With all the special event emails flooding my inbox it would seem that the literary festival season is now well and truly underway. Having digested all the exciting programmes and event listings here is mini round-up of just some of the things I wish I could get along to in May and June…
Brighton Festival: 05 – 27 May 2012
Edna O’Brien, Simon Armitage, Andrew O’Hagan, Linda Grant: Faber Social
Sat 05 May, 9.00pm
A celebration of words and music for modern sybarites… For one night only London’s latest literary phenomenon leaves the big smoke behind to take a little sea air…. The night has platformed a wealth of new and emerging voices. Tonight includes novelist, short story writer and biographer Edna O’Brien; poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage; novelist/ essayist Andrew O’Hagan; and Orange Prizewinning novelist Linda Grant.
The Essential Guide to Homer with Charlotte Higgins: Life, Death, Love and War
Sunday 06 May, 1.00pm
Drawing together Festival themes – of myth and storytelling, of voyaging and returning – writer and journalist Charlotte Higgins has assembled an expert panel. Joining her is Tim Whitmarsh, professor of classics at the University of Oxford; and Matthew Fox, professor of classics at the University of Glasgow. Together they sort the Trojans from the Thracians as they help unpick The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Sceptre is 25: Andrew Miller, Ros Barber, Jess Richards, Clare Morrall. Chaired by Dr Katy Shaw
Wednesday 23 May, 7.30pm
To celebrate Sceptre’s 25th anniversary, a selection of its established and emerging authors read from their latest and forthcoming books. Andrew Miller has just won the coveted Costa Book of the Year for his sixth novel, Pure, a gripping evocation of 18th-century Paris. Ros Barber’s The Marlowe Papers pulls off an ‘ingenious and imaginative’ (Hilary Mantell) literary feat, conjuring a coruscating historical thriller – in verse! Jess Richards’ wildly inventive debut novel Snake Ropes invokes the magic realism of Angela Carter in a mysterious tale of an island off the edge of the map. The Roundabout Man by Clare Morrall is an acutely observed slice of modern life that maps the chasm between nostalgia and reality.
Ways with Words: 18 – 20 May 2012
A.S. Byatt: In conversation with the New Statesman
Friday 18 May, 6.00pm
Booker Prize-winning author, A.S. Byatt in conversation with Jonathan Derbyshire, Culture Editor of the New Statesman. A.S. Byatt’s novels include Possession, Angels and Insects and The Children’s Book. An opportunity to hear more from one of our most imaginative and enquiring literary minds.
A.A. Gill: Globe Trotter
Sunday 20 May, 11.00am
A.A. Gill’s acerbic and hilarious views often cause controversy and have led to feuds with everyone from Gordon Ramsay to the entire population of Wales. He discusses his travels around the world as he seeks to unlock the personality of place from Sudan to California.
Hay Festival: 31 May – 10 June 2012
Thursday 31 May, 8.00pm
The comedy rock superstar and his band open the festival with his hilarious, scathing and often unsettling lovely songs. "A thing of jaw-dropping wonder" Telegraph.
Patrick de Witt and Tom Bullough talk to Stephanie Merritt: Fictions – Not the C19th Novel
Sunday 03 June, 7.00pm
The Man Booker-shortlisted The Sisters Brothers is a noiradventure set in Gold Rush America; Konstantin tells the story of the first man in Russia to reveal how travel into space might be possible. It is a story of man, nature, and the limitless power of the imagination.
David Crystal: What The Dickens!
Friday 08 June, 10.00am
The linguistics Prof mines the work of the novelist - one of the greatest ever writers of dialect, dialogue and description, and an inventive master of vocabulary and language.
Borders Book Festival: 14-17 June 2012
Friday 15 June, 6.00pm
One of Britain’s greatest and most popular novelists achieves a rare feat. Without a running character or a recurring genre, William Boyd writes bestseller after bestseller. Waiting for Sunrise is a thrilling, plot-twisting novel set in Europe during the First World War - something completely different, as usual, from the author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms.
Beyond the Border, Wales International Storytelling Festival: 29 June – 01 July 2012
The Company of Storytellers
Marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Beyond the Border have commissioned a reworking of the company’s landmark creation, The Three Snake Leaves which skilfully combines nine stories from the collection to create a true fairy tale for adults. Originally commissioned by the South Bank Centre, this 2012 reworking brings The Company of Storytellers together with musicians Dylan Fowler and Gillian Stevens.
I’m also looking forward to the release of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival (01-03 June 2012) programme which looks like it’s shaping up to be another very good weekend.
Oh dear, far too much to see and do, wish I could split myself in two!
** all info is c/o each festival and real-life experiences may differ from the image shown :o)