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Byron Writers Festival 2021 cancelled

The 2021 Byron Writers Festival, scheduled to run 6–8 August, has been cancelled.

‘It is with a heavy heart we have made the decision to cancel Byron Writers Festival 2021,’ said a statement from director Edwina Johnson and the festival team. ‘We have come to this extremely difficult decision in light of the developing Covid-19 situation in NSW as well as border and travel restrictions.’

In its 25th year, the festival’s program featured over 150 guests including Richard Flanagan, Craig Silvey, Kate Grenville, Melissa Lucashenko, Julia Baird, Tony Birch and Alice Pung. The 2020 Byron Writers Festival was also cancelled due to the pandemic, with some content delivered online.

‘We have been following Covid developments in Greater Sydney and nationally very closely over the last few days,’ the statement continued. ‘As positive cases continue to emerge and borders are closed to NSW, it has become clear that the current restrictions will push too close to the festival to make it feasible to proceed in early August. Especially given a large portion of participating writers are located in either Greater Sydney or interstate and are subject to travel restrictions. In addition, of course, is growing community hesitancy to travel in such volatile circumstances.’

The organisers emphasised their primary concern is the health of everyone involved in the festival—presenters, attendees, volunteers and staff—as well as the safety of the wider Northern Rivers community.

‘We are devastated and we’re sure everyone associated with the festival will also feel the disappointment and loss that comes with a second year of cancellation. We will continue to watch developments and consider all viable options for future programming but for now, we believe that cancellation is the only responsible course of action.’

Any tickets already purchased for the festival will be automatically be refunded within the next 14 days. The festival is currently working through refund arrangements with event partners and venues for satellite events and festival workshops. For more information, see the festival website.


Category: Local news