A NEW emphasis on science, young adult and children's books will feature at this year's Byron Bay Writers' Festival as the incoming director works on adding freshness and building on a great tradition.
In his first year in the job, festival director Jonathon Parsons intends to get to know the festival and its community before doing anything drastic, but he also has specialist knowledge that he will use to keep the event fresh.
Mr Parsons revealed this year's festival, August 3-5, will pick up on publishing trends including a push towards science.
"There are some really great and accessible science writers in Australia at the moment," he said.
"A lot of the big issues of our time are based on an understanding of science: climate change, medical research and technical advances.
"We have also got the cream of the crop when it comes to young adult and children's writers."
Andy Griffiths, author of the Flat Cat & Big Fat Cow series, and Isobelle Carmody who won Younger Readers Book of the Year award in 2011 for The Red Wind, are just some of the festival drawcards.
Stuart Littlemore (barrister and journalist), Brenda Niall (biographer) and Jane Caro (Gruen Transfer) will also speak at the festival.
Early bird tickets are on sale and offer a discount of up to $35 for a three-day pass.
They are available until the full program is announced on June 15 or they sell out.
Local Byron Bay writer Shamus Sillar, who is based in Singapore, will also be talking about his first book, a travel memoir called: Sicily, It's Not Quite Tuscany.
He said the festival had played a major part in his development as a writer.
Shamus first went to the festival in 2003 and, after listening to a workshop by Peter Moore, started to think about how much fun it would be to write. A
fter travelling for five years he came home and got to sell his story idea to established publishers at the festival's Perfect Pitch session.
"This gave me the foot in the door when I had finished my book," he said.
He has now come full circle and is really looking forward to speaking at his first writers' festival as a published author.