An eminent jurist renowned for pro bono work on human rights, a beloved children's author who has started two schools, an award-winning journalist challenging conventional responses to domestic abuse, and a former Bellingen lad who led the Australian Greens for 20 years.
These are among the first six authors announced for the 2021 Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival, which will take place from June 11-13.
The committee ransacked a thesaurus to declare that they were "excited, delighted, flabbergasted and ensorcelled" to be releasing the names of the first set of guests, particularly after the bitter disappointment of having to cancel the 10th anniversary festival in 2020.
"Yet less than a year later we have assembled one of the most exciting literary line-ups in the country," they said.
"We can't wait to unveil even more award-winning guests over the coming weeks, and don't forget - billet and volunteer applications are still open!"
This year's festival will be based at a new location at the Bellingen Showground, complete with food and coffee vans, live music, book sales, signing, and more.
Tickets on sale March 22.
Julian Burnside is Melbourne barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and author. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989.
Julian has represented some of Australia's wealthiest people, including Alan Bond and Rose Porteous, what he called "the big end of town". However, in the 1990s he began to undertake more and more pro bono legal work on a range of human rights-related issues. He is an outspoken opponent of the mistreatment of people who come to Australia seeking protection from persecution.
His published books include From Nothing to Zero: letters from refugees in Australia's detention centres; On Privilege; Watching brief : reflections on human rights, law and justice; Wordwatching: Fieldnotes of an Amateur Philologist and Matilda and the Dragon.
John Marsden has written more than 40 books, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You and The Art of Growing Up. He has sold over five million books worldwide, and has won every major award in Australia for young people's fiction. South of Darkness, written for adults, won the Christina Stead Award for Best Novel of 2015.
John's passionate interest in education led him to start two schools, Candlebark, on a vast forested estate near Romsey Victoria, and Alice Miller, at Macedon, a Year 7-12 school with a particular emphasis on the creative arts. The two schools enrolled 420 students in 2021.
Jess Hill is a Walkley-award winning investigative journalist and author who's been reporting exclusively on domestic abuse since 2014. Prior to this, she was a Middle East correspondent, and producer/reporter across ABC radio and TV. In 2019, she published her first book, See What You Made Me Do, about the phenomenon of domestic abuse in Australia. It was awarded the 2020 Stella Prize, the Bookseller's Choice Award, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. In 2021, See What You Made Me Do is being adapted into a 3-part series for SBS, and into an audio documentary series with the Victorian Women's Trust.
Bob Brown was born and educated in rural NSW and worked as a doctor before becoming the face of the campaign to save the Franklin River in 1982.
He was elected to the Tasmanian state parliament in 1983 and during his tenure most notably advocated for gun law reform, gay law reform and achieved the expansion of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
In 1996 Bob was elected to the Senate, where he led the national debate for 16 years on issues including climate change, democracy, preventative healthcare, conservation, and human rights.
Bob resigned from the Senate in June 2012 to establish the Bob Brown Foundation, a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting action campaigns for the environment in Australia and our region. He is a published author and acclaimed photographer.
In 2011, Favel Parrett's career was launched with her critically acclaimed debut Past The Shallows. A heart-breaking novel, it was sold internationally, was shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Favel won the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012. Her next novel, When The Night Comes, was also critically acclaimed and further consolidated Favel's reputation with booksellers and readers. Favel's short stories have been published in various journals including Island, Griffith Review and Frankie Magazine. There Was Still Love is Favel's eagerly awaited third novel and it was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and won Book of the Year at the 2020 Indie Book Awards. She lives in Victoria and is passionate about surfing and dingoes.
Dr Kate Forsyth is an internationally published poet, novelist and essayist.
Her historical novels for adults include The Blue Rose, Beauty in Thorns, The Wild Girl & Bitter Greens, which won the 2015 American Library Association Award for Best Historical Fiction.
Non-fiction books include Searching for Charlotte: The Fascinating Story of Australia's First Children's Author, written with the assistance of the Nancy Keesing Fellowship and longlisted for the 2021 Indie Book Awards, and The Rebirth of Rapunzel which won the 2017 William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism.
Her books for children include Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women, which won a silver medal in the 2018 US Readers Favorite book awards; The Impossible Quest, shortlisted for a KOALA Award; and the Aurealis-award winning historical adventure series The Chain of Charms.
Kate has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a Doctorate of Creative Arts, and is an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. Her work has been translated into 20 languages.
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