Stoke Newington Literary Festival is gearing up for its fourth year and the line-up continues to celebrate the area’s literary heritage and radical leanings with unabashed glee.
Free thinkers, dissenters and creatives working outside of the cultural mainstream have long been drawn (or banished) to Stoke Newington N16. Home to Daniel Defoe, Joseph Conrad, Marc Bolan, Mary Wollstonecraft, Nico, Edgar Allen Poe and Malcolm McLaren it has been called the Village that Changed the World and credited with the birthplace of feminism, journalism and the novel.
The 2013 Festival opens with literary bad boy and ex-Hackney property developer Irvine Welsh in conversation with John Niven. We’re not sure what they’re going to talk about but expect a lot of swearing. The Festival is proud to welcome Caitlin Moran discussing modern feminism with Suzanne Moore for the inaugural Mary Wollstonecraft Lecture. The 18th century non-conformists might have been shocked and delighted in equal measure by Prof Steve Jones as he tackles a re-write of the Bible post scientific illumination. They would definitely have been quite vocal at what promises to be a lively discussion between David Goodhart (Director of Think Tank Demos and author of The British Dream) and Daniel Trilling (New Statesman and author of Bloody Nasty People: the Rise of Britain’s Far Right).
But the festival is not only about fiery debate. There is something for everyone in the eclectic, lively and diverse programme and the Festival is expecting record numbers of visitors this year.
Festival founder Liz Vater says: “The festival is rooted firmly in the community but as the festival grows we are attracting authors and visitors from the rest of London, the UK and beyond.”
For all the genre buffs, there will be a strong graphic novel and sci-fi strand at the Festival this year:
• Renowned for his collaboration with Alan Moore on the cult comic, Watchmen, the legendary Dave Gibbons will be talking about his career spanning Marvel, 2000AD and DC Comics as well as his current project, The Secret Service.
• Journalist, digital copyright activist, co-editor of the hugely influential ‘Boing Boing’ blog, and author of Rapture of the Nerds, Cory Doctorow, will be in conversation with Padraig Reidy, news editor of Index on Censorship, talking about free speech, cyber utopianism and much more.
• Master of the horror-novel and author of the BFI Companion to Horror, Kim Newman, is joined by fantasy, vampire and supernatural writer Freda Warrington, to discuss genre fiction, silver bullets and stakes to the heart just around the corner from Edgar Allen Poe’s former home.
• Hosted by crime fiction aficionado Barry Forshaw, Ben Aaronovitch, author of fantasy series Rivers of London and George Mann, author of the Newbury and Hobbes Series, take to the stage to talk urban fantasies – where science fiction, fantasy and mystery converge.
• Following the success of his graphic adaptations of The Waste Land, Gulliver’s Travels and Tristram Shandy, Martin Rowson, once appointed ‘Cartoonist Laureate’ of London, brings his famous energetic performance style to Stoke Newington. Expect a hilarious and possibly foul-mouthed guide to 37,000 years of visual satire.
• ‘Reads Like a Seven’ comes to the Stoke Newington Literary Festival to showcase some of the most brilliant writing about video game culture and to dispel any doubts that video games deserve to be considered alongside other art forms. Curated and presented by New Yorker games correspondent Simon Parkin, it features the Guardian‘s Steven Poole, New Statesman‘s Helen Lewis, and award-winning broadcaster/game developer and ‘best games writer of his generation’, Ste Curran.
Further events across the Stoke Newington ‘village’ include:
• Iain Sinclair discussing Patience, the WG Sebold film, with Gareth Evans
• Preview of the BFI St Etienne Films with Bob Stanley & Paul Kelly
• Kenny Everett’s former sidekick Cleo Rocos teaching us about Positive Drinking
• Peter Stanford’s Guide to Graveyards over the road from Abney Park Cemetery
• Turkey’s best-selling female author Elif Shafak on the politics of fiction at the Town Hall
• A collection of rare short films and extracts celebrating the love affair of cinema and literature from the BFI’s Film Archive at the Council Chambers
• A guide to foraging and local food at St Paul’s Church Hall opposite the farmer’s market
• English eccentrics with Ian Kelly and Claire Inglis at the beautiful Clissold House
• A comedy double-header of John Hegley & Robin Ince, two of Britain’s best-read comedians
The Festival has always been excited by the future of books as well as exploring the past. Alex Clark (former editor of Granta and now literary critic for The Guardian and the BBC) continues to spot and celebrate literary rising stars. Amongst her guests this year she will be interviewing Gabriel Roth (Brooklyn based author of The Unknowns) and Granta Best Young Writer lister Evie Wyld. Get in there now and see them before the rest.
Literary Platform will be exploring writing in the digital age with Emily Benet talking about her incredible blog-to-book-to-sitcom story. For late night literary shenanigans where drinking and discovering your new favourite writer go hand in hand check out Literary Death Match’s Picador special.
From Trainspotting to tequila, cartooning to cross-dressing, feminism to foraging, dissent to dog-loving blondes, this year’s Stoke Newington Literary Festival will inspire lovers of books and ideas from around the world and in its own back yard too.
The full schedule and tickets are available via www.stokenewingtonliteraryfestival.com, at Stoke Newington Bookshop, 159 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 and from 3rd June at Stoke Newington Library.