WRITER"S SPIRIT: Byron Writers Festival Vice Chair Adam van Kempen and Chair Jennifer St George join this year's festival volunteers as they prepare for this year's festival which starts Friday 3rd August. Lyn McCarthy

Volunteers the heart and soul of festival

BYRON Writers Festival wore its heart on its sleeve last Saturday when more than 200 volunteers gathered to be welcomed, briefed and T-shirted in preparation for the festival, that opens tomorrow and runs until Sunday, August 5.

This year's festival will feature more than 140 international, national and local writers, thinkers and commentators.

"We're headed into the final stretch to the 22nd Byron Writers Festival and I am thrilled that this year's program has been so enthusiastically embraced by locals and visitors alike," said festival director Edwina Johnson.

"Australia's largest regional literary event is made possible by a very small team of staff, a volunteer board, the support of the community and sponsors and a legion of volunteers who represent the heart of this festival."

Festrival volunteer co-ordinator Shien Chee said: "Our volunteers range from 18 years to 70-plus and come from all across the Northern Rivers region and beyond.

"They are a wonderful group who love reading, writing and the exchange of ideas. More than 70 per cent of the team are returnee volunteers, which says a lot about our festival loyalty and commitment."

"From the moment you walk through the gate of the festival, the volunteers are there to help you have the best experience possible. They do everything from hosting the marquees, ushering, parking and much, much more."

Ms Johnson said the organisers received "wonderful feedback from writers and audiences about our friendly helpful volunteers".

For details of what's on offer, go to byronwriters festival.com.

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