Pakistani-born writer Tariq Ali.
Pakistani-born writer Tariq Ali. Contributed

Byron Bay Writers Festival line up unveiled

THE Byron Bay Writers Festival has announced its full line up of literary stars for this year's event.

To be held for three days in August 7-9, the 19th Byron Bay Writers Festival will deliver a program comprising over 160 sessions featuring celebrated international and Australian authors, thinkers and innovators.

Some of the guests in this year's line-up are Tariq Ali and David Vann.

They will join the headliners already announced: Helen Garner, Joan London, Kate Grenville and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Byron Bay Writers Festival Director, Edwina Johnson, seeks to build on the success of the 2014 Festival and amplify its reach within the region.

"More and more there is a need to cultivate and conjure community conversations about the issues that matter, and to explore the creative process," she said.

"What drives it, sustains it, and affects it in our harried lives.

"I invite you to join us to examine the world as it is and imagine how it might be.

"Throughout the festival our guest poets, novelists, historians, journalists, biographers, memoirists, comedians and songwriters will challenge, entertain and share their inspirations and insights," Ms Johnson said.

Some of the writers in this year's line up are:


Tariq Ali (UK/Pakistan)

TARIQ ALI is an English Pakistani writer, journalist, and filmmaker. He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso (Spanish for Without Permission), and contributes to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books. He is the author of several books, including Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power (1970), Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State (1991), Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope (2006), Conversations with Edward Said (2005), Bush in Babylon (2003), and Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002), A Banker for All Seasons (2007), The Duel (2008), The Obama Syndrome (2010) and The Extreme Centre: A Warning (2015).

His book Bush in Babylon criticises the 2003 invasion of Iraq by American president George W. Bush. This book has a unique style, using poetry and critical essays in portraying the war in Iraq as a failure. His previous book, Clash of Fundamentalisms, puts the events of the September 11 attacks in historical perspective, covering the history of Islam from its foundations. Ali has remained a critic of modern neoliberal economics. He supports the model of Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. He has been described as "the alleged inspiration" for the Rolling Stones' song Street Fighting Man, recorded in 1968.


Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)

CHIGOZIE OBIOMA was born in Akure, Nigeria, and has lived in Cyprus, Turkey, and now in the United States where he completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Michigan. A recipient of multiple Hopwood Awards in fiction and poetry, he was a 2012 OMI fellow at Ledig House International Writer's Colony in New York. Starting later this year, he will be an Assistant professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Nebraska. The Fishermen is his first novel.


Writer Helen Garner.
Writer Helen Garner. Contributed

Helen Garner (Victoria)

Helen Garner was born in Geelong. Her first novel, Monkey Grip, won the 1978 National Book Council Award, and was adapted for film in 1981. Since then she has published novels, short stories, essays, and feature journalism including The First Stone, Joe Cinque's Consolation and The Spare Room which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction and the Barbara Jefferis Award. Her most recent book is This House of Grief.


Writer Joan London.
Writer Joan London. Abby London

Joan London (Western Australia)

JOAN LONDON is an Australian author of short stories, screenplays and novels. She graduated from the University of Western Australia having studied English and French. London is the author of two collections of stories. The first, Sister Ships, won The Age Book of the Year (1986), and the second, Letter to Constantine, won the Steele Rudd Award and the West Australian Premier's Award for Fiction (both in 1994). Ther were published together as The New Dark Age. She has published three novels: Gilgamesh, The Good Parents and The Golden Age.


Samantha Turnbull (Byron Bay)

Samantha Turnbull is the author of The Anti-Princess Club series, published this year. While browsing the book aisles of major department stores and finding nothing but princess and fairy books for her daughter, Sam went home to write her first manuscript. She won the 2014 Byron Bay Writers Festival poetry slam. She is also a multimedia reporter for the ABC, based in Byron Bay.


Lismore writer Eben Venter.
Lismore writer Eben Venter. Contributed

Eben Venter (Lismore)

EBEN VENTER was raised on a sheep farm in South Africa. He migrated to Australia in 1986. His latest novel, Wolf, Wolf, was published in March 2013 in English and Afrikaans. It was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Award and won the rich KykNet-Rapport prize. His novels have also been translated into Dutch and German. He lives in Lismore with his partner. This year Wolf, Wolf was published in the UK and Australia by Scribe.


For more details and the full line up visit or call 1300 368 552.



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