It seems this is the season of literary festivals. I’m heading to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast tomorrow for the Reality Bites Literary Festival, which runs from 26 to 29 July 2012, and to the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival next week (3 to 5 August 2012).
The Reality Bites fest is billed as ‘Australia’s premier literary nonfiction festival’ and takes place at the Cooroy Library in the hinterland west of Noosa. I’ll be speaking about the classics – ‘the books we love and why we value them so highly’, as the programme says – over afternoon tea tomorrow.
I’m also on a fascinating sounding panel on Saturday called ‘Counting the Beans’ with Ian Lowe, professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, and climate change activist Anna Rose. The session will be chaired by Nicholas Bray, who’s the deputy editor of the illustrious Griffith REVIEW. We’ll be talking about population growth, climate change, economic growth on a finite planet, and no doubt many other things besides.
Writer Benjamin Law will be giving the keynote speech at the festival’s opening tomorrow night, which I’m so looking forward to. The programme says ‘Author of the screamingly funny but poignant memoir The Family Law, local boy made good, journalist and failed soap star Ben Law will have you in stitches’.
Next Friday (at 12.45pm) in Byron Bay I’ll also be talking about the classics, this time chairing a panel called ‘Our writing legacy: what role do the classics play in our culture?’. Talking classics with me will be Wayne Macauley, Shane Maloney, John Tranter and Susan Wyndham.
On Friday morning I’m on a panel called ‘Breakthroughs – how new words and languages fuel innovation’ which I’m very excited about, mostly because of the other two panelists – Nobel Prize winning scientist Peter Doherty, and mathematician and writer Robyn Arianrhod – and the chair, writer Ashley Hay.
I’m also looking forward to talking with the urbane and prolific writer Gideon Haigh and the jetset writer John M Green (who’s chairing the session) about ‘How the merchants of Florence and Venice changed the world’ on Saturday 4 August.
As you’ll see from the festival websites if you follow the links above, there are dozens of fantastic writers going to both festivals – too many to single out here – and I’m planning to blog about both festivals, so stay tuned.