Big names, big sessions! Compelling stories you won’t want to miss…


E True life stories have the power to inspire and provoke change. Share these fascinating one-on-one conversations with some of biggest names on the 2018 Festival bill.



We are delighted to announce that Sarah Ferguson of ABC TV’s Four Corners has recently joined the Byron Writers Festival 2018 line-up. In her new book, On Mother, she writes with poignant clarity about her relationship with her mother over decades and across continents.

Ferguson will be in conversation with Chris Hanley at 11am, Friday 3 August in the Southern Cross University Marquee.


Foreign correspondent Peter Greste spent two decades reporting from the frontline in the world’s most dangerous countries before making headlines himself following his incarceration in an Egyptian prison.

The First Casualty is his enlightening firsthand account of how the war on journalism spread from the battlefields of the Middle East to the governments of the West.


Accidental activist, jailed rebel, her family harassed to the point of moving countries. She sounds radical, but all Saudi Arabian Daring to Drive author Manal al-Sharif ever wanted to do was drive her car.

For Manal, driving is symbolic of all the freedoms and independence that women living under guardianship lack. Her bravery in action and recognition of the dignity of simple freedoms are inspiring and humbling.

Manal al-Sharif will be appear in conversation with Mick O’Regan at 2pm on Saturday 4 August.


Tim Rogers of You Am I has always been a complicated man: a hard-drinking musician with the soul of a poet; flamboyant flâneur; a raconteur, a romantic. In his offbeat, endearing memoir Detours, Tim pens his inner monologue – years jam-packed with love, shame, joy, enthusiasms, regrets, fights, family – and music, always music.

Tim Rogers will be in conversation with Bernard Zuel, 12.30pm Saturday 4 August. He will also host Festival smash hit Bedtime Stories, 8.30pm Friday 3 August at the Byron Theatre.


Hyeonseo Lee’s escape from North Korea to China at age 17 did not make her life easier. She could not return, since rumours of her escape were spreading and punishment, including possible public execution, was a real risk. Twelve years later, she would return to the North Korean border in a daring mission to spirit her mother and brother to South Korea, on one of the most dangerous journeys imaginable.

Hyeonseo Lee tells her extraordinary story in her memoir The Girl with Seven Names and will appear in conversation with Jane Hutcheon at 11am on Friday 3 August.


Never shy of adventure, accomplished violinist Emma Ayers moved to Kabul to teach music. Living and working in war-torn Afghanistan would be challenging for anyone; for children’s author and travel memoirist Eddie Ayers it forced him to see the truth of who he is and come home. Transforming from Emma to Eddie, the former ABC Classic FM Breakfast host courageously came out as transgender in the full glare of the spotlight. Danger Music is his story.

Eddie Ayres will be in conversation with Bernard Zuel, 12pm Friday 3 August.