Hillingdon Literary Festival 2016
Hillingdon Literary Festival 2016

Hillingdon Literary Festival 2016

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Antonin Artaud Building

Brunel University London

Uxbridge, United Kingdom

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Join us for a FREE weekend of literary performances from over twenty five bestselling and globally renowned authors. Our theatre venue will play host to riveting conversations, inspiring readings, book signings, masterclasses and workshops.  But there’s much more, our outdoor festival area (come rain or shine, we have a marquee!) will be a celebration of our community –  with live music, street food, poetry made to order from The Poetry Takeaway, plus a market curated by the Duck Pond Market and their artisan blend of ethical stalls, sustainable charm and local produce.

Reserve your Weekend Pass now to avoid missing out!

Register your free access-all weekend ticket now!

Hillingdon Literary Festival is back! This year, join us at Brunel University London from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th October 2016 for a weekend of exciting talks from internationally acclaimed authors as well as workshops and plenty of special features. The Festival aims to showcase the breadth of the writing community in Hillingdon and beyond, in partnership with London Borough of Hillingdon Council, Brunel University London and Hillingdon Libraries’ Culture Bite Festival. 

Friday 7th October
17:00  Drinks Reception

18:00  The Here and Elsewhere  –  with Amit Chaudhuri 

18:30  An Evening with Will Self


Saturday 8th October
11:00  Downloading Love  –  featuring Barbara Lorna Hudson

12:00  Sensational History  –  with Bernice L. McFadden & Rick Stroud

13:00  Unravelling Identities  –  with Ann Morgan & Irenosen Okojie

[Masterclass]  14:00  How to Get Published  –  with Valerie Brandes  – *Register your interest via LiteraryFestival@brunel.ac.uk*

14:30  Light and Dark  –  with Matt Haig & Sharon Lockyer

15:30  Utopian Dreams  –  with Caroline Edwards, Akram Khan & Dany Nobus

[Masterclass]  15:30  Found Poetry Workshop with Emma Filtness  – *Register your interest via LiteraryFestival@brunel.ac.uk*

17:30  An Audience with Benjamin Zephaniah


Sunday 9th October
11:00  Future Speculations  –  with Matthew de Abaitua & Antonia Honeywell

12:00  Shifts in Political Rhetoric  –  with Thomas Glave, Jay Kleinberg, Sam Leith & Ken Livingstone

[Masterclass] 13:30  On Literary Journalism  –  with Suzi Feay   –  *Register your interest via LiteraryFestival@brunel.ac.uk*

14:00  Praised Globally, Raised Locally  –  with Courttia Newland & Samantha Shannon

15:00  Nina is Not OK  –  Suzi Feay in conversation with Shappi Khorsandi

16:00  Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare and the Authorship Question  –  with Ros Barber, Bill Leahy & Alexander Waugh

[Masterclass] 16:00  How (and how not) to Self-Publish a Novel  – with F.D. Lee  –   *Register your interest via LiteraryFestival@brunel.ac.uk*

17:30  Writing Local  |  Thinking Global  –    official launch of the community creative writing anthology, with readings and a celebratory drinks reception.


Following a variety of workshops and masterclasses from Brunel University London academics, the festival will officially launch at 17:00 with a drinks reception, The Here and Elsewhere  -  with Amit Chaudhuri and An Evening with Will Self. These award winning authors will be exploring "Writing Local and Global: The Here and Elsewhere" and journeying across themes of place, locale, and home in their writings. Indulge your curiosity and join the erudite and award winning Amit Chaudhuri in an evening with Will Self, cherished by Brunel University London students for his ‘psychogeographic’ explorations.


Saturday kicks off with tales of “Downloading Love” and a novel about aging, internet dating and the search for a meaningful life with Barbara Lorna Hudson’s Timed Out. This session will be followed by “Sensational History”; charting two African American musicians captured by the Nazis while performing in Paris, in Bernice L. McFadden’s The Book of Harlan, and the story of a German general kidnapped on the Nazi-occupied island of Crete in 1944, with Rick Stroud’s Kidnap in Crete. Two astonishing stories of how unlikely characters can become heroes.

The day continues "Unravelling Identities" with a literary psychological novel about the fragility of identity, Beside Myself by Ann Morgan, and the new collection of startling short stories from Irenosen Okojie, whose unflinching gaze into the darkest corners of the human experience is just as on show in Speak Gigantular as it was with the brilliant Butterfly Fish.

