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Birmingham Literature Festival 2016, 6 – 15 October
Programme announced summer 2016

Birmingham Literature Festival 2015 took place from 8th – 17th October.

We were delighted to welcome to this year’s festival (amongst many others) Rev Richard Coles, Allan Ahlberg, Mark Billingham and former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove. They joined 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.

Allan Ahlberg © Lee Allen

Allan Ahlberg © Lee Allen

As we know a lot of you come to several events, we created a BLF Pass for the first time this year, which gave access to virtually every public event during the festival for just £65. BLF Pass holders also received discounts to attend writing workshops taking place during the festival.

Our highlight was hosting Pulitzer Prize-winner and former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove on Friday 9 October. Rita is one of the US’s most electric poets and very rarely performs in Europe, so this was a very special event and one we’re honoured to have had in our programme.

Rita Dove © Lee Allen

Rita Dove © Lee Allen

This year’s festival celebrated the creative connections between words and music, with Sam Lee and Richard O’Neill discussing Romany Song and Story, and jazz soprano Lauren Kinsella combining music, poetry and theatre. Crime writer Mark Billingham turned his hand to playwriting for The Other Half, a theatre show mixing music with narrative, with country music duo My Darling Clementine.

The festival offered a feast of food and foreign literature at the Baltic Breakfast at Café Opus at IKON, featuring writers from Latvia and Lithuania, and Cooked Up, with short story writers whose contribution to the new collection of the same name are all inspired by food.

If literature in unusual locations is more your thing, the festival took its audience on a poetry vintage bus tour through the Black Country with a 1953 Leyland Royal Tiger bus from Boultons of Shropshire; and we offered the chance to lie back and marvel at the stars with the captivating e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g: History of the Universe in 45 Minutes.

Ode Trip: Black Country Bus Tour © Lee Allen

Ode Trip: Black Country Bus Tour © Lee Allen

Birmingham Literature Festival always makes space to take a creative look at current affairs. This year, the festival is hosted The Writing of Protest, in partnership with Guardian Live, with Everyday Sexism campaigner Laura Bates, a director of lobbying group 38degrees, and Professor Mary Evans from LSE, who discussed the role that storytelling plays in campaigning.

As always, there were plenty of writing workshops and performance opportunities for writers.

See you in October 2016 for the next Birmingham Literature Festival! Look out for the programme which will be released in Summer 2016.

The Birmingham Literature Festival team.

Here’s some more about how the 2015 Festival went:

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