Australia’s largest regional writers festival returns with the theme of ‘Radical Hope’.

Featuring Evelyn Araluen, Chelsea Watego, Jackie Huggins, Marcia Langton, Melissa Lucashenko, Bruce Pascoe, Bronwyn Bancroft, Aaron Fa’aoso, Steven Oliver, Fiona Foley, Judy Atkinson, Paul Callaghan, Daniel Browning, Grace Lucas-Pennington, Rhoda Roberts, Veronica Gorrie and more.

Held on the lands of the Arakwal Bumberbin and Minjungbal peoples of the Bundjalung Nation, we pay respect to the traditional owners of these lands and acknowledge them as the original storytellers of this region.

This year’s Byron Writers Festival will feature more than 20 Indigenous writers and storytellers, with a large contingent of local Bundjalung voices joining the festival to lead discussions with a focus on healing and learning. The stories of Australia’s eminent and emerging First Nations writers will be at the forefront of the festival held on Arakwal Bumberbin and Minjungbal country of the Bundjalung Nation, where stories have been told for thousands of years. Writers and festival patrons will be welcomed to the festival grounds on Friday 26 August by Minjungbal elder Aunty Leanna Jenkins.

“Byron Writers Festival has again delivered a strong and tightly curated program which platforms leading First Nations thinkers, writers and poets from across the continent – a diverse range of voices that are much at the forefront of our national dialogue. Here in Byron, festival goers will be treated to a truly distinctive program, including conversations that are Indigenous-led, inviting our audiences to sit down, and engage critically and respectfully with First Nations cultures and communities in all their diversity,” says the ABC’s Editor of Indigenous Radio, Byron Writers Festival Board Member, and Bundjalung man Daniel Browning.

Big discussions about the ongoing impacts of colonisation will be presented at the main festival site with some of the country’s leading intellectuals including Marcia Langton, Jackie Huggins, Chelsea Watego and Veronica Gorrie, who won the Victorian Prize for Literature for her memoir, Black & Blue. The Thea Astley Address will be delivered by Professor Judy Atkinson on the power of stories to heal.

Black Comedy stars Steven Oliver and Aaron Fa’aoso will join a line-up of entertaining and talented writers that includes Bronwyn and Ella Noah Bancroft, Danny Teece-Johnson and emerging authors Megan Albany and Mykaela Saunders.

The program will showcase experts in First Nations science including Bruce Pascoe, Corey Tutt and Krystal De Napoli and Karlie Noon, whose book Sky Country explores Indigenous astronomy. Mia Thom, an emerging Bundjalung leader who was co-organiser of the School Strike for Climate movement within the Byron Shire will take part in the panel ‘Leaders for the New Age’ and Saturday night feature event ‘Radical Hope’. Paul Callaghan will share how Indigenous thinking can change your life in sessions focused on healing and wellbeing.

“No writers’ festival in Australia would be complete without a strong representation of First Nations voices,” said Artistic Director Zoe Pollock. “Particularly in this moment, when we are facing the climate crisis head on, more space needs to be created for Indigenous people to share their knowledge and lead discussions around the way forward.”

In the evenings the Brunswick Picture House will become a hub of highlight events including ‘Bundjalung Nghari – Indigenise’ presented in association with theatre company NORPA and curated by Rhoda Roberts featuring Bundjalung stories written by Steven Oliver, Kylie Caldwell, Ella Noah Bancroft, Melissa Lucashenko and Daniel Browning. The festival has also partnered with Blak & Bright curator Jane Harrison to present ‘The Bogong’, a Blak version of ‘The Moth’, featuring award-winning poet Evelyn Araluen amongst six brilliant First Nations authors in spoken word form.

Every year Byron Writers Festival fundraises for the important work undertaken by the Indigenous Literary Foundation. Festival patrons are encouraged to make a donation in one the orange boxes that will be circulating the festival site with volunteers or at the ILF tent.

Byron Writers Festival 2022
Festival Dates: 26 – 28 August, 2022

All tickets now on sale!