Will you find a Golden Ticket?

The hunt is on. Birmingham Literature Festival is offering free access to festival events to the finders of a golden ticket.

The Birmingham Literature Festival celebrates its 20th year in 2017, and has revealed its full programme for its first ever Spring Edition, to complement the annual October festival.

To celebrate, 20 golden tickets have been hidden in bookshops, cafes and libraries across the Midlands. Each ticket offers the finder two free entry passes to one of the festival’s events and one special ticket offers the winner a full festival pass.

Details on how to claim your event passes are given on the golden tickets.

The towns taking part are Kidderminster, Shrewsbury, Lichfield, Stafford, Stoke on Trent, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Hereford, Solihull, Sutton, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Warwick, Worcester, Bromsgrove and, of course, Birmingham.

Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive of Writing West Midlands and festival programmer, said:

“I’m thrilled to present the Spring Edition of the Birmingham Literature Festival. It’s a significant year for us, celebrating twenty years of sharing great writing with this great city.

“The finders of the golden tickets will be welcomed to one of our fantastic events. To win, simply be the first to find one hidden in the region’s bookshops, cafes and libraries. I wish you the best of luck.”

Tickets for all events are now on sale.

As well as tickets for individual events, Birmingham Literature Festival also offers a Festival Pass, which allows regular attendees the chance to attend the ten main events for just £50.

First names announced for Spring Edition

Birmingham Literature Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the launch of a Spring Edition, in addition to its traditional October programme.

The Spring Edition, from 21st – 23rd April, incorporates canoes, bicycles and walks, a variety of venues across the city, and a host of writers from Birmingham and further afield, including Romania, Poland and the US.

The Festival Finale features best-selling American novelist Lionel Shriver, whose latest book The Mandibles: A Family, 2029 – 2047, imagines America’s economic and social collapse. Meanwhile Birmingham writer Luke Kennard will share his vision of a dystopia much closer to home: his debut novel The Transition is set amidst the housing crisis in the very near future.

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, will be talking about her startling new memoir Everywoman: a defiant call to stand up, speak out and be counted. And blogger Emma Gannon will be in conversation with debut author Olivia Sudjic about growing up online.

Nature writer Alys Fowler will discuss her new book Hidden Nature – a journey through the canals of Birmingham by canoe. M.G.Leonard will talk beetles to celebrate the publication of her new book for young people, Beetle Queen.

Poet and playwright, Inua Ellams will bring his show An Evening with An Immigrant to Birmingham for the first time, after sell-out shows in London. And Birmingham’s own Natalie Haynes will mark the publication of her second novel, The Children of Jocasta, with a humorous talk called Honour Among Thebes.

The Spring Edition also includes the launch of a new anthology of Asian writing; a family illustration workshop; an evening with five Romanian poets; secret storytelling, silent reading and several writing workshops. The festival’s bookselling partner is Waterstones Birmingham.

Festival Director, Jonathan Davidson, said:

“I’m thrilled to present the Spring Edition of the Birmingham Literature Festival. It’s a significant year for us, celebrating twenty years of sharing great writing with this great city.

“But this year feels significant in other ways too. Making literature, and reading it – feels more important than ever. To be able to imagine someone else’s life gives us the possibility of understanding it better.”

Dates announced for 20th Anniversary Festival

Birmingham Literature Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the launch of a Spring Edition.

This year, the festival will host literary events in April as well as October. Running from Friday 21-Sunday 23rd April, the Spring Edition will take festival goers on bikes, canoe and foot, and into Birmingham’s hidden spaces.

It will feature events for families and children as well as a variety of exciting speakers.

Sign up to the Birmingham Literature Festival mailing list, Facebook Page or Twitter page for all the latest event updates.

Birmingham’s new Poets Laureate Announced at Gala Celebration

A poet with punch and a spoken-wordsmith determined to bring poetry to everyone have taken up the mantles of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate.

Matt Windle and Nyanda Foday were announced as new champions of Birmingham at a special National Poetry Day Gala event last night (6 October), at the launch of the Birmingham Literature Festival.

Professional super flyweight boxer, Matt Windle, Birmingham’s 20th Poet Laureate said: “I am hugely proud of my Brummie heritage and that’s a passion I will spread as Poet Laureate of this great city.

“I want to help people see that poetry can be for everybody whether it’s writing prose, performing on stage or simply sending a text or tweet. We all create poetry every day and that should be celebrated!

“I am a professional boxer currently ranked 6th in Britain. When people discover that I am also a poet, they are surprised that I don’t match the usual ‘type’ of what a poet ‘should’ be and I am often surprised by how many people then open up to me and admit to being a ‘secret’ writer.”

17 year old Nyanda, Birmingham’s 11th Young Poet Laureate said: “Poetry has always been a big part of my life. I have tried a variety of styles and want to show others my age and younger that there is so much more to poetry than they know.

