Writers festivals facilitate moments for writers, who are frequently introverted personalities, to connect with their readers – and they’re always a mixed bag. What are some of the moments at Byron Writers Festival that have been unforgettable connections between writers and their readers?
This is my first festival as Artistic Director, but I’m told UK poet Lemn Sissay in 2018 was electrifying as he openly shared his traumatic story and pathway to healing, peppered with his powerful poetry readings – the standing ovation lasted over 5 minutes as audiences cheered and cried!
Bruce Pascoe is definitely a favourite amongst festival audiences, who in 2019 shared his deep knowledge for country with love and humility to a capacity crowd. We’re so pleased to have him back with his latest book Country: Future Fire, Future Dreaming this year.
There’s often a moment when a high profile public figure steals our hearts — Tanya Plibersek, Jimmy Barnes, Magda Szubanski and Tim Costello are just a few ‘big names’ who have surprised audiences with their raw honesty and vulnerability. Our authors often comment on how relaxed they feel in front of our lovely Byron audiences, it’s hard not to open up to them, I guess.
And then there’s all the hidden gems that we love presenting on stage each year to share their stories to enraptured audiences, who are too many to mention but there’s plenty to discover in 2022!
The theme of our most recent issue of Dumbo Feather is A Meaningful Life. How do reading, books and writers contribute to that life of meaning that we all seek?
I believe passionately that our reading habits build over a lifetime a rich and layered world view. Reading opens us up to different experiences and perspectives and can deepen our knowledge beyond our personal sphere. Books and literature act as a companion to our lives, providing solace when we need it, stimulating new ideas and ways of thinking and acting as worlds of escape. I still carry books in my heart that I read as a child or that made a great impression on me as a young woman. At writers festivals we celebrate this life of the mind and those of us who engage us in this incredible journey.