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Welcome to this year’s festival.

We’re delighted to reveal this year’s festival line-up, which 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.

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

Rita Dove © Fred Viebahn

Rita Dove © Fred Viebahn

We’re excited to be 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 is a very special event and one we’re honoured to have in our programme.

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 soprano 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 narrative, with country music duo My Darling Clementine.

The festival offers a feast of food and foreign literature at the Baltic Breakfast on 10 October at Café Opus at IKON, featuring writers from Latvia and Lithuania, and Cooked Up on 13 October, 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 is taking its audience on a poetry vintage bus tour through the Black Country with a 1953 Leyland Royal Tiger bus from Boultons of Shropshire (11 October); as well as offering 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 (17 October).

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.

As always, there are plenty of writing workshops and performance opportunities for writers. You can see them all here.

See you in October!

The Birmingham Literature Festival team.

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