Byron Writers Festival 2022 explores ‘Radical Hope’

18 July 2022 by Sam Smith

How can we approach our current moment with radical hope? This is the question that will reverberate through Byron Writers Festival this year.

“Now is the time for a radical kind of hope. A hope that imagines the world new, while looking our challenges dead in the eye. A hope that refuses to be beaten down and finds delight and joy in everything this wonderful life and earth have to offer. I invite you to join some of our greatest thinkers and masters of the writing craft at this year’s Byron Writers Festival, to celebrate the power of writing and storytelling to transcend our current reality,” says Artistic Director, Zoe Pollock.

Radical hope will be front and centre in discussions about climate change and how we can address it with real world solutions. Leading thinkers will come together at the festival to share their visions of a greener future and how to get there. These include A.C. Grayling, Damon Gameau, Bruce Pascoe, Joëlle Gergis, Delia Falconer, Marian Wilkinson, Claire O’Rourke, Tim Hollo, Matthew Evans, Mia Thom and inventor, engineer and author of The Big Switch: Australia’s Electric Future Saul Griffith.

“There are strong reasons to believe that we might be about to launch the most transformative movement in history – a movement that redefines our extractive relationship with the planet, lightens our footprint and improves our lives. It might just be the luckiest time, in the luckiest country,” says Griffith.

There is also space for local reflections on the devastation of recent events, the power of storytelling on the long road to recovery, and hearing from those who have come through the 2019-20 bushfires, with Sunday’s program particularly focussed on community resilience and healing.

Radical hope peppers the many conversations at the festival celebrating First Nations knowledge and voices, such as ‘First Nations Science’ with astronomers Krystal De Napoli, Karlie Noon and DeadlyScience founder Corey Tutt, ‘Indigenous Healing’ with Judy Atkinson, Paul Callaghan and Marcia Langton and ‘Learning from Country’ with Bruce Pascoe.

Finally, radical hope is about celebrating the human condition and our collective urge to fight for what we love, so there’s plenty of uplifting conversations to feed your soul. Hear from Julia Baird and Indira Naidoo on the power of nature to restore. Trent Dalton will share his Love Stories and you can get your hands dirty in the world of gardening with Costa Georgiadis and Matthew Evans. Immerse yourself in the poetry of Evelyn Araluen, Anne-Marie Te Whiu, Thando Sibanda and Sarah Holland Batt, and be inspired by the incredible life stories of Aaron Fa’aoso, Akuch Akuol Anyieth, Amani Haydar and Chloe Hooper, who all offer extraordinary examples of living with great strength.

“If your love of life is faltering, a weed will certainly set you straight… Their domain in the city may be within the cracks, but cracks are also how the light gets in.” Indira Naidoo from The Space Between the Stars

Event details and tickets

For full program, go to

1 and 3-Day Passes for Byron Writers Festival 2022 are available via

Keynote: Radical Hope (Feature Event)

Saturday 27 August
Byron Theatre

How can we approach our current moment with radical hope? Five leading thinkers will consider how we can look unflinchingly at our cultural and environmental situation, while finding a new way to imagine our future. With A.C. Grayling, Damon Gameau, Anne-Marie Te Whiu, Mia Thom and Thando Sibanda and featuring a special musical performance by Nidala Barker.

Supported by Southern Cross University and 89 Degrees East


Sam Smith