Byron Bay Writers’ Festival

The beautiful coastal retreat of Byron Bay means two things to me:

Byron Bay (in my dreams!)   (iStockphoto)

Byron Bay (in my dreams!) (iStockphoto)

  • A week after the QF32 event, when I was exhausted, my friends Simon Ford and John Connolly took me to Byron Bay to help me relax, escape the media and to try to teach me how to surf!       Byron Bay has great reliable surf, a quiet sophisticated culture and almost perpetual sunshine!   I am a downhill skier, not a “boarder”, so as hard as John tried, he ultimately gave up with the lost cause that I was.
  • Two and a half years later, I am heading back to Byron Bay to attend a writers’ festival.

Byron Bay Writers’ Festival

The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is held over the three day period 2-4 August 2013.  With up to 50,000 attendee sessions, it is one of the biggest and best writers’ festivals in Australia.

I am participating with a remarkable A Grade list of authors, speakers and entertainers who present in many concurrent streams to thousands of authors, journalists, would-be-writers, publishers and readers.

The festival is an opportunity to touch shoulders with industry greats.    (click here for more information)   I’ll be looking forward to meeting Maxine McKew, Peter Carey, Judith Lucy, Archie Roach, politicians, publishers and scores of keen readers.

Come join the festival and say hello to Coral and me.

My Part at the Festival

I will also be contributing in two panel discussions:

“When things don’t go as planned – qualities essential for effective leadership in a crisis”



Saturday, 3rd August, 11:45 – 13:00

 Edna Carew chairs a panel with Major General John Cantwell (rtd), Matthew Mitcham and me:

  • How a well developed culture that promotes knowledge, training, experience and teamwork provides resilience that can help save lives when things go catastrophically wrong;
  • Keeping calm when others around you are losing it.  How to prevent panic and the startle effect;
  • Post Traumatic Stress.    Can you have PTS even after a good outcome when no-one is hurt?    Is  “toughen up Princess!” the correct response to help PTS sufferers?      How long do PTS memories last?   Recovering from PTS.
  • Empathy – why you can’t lead, manage or function effectively without it.
  • Physiology of resilience:  rational thought, confidence, herd instinct, fear, panic, dread, fight, flight, paralysis, risk taking, heroism

“What makes a hero?  Perception and misconception”(iStockphoto)

Sunday, 4th August, 14:30 – 15:45

Janet Steele, the Associate Professor  at the School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington DC chairs the discussion with Major General John Cantwell (rtd), Belinda Hawkins, my cousin Robin de Crespigny and me:

  • The Hero/Anti-Hero paradox – it’s all in your perceptions.
  • What is a hero in the modern day?
  • What makes a hero?  (Factors: age, sex, reward, domicile, friendship, personality, morals, values, orphan, ….)

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