Birmingham Literature Festival line-up this year includes (amongst many others) Rev Richard Coles, Allan Ahlberg, Mark Billingham and former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove. They join broadcaster Stuart Maconie and musicians-turned-writers Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt (Everything But The Girl) to make up the full programme of over 40 events.
They’ll all be appearing at the Library of Birmingham between Thursday 8th and Saturday 17th October.
Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and festival programmer, said: “For a programmer, the many ways a writer interprets a situation or an artistic prompt is endlessly fascinating. I’m proud that the Birmingham Literature Festival offers writers of all stripes a chance to do that. I’m also thrilled and excited that Rita Dove, former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, is coming to the festival – she’s an astonishing talent and an awe-inspiring performer and I know our audiences will love seeing her on stage.”
As well as hosting bestselling writers and household names, the Birmingham Literature Festival has built a reputation for showcasing an exciting, eclectic mix of speakers from all backgrounds and literary genres, both established and emerging.
This year’s festival celebrates the creative connections between words and music, with Sam Lee and Richard O’Neill discussing Romany Song and Story on 13 October, and jazz vocalist Lauren Kinsella combining music, poetry and theatre on 13 October. Crime writer Mark Billingham turns his hand to playwriting for The Other Half, a theatre show mixing music with the narrative, with country music duo My Darling Clementine.
The festival offers a feast of food and foreign literature at the Cooked Up on 13 October, with short story writers whose contribution to the new collection of the same name are all inspired by food and Baltic Breakfast on 10 October at Café Opus at IKON, featuring writers from Latvia and Lithuania: novelist Pauls Bankovskis from Latvia, and poets Indrė Valentenaitė and Laurynaus Katkus from Lithuania.
Birmingham Literature Festival always makes space to take a creative look at current affairs. This year, the festival is hosting The Writing of Protest (12 October), in partnership with Guardian Live, with Everyday Sexism campaigner Laura Bates, a director of lobbying group 38degrees, and Professor Mary Evans from LSE, who will discuss the role that storytelling plays in campaigning.
Every year, the festival offers writers an opportunity to develop their writing through special workshops and performance opportunities. There are workshops on writing stories from personal anecdotes and on writing for TV; on how to use writing technology to your advantage; and exploring art as inspiration. In addition, there’s the chance to perform work at Writing West Midlands’ regular short fiction salon, Short & Sweet, which is hosted by writer and Heart Breakfast presenter, Rachel New.
A project of Writing West Midlands, the region’s literature development agency, the Birmingham Literature Festival is in its 17th year and is well established in the city’s festival calendar, attracting thousands of people every year to hear and meet writers from the region and across the world. It is a project of Writing West Midlands, which is supported by Arts Council England.
For tickets and full details of events, see www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org.