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."

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'

A battle over seal enclosures at Dolphin Marine Magic threatens the facility's ability to stay open, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser warns.

DPI crackdown a threat to Dolphin Marine Magic, warns MP

10 years on: 'My whole life fell apart'

The memorial along Broken Head Road near Suffolk Park for the Southern Cross LADS.

We talk to the families about ongoing grief

Swimming spots that could cause vomiting, diarrhoea, fever

Swimmers at the mouth of the Evans River.

Health risks include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, fevers

Local Partners

'Everyone knew her and everyone loved her'

THE parents of crash victim Amanda Nash have remembered the 35-year-old as a "shining star” and a loving mother, wife and daughter.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Extra time to get your Dolphin Awards nominations in

Dolphin Award trophy.

Open to all unsigned musicians in the (02) 66 phone area code

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge