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Future of Storytelling explored as MDX hosts StoryFest 2023

Gangs of London actor Lucian Msamati, children’s author Gabriela Houston and poet Kel Duckhouse among speakers at the student-led event

A wide range of guest speakers, panel debates and practical workshops are on offer both online and at the Hendon campus from March 20-22 as MDX hosts StoryFest 2023.

Formerly named the North London Literary Festival, which has offered a showcase for storytelling in all formats since 1996, previous speakers include Dame Professor Carol Ann Duffy, David Nicholls, Al Kennedy, Lynton Kwesi Johnson, Andrew Motion, and Fay Weldon.

MDX BA Creative Writing & Journalism students formed an organising committee to arrange the schedule and guests. Branding and social media of the festival has been managed by MDX BA Advertising, PR and Branding students and all sessions are hosted by undergraduate and postgraduates.

Creative Writing and Journalism students from MDX Dubai campus are also taking part.

This year’s theme will evaluate how storytelling is being redefined for an ‘always-on’ world.

Mobile technology is already transforming how audiences consume media, from retail shopping, to VR and sporting events so will storytelling in the future exist. The question ‘is the novel dead?’ will be debated.

Dr Adam Dalton, MDX Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing, said: “Social media art-scientists are pushing the boundaries of our world, outwards and upwards, and increasing the ways in which stories can be told – moving us away from the linear narratives of yesteryear to a multimodal, multi-sensory experience of story.

“Is it liberating, simple evolution, or simply too much? Isn’t a story still just a story?”

The packed schedule includes Writing graphic novels and comics’, with graphic novelist John Dunning and comic writer R J Collins, creator of ARKS; ‘Story in games’, with MDX Senior Lecturer in Games Design Penda Tomlinson and ‘Generational trauma’, with Nadege Rene, winner of the London Writers Award.

Vincent Ryan, Training Manager of Google NewsLab will give a presentation on ‘New tech tools for storytelling’ and ‘Political story writing’, will be discussed with MDX Professor Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, MDX Professor Kurt Barling and Russell Smith.

The finale is at 7pm on March 22 when poet Kel Duckhouse, Gangs of London actor Lucian Msamati, children’s author Gabriela Houston, MDX Academic Dean James Martin Charlton, and MDX Head of Media Helen Bendon will make up The future of storytelling panel.

Helen said: "StoryFest is huge part of our identity in the faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, bringing together different disciplines in what is essential to all of our practice - strong, engaging storytelling.

"Attending StoryFest is always thought-provoking and creatively stimulating, but most impressive is seeing our students work with professional writers and creatives."

Lead student organisers Lillian Cadwallader and Lauren Ferraro have worked with MDX Senior Lecturer James Kenworth to pull the event together.

Lillian, an MDX BA Creative Writing and Journalism student, said: “We have worked hard to get the guest list that we have around the future of storytelling and I am really excited, particularly to hear Gabriela Houston who writes young adult fiction and her take on the future and her audience.

“I think at heart people love a book or a script, it’s the tangible. Whatever the future holds I think and hope there will always be that element.”

For more information go to: North London Story Festival | Middlesex University

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