Hadley Freeman, Yvonne Battle-Felton and Viv Groskop headline Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

In March 2020, the Bristol Women’s Literature will return to Bristol’s Watershed for the 4th time since its creation in 2013. 

Presented in partnership with Bristol’s Festival of Ideas and supporting Womankind, the festival aims to celebrate the diversity and creativity of women writers, counter the male dominance of cultural festival line-ups, and promote women’s literary history. 

Founder Sian Norris created the festival almost as a dare when she and Bidisha noticed the huge gender imbalance on many festival panels. Bidisha challenged Sian to set something up which rectified this. So she did!

Sian says, “Since 2013, the demand for a festival that celebrates women’s voices and creative heritage has grown and grown, and I’m so excited to bring the festival back in 2020. Our programme brings together amazing novelists, short story writers, memoirists, essayists, journalists and academics in what will be a tremendous celebration of women’s writing and literary history.”

Previous speakers include Samira Ahmed, Helen Dunmore, Stella Duffy and Louise Doughty. 

Programme at a glance:

Tickets for 2020’s Bristol Women’s Literature Festival are now on sale via Watershed Bristol’s website.

Themes covered in 2020 include women writing the wild, auto fiction and memoir, writing the 4th wave and women in translation: 

Saturday 28th  

11.30 Hadley Freeman talks about her new book, House of Glass

14.00 Writing the News: Panel discussion about the role women journalists have in explaining the world we live in. With Bidisha, Coco Khan, Anoosh Chakelian and Nandini Archer

16.30 Women Writing Today: with Naomi Wood (Mrs Hemingway, The Hiding Game), debut author Rosanna Amaka (The Book of Echoes), Yvonne Battle-Felton (Remembered – longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2019) and Fiona Benson (Vertigo & Ghost – winner of Forward Prize 2018 and 2019). Chaired by Sarah LeFanu.

19.00 Viv Groskop talks about her new book, Lift as you Climb

Sunday 29th 

11.30 Writing our Lives: Panel discussion on why women are turning to new forms of memoir to explore and write our lives. With Juliet Jacques, Olivia Sudjic, Zeba Talkhani and Clover Stroud. Chaired by Prof. Madhu Krishnan.

14.00 Why Women Read Fiction: Talk from Professor Helen Taylor

16.00 Women in Translation: Panel discussion on gender disparity in translation. With Laia Jufresa and Olivia Hellewell. Chaired by Rosalind Harvey.

18.00 Women Writing the Wild: Panel discussion on climate crisis, mental wellbeing and why nature writing has been traditionally dominated by men. With Sara MaitlandLia LeendertzIsabel Hardman and Zakiya McKenzie. Chaired by Dr. Samantha Walton.

Bristol Women’s Literature Festival is committed to diverse line-ups, is intersectional and trans-inclusive. 

The full programme and further details here.

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