Jeni returns to writers fest job

SHE’S BACK: Jeni Caffin relaxes in Bali before returning to direct the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – a job she held from 2006 to 2010.
SHE’S BACK: Jeni Caffin relaxes in Bali before returning to direct the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – a job she held from 2006 to 2010.

SHE'S been one of the major driving forces behind the prestigious Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, but now Jeni Caffin is returning home to head up next year's Byron Bay Writers' Festival.

After an absence of two years, Jeni, a former festival director and Byron Shire resident, will take over the reins of the popular Byron literary event and will also resume her role as director of the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre (NRWC).

Outgoing director Jonathan Parsons, who helped deliver one of the festival's most popular and successful events this year, is moving on to head up two major arts projects in Brisbane and Sydney.

Chair of the NRWC, Chris Hanley, said the centre was excited to welcome Jeni back.

"I am particularly pleased to be renewing my professional relationship with Jeni, as we have worked very closely together during her previous tenure as director and I really enjoy her energy, her ideas and her passion for our organisation and for this community," he said.

Ms Caffin is presently in Ubud putting the finishing touches to the 2012 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

"I'm champing at the bit for new challenges in Byron," Jeni said.

"I can't quite believe that I am in the privileged position of once again calling myself director of the NRWC and BBWF.

"I have had two brilliant years tearing around the world since leaving the Byron Bay nest, much of that time spent as international program director for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, and there's a job-and-a-half.

"Now I'm coming home. Not the same home I left, the NRWC and BBWF have moved on, so let's celebrate new directions."

Mr Hanley paid tribute to Mr Parsons and said he had done a wonderful job as director.

"Jonathan was contracted on short notice for this year's festival, and the committee and the community wish to thank him for all his hard work," he said.

"The outstanding success of this year's festival, which saw record crowds, has helped to stabilise the finances of the Writers' Centre.

"Extreme financial difficulties after the 2011 festival forced a radical restructure of the NRWC, which included cutting staff and separating the role of festival director."

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