Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Byron Writers Festival [4-6 August 2017] and it was seriously a goldmine of ideas, storytelling and inspiration. I friggin’ loved it. I can’t believe it was my first time!
Anyway. It would be so difficult for me to pick a favorite session from the festival – there were so many wonderful authors and novelists and journalists to hear from.
If I HAD to pick one though… It would be this one: ‘Offshore: Storied from Behind the Wire’. A panel solely dedicated to discussing Australia’s offshore detention centres and immigration policy (or lack thereof), featuring Roger Cohen (total hero status journo for me, foreign correspondent and senior columnist for the NYT), Madeline Gleeson (lawyer / senior research associate for international refugee law at UNSW / literary girl boss) and Jock Serong (former criminal lawyer and brilliant novelist – writes books about the modern Australian identity, recently released a novel exploring Australia’s treatment of refugees). I got angry, sad, and motivated all over again. Hearing from these passionate humans just set me on fire… Convicted me, and reminded me that so long as there are vulnerable people being tortured offshore in my name, I have a responsibility to speak up.