Record crowd for Writers Festival

THE first day of the Byron Writers' Festival yesterday saw the Bob Brown love fest continue with the retired Greens' leader maxing out a marquee.

How quickly they forget you when you leave politics, quipped his interviewer ABC TV journalist Kerry O'Brien.

Festival director Jonathan Parsons said it was one of the biggest first days of the festival's history.

"All the tents are humming," he said.

Day two promises more love, laughs, and provocation with sessions tackling thorny issues like Australia's place in the world, feminism, sex in the antipodes, and the unintended humour fest that is our nation's capital.

Retired High Court judge and gay marriage campaigner Michael Kirby and demographer Bernard Salt will be dissecting with author Frank Bongiorno his book "The Sex Lives of Australians: A History" at 2.15pm.

Chris Uhlmann, who is married to a politician and is co-host of the ABC's flagship current affairs program 7.30, will no doubt have reams of insider gossip to draw on when he tackles, "Canberra, the funniest city in Australia" at 4.15pm.

On Sunday, the final day of the festival, Byron's own debut authors Jessie Cole, Shamus Sillar, Lisa Walker and Amanda Webster who will be holding court at 10.45am.

There's also a youth session which kicks off at 9.15am where young people will be able to press the flesh with some of the nation's most celebrated writers.

Tickets are available for purchase at the festival. For more information, visit

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