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."



Apps show cheapest fuel stops

Lady pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas station.

Motorists will now be able to find to find the cheapest petrol

Council candidates talk climate change

Members of the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group and local residents call on the CommBank to refuse funding for coal projects.21 MAY 2015Photo Gemima Harvey/Coffs Coast Advocate

COFFS Harbour City Council candidates will discuss climate change

Delicious meals are the real deal

CELEBRATION: Meals on Wheels Sawtell branch chef, Belinda, bakes cupcakes for clients.

MEALS on Wheels is "taking it to the streets”

Latest deals and offers

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m