It’s Nottingham’s second Festival of Words (13-19 October), below is a few highlights to get you in the mood. We’ve got a real international flavour this year with bloggers and writers from as far afield as Afghanistan, Syria and Leicester. This is a particularly important festival as it also ties in with Nottingham’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature. So we really need bottoms on seats. This year we were successful in getting a £15,000 Arts Council Grant as well as extra funding to bring over international writers (the first festival was done out of sheer rage and love) but it won’t mean anything if nobody turns up. So please dab in and spread the word or else your city will be nothing more than a refuge for Poundstretchers, Tesco Express and American coffee chains…
Telling Tales: Nottingham kids’ festival of imagination
Pack the kids off to their own literary festival where they can join in animation sessions, drama workshops, or create their own cartoons. If none of this interests them, they can overdose on Ribena and just run around screaming.
Saturday 11 October, 10am-5pm, free, Lady Bay
Writing from China
When a Starbucks gets changed into a noodle bar and a pub becomes a karaoke bar, you know the city centre is changing. Will Buckingham is joined in conversation by Beijing author Karen Ma (Excess Baggage) and Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang (The Woman Who Lost China) for a discussion about life with the dragon.
Monday 13 October, 7.30 – 9pm, £4/£3, Nottingham Writers’ Studio
The world’s in a right shitstorm at the moment, which means a lot of writers are in exile. Belfast playwright Gary Mitchell was forced into hiding following his depictions of life in Loyalist communities. Poet Suhrab Sirat is unable to return to war-torn Afghanistan and blogger Lina Ben Mhenni joins us from Tunisia where she continues to document the Arab Spring despite intimidation. They will read and discuss their work with Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN.
Tuesday 14 October, 7.30 – 9.30pm, £5/£4, Sillitoe Room, Waterstones
The East Midlands’ travelling spoken word festival offers some gobby goodness from Shonaleigh Cumbers, Joel Stickley MC, Sophie Snell and Mark Gwynne-Jones, the poet once described as ‘Quentin Tarantino on milk’. There’s also a chance to give it some flannel in the Storytelling Open Mic.
Thursday 16 October, 6pm, £5, Nottingham Contemporary
Ali Smith in conversation with Jon McGregor
The author of The Accidental, Girl Meet Boy and Artful, her most recent novel, How To Be Both,is shortlisted for this year’s Booker. Joining her for a natter is Jon McGregor, author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. There is a book signing afterwards for anyone hoping to make a few bob on eBay.
Friday 17 October, 7.30pm, £12/£10, Lakeside Arts Centre
Having grown up in Uganda, home of Joseph Kony and some atrocious human rights issues, her writing is largely based on oral traditions. Her debut novel, Kintu, explores the ancestry of a family and the history of her country, as heirs survive the loss of their land, the denigration of their culture and the ravages of war. Her short story Let’s Tell This Story Properly won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014.
Saturday 18 October, 1.30pm – 2pm, free, Lecture Theatre 5, Newton Building, Nottingham Trent University
Kavya Rang: Ghazal
International star of Indian music, Dev Dutt Joshi, will take you through musical genres including Bollywood, Ghazal, Bhajan, Qawalli, folk and fusion. He will be strutting his stuff with Sunil Gossai (tabla) and Siddharth Singh (guitar). Ghazal is an ancient form of Arabic verse, around central themes of loss and love.
Sunday 19 October, 3.30pm-5.30pm, £10/£7, Council House
Dawn of the Unread presents: MasterBrainzzzs!
In the tents on Slab Square there’ll be a Mastermind with a difference as four dead writers are brought back to life and quizzed on their literary relevance. Lydia ‘Magnus’ Towsey will be asking the questions, arranging a bwain eating competition, and our former editor Al Needham will be made up as a zombie.
Sunday 19 October, 3pm-4pm, £3/£2, Word Tent 2, Market Square
Tickets can be purchased from the Nottingham Playhouse Box Office (Tel: 0115 941 9419) or on the Festival of Words website.
- Nottingham’s Literary Heritage (nottinghamcityofliterature.com)
- A Literary City with Working Class Roots (guardian.co.uk)
- Writing China – Will Buckingham (willbuckingham.com)
- Death Sentences at Galleries of Justice (galleriesofjustice.org.uk)
- Festival of Words is Back (creativequarter.com)
- Writing Hungary (nottinghamwritersstudio.co.uk)
- Festival Blog Hop Andrew Kells (andrewkells.blogspot.co.uk)
- Festival Blog Hop Pippa Hennessy (battypip.wordpress.com)