QC opens the case atWriters Festival launch
community's calendar By WILL JACKSON
JULIAN BURNSIDE, QC, has a passion for words almost as strong as his passion for justice, so he was an ideal choice to speak at this year's Byron Bay Writers Festival launch.
"I just love language. I always have," says the eminent human rights lawyer.
"I just think it's an interesting mechanism. I like to examine its parts and the things it can do."
The North Coast glitterati gathered for last night's event at the Byron Community and Cultural Centre, which kicks off the biggest weekend of the arts community's calendar.
The topic of Mr Burnside's talk was Words and Action.
"I've taken that to mean 'words and power'," he said.
"Words are a vehicle for ideas and ideas change the world. They can work for good or ill, and that's reflected in the way people in power use their words."
Mr Burnside will be around for the whole weekend and will sign copies of his new book on language and its uses, Wordwatching: Field Notes from an Amateur Philologist, during the festival.
He will also be taking part in a variety of panel discussions.
Other guests over the weekend include a diverse range of authors such as Tom Keneally, Kate Grenville and John Birmingham.
There will also be performances from musicians, artists, playwrights and poets, such as exotic band Sirocco, one of Mr Burnside's favourites.
The local literary scene will be highlighted in the panel discussions and Byron Bay author Jesse Blackadder will launch her new book, After the Party.
The weekend's status as a node of the area's cultural community will be used by a Southern Cross University research project which aims to 'map' the range of writing-related activities in the Northern Rivers.
The Writing Map is to provide a comprehensive online database of writing-related services, cultural activities and educational resources.
Members of the research team from the university's School of Arts will collect information from local writers, organisations, industry professionals and service providers during the festival.
The project is part of the Rainbow Region Culture Map which has been charting cultural activity in the region for the past couple of years.
Local writers and individuals associated with the Northern Rivers literary industry should visit the SCU tent to complete the Writing Map registration form, enabling them to be included in the project.