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What’s On? Byron Bay Writer’s Festival 5-7 August

What’s On? Byron Bay Writer’s Festival 5-7 August

This year the Byron Bay Writers Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a lineup of 150-plus writers and thinkers over the three-day program from the 5th to 7th August. The festival has grown from just 200 locals in attendance, to selling 45,000 tickets. The focus is on Australian writing, with some Indonesian and Asian authors included. The Byron Writers Festival includes everything from workshops and meet-the-author events, to shows and dinners.

If you’re interested in attending this fun annual event in Byron Bay, plan to purchase your day passes or individual event tickets as soon as possible—events are already selling out. Check out the full program here to decide which day you might attend (or perhaps just get a three-day pass) or individual events that sound interesting.

Byron Bay Writers Festival

As you can see this is a popular Byron Bay festival. Image source: Byron Writers Festival on FB

Prices for the Byron Bay Writers Festival tickets are:

  • $285 for a three-day pass,
  • $130 for a day pass, and
  • $40 for a youth pass (good for Sunday only).

Featured events for the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2016 might involve additional fees, such as dinners, which cost $99, or “A Surfing Life”: William Finnegan in conversation with Sean Doherty, which costs $30.

Make sure to plan your accommodation for the event as well since it attracts so many people coming from all over Australia. Consider staying a little off the beaten path where you can relax each evening after a day at the festival. Broken Head Holiday Park, just 7km south of Byron Bay, provides a peaceful, beachside home base for your stay during the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2016.

What Happens at the Festival

Courtesy of Byron Bay Writers Festival

One of the panels in action. Image source: Byron Writers Festival on FB

The writers festival, situated at Elements of Byron Bay, will feature five marquees where guests will find a variety of conversations, panels, readings, lectures and book launches happening throughout each day. The three days—Friday 5th, Saturday 6th, Sunday 7th—all begin at 9 am and end at 5 pm with special events happening in the evenings on Friday and Saturday.

Most sessions will run about an hour in length during the day, and the Byron Writers Festival is a relaxed environment where you are allowed, and even encouraged, to wander between marquees to see what interests you. If your favourite author is speaking, then make sure to nab a seat early.

As a bonus, most authors will head to the festival bookshop after their sessions, so head over to there to get a copy of your book signed by the author. Mary Ryan’s will run the bookstore tent and the author signings will take place adjacent to the tent after each session.

On Sunday, as part of the Byron Bay Writers Festival program, one of the marquees will feature children’s authors and allow kids the chance to meet some of their favourite authors.

Bay Writers Festival

The beach provides creative inspiration. Image source: Byron Writers Festival on FB

Beyond the marquee sessions, there are special events that might appeal to visitors as well. The Byron Bay Writers Festival program includes such fun special one-offs as the literary dinner (one of two, but the Saturday night one is sold out), author conversations, one-woman show on Saturday night and more. Check out the full listing of additional events.


The site for the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2016 is at the end of Bayshore Drive in the Arts & Industrial Estate. Just a warning, though, if you’re driving, on-site car parking will be limited. If you want to park at the festival, then arrive early. There is a $5 fee for daily parking.

A shuttle bus service from Byron Bay’s town centre will be available throughout the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2016. It will run from 8:30 am to 6 pm, Friday through Sunday and cost $5 per person, per ride. The shuttle will be on a 30-minute cycle.

As for food at the event, there will be local coffee and food vendors. However, the festival does not forbid outside food, so you’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds in between sessions.

Stay at Broken Head during the Byron Writers Festival

With several options for accommodation from unpowered campsites to beach houses, Broken Head Holiday Park makes a great option for a place to stay during the Byron Bay Writers Festival 2016. The location is ideal—just a quick drive into Byron Bay where you could easily park and take the shuttle to the festival. Plus, with its good pricing, you can plan to stay a little longer to take advantage of all the activities Byron Bay offers its visitors at this time of year.

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