Be inspired at London Literature Festival 2022

Greta Thunberg cr Kim Jakobsen To. Black and white portrait of activist Greta ThunbergFollowing a year’s hiatus, London Literature Festival hosted by the Southbank Centre is returning from 20th to 30th October 2021, with a literary programme headlined by Greta Thunberg in a world exclusive launch of The Climate Book.

Greta Thunberg’s The Climate Book features crucial climate voices including Kate Raworth, Naomi Klein and Margaret Atwood. The event, in collaboration with Penguin Live at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, will be live streamed for free around the world.

Science journalist, author and broadcaster Gaia Vince reframes the climate crisis and demonstrates how migration could be the answer in an event around her new book Nomad Century. In a special live recording, BBC Radio 4’s Open Book explores how the urgency of our natural environment has shaped our fictional landscapes. Writers Jessie Greengrass and Daisy Hildyard discuss the imminent emergencies of everyday life as they launch their respective new books. The Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library – situated in the Royal Festival Hall – hosts Earthbound Press for an evening of contemporary poetry featuring twelve critically-acclaimed poets, including Iain Sinclair, Nisha Ramayya and Eley Williams.

There’s also a free family programme celebrating the natural world and the environment, with talks and readings highlighting upcoming children’s authors.

Other highlights include events with literary greats Malorie Blackman, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Karl Ove Knausgård and George Saunders, plus well-known names Minnie Driver, Graham Norton, Rob Delaney, Jon Snow, among others.

New and emerging voices will be recognised by the prize for under-represented writers in the Creative Future Writers’ Awards Showcase 2022 on 22nd October, hosted by novelist Dorothy Koomson and poet Joelle Taylor.

On 23rd October, London Literature Festival partners with Creative Future for Writers’ Day – a day packed with talks for writers, publishers and literary professionals sharing hints, tips and initiatives.

Plus, just three days after the 2022 Booker Prize Winner is announced, they’ll join the Festival for their very first public event on 20th October.

For the full programme, visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk.

All image supplied by the Southbank Centre.

Celebrate writing at Manchester Literature Festival

The-Royal-Exchange-Manchester-cr-Judy-Darley

This year’s Manchester Literature Festival promises a programme of buzzing, thought-provoking events celebrating writing in all its forms from 7th-23rd October.

Curated by Manchester Literature Festival Co-Directors Cathy Bolton & Sarah-Jane Roberts, this year’s themes are Friendship, Family, Joy, Grief, Community, Solidarity, Imagination and Love.

From master novelists Maggie O’Farrell, Damon Galgut, Kamila Shamsie, A.M. Homes, George Saunders and Jon McGregor to emerging writers Okechukwu Nzelu and Yara Rodrigues Fowler, plus poets Jackie Kay and Malika Booker, not to mention guest actors, scriptwriters and broadcasters Rob Delaney, Ruth Jones, Sheila Hancock and Nihal Arthanayake, there will be plenty to inspire and intrigue.

The festival also examines what divides us and brings us together, celebrating pioneers and change-makers with events with historian David Olusoga, musician Cosey Fanni Tutti, fashion icon Edward Enninful, novelists Mariana Enriquez and Max Porter, Juan Pablo Villalobos and Paulo Scott, poets Inua Ellams & Yomi Sode, Roger Robinson & Johny Pitts and more.

Find the full MLF line-up and download the brochure at manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Brooklyn Book Festival celebrates literature city-wide

Brooklyn. Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on UnsplashBrooklyn Book Festival (BKBF) returns with a hybrid offering in 2022, with online and real world events to choose between from 25th September to 3rd October.

The Brooklyn Book Festival was launched in 2006 as a one-day event to address the need for a free, major literary event that embraced the diverse constituencies of New York City. It has since grown to include city-wide Bookend events, its flagship Festival Day with 300 authors and a Literary Marketplace with 250 independent and major publishers, and the BKBF Children’s Day that celebrates childhood reading. The Festival’s credo is “hip, smart and diverse”.

