Byron Writers Festival Feature Events


It is a tradition of Byron Writers Festival to present a plethora of satellite Feature Events across the NSW Northern Rivers region to complement the jam-packed 3-day Program at the Festival site at Elements of Byron. Each Feature Event is separately ticketed and many are free.

“With so many writers, thinkers and commentators in town we like to keep the conversations going well into each evening with a wide variety of thoroughly entertaining special events with creative connections,” says Edwina Johnson, Festival Director. “We partner with local arts organisations in wonderful hinterland venues, collaborating to share and highlight guests from the Festival.”

Intimate, in-depth conversations

At Byron Theatre the master of conversation Richard Fidler will interview biologist and tree whisperer David George Haskell about nature’s great connectors and The Song of Trees (6:30pm, Friday 4 August).

From trees to seas, that conversation will be followed by Charlie Veron, known as the ‘Godfather of Coral’ introducing a special free screening of the lauded documentary Chasing Coral in which he stars (8pm, Friday 4 August). Chasing Coral has received standing ovations at film festivals around the world and we are honoured to be able to screen it at Byron Writers Festival.

On Saturday evening Australian Book Industry Award winner and rock icon Jimmy Barnes will discuss his bestselling, critically acclaimed memoir, Working Class Boy with Matt Condon at Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre (7pm, Saturday 5 August). Earlier in the day 70s pop star and Australian Idol judge Mark Holden will delve into his memoir My Idol Years with charismatic arts journalist and provocative performance artist Bec Mac at Byron Library (1pm, Saturday 5 August).

Richard Fidler returns to Byron Theatre on Saturday evening to interview actor, director, children’s author and illustrator Richard Roxburgh, who plays our favourite ruffled rogue, the bed-hopping barrister in Rake (6:30pm, Saturday 5 August).

Bec Mac will also send sparks flying with razor-sharp satirist John Safran exploring Depends What You Mean By Extremist at NORPA at Lismore City Hall (6:30pm, Friday 4 August). Another hinterland jaunt worth making is to the delightful Moller Pavilion in the Bangalow Showgrounds for one of the kings of crime writing, Michael Robotham in conversation with Mick O’Regan (2pm, Thursday 3 August).

Literary dinners

For those who relish fascinating dinner conversations over delicious food and wine, Byron Writers Festival is presenting two Literary Dinners. ABC TV’s Q&A presenter Tony Jones will reveal all about his debut novel and political thriller The Twentieth Man in conversation with Matt Condon at the sumptuous Byron at Byron resort (7pm, Friday 4 August).

The following evening at Elements of Byron resort, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Mei Fong and Gold Walkley award-winning journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna will discuss critical global affairs and investigative journalism with Rosemarie Milsom in ‘Global Roaming and Probing’ (7pm, Saturday 5 August). Wine for both dinners is generously supplied by noted NSW winery, Audrey Wilkinson.


If you’re looking for an evening that brings many Festival guests together in one event, ‘Best Of Insiders’ at Byron Theatre is where you’ll find Barrie Cassidy, Malcolm Farr, David Marr and Laura Tingle ready to guide you through all the big political events of 2017 so far, including screenings of the most entertaining political videos of the year (6pm, Wednesday 2 August).

Bryan Dawe, Andrew Knight and Ben Knight pay tribute to celebrated satirist John Clarke with ‘Remembering John Clarke’ at Elements of Byron resort (6pm, Friday 4 August). Later that evening at Elements you can get your geek on at ‘Night of the Nerds’ with Tim Flannery, Dava Sobel, Adam Spencer and MC comedian Mandy Nolan in a cerebral celebration of all things science (8pm, Friday 4 August).

For ‘Bedtime Stories’ with an extraordinary twist, head to Byron Theatre where The Saturday Paper editor Erik Jensen has curated a fabulous evening featuring Jennifer Down, Hannah Kent and John Safran retelling their books as if for children with live music provided by ARIA award-winning Sarah Blasko (8pm, Saturday 5 August).

Free Events

Iconic Byron Bay pub The Rails will be hosting two free events – the boundaries of ‘My Most Controversial Thought’ will be pushed with feminist writers Clementine Ford and Bri Lee, performance poet Miles Merrill and arts programmer Lex Hirst (8.15pm, Thursday 3 August) and the perfect Sunday afternoon gathering ‘Writers At The Rails’ featuring poets David Hallett and Arielle Cottingham (2pm, Sunday 6 August).

More poetry is on offer at Byron Library with readings by ‘Dangerously Poetic’ poetry prize-winners and judge Heather Taylor Johnson, with music by choral group Eclecticus (3:30pm, Saturday 5 August). Later in the evening, get ready for two minutes that could change your life with the ‘Byron Heat of the Australian Poetry Slam’ with MC Miles Merrill (6pm, Saturday 5 August).

Visual arts lovers will be spoilt for choice with ‘Artists Books: The Image Unbound’ exhibition at Lone Goat Gallery, Byron; two stunning Joshua Yeldham exhibitions at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Centre with Joshua giving an artist talk (4pm, Friday 4 August); and ‘Art in The Pub’ with author and critic Sebastian Smee at the Courthouse Hotel, Mullumbimby (6pm, Sunday 6 August).

For all details of Feature Events and full Festival Program visit

Byron Writers Festival
4-6 August