In the How to Get Published masterclass, Valerie Brandes will explore the various routes towards getting published in an ever changing environment. Valerie Brandes is the Founder and Publisher of Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd. and an ardent supporter of promoting ethnic and gender equality and diversity in the publishing industry, speaking regularly about publishing and diversity, and served on the board of Fiction Uncovered.

In "Light and Dark" we will be joined by Matt Haig discussing his bestseller Reasons to Stay Alive, an account of his experience with depression, how he triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Matt’s oeuvre is so thoroughly laced with humour, even throughout this difficult subject, that we’ve invited Sharon Lockyer from Brunel’s Centre for Comedy Studies Research to help tease out the space between light and dark.

Inspired by the five-hundred-year anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, an influential  work of political fiction and philosophy, we’ve invited Caroline Edwards, co-founder of the Open Library of Humanities and contemporary literature academic with a specialism in Utopianism; Akram Khan, an experimental particle physicist; and  Dany Nobus, whose research explores the applications of psychoanalytic ideas to socio-cultural issues, to discuss "Utopian Dreams". We will also invite various ideas of Utopia to be voiced by you, the audience. Start dreaming up your utopias, folks!

The closing event of the day brings the long awaited return of  An Evening with Benjamin Zephaniah with the world-renowned performance poet, activist and commentator, and Professor in Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Join Benjamin for a lively narrative of the moments that inspired his poems, and be dazzled by his flair, joyful charisma, and sophisticated tackling of everyday injustices.

BZ Horse Stance

We'll have "Future Speculations" on Sunday morning with Matthew de Abaitua, the critically acclaimed science fiction novelist and lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University London, showcasing his most recent work, The Destructives. He'll be joined by Antonia Honeywell, discussing her dystopian epic The Ship - a debut fantasy novel that is fast becoming a documentary of our times. This session is followed by the tackling of  "Shifts in Political Rhetoric" in what has been a tumultuous year in politics, featuring: Thomas Glave, whose book Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh discusses human rights, political oppression and sexuality; Professor Emeritus Jay Kleinberg, of Brunel University London, whose interest in trans-national American history led to her founding the Centre for American, Transatlantic and Caribbean History and the Society for History of Women in the Americas; Sam Leith, author of You Talkin' To Me? : Rhetoric From Aristotle to Obama, journalist and judge of last year's Man Booker Prize; and the renowned politician and previous Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

In our masterclass On Literary Journalism  -  with Suzi Feay the brilliant journalist will discus avenues of writing as a career, having herself written regularly for The Guardian, The Financial Times, and The Independent, among others. A regular reviewer and broadcaster, Suzi has also had stories and poems published in The London Magazine, Magma and Poetry Review.

"Praised Globally, Raised Locally" is a chance to see two internationally acclaimed novelists who spent formative years in the Borough of Hillingdon. Samantha Shannon will be discussing The Mime Order, the second offering of her dystopian fantasy series, The Bone Season, already an international phenomenon. She will be joined in conversation by the prolific Courttia Newland whose first novel, The Scholar, was a coming-of-age piece about life on a West London estate. The Gospel According to Cane, his seventh book, is a stylish coming-of-middle-age novel about motherhood and identity.

The brilliant literary journalist, Suzi Feay, will be in conversation with the much loved always-inspired Shappi Khorsandi. Shappi’s first novel, Nina is Not Ok, is a frightening example of the power of social media and the fragility of friendships. It is funny, controversial, rude and totally compelling. A bit like Nina herself.


A controversial subject - we will be exploring the mysteries of Shakespeare in Four Hundred Years of Shakespeare and the Authorship Question and questioning what we think we know about the great bard, with some leading voices from the position of ‘reasonable doubt’. Leading the discussion will be Brunel University London’s Bill Leahy, specialist in Shakespeare and Elizabethan. He’ll be joined by the award winning novelist, poet, and Christopher Marlowe scholar, Ros Barber, as well as the renowned author, composer and president of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition, Alexander Waugh.

Last, but furthest from least, it seems that the most apt way to round off a festival of diverse literary voices is to champion those that we have in the Borough. We have been delighted to receive numerous varied submissions to our creative writing competition, and would like to invite you to join us in celebrating them all.


Community Creative Writing Competition

Championing the diverse voices of the London Borough of Hillingdon

We will be hearing some excerpts and announcing the winner of the grand prize, but don’t worry – everyone’s a winner, there’s also a celebratory drinks reception!

See you then!


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Antonin Artaud Building

Brunel University London

Uxbridge, United Kingdom

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