Giveaway: Double pass to Byron Bay Writers Festival

Thanks to Byron Bay Writers Festival and their Publicity lady (and our exec member) Jennifer St George, we are giving away a 3-day double pass to this year’s festival.

To enter, you need to be a current RWA member and you need to answer this question:  Name three international guests appearing at this year’s festival. Email your answer to with your full name, and you will go into the draw to win the double pass. Entries close midnight Sunday 17 July.

For full program information, visit the Byron Bay Writers Festival website.  I have posted some highlights below:

Top Australian authors line-up with international greats

Australian luminaries Phillip Adams, David Williamson, Gillian Armstrong, Bob Carr, Wendy Harmer, Betty Churcher and Charlie Pickering will join international greats Louis de Bernières, James Redfield, M.J. Hyland and John Pilger at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival – Feel the Passion.

With more writers than ever before, Festival Director Candida Baker believes the breadth and depth of the Festival program truly offers something for everyone. “With over 170 writers confirmed, discussing diverse topics including cooking, history, politics, social networking, music, surfing, travel, comedy, crime, fantasy, memoir, sport, poetry, the environment and philanthropy, the Festival’s fifteenth birthday bash will be one to remember.”

Baker has assembled the largest number of international writers ever presented at the Festival:  “Imagine choosing between James Redfield discussing his international phenomenon The Celestine Prophecies, M.J. Hyland exploring her powerful novel This is How, Louis de Bernières in conversation about the broad reach of his books and John Pilger’s keynote address. Visitors are going to have a tough time deciding which sessions to attend,” says Baker.

When Baker took the reins as Director late last year she was determined to bring new passion to the Festival:  “Writing is more than just words on a page.  Writing is an art that takes many forms including music, sculpture, drama, art and more. I hope visitors this year will enjoy the breadth and depth of the program.”

Baker is also thrilled to have a strong line-up of local authors:  “I am confident visitors will enjoy meeting our great local writers as much as the international stars.”

In the session Different strokes for different folks, Phillip Adams, Richard Glover (Why Men Are Necessary) and Charlie Pickering ((Impractical Jokes) will be talking media with Leslie Cannold.  “I am very much looking forward to discovering their views on the role media plays in Australia and the part they play in it,” says Baker, herself a journalist for many years.

Michael Robotham (The Wreckage), whose first book was the subject of a bidding war and went on to sell over a million copies, will join Katherine Howell (Violent Exposure) and L A Larkin (Thirst) in the session Walking the mean streets for crime fiction chaired by Liz Porter (Cold Case Files – Past Crimes Solved by New Forensic Science).  “Crime fiction is a growing and hugely popular contemporary genre,” Baker says. “It is exciting to have such crime writing heavy weights at the Festival.

Baker recommends grabbing a seat early for the session Screen and heard:  “With David Williamson, Gillian Armstrong. Tristram Miall and Greg Haddrick centre-stage and producer and screen-writer Ross Grayson Bell chairing, I’m sure the session will be standing room only.”

Kate Veitch (Trust) will join Leslie Cannold (The Book of Rachael) and Fiona Scott Norman ((50 Reasons To Keep Smoking/50 Reasons To Quit Smoking) in the session I am woman:  why women rock.  “I had great fun putting this panel and topic together,” Baker says.  “The discussion will be chaired by Kristin Williamson and it is one I won’t be missing.”

Baker suspects that one of the most exciting places to be during the Festival will be the keynote address by John Pilger.  “I’m this session will leave guests with lots to digest and will be discussed for a long time after the Festival closes.”

Other speakers at the Festival include Tim Fisher, Joanna Murray-Smith, Caroline Overington, Benjamin Gilmour, Bill Leak, Libbi Gorr, Paul Kelly, Wendy Harmer, M. V. Snyder, Alison Lester, Helen Brown and lots more.

To purchase tickets or view the full Festival program visit or call 1300 368 552.

Nuts & Bolts Seminar

Write like a bestselling author, snare an agent, wow an editor, publish an e-book, promote like the best publicists or just find out who’s who in publishing at the Nuts’n’Bolts industry seminar being run as part of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.

RWA Blogmistress Diane met Damien Lieth at the 2008 Festival - who will you meet?

The all-day seminar will be chaired the Australian Writer’s Marketplace Manager Meg Vann and the Queensland Writers Centre’s Imogen Smith. In conjunction with the Byron Bay-based Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre, they have designed the seminar to provide a comprehensive industry overview. “It will guide participants through the publishing process, looking at everything from how to develop your work and submit your manuscript to agents and publishers, as well exploring book contracts, advances and payments,” says Siboney Duff, Writer Development manager for the Writers’ Centre. “The seminar will also take a look at e-books and the new age of digital publishing. It’s the perfect all-round event for people considering a career as a published author as well as those who are just plain curious about books and publishing.”

Vann believes the seminar is tailored specifically to writers’ needs.  “At The Australian Writer’s Marketplace, writers tell us what they need to develop their work and connect with audiences,” says Vann. “We then get together with a whole range of talented professionals – authors, publishers, editors, agents, writers centres, competition organisers – devising ways for writers to plan their pathways to publication. Nuts’n’Bolts is one of those special moments when it all comes together, in one room, for one day.”

With e-publishing on the rise, together with other digital trends such as short-runs and self publishing, Duff says it can be difficult to predict what the publishing future will look like.  “The digital publishing phenomenon is throwing up new opportunities all the time, so much so that it can be overwhelming for both newcomers and established authors,” says Duff. “Simon Groth, the manager of if:book Australia, will  explore the digital future and its potential impact on authors, readers, and publishers.  He will also present tips on how to navigate these changing times.”

Duff observes that many newer writers find it hard to know when their manuscript is ready for submission or what avenues are available for publication: “Elisabeth Bastian CEO of Varuna has a wealth of experience across a range of publishing mediums. She will also be in on hand for the seminar to discuss the ways in which Varuna can support writers on their journey to publication.”

Another presenter will be Laurel Cohn, originally a literary agent and then an editor and manuscript assessor with more than twenty years experience. According to Duff, “Laurel will demystify the editorial role and provide tips for negotiating both traditional and new publication pathways.”

With publishers putting more emphasis on an author’s ability to self promote, Duff considers a knowledge of social media and online promotion a must: “Author’s need to be a savvy about promoting themselves online and be strategic in the use of social media networks,” says Duff. “Today, readers want the opportunity to know an author more intimately.”

Nuts’n’Bolts is being held at the Byron Community Centre on Thursday August 4 from 10,00am. Participants can put what they learn at Nuts’n’Bolts into practice straight away with a free subscription to – the Australian Writer’s Marketplace website of contacts, opportunities, resources for writers. To purchase tickets for Nuts’n’Bolts or other Festival events visit or call 1300 368 552.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Daniel de Culla

     /  July 17, 2011

    Wow¡ It’s Lovely¡ Congratulations.
    I adore You and yr Verb¡
    Kisses and Blessed Be¡


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