We had over forty events over ten days (3-12 October), using some of the city’s most interesting venues, including Birmingham Cathedral, Ikon Gallery and of course the wonderful new Library of Birmingham. We were delighted to be working with many partner organisations, including Ikon, Sampad, Four Colman Getty, The Institute of Creative and Critical Writing at Birmingham City University, The Asian Writer Magazine, Birmingham REP, The RSA, The Writers’ Guild, West Midlands Readers’ Network and numerous publishers, both regional and national.
Always in favour of the opportunity to introduce audiences to the voices behind the writing they are enjoying, the Festival remained a platform for this relationship, for taste making and for new work. Through commissions and bespoke projects, the Festival explored the boundaries between traditional and digital formats. We had writers in situ, video interviews and more.
Headline events in the 2013 festival included a celebration of National Poetry Day featuring UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy with Imtiaz Dharker, writers Lionel Shriver, Will Self, Catherine O’Flynn, Jonathan Coe, Germaine Greer, Robert Edric, Amanda Smyth, Jenn Ashworth and Willam Palmer. Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, delivered a specially commissioned lecture and Benjamin Zephaniah gave an ‘urban sermon’ on the subject of multiculturalism. In addition, Daljit Nagra performed extracts from his reworking of the Ramayana, beautifully illustrated by South Asian dance, the first UK Canal Laureate, Jo Bell, hosted poetry sharing events, Stuart Maconie curated and chaired an evening with literary friends and we enjoyed a rehearsed reading of Alan Bennett’s play Denmark Hill.
A Readers’ Afternoon and a new voices in fiction panel introduced us to books that just demand to be read, and world poets from Arc Publications shared a recently translated work. British Asian writers Rosie Dastgir, Sathnam Sanghera and Qaisra Shahraz discussed their experiences living in and writing about British cities.
We also had a series of writing workshops. These included writing horror, getting poetry published, translation, writing historical fact/fiction and productivity for creative writers. There was also the opportunity to meet regional publishers Nine Arches Press, Flarestack Poets and Offa’s Press as they participated in Festival events, and celebrated the launch of a new Tindal Street Fiction Group anthology.
We hope you enjoyed the Festival as much as we did.
You can read blog posts from the Festival here.
We reviewed some of the books by writers who spoke at the Festival; have a look at some of them here. Have you read any of these books? Or others from the Festival? Let us know what you thought! @BhamLitFest
See more photographs from the Festival here. Can you spot yourself?