News

No rest for Jeni

TIME OUT: Jeni Caffin relaxes with a good book after a hectic festive season.
TIME OUT: Jeni Caffin relaxes with a good book after a hectic festive season. Jann Burmester

SHE found some time to put a set of Christmas lights on her head and drink a glass or two of champagne, but Jeni Caffin spent most of the festive season sending out invitations to 120 international, national and local writers who will spice up the program at this year's Byron Bay Writers' Festival.

Sixty of the writers have already accepted their invitations to the popular literary event, which will be held at the North Byron Events site from August 2-4.

"I was working right up until Christmas Day, but I was determined to get the invitations out," festival director Jeni said.

"Considering we are in the midst of the silly season, I think the response is fantastic.

"There are some amazing writers coming this year and I can't wait to get the program organised. It's already coming together in my head."

Some of those wordsmiths attending include an "incredible" Booker Prize winner; a "knockout" female writer from Burma; a journalist from the Gaza Strip; a "beautiful" young male Indonesian writer who's had a film made from his book; and some "wonderful" Australian writers including the author of a book which is being touted as the "next big thing" and was the subject of a bidding war between publishers.

Jeni said local writers would once again feature prominently, with the likes of Jesse Blackadder, Lisa Walker and Susanna Freymark.

The program will also feature lots of comedy, with some familiar faces as well as some new ones, lots of music with an "oh my god name" on the list, workshops, master classes, literary lunches and dinner.

"Food and stimulating conversation is always a winning combination," Jeni said.

"I'm also going to organise some walking tours which were always very popular at the Ubud Writers' Festival.

"Ubud has its rice paddies, but look at what Byron's got."

Jeni said 2013 was shaping up to be a watershed year in Australia for publishing.

"Everyone's talking doom and gloom about the future of the book industry but, when I sit with publishers, I see them taking a punt on first-time writers and books are being published from the slush piles," she said.

"The positive response I've had to the festival shows that books and the written word will always be popular.

"This year's program will be inspirational and kick-ass and I am celebrating being back in the director's chair."



Blood thicker than water for ex-Shark Wheeler

Mal Wheeler will be cheering son-in-law Blair on in Sunday's grand final. Blair is pictured scoring a try against Canberra in last weekend's preliminary final.

I have my shirt and beanie and they're both purple.

Which was the best flower at the Murwillumbah Garden Show?

WINNER: Murwillumbah and District Garden Club president Wayne Tagget with Ted Chilcott's winning entry for the general cut flower section.

IN A sea of bright blooms there could only be one champion.

Tweed product Cheysing NRL premiership dream

STORMING: Tweed Heads and Bilambil Jets' product Cheyse Blair scores a try for the Melbourne Storm during the NRL preliminary final against the Canberra Raiders.

Former Bilambil jet in NRL's big dance.

Local Partners

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E2: Code of the Streets review

Simone Missick and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Kim Kardashian West 'sick of talking about Taylor Swift'

Kim Kardashian West is sick of talking about Taylor Swift.

Justin Bieber ordered to attend Miami deposition

Justin Bieber has been ordered to travel to Miami for a deposition

Sludge metal heaven served up across Australia

Black Rheno bring their stripped back sludge metal through regional Australia.

Black Rheno to hit a town near you

Prog metal upstarts to tour Australia

Caligula’s Horse, one of the country’s most exciting and innovative progressive bands, will hit the road for a national tour in November.

Australian prog masters announce national tour

Debra Messing wants to do a 'naughty' Will and Grace reunion

'Will & Grace' star Debra Messing wants a "naughty" reunion

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Penthouse in beach paradise

Take in the beach front views from the balcony of 701/ 4-10 Douglas Street, Kirra.

This beachfront penthouse is the perfect place to enjoy the views.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record