John Safran has released a new book, Depends What you Mean by Extremist: Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables.
John Safran has released a new book, Depends What you Mean by Extremist: Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables. Penguin Random House

Safran in spotlight at Byron Writers Festival

FOLLOW John Safran down a religious and political rabbit hole when he talks about his latest book at this year's Byron Writers Festival.

The author is back with his latest offering, Depends What you Mean by Extremist: Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables.

Safran's at times manic journey begins when he goes to a far-right rally in Melbourne.

What he found led him into a world of misfits who helped propel the second coming of Pauline Hanson and foreshadowed the era of US president Donald Trump.

Safran said his 'go hard or go home' analysis of really difficult issues was what his readers expected of him.

"I have no plan B,” Safran said.

"And there's no market for me in cruising on my charm.”

And in the recent political climate worldwide (think Trump, Hanson and Brexit) Safran, at one time considered on the outer edge of most discussions, has increasingly come closer to the centre.

"Maybe the bad for the world, good for me thing is with the election of Donald Trump, is the mainstreaming of all this stuff,” he said.

"The stuff I'm interested in is no longer on the fringes. It's setting the refresh button.”

This is Safran's second appearance at the Byron festival.

He said he looked forward to owning the spotlight this time.

He was partnered with old radio mate Father Bob Maguire at his last outing in Byron in 2014.

The pair had a Sunday night radio segment on Triple J for a decade.

"With me and Bob there's something about being in that sealed room (for the radio show), and being offensive to each other just worked or something,” Safran said.

"But somehow in the real world that doesn't work at all.

"The dynamic that works (in the real world) is Bob being Bob and I'm like some a-hole.

"He'd be saying some schmaltzy thing to get the crowd on side ... and I'd have to sit there and work around him.

"I had to be a more quiet, docile version of myself.

"This time I can burst out and it can be all about me.”

Safran will appear at the Byron Writers Festival in a special evening feature event on Friday, August 4 at NORPA at Lismore City Hall as well as the Depends What You Mean By Extremist session with Kenan Malik, David Marr and Matt Condon at the festival on Saturday, August 5.

More information at byronwritersfestival.com



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