudd
John Marsden on The Art of Growing Up
No pots of gold unfortunately, but plenty of golden nuggets at the end of these rainbows!
Vicki Laveau-Harvie on Memoir: Running in the Family
Dr Julia Shaw delves into our darker thoughts on Exploring Evil with Gianrico Carofiglio
Markus Zusak on crossing his Bridge of Clay
Storm Clouds stayed at bay for most of the day
Natasha Stott Despoja, Scott Ludlam and Dennis Atkins tackle the question: What’s Happened to our Politics
Lisa-ann Gershwin on the joys of jellyfish
Crusaders Against Corruption
Roman Quaedvlieg on Crusaders Against Corruption
Kate McClymont on Crusaders Against Corruption
Ash Grunwald shares some acoustic tunes in his session
Bruce Pascoe, Bronwyn Bancroft and Karla Dickens share a joke with chair Adam Shoemaker in The Stories Embedded in Landscape
Bruce Pascoe enjoys a good ribbing
Streaming in on Saturday under our Festival flags
Delta Kay takes flight for Welcome to Country
Mob reunions with Melissa Lucashenko, Uncle Jack Charles and Delta Kay
Getting their kicks
Well… THAT was funny
Sarah Hanson Young shares a laugh on ‘The Mental Load: A Woman’s Lot
Gabbie Stroud’s heartfelt experiences resonate with many
Sharing the load in The Mental Load
Natasha Stott Despoja on Domestic Violence: A National Emergency
Full house for Resilience, Strength and Adversity with Leigh Sales, Chloe Hooper and Tim Costello
Soaking it up
Uncle Jack Charles had us laughing and crying in his memorable conversation
The Sculpture Appreciation Society strike a pose
Dr Julia Shaw strikes a pose
Bruce Pascoe’s conversation with Kerry O’Brien drew capacity crowds under a sunny winter’s sky
A standing ovation for Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu conversation with Kerry O’Brien
Adam Spence and Eddie Woo get their geek on in Amazing Mathematics
An overflowing room sits riveted to Behrouz Boochani, live streamed from Manus Island
Min Jin Lee, Benjamin Law, Jennifer Clement and Markus Zusak on the Family as Saga
Jennifer Clement reflects on Family Saga
Question time with Alison Lester at Kids Big Day Out
Hands up for Morris Gleitzman at Kids Big Day Out
Our 2019 Story Sleuths with Tristan Bancks
The StoryBoard Story Space in action at Kids Big Day Out
Alison Lester’s mural gets some finishing touches
A.C. Grayling inspires the next generation of philosophers
A.C. Grayling delivers the annual Thea Astley Address on Democracy and its Crisis
Sitting back for Democracy and its Crisis
Hung Le relives one of many awkward moments…v
And the audience laps it up!
Taking time out to reflect
Dmon Gameau on his hopes for 2040 with Nathan Scolaro
Ending the weekend on a high note with Shire Choir
Shire Choir’s Malea Naughton
Coming together as community to celebrate and rejoice!
A HUGE thank you to all of our WONDERFUL volunteers!! Your smiles and generosity are what make this Festival truly special!A HUGE thank you to all of our WONDERFUL volunteers!! Your smiles and generosity are what make this Festival truly special!
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