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You wonder why it’s taken so long to happen. An area like Stoke Newington long associated with dissidents, free thinkers, writers, artists, bohemians and all in-between. Wonder no more, Stoke Newington now has it’s very own Literary Festival or at least it will this summer, thanks to Liz Vater of Stoke Newington, Jo Adams of Stoke Newington Books and Anne Beech of Pluto Press.
A combination of ticket and free events, There will be something for everyone at various venues around Stoke Newington. The programme is being finalized and will be announced on their website.
So far the line up includes: Stewart Lee, AC Grayling, Tony Benn, John Hegley, Toby Litt, Suzanne Moore, Jeremy Hardy, Shappi Khorsandi, Michael Rosen, Iain Sinclair, Mark Billingham, Louise Welsh, China Mieville, Jon Courtenay-Grimwood, Danny Kelly, Ellie Levenson, Kat Banyard, Dreda Say-Mitchell, Roddy Lumsden, Laura Dockrill, Andy Beckett, Ian Kelly, Zaiba Malik, Richard Reynolds, Sam Taylor, Grace Maxwell and Edwyn Collins, Phill Jupitus, Tim Wells, Pete Brown, Paul Ewen, Travis Elborough, Niki Segnit, plus ghost stories in Abney Park, kids storytelling and workshops with Secret Seed Society, bibliotherapy sessions with The School of Life, workshops on creative writing and how to write a best seller and much more….
Just added to the line up is ex Black Panther member, broadcaster, & columnist Darcus Howe, who will be in conversation with Farah Damji, author of Try Me, an explosive bio about Ugandan born British ‘IT’ girl Farah Damji, an ex magazine editor, art dealer, literary world socialite who did it all. She played hard with the glamorous set, got involved with New York’s underworld and drugs. Her self destructive ways finally landed her in New York’s notorious prison, Rikers Island. Both will share their views on multi-culturalism and the written word.
When I asked how and when the idea of holding the festival came about, Liz Vater said: “I spent a lot of last year travelling with my husband (who’s a writer and was appearing at literary festivals all over Britain) and wondered why we didn’t have our own, given our rich literary history, local talent and creative community”.
Vater added ”If this one’s a success, we’d like to make it an annual event.”