Nourish your mind with these six Mind Spa sessions

We’re inviting the curious, open-minded and deeply compassionate to get in touch with the magic world of the Mind Spa marquee at Byron Writers Festival 2023, this 11-13 August. 

This venue will stir your imagination, then transport you to a peaceful place to reflect, reconnect and revive. The mind, like the body, needs a delicate balance of rest and stimulation and this venue is designed to be like a day spa, for your brain. 

Let’s take a look at six sessions that will nourish your mind at this year’s festival in Bangalow. 

As technology reshapes our work and leisure time and corporate giants exploit our personal data for profit, the concept of ‘free time’ takes on new meanings. In the session All Work and No Play, André Dao, Suneel Jethani and Carody Culver discuss Griffith Review 81: The Leisure Principle, which explores the paradox of work-life balance, Big Tech’s incursion into our private lives and the capitalist trap of contemporary recreation.

First Nations Design will harness the power of First Nations knowledges to create positive change for our future. In this session Paul Memmott, Alison Page and Rudi Bremer will take a look at ancient belief systems and practices on Country, and discuss the principles that could revolutionise building practices in Australia, creating better outcomes for all.

With everything that seems to be going on in the world, happiness seems to be the one thing humans are striving for the most. But is that happiness really attainable or is compassion the most healthy mind state? James Kirby, Hilton Koppe, and Robert Waldinger discuss with David Roland the merits of achieving tranquillity through compassion in the uplifting session Happy or Wise?

Could The Art of Noticing also enhance the human experience? In this insightful session, novelists Susan Johnson, Maggie MacKellar, and Peter Polites reveal to Jill Eddington how they mine everyday life and familial experiences for personal stories to enrich their fiction. 

On the topic of family and fiction, you’re likely aware that at the centre of all family bonds is a sense of duty to care. In the session Caring, Belonging Shankari Chandran, Susan Johnson, Jessica Kirkness and Sarah Armstrong will explore what care means against the back-drop of the current world.

Whatever happens in the external world, it is important to harness and protect your own sense of inner calm. Inner Wilds: Calming the Storm will have Brigid Delaney, Ahona Guha, and James Kirby discuss with Antony Funnell how we can all achieve a more peaceful way of being. These writers have each thought deeply about how worry and trauma make the case for compassion and will open their minds, to yours in heartfelt conversation.

This year’s theme is Wild Imagination, and the Mind Spa will leave you with a fresh perspective on what it means to be living the human experience; with people to love, a planet to nurture and a mind to master.

See you there!

Sessions accessible via a 1-Day or 3-Day festival pass, available to purchase at

Byron Writers Festival