10 sessions not to miss at Byron Writers festival
GET your scarves ready- the Byron Bay Writers festival line up has been unveiled.
Bookworms of all shapes and sizes are now getting ready for the August weekend, making sure the scarves match their water-proof footwear.
We have gone through the whole program like a grandparent picking nits from an unruly Byron-raised child, and prepared a list of 10 not-to-be-missed literary events this year:
Friday, August 2
1. Kevin Rudd in conversation with Karen Middleton:
What better way to get a full on weekend started than having a chat to one of the most divisive figures in politics of the last 30 years. He will discuss The PM Years, his 2018 book.
After years of silence, the 26th Prime Minister of Australia is finally on the record about his time in government, in this second volume of his autobiography.
This is the memoir of a prime minister full of energy and ideals, while battling the greatest trials of the modern age. This is Kevin Rudd's response to the ultimate political - and personal - betrayal.
2. A.C. Grayling on How Philosophy has Changed History:
A. C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, UK. He has written and edited numerous works of philosophy and is the author of biographies of Descartes and William Hazlitt.
He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society.
He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer and other publications. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups.
His new book is called The History of Philosophy, where takes the reader from the world views and moralities before the age of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates through Christianity's capture of the European mind, from the Renaissance and Enlightenment on to Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre and, finally, philosophy today.
3. Boys Will Be Boys, Clementine Ford talks to Rosemarie Wilson:
Is she the biggest man-hater in Australia, or is she allowing us to discuss what feminism means to Australian men and our sons?
Her latest book, Boys Will Be Boys, marketed by publisher Allen and Unwin as "incendiary", examines what needs to change for that equality to become a reality. It answers the question most asked of Clementine: 'How do I raise my son to respect women and give them equal space in the world? How do I make sure he's a supporter and not a perpetrator?'
Saturday, August 3
4. Leigh Sales in conversation with Rosemarie Wilson:
Fangirls of the world, unite. Leigh Sales, one of the most respected female figures in Australia is coming to Byron Bay. Fresh from taking on every political heavyweight in the country in ABC's 7.30, she is also one half of Chat 10 Looks 3, a popular podcast where she discusses books, television, radio, movies, food, politics and whatever else she feels like with colleague and friend Annabel Crabb.
Sales will discuss a more serious topic, her book An Ordinary Day, where the dual Walkley Award-winner investigates how ordinary people endures the unthinkable.
5. Growing Up African in Australia:
Sara El Sayed and Carly Findlay will sit with Maxine Beneba Clarke for a chat about the highs and lows of being the most visible minority in the country.
El Sayed's book Growing Up African in Australia was compiled by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke, with curatorial assistance from writers Ahmed Yussuf and Magan Magan. Told with passion, power and poise, these are the stories of African-diaspora Australians.
Contributors include Faustina Agolley, Santilla Chingaipe, Carly Findlay, Khalid Warsame, Nyadol Nyuon, Tariro Mavondo and many more.
6. How to be an Ethical Carnivore:
Not into munching on asparagus and cauliflower all day long, but can't get yourself to finally 'process' the two cows you bought for your three-acre hobby farm because the kids gave them names?
This one's for you.
Matthew Evans talks to Nicole Abadee about his new book On Eating Meat.
Going vegan might be all the rage, but the fact is the world has an ever-growing, insatiable appetite for meat - especially cheap meat.
This former food critic and chef, now farmer and restaurateur grapples with the thorny issues around the ways we produce and consume animals. Evans calls for less radicalisation, greater understanding, and for ethical omnivores to stand up for the welfare of animals and farmers alike. Sure to spark intense debate.
7. Crusaders Against Corruption:
Arguably three of the top ten 'must-follow' list of the Australian Twitterverse, Ginarico Carofliglio, Kate McClymont and Roman Quaedvlieg will sit for this panel with Matthew Condon.
Where do we start? Well, as the old saying goes, all roads lead to Roman.
Roman Quaedvlieg 's new book is called Tour de Force, and if the lawyers allowed this book to actually come out, it will be a ripper.
The book tells the story of Quaedvlieg going from rookie policeman in Fortitude Valley to three decades later, when he found himself navigating through the corridors of power in Canberra.
A not-to-be-missed session.
Sunday, August 4
8. No Friend But the Mountains - Writing from Manus Prison:
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since.
He's still there and he will appear via video link.
This book is his story, laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from Farsi to English.
Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
Boochani was the Winner of the NSW Premier's Award 2019 and the Abia General Non-fiction Book Of The Year 2019 for this book, and also won the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize For Literature And For Non-fiction 2019.
Hottest session of the festival, by far. Sorry Kevin.
9. Kerry O'Brien:
After moving to the Byron Shire and becoming a confirmation of Bangalow's social superiority on the Northern Rivers, the former ABC journalist and TV presenter wrote his memoir here.
It could be a long book of name dropping, after all O'Brien has interviewed from Nelson Mandela to Barack Obama, almost everyone that is anyone in the world, but what makes the book a great read, and O'Brien a fantastic asset to the Northern Rivers, is his poignant reflection on history, his insight on people and power and the warmth he exudes when he speaks to his audiences.
Baby boomer magnet. Certified.
10. Damon Gameau:
Another Bangalow resident making the tiny village feel socially superior, but this time with a truckload of film making, and a positive attitude towards the future.
2040 is a letter to his daughter Velvet, it's a book that allows people to educate themselves in positive environmental action, and offers a long list of things everyone can do to help the planet and better the future. The book follows a successful documentary currently on cinemas around Australia.
A great way to end the festival in a positive, hopeful note.
- Byron Writers Festival will be held from August 2 to 4. The full program is out now. For details visit byronwritersfestival.com.