Celebrations in honour of the new Library of Birmingham will continue over the next few days with the return of the similarly re-designed Birmingham Literature Festival (formerly Birmingham Book Festival). To coincide with National Poetry Day, the festival kicks off tomorrow with the announcement of the city’s new poet laureate, alongside readings from previous bearers of the title. Following this, acclaimed poets Carol Ann Duffy and Imtiaz Dharker will be performing their work in the library’s studio.
The festival lasts until 12th October, featuring a whole host of exciting guests including Germaine Greer, Benjamin Zephaniah, Will Self, Shami Chakrabarti, Lionel Shriver, Jonathan Coe and Stuart Maconie, as well an interesting mix of local writers and their work. There will also be a series of writing workshops, covering a whole host of subjects from children’s animation, to poetry in translation, and from sci-fi and horror genre writing to maximising your productivity as a writer. On Sunday 6th October, BBC Radio 4 will be attending, bringing Poetry Please and With Great Pleasure to live Birmingham audiences, with appearances from poets Roger McGough and Paul Farley.
On Wednesday 9th, a group of writers shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize will be reading from their work and answering audience questions in the studio theatre, and on Friday 11th, you can catch a rehearsed reading of Alan Bennett‘s lost television play, Denmark Hill, a black comedy set in South East London. The performance is organised by the Birmingham REP, and will finish with a Q&A session with director Tristram Powell.
If you’re strapped for cash, there are plenty of free events taking place throughout the festival, including the aforementioned Radio 4 recordings. On Sunday 6th, you can join West Midlands storytellers for Tell Me On a Sunday at the Ikon Gallery, and on Tueday 8th, Wednesday 9th and Saturday 12th, you can attend launch events for brand new anthologies of poetry, fiction and art.
NB: Look out for me in a bright pink t-shirt if you’re around on Tuesday 8th, Thursday 10th or Friday 11th!