High profile, eclectic line-up for this year’s literary festival

Fay Weldon

Fay Weldon - Credit: Archant

Famous authors, poets, singers and comedians are lined up for the Stoke Newington Literary Festival this weekend.

Poet Michael Rosen

Poet Michael Rosen - Credit: Archant

Author of The Life and Loves of a She Devil, Fay Weldon, 83, is taking part along with journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Everything but the Girl singer Tracey Thorn and social commentator Owen Jones on June 5-7..

Author Will Self, the former editor-in-chief for The Observer, Will Hutton, comedian Mark Thomas and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen will also congregate in various venues across Stokey over the weekend of June 5-7 to celebrate the area’s radical past and share ideas on everything from the future of feminism to what to do with a chicken.

The event was set up six years ago by Liz Vater, 51.

She said: “It’s a fantastic feeling, most event organisers will tell you, you put it on and hope people will come but when they respond so positively, and are genuniely inspired by the ideas the festival brings, there’s no better feeling.”

Although she rarely gets to see anything of the festival, the highlight for Liz will be Fay Weldon.

She said: “She’s 83 and we are bringing her all the way from Dorset. She’s one of the most influential writers in my life, and we are bringing her to the birthplace of feminism at the Unitarian chapel in Newington Green. She’s always busted myths around women and their love lives in a contemporary way, she was so influential, and she’s still relevant now. There’s a whole new generation of young women discovering her work.”

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Crime writer Melanie McGrath will be talking to Dr Shubulade Smith, consultant psychiatrist and head of the forensic psychiatric intensive care unit at the world-famous Bethlem Royal Hospital, about the existence of evil on Saturday at 4pm and on Friday night a Game of Thrones pub quiz takes place in the Prince pub, in Kynaston Road.

A free music and spoken word programme will be running in the Budvar Tent on Saturday at William Patten school and on Sunday outside Stoke Newington Town Hall, featuring John Moore, guitarist from Jesus and the Mary Chain, Pete Astor from The Weather Prophets and the Bikini Beach Band.

Weekend events for children include an Uncle Gobb event with Michael Rosen, animation and shadow puppet workshops, craft events inspired by Clissold Park and free storytelling in Stoke Newington Library with Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit.

Some events are free, with most coming in at under £10 and lots priced at £4 or £5.

See the full programme and buy tickets at www.stokenewingtonliteraryfestival.com.

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