Aspiring writers and anyone interested in literature and the arts will be spoilt for choice when Middlesex University’s 15th Literary Festival opens at the Trent Park campus, north London, on Tuesday 23 March.
As well as readings and talks by some of today’s leading creative writers, the two day Festival offers the chance to attend panel discussions and workshops on a range of genres – poetry, journalism, horror and historical fiction, and children’s literature.
Acclaimed freelance writer Justin Shevlin opens the Festival with some essential tips for would-be authors - a workshop on speedwriting and advice on dealing with writer’s block.
Other events that day include panel sessions on Children’s Fiction, Historical Fiction and the Horror Fiction genre, with contributions and readings from writers who have specialised in these areas.
Headline speaker at the Festival, playwright Robert Holman rounds up the first day. A resident dramatist with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, Robert Holman has also worked with the BBC and has seen his plays produced at prestigious venues such as London’s Bush Theatre and the Royal Court. One of Holman’s best known works is his trilogy Making Noise Quietly which focuses on chance meetings overshadowed by war.
Middlesex graduate Alim Kamata, poet, rapper and storyteller, will run a poetry workshop on Wednesday 24 March, using his talent to stretch out and develop the beauty of poetry as well as focusing on the healing power of communication and creativity. A poetry panel follows, featuring readings by Laura Dockrill, Lizzy Dijeh and Clive Bush. Non-fiction is under the spotlight that day, when Tim Dowling and Lucy Mangan, both columnists with The Guardian newspaper, talk about their work and answer questions from the audience.
Other speakers include sci-fi author and Times Literary Supplement reviewer Roz Kaveney, who will talk about her work as a reviewer and read from recent fiction and poems. Roz's books include Reading the Vampire Slayer, From Alien to The Matrix, Teen Dreams and Superheroes. As ‘RozK’ she also writes a Live Journal. Independent on Sunday feature writer and music reviewer Simon Price will talk about his work, and ‘English eccentric’, author Sebastian Horsley gives an eye-opening multimedia appearance and talk.
The Festival has been arranged by a panel of Middlesex’s BA Creative and Media Writing students. It will also include student readings, screening of short films made by Middlesex students and a photographic exhibition profiling some of Middlesex’s current young talents.
Dr Maggie Butt, Head of Media Department at Middlesex and herself a published poet, said: “We are very proud that our third year creative writing students have been arranging our high profile literary festival for 15 years now. It's a great opportunity for our students to hear at first-hand from leading writers, journalists, publishers and film makers and to get an insight into how professional writers work. By arranging the Festival, our students gain an insight into the professional arts world and can develop event management skills which have led to excellent job opportunities”.
Attendance at panel sessions, readings and talks is free of charge. Workshops on speedwriting and poetry cost £3 per person (£2 to students). Places at the workshops are limited – to reserve a place, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Festival takes place at The Mansion, Middlesex University Trent Park Campus, north London. Nearest underground stations are Oakwood and Cockfosters (Piccadilly line) - a regular free shuttle bus service runs between Oakwood station and the campus.