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Byron Writers Festival 2023

Witches, whales and webbed-fingered foundlings. It’s the wonderful world of Salt and Skin, a haunting book by Eliza Henry-James set in the North Scottish Islands where historical executions of wise women were carried out in gothic kirks.

I read the book ahead of the author's appearance at the annual Byron Writers Festival 2023 which kicks off today. The theme is "Wild Imagination" and it will be explored in depth over 3 ideas-rich days.

A giff of the program for the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2023
The program for the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2023

Eliza Henry James will join me and Mark Smith to explore the notion of Green Imaginings on Sunday 13. What future visions can we conjure up for audiences? What fresh hell has the Anthropocene in store for us and how we can best prepare for it? Along with melting ice poles and more mozzie-born diseases, perhaps there’ll be some friendly ghosts unleashed from the permafrost to dance around the Maypole with us?

I interviewed Eliza Henry-Jones here.

I’m also chairing a session later that same day called ‘In Recovery’ with Koori Mail General Manager Naomi Hogan, Professor Amanda Reichelt-Brushett from Southern Cross University and disaster management expert Dan Etheridge, all of whom I've interviewed previously about responses to the catastrophic 2022 floods and how best to build resilience into future plans for Lismore and the Northern Rivers.

It's the first time the Byron Writer's Festival will be held at the Bangalow Showgrounds, which is still in the Byron Shire but not right by the beach as in previous years. With lots of fabulous restaurants like Woods Cafe, You Beauty, and Ciao Mate, and a wealth of other galleries and boutiques, the village is a cultural hub with the Showgrounds right at its heart. It's going to be a fab event full of ideas and wild imagination.


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