Byron Writers Festival is the central hub to the Northern Rivers’ active, vibrant literary culture of reading and writing. Our primary purpose is to create and deliver programs that involve and enrich professional, amateur and aspiring writers (and readers) of all ages. Our mission is to promote literature (particularly Australian), enhance the skills of writers, and foster a culture of reading and writing among all age groups in the Northern Rivers and beyond.
Byron Writers Festival is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation offering a year-round program of workshops, seminars and events. We service a large region stretching from Taree to Tweed Heads and west to Kyogle. But our reach extends far beyond the NSW Northern Rivers, to members seeking to be part of our virtual community of writers. And literature lovers flock from far and wide for the annual Festival.
Byron Writers Festival Members are able to access information about writing, writing groups, publishing, workshops and industry-related events through our auspices. Northerly, our member magazine, keeps members informed of activities, including a calendar of literary events, competitions and industry opportunities.
Three of our key initiatives are the annual Byron Writers Festival, StoryBoard and the residential mentorship program.
Annual Byron Writers Festival
The annual Byron Writers Festival is Australia’s largest and leading regional celebration of storytelling, literature and ideas. Each year we present more than 150 sessions during Festival Week and attract an audience of approximately 12,000 people (or 70,000 individual attendances) in the stunning surrounds of Byron Bay.
The Festival line-up includes 140 predominantly Australian writers and thinkers who together challenge, entertain and share their stories, inspirations and insights.
Byron Writers Festival is renowned for its relaxed atmosphere and for delivering a diverse program of stimulating and entertaining conversations that celebrate storytelling in all its forms. We aim to bring writers together in an environment that nurtures and invigorates them as much as it does our audience.
The Festival runs in August. For up-to-date information on the Festival Program, please visit our Festival page, and be sure subscribe to our e-newsletter for program announcements and ticket releases.
StoryBoard is a travelling creative writing workshop in Northern Rivers, NSW. The program is aimed at fostering the next generation of readers and writers – young people who are excited about literature, literacy and creativity, who seek the tools to create their futures. Bringing leading authors and illustrators into schools, StoryBoard inspires young people to create stories, fosters creativity and literacy, and helps move young people out of disadvantage.
Established in 2001, this prestigious program offers four emerging writers a five-day residency under the mentorship of multi-award winning and internationally acclaimed author, Marele Day. Since its inception, the initiative has enhanced the careers of over 50 writers. On average, one in four participants have gained publication with a major publisher. Published graduates include Sarah Armstrong (shortlisted for Miles Franklin Award), Jessie Cole (shortlisted for the 2013 ALS Gold Medal and long-listed for the Dobbie Literary Award) among other successfully published writers.
The Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre was incorporated in 1995, the home of the much-loved Byron Bay Writers Festival, first held in 1997. In 2016, the Centre and the Festival were amalgamated under one banner and renamed Byron Writers Festival. The Byron Writers Festival is staffed by a small dedicated team led by a volunteer Committee. The organisation is not-for-profit and receives its core funding from Create NSW.