Apr 13, 2015

Living in a Pocket of Culture

I live in a beautiful, interesting place. Byron Bay is apparently the second most visited place in NSW. Visit NSW lists Byron as:

“Byron Bay is Australia's easternmost town and 'style capital' of the North Coast. It's a place of outstanding natural beauty, set against lush volcanic hills.
 Byron Bay's natural credentials are impeccable as humpback whales cruise past the headland, storms create rainbows on the mountains across the bay, hang-gliders ride the thermals above the lighthouse. Australia's most easterly point casts a spell over everyone who goes there.
 Over the past two decades, Byron Bay has become an escape for urban refugees, and especially those with artistic inclinations. Architects, designers, craftworkers and software engineers have set up shop, grafting their talents and energy on to this small, relaxed coastal village. Today Byron Bay is a chic seaside town with glorious beaches, a New Age tinge and loads of style.”

What I love most about Byron is that we attract some of the top names in music, literature and art.  Often you will see big name acts listing events in Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay.  For example, Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame, visited Sydney, Adelaide, Airley’s Inlet and Byron Bay.

We also have amazing music events like BluesFest.  Last weekend I stood just metres from The Waterboys, Hozier, Boy and Bear and lots more. This weekend I’m going to the French Film Festival.

Byron also is a wonderful place for writers. Not only can you sit and gaze at pristine beaches or lush mountains whilst brainstorming great ideas or sit in café’s whilst drinking the world’s best coffee (sorry, no apologies for that grand statement, we have fantastic coffee), you can be a member of a fabulous Writer’s Centre, the Northern Rivers Writers Centre (NRWC).

NRWC runs arguably the most loved writers festival in Australia, the Byron Bay Writers Festival.  If you’ve never been, add it to your bucket list. It’s held in August by the beach amongst the gum trees in open-air marquees.  Absolutely magical.

I love being part of such a vibrant culture-focused community. I’d love to hear about where you live.  Does your community actively support the arts?

If you happen to be in Byron in May, I’m running an Introduction to Romance Writing workshop through NRWC.  It’s being held on Saturday, 23 May from 10am – 4pm. 

For more information, or to book, visit the NRWC website.


  1. Hi Jennifer

    I have been to Byron Bay and agree what a beautiful part of the world it is my father in law used to live in Mullimbimby so we were there for holidays :). I live in the suburbs of Sydney and they do writers festivals and lots of things for artists and I attend when ever I can :) especially if there is something on romance

    Have Fun

  2. It is a beautiful part of the world, Helen. Mullum is such an interesting place too. I don't get to Sydney that often, but always have fun when I'm there.

  3. Jennifer, Byron Bay sounds like a lovely place to live! It's been many many years since I was there so I imagine it's changed somewhat in that time! But it was very pretty when I was there briefly.

    Melbourne isn't far from where we live and there are some terrific writers' festivals and workshops there. And Ballarat has had some great events too so I'm quite spoiled for opportunities.

    Good luck with your May workshop! Sounds fantastic!

  4. I've heard so many good things about Ballarat, Sharon. I'd love to visit one day.

    Yes, Byron has changed a lot since I've lived here which is only eight years and I predict much more change to come!!

  5. Jennifer, everyone I know who's been to Byron Bay swears it is so beautiful. I've got cousins living there. Who knows? I might get to visit one day.
    Before moving to the Sounds we lived in Nelson, NZ's art city. There's also a strong music following too with a wonderful school of music. Just loved it all.

    1. I would love to see more of NZ, Sue. Such a beautiful country.

  6. I so have to visit Byron Bay, Jen! It sounds rather wonderful, and very beautiful. :-)

    That said, I love living in Newcastle. It has a vibrant arts culture--with a new writers festival that's been well-received, TINA (This Is Not Art Festival) a writers centre with some great courses and groups, and the local uni also offers interesting events to both students and the community. Oh, and we also have some pretty beaches.

    Good luck with the workshop you're running! Wishing I could be one of the lucky ducks who'll be attending. :-)

    1. I've never been to Newcastle but I like the sound of it, Michelle. I wish you could come to the workshop too, but then I'd sit down and insist on listening to you!

  7. I'm in a small town which doesn't have a lively arts scene however I'm only 40 minutes from Wagga Wagga which does…although not to the extent of Byron Bay. I haven't visited your beautiful and vibrant part of there world but it's on the bucket list. Writers' Festival time sounds about perfect, Jen!

    1. Ooooo, I would love it if you could come to the Byron Bay Writers Festival, Bron.

  8. I'd love to visit Byron Bay, Jennifer, it's on my wish list- every time you mention what it has to offer I bump it up higher- one day, I hope! I live just outside Auckland and there is a thriving arts scene there with readers and writers festivals and lots of music- it's great!

  9. Auckland is the only place I've been to in NZ, Louisa. I would love to explore more of NZ.

    Would be wonderful if you could come to Byron for a visit!!

  10. Jenn, I'd love to be there for your workshop. Not sure abut this year though.

    I'm at Lake Macquarie on the NSW coast so we've got the lake, the beaches and not far away both lovely bush wilderness and the vineyards. There's the Newcastle Writers' Festival and lots of other things happening.