Liverpool Literary Festival returns this autumn in online form, live-streaming an exciting collection of established writers and emerging talents over the weekend of October 9 – 11.
Now in its fourth iteration, and fast becoming an established fixture in the city’s cultural calendar, the festival opens on the Friday evening with the UK’s first female poet laureate, Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy.
The festival then opens out with a packed Saturday schedule, beginning with Sri-Lankan born British author – and University alumnus – Romesh Gunesekera who will discuss his experiences in 1970s Liverpool, and how it shaped his writing.
Next up is Costa Short Story Award winner, Jess Kidd and her