“For example, I think more should be done to accommodate rap in young people’s poetry, as it is a valid and significant portion of the poetry scene- after all, rap is simply rhythm and poetry. I think this would be a great way to bring more people into poetry.”

The duo were selected as part of a city-wide search by the Library of Birmingham and regional literature development agency Writing West Midlands, to find talented poets to represent the city. Their work might include writing poems to commission, performing poetry, running workshops, getting involved in cultural events and working with the city’s many poets and poetry groups.

Jonathan Davidson, CEO of Writing West Midlands said: “Nyanda Foday is a wonderfully exciting appointment as Birmingham Young Poet Laureate. Her commitment to poetry is long-standing and she is both an accomplished performer and writer.

“Matt Windle, who becomes Birmingham Poet Laureate, was himself a Birmingham Young Poet Laureate, and is testimony to the value of supporting young writers.

“Matt has become a unique voice in contemporary poetry, and a man intent on finding new ways of communicating to readers and audiences.

“Over the next few months we will work with them both to plan a two year programme of activities, but for now they join us and thousands of others in attending the Birmingham Literature Festival’s eclectic programme of events.”

Councillor Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Congratulations to both Matt and Nyanda in being named the city’s latest Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate.

“Birmingham is home to a wealth of literary talent and our poet laureates have played an important part in promoting poetry for 20 years, so I’m eager to see what works they produce as our new poet laureates.

“The Library of Birmingham’s partnership with Writing West Midlands has generated brilliant work from previous laureates, and its profile as a cultural destination will enable Matt and Nyanda to make poetry accessible to people across the city.

“Birmingham libraries have led the way with innovative projects like this, such as Stories from the Web and Book Start, which celebrate language, literature and, of course, poetry.”

The Birmingham Poet Laureate scheme 2016–18 is managed for the Library of Birmingham by Writing West Midlands and the Birmingham Literature Festival. It is supported by Poetry on Loan.

Free event! Preview screening Books that Made Britain


A Birmingham Literature Festival special preview screening of Books that Made Britain Birmingham: ‘Factories to Middle Earth’.

The documentary is part of a new BBC series Books that Made Britain. Birmingham-born Qasa Alom sets out to discover what it’s like being a writer from Birmingham, away from the literati in London. He meets successful Birmingham novelists, David Lodge, Jonathan Coe and Kit de Waal. He also finds out about Jim Crace, a ‘fabulist’ who has written more obliquely about Birmingham, Henry Green, who wrote one of the great industrial novels of the twenties, set in Birmingham, and JRR Tolkien, who spent his childhood in the city. Could Birmingham really have been an inspiration for Middle Earth?

Look out for Writing West Midlands’ very own Jonathan Davidson!

This free event will be a special preview of the film, and include a ‘making of’ conversation with the producer, Ed Barlow, and presenter Qasa Alom.

The documentary will be aired on 16 October on BBC One West Midlands and will then be available on the iPlayer.

How to Book:
Please contact The BOX to book tickets on 0121 245 4455 or you can book online by clicking the button below.

Win a night in a 5* Mini apartment at the Rotunda

Attendees of the Raw Concrete event have an extra chance to celebrate iconic Birmingham with a stay in the Rotunda, a feature of Birmingham’s skyline since 1965. Staying Cool are offering one lucky ticketholder a night’s stay in a state of the art studio apartment.

Kitted out with the best mods and cons including full Sky TV package, free fibre-optic wifi, king size bed and a fully fitted kitchen equipped with a coffee machine, cereals and a juicer for the complimentary fresh oranges. As you’re probably aware, Staying Cool occupies apartments across the top 4 floors of Rotunda so the views are pretty spectacular too!

To enter, all you need to do is come to see Raw Concrete, our event celebrating the craft and engineering of concrete which powered the brutalist style of the 60s. Join Barnabas Calder and Honor Gavin and reminisce on the creation of the ring road, Central Library and Odeon.

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Birmingham Literature Festival 2016 now on sale!

The line- up for this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival has been announced with tickets on sale now.

As part of a European-themed weekend, Hans Rosenfeldt, creator and writer of hit Nordic Noir drama The Bridge, filmed in Danish and Swedish will meet Ed Thomas, creator of Hinterland, the Welsh/English drama.

A language theme continues with Benjamin Zephaniah and Liz Berry: Two leading poets region come together to discuss how the distinctive accents and dialects spoken in Birmimgham and the Black Country shape and colour writing.

Plus BBC Radio Four’s Word of Mouth is bringing poet and language expert Michael Rosen to BBC Mailbox to untangle Birmingham and the Black Country’s linguistic eccentricities- come and submit yours!

In partnership with Ikon Gallery- David Lodge meets designer Philippine Hamen who created a ‘lounger desk’ inspired by his short story The Man Who Wouldn’t Get Up.

Ask The Laureate- Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate on being the laureate, and his inspirations. Ask him a question and he’ll draw you an answer.

The programme of 43 events is live today, visit the event page to see more.

7-15 October 2017