This year renowned New York literary Brat Packer Bret Easton Ellis, author of the cult classic American Psycho and works that typically blend a wild comic vision with bleak violence, will light up the program at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. By Liz Schaffer 
Since 1997, the Byron Bay Writers Festival has inspired authors and readers through an innovative program of lectures, lunches, panels, conversations, launches and readings and questioned Australia’s position in the literary world.

The Byron Bay Writers Festival will be Easton Ellis’ first and only Australian Festival appearance and a chance for us to celebrate his new work, Imperial Bedrooms.

This year renowned New York literary Brat Packer Bret Easton Ellis, author of the cult classic American Psycho and works that typically blend a wild comic vision with bleak violence, will light up the program.

The Byron Bay Writers Festival will be Easton Ellis’ first and only Australian Festival appearance and a chance for us to celebrate his new work, Imperial Bedrooms. The book is the long-awaited sequel to Easton Ellis’ mid ’80s hit Less Than Zero.

“Festival audiences are in for a treat,” says Director Jeni Caffin. “This is a fabulous coup for the Festival and we’re enormously proud to have the opportunity to present this influential and iconic writer to attendees.”

Festival favourite Kerry O’Brien will also be chairing the highly anticipated Fatima Bhutto sessions. Bhutto, the niece of Benazir Bhutto, is an Afghan-born Pakistani journalist and writer and part of a family whose political idealism has shattered successive generations. Like Easton Ellis, this is Bhutto’s only Australian Festival appearance and is not to be missed.

This year’s program also features sixteen local writers and thinkers including Laura Bloom, Akmal Saleh, Kim Falconer and Justin Sheedy. With more than 45,000 individual tickets sold last year it seems that everyone wants to spend a winter weekend in Byron Bay.

Filled with literary lunches, film screening, workshops and interviews, the festival remains truly unique. Events are not repeated, conversations constantly unscripted and the panels unexpectedly formed. As with a good book, anything could happen.

All writers featured in the program appear throughout the three-day Festival while separately ticketed feature events unfold in diverse locations around the town. There are authors specialising in everything from blogging to chicklit, journalism to history, and science to silliness, so at least one event will inspire you to pull out your own pen and paper.

To get into your favourite event, catch an illusive author or uncover a whole new genre, pick up an Early Bird three-day pass, now on sale at www.byronbaywritersfestival.com. Keep an eye out for additional workshops that begin August 2.

Details // Byron Bay Writers Festival 2010
Where // Belongil Fields, Byron Bay
When // August 6 –8, 2010
Contact // www.byronbaywritersfestival.com