Literary festival is more than just books, writers

The Byron Bay Writers Festival has much more to offer book worms than just its marquee program.

Festival director Jeni Caffin said the festival aimed to present a rich and intense literary experience with the added and indelible flavour of Byron Bay.

“You will find features unique to the Byron program and you are urged to immerse yourself in those raw-edged events that define this festival, in this wildly individual place,” she said.

“While canny audience members will have bought their three-day passes, organisers advise that this is the time to secure tickets to the range of individually priced feature events.

“We have a sumptuous offering of lunches, dinners and meet the writer opportunities this year, ranging from a very budget minded $20, through to the yummy foodie features.

“We've pulled rabbits out of hats to ensure that all readers and writers have a chance of tailor making their festival experience to suit their tastes and pockets.”

Saturday night's Writers' Cabaret, introduced in 2008, is already proving a crowd pleaser, with a lively mix of song, dance, spoken word and hula hooping.

To be held in the Byron Bay RSL Club's Pandanus Room, the evening will showcase writers as performers.

“Last year I sent a questing email to participating writers, thinking there might be three or four prepared to share their secret abilities and was overwhelmed with the positive response,” Ms Caffin said.

“I wondered whether perhaps that was a one hit wonder, but am happy to report the line up this year will combine acts of great virtuosity with displays of brazen bravura and lavish splashes of sheer madness.”

Expect Tom Keneally to sing; Linda Jaivin will provide a three minute version of Shakespeare's 'Venus' and 'Adonis'; climate change expert Ian Lowe will provide a version of 'Goodnight Irene' rewritten as 'Goodbye Howard' and best selling memoirist Oren Siedler's string trio will play.

“If for no other reason, get yourself a ticket to see debut novelist Judith Lanigan perform 'The Dying Swan' with 30 hula hoops, Ms Caffin said.

The festival will be held from August 7-9 at Belongil Fields.

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