There are three elements to the festival. Throughout the Festival week, literary-themed Bookend events bring poetry, film, performances and more to all five New York City boroughs – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

On 25th September, Virtual Festival Day welcomes authors and audiences from around the world to enjoy compelling author conversations.

On 1st October, Children’s Day celebrates childhood reading with workshops, performances, readings from popular and emerging authors, and more.

They say: “The mission of the Brooklyn Book Festival is to celebrate published literature and nurture a literary cultural community through programming that cultivates and connects readers of diverse ages and backgrounds with local, national and international authors, publishers and booksellers.”

They add: “The Brooklyn Book Festival is New York City’s largest free literary festival and connects readers with local, national and international authors and publishers.”

Authors taking part include Elif Batuman, Angeline Boulley, Joyce Carol Oates, Paisley Currah, Hernan Diaz, David Duchovny, Jennifer Egan, Kate Gavino, Keith Gessen, Ayana Gray, Mohsin Hamid, Heather Havrilesky, Sheila Heti, Marlon James, Margo Jefferson, Mariame Kaba, Meiko Kawakami, Ryan La Sala, Yiyun Lee, E. Lockart, Casey McQuiston, Ottessa Moshfegh, Meghan O’Rourke, Jess Ruliffson, Salman Rushdie, Esmeralda Santiago, Namwali Serpell, Nadia Shammus, Warsan Shire, Vladimir Sorokin, James Spooner, Ryann Stevenson, Emma Straub, Gengoroh Tagame, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Linda Villarosa and Jacqueline Woodson. Find the full line up here.

Sign up for their newsletter to discover information on highlights as it becomes available.

Find full details here: brooklynbookfestival.org.

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send an email to judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Hay Festival Thursday 26th May-Sunday 5th June

Hay Festival cr Finn Beales

Hay Festival cr Finn Beales

The wonderful Hay Festival is taking place live in-person from Thursday 26th May to Sunday 5th June in Hay-on-Wye.

With a packed programme of more than 500 events designed and selected to inspire, intrigue and entertain, this is the 35th spring event and first fully in-person for two years.

From debut novelists (including DJ Annie Mac) to established festival favourites, plus poets, photographers, conservationists, musicians, historians, artists, chefs and more, there will be discussions, debates, lectures, performances and workshops to fire up your imagination.  Look out for Shakespeare’s Globe on Tour delivering open air performances of Julius Caesar at Hay Castle, and a one-hour book collaging workshop with one-hour collaging workshop with Hay Festival Illustrator in Residence Tom Etherington and Bethan Thomas, founder of Collage Crew workshops.

Other highlights include Jacqueline Wilson exploring Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree series and introducing the new Faraway Tree adventure she has written.

As well as paid events there are a number of freebies. Can’t or don’t want to attend in person? The Online Festival Pass gives you access to 76 events to watch from home, specially selected from the 11 days of Hay Festival, from the best new fiction to remarkable stories from the past, from policy makers to poets.

Find the full programme and register for the events that pique your curiosity here.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

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A literary winter solstice

Welsh beach by Judy Darley
This year’s Solstice Shorts Festival hosted by micro publisher Arachne Press sweeps us into the shivery themes of Time and Tide.

Now in its 6th year, Solstice Shorts Festival unfurls in seven port towns in four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Portugal. The festival is on Saturday 21st December 2019. There will be performances by actors, authors and musicians of original  short stories, poems and song, all historically tinged by coastlines and tidal rivers, with echoes of, as organiser Cheryl writes, “fishermen and pirates, wreckers and dockers – making a new life across the sea – escaping pogroms and wars, the shipwrecked and the endlessly travelling – to paddlers and wild swimmers.”

Find full details of what’s happening where and how you can get involved at arachnepress.com

Solstice Shorts Logo

Writing prompt – dusk

Dusk-winter-trees-cr-Judy-Darley

As the days shorten and nights lengthen, my mind turns to the winter solstice, and to the Solstice Shorts Festival 2017 due to be hosted by micro publisher Arachne Press.

Arachne Press proprietor and publisher Cherry Potts is seeking submissions of new and unpublished poetry and prose on the theme of Dusk. What does it bring to mind for you?

Cherry describes dusk as “the last ‘official’ segment, when the sun is down, but there’s still a lingering light in the sky, through to out and out night.”

The deadline for submissions is 5th November 2017.

Think about how you can turn that time when light and dark hover around each other into a story or poem. Find out how to submit your words at arachnepress.com

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I might publish it on SkyLightRain.com. You can help make the Solstices Shorts a nationwide festival.

Solstice Shorts Logo

Literary Bristol

Judy Darley in Redcliffe CavesBristol Festival of Literature returns from 19th-28th October 2017, with curious, intriguing, inspiring events popping up all over the city. I wrote a feature about it for The Bristol Magazine, titled Bookish Bristol, and was wowed by the options on offer. Events are already selling out, so get your tickets fast!

You can pick up copies of The Bristol Magazine all over the city, in cafes, hairdressers, estate agents and other businesses.

I’m taking part in a least two events. The first is Bristol Writers Group and Friends Go Into The Dark, taking place in Redcliffe Caves from 7-9pm on Tuesday 24th Oct. Tickets have already sold out! I’m one of the friends, and very excited to be invited back. Reading in the caves is a really magical event – it’s a wonderfully spooky environment. I’ll be sharing my tale Merrow Cave. The pic at the top of this post (photo taken by Sally Hare) shows me at a previous year’s event.

Tickets cost £5.50 each.

Novel Nights Oct 2017 readers

Novel Nights Oct 2017 readers

The second is Novel Nights, which I’ll be co-hosting with founder Grace Palmer from on Wednesday 25th October. Three local writing talents, Alison Brown, Kate Simants and Deborah Tomkins, will share novel extracts before Cornerstones literary editor Dionne McCulloch offers her insights on novel-writing and answers questions from the audience. It’s happening at The Square Club, 15 Berkeley Square, Bristol. Get tickets for £8 here.

There are so many other fabulous literary happenings to choose from too. Find the full programme and ticketing details at unputdownable.org. Hope to see you at an event or few!

Spring literary leaps at Southbank Centre

Neil Gaiman. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Author and fabulist Neil Gaiman. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan

Norse myths have been a source of inspiration for author and fabulist (how’s that for a job title) Neil Gaiman throughout his literary career. Discussing this influence and his latest book Norse Mythology (due out today – 7th February 2017), Neil Gaiman is part of Southbank Centre’s Spring Literature programme and year-long exploration of Nordic culture Nordic Matters.

On 15th February you can learn how Gaiman brings Norse gods to life through his inimitable fiction, where fantasy meets fairytale, fable, nightmare and happy endings in equal measure.

Other events to look out for include the Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Royal Festival Hall from 9th-19th February (speakers and storytellers include Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Michael Morpurgo, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, and Icelandic author Þórarinn Eldjárn), and Southbank Centre’s new year-long Belief and Beyond Belief festival, which examines belief, faith and spirituality as well as what it means to be human in the 21st century. So, plenty to inspire, intrigue and get your mind ticking!

To find out more and book, visit Southbank Centre’s website southbankcentre.co.uk or call the box office on 020 7960 4200

Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival 2016

St Peter Port cr VisitGuernsey

St Peter Port © VisitGuernsey

Tickets are now available for events at the first ever Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival, which takes place on the Channel Island of Guernsey from 2nd-10th April 2016. What a perfect excuse for a hit of springtime island hopping!

Toilers of the Sea by Victor HugoThe festival celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of Victor Hugo’s novel Toilers of the Sea, which was inspired by and set in Guernsey where he spent 15 years in exile from France from 1855. If you go along, you’ll have the to chance explore some of the historic events that influenced the book, while celebrating Victor Hugo’s life and works.

The eight-day extravaganza features exhibitions, paintings, talks, walks, films, performances, photographs and a one-day seminar from four world experts on Victor Hugo, al taking place at Guernsey landmarks, Hugo’s favourite haunts, and places that provided the inspiration for Toilers of the Sea 150 years ago.

The Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival is part of the wider Channel Island’s Heritage Festival 2016 (25 March – 10 May 2016) which this year takes a maritime focus, celebrating Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Herm and Sark’s relationship with their coastline and their seas.

Top things to do during the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival

1 Hugo’s Guernsey exhibition – 1-10 April

Throughout the Channel Island’s Heritage Festival, St Peter Port’s Priaulx Library will have a free exhibition of photographs and objects associated with the period of Hugo’s exile on the island.

2 Victor Hugo concert – 2nd April

Quebecois singer, songwriter and performer, Alain Lecompte, will lead a musical homage to Victor Hugo with excerpts from his internaionallly acclaimed ‘Hugo Live’ concert.  Lecompte will be joined in Guernsey by local choral ensemble, Bel Canto, at St James Concert Hall in St Peter Port. Tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for students.

3 Seminars and lectures from Hugo experts – 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th April

A series of seminars and lectures from leading authorities on the life and works of Victor Hugo will delve into the writer’s inspiration, influences and legacies. Events include ‘The Life of Victor Hugo in Exile’, a day-long seminar and Q&A session with four of the world’s most renowned experts on the French writer, a lecture by the designer of commemorative ‘Travailleurs’ stamps, a talk by the instigator of the Folio publication of the novel, and a WEA Maritime Heritage Series Lecture on Hugo’s relationship with the sea. Tickets range from free, for ‘The Art of Hugo’ lecture, to £20, for ‘Travailleurs, Creating the Stamps’ lecture lunch.

 In the Footsteps of Hugo – 2nd-10th April

During the eight day festival, there will be a series of two-hour long guided walks with experts departing a 10am and 2pm, to Hugo’s favourite spots on the island, which inspired many of the settings in both Toilers of the Sea and Les Miserables. The walks are priced at £8 per person.

5 Exhibition of Cartoons of Victor Hugo – 2nd-16th April (closed 3 April)

An exhibition of the caricatures of Victor Hugo published in the satirical press of his time will be on display throughout the festival in Guernsey’s capital of St Peter Port. Original caricatures will be exhibited at the Archive Centre for one week, while enlargements will be on show for two weeks at Inner Street Market. Admission is free.

Hauteville House cr VisitGuersey

Hauteville House © VisitGuersey

6 Tours of Hauteville House – 2nd April – 27th September

Visit the beautiful house where Victor Hugo lived during his time in exile on the island. Hauteville House was where he wrote many of his most well-known novels, including Toilers of the Sea. Tours take place daily throughout the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival and priced from £6 per person.

3 Hugo’s Banquet des Enfants – 3rd April

A six-course feast for 200 guests at Guernsey Market Buildings, replicating meals given by Victor Hugo to poor children at his home, Hauteville House. The lunch will be accompanied by live performances of music and drama.

Tickets for all events are available to purchase at www.Guernseytickets.gg. For full details on the festival, visit www.victorhugoinguernsey.gg

Find out more about visiting Guernsey at www.visitguernsey.com.

Call for writers to take part in Penzance Literary Festival

Penzance cr Judy DarleyTelltales is inviting writers of short fiction to submit stories on the theme of ‘Tide and Time’ for the chance to be selected to read at Penzance’s annual literary festival.

They’re hoping the theme will “inspire writing flavoured with sea and salt, full of ebb and flow, flotsam and jetsom, in contemplation of being castaway or of eternity – but, as always, pieces on any subject will be considered.”

Your submission must be no more than 2,000 words long. The deadline for submissions is 9 July 2014.

The chosen writers will be invited to read their submission at The Admiral Benbow, Chapel Street, Penzance at 7pm on Saturday 19 July 2014.

I took part in last year’s TellTales at the Penzance Literary Festival, with my story The Scent of Summer, and had a wonderful time at the night of readings at the Admiral Benbow. Highly recommend it!

To find out more, visit www.telltales.org.uk