Writers ready to inspire us
ONCE again, Byron Bay Writers Festival has the biggest literary names on its bill.
Legendary Australian journalist Kerry O'Brien, former Greens leader Bob Brown, Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, children's author Morris Gleitzman and young adventurer Jessica Watson are just a handful of the writers expected to draw big crowds this year.
However, festival director Jonathan Parsons said attendees would be equally surprised and inspired by lesser-known treasures, such as Sri Lanka's Niromi de Soyza, who fought in a traumatic rebel war as a teenager.
"At the age of 17 she joined the Tamil Tigers," Mr Parsons said.
"There wouldn't be many of us in Australia who have had a comparable experience to her."
This year, inspirational women will be abundant at the festival, and co-founder and chair of Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Anna Rose, is expected to draw a big crowd.
"We see her as the next generation," Mr Parsons said.
"She's a feisty young woman and that's really important to have at the festival."
Kids haven't been forgotten either, and renowned children's authors Morris Gleitzman and John Marsden will talk on the third day of the festival.
"One of the real strengths this year is the incredible line-up for the children's day," Mr Parsons said.
The myriad writers involved in the 2012 festival is a "response to the diversity of the Northern Rivers", Mr Parsons said.
"It's more about getting diversity across and catering for as broad an audience as possible. People can go and see writers they know but they can also go off and see someone they've never heard of and still be surprised and inspired."
The 16th Byron Bay Writers Festival is on August 3-5.
Tickets can be bought by visiting the festival's website.
International guests include Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, best-selling Indonesian author Andrea Hirata and Sri-Lanka's Niromi de Soyza.