James Redfield headlines the In Search of Soul program at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival


James Redfield, author of the global phenomenon The Celestine Series, will headline the new ‘In Search of Soul’ program at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival being held 5-7 August.


Festival Director Candida Baker formulated the ‘In Search of Soul’ series to explore the spiritual and philosophical state of the world. “When I developed the Festival’s theme Feel the Passion I felt it was important to include a special program of sessions exploring spirituality,” says Baker. “James Redfield, with his blockbuster book The Celestine Prophecy, propelled new age thinking onto the global stage in the mid-90s and I believe he will be a fascinating commentator on spirituality and the role it plays in today’s society.”

When author and therapist James Redfield self-published his first novel in 1993, the immediate ground swell of enthusiasm from booksellers and readers made The Celestine Prophecy one of the most successful self-published books of all time. According to Publishing Trends, in 1995 and 1996 The Celestine Prophecy was the #1 American book in the world, and the #1 international bestseller of 1996 (#2 in 1995). The book spent 165 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and was translated into 34 languages. Redfield’s fourth and final book in the Celestine series, The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision, was published by Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner books) in February, 2011.

From an early age, Redfield was motivated by a need for clarity about spiritual matters. As a young man, he studied Eastern philosophies, including Taoism and Zen, while majoring in sociology at Auburn University. He later received a Master’s degree in counselling. After 15 years as a therapist he quit his job to write full-time, synthesizing his interest in interactive psychology, Eastern and Western philosophies, science, futurism, ecology, and history.

Baker believes The Celestine Prophecies – In Conversation with James Redfield event sponsored by The Art of Healing Magazine being held at the Byron Bay community centre will be a sell-out. “Best-selling Australian science fiction and fantasy author, Traci Harding will explore with Redfield the Celestine phenomenon and the impact it has had around the world,” says Baker. “Redfield will also discuss his latest book, The Twelfth Insight which deals with putting spiritual knowledge into practice.”

The Festival offers visitors many opportunities to delve into spirituality in its many forms. “I think one of the most fascinating sessions is Animals as healers and totems in literature,” says Baker. “Kim Falconer (Encryption Series), Scott Alexander-King (Animal Dreaming) and Helen Brown (Cleo) will explore this intriguing topic with Barry Eaton (Afterlife – Uncovering The Secrets of Life After Death),” Baker says.

Baker predicts another session bound to attract significant attention is Gods, diseases, tribes and seeking the sacred: “The session features David Tacey (Gods and diseases: making sense of our physical and mental wellbeing), Mike McRae (Tribal science – brains, beliefs and bad ideas) and Stephanie Dowrick (Seeking the sacred: transforming our view of ourselves and one another) and will no doubt generate lively and animated debate.”

Other ‘In search of soul’ sessions include the Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield in conversation with Maggie Hamilton; the transformational power of trauma with Helen Brown, Bill Leak and Paul Cox; The science of energy in words with universal medicine creator Serge Benhavon; The divine feminine and self-transformation with Stephanie Dowrick, Jane Meredith and Gillian Ross and Deliberate creation – bringing a book to life with Stephanie Dowrick, Traci Harding and James Redfield. The ‘in search of soul’ series is sponsored by Allen & Unwin.

With tickets selling fast, Baker encourages believes not is the time to buy a ticket. “If people are thinking about coming to the Festival, I advise them to visit the office or the website now,” Baker says. “The Feel the Passion Festival, with its strong mix of local and international talent, its focus on words from a diverse range of mediums including music, art, sculpture and drama and the fantastic Youth Day packed with some of Australia’s and the world’s best up-coming talent, is proving a tantalizing mix of entertainment.”

To purchase tickets to The Celestine Prophecies – In Conversation with James Redfield (Saturday 6 August 7pm – $40) or other Festival events visit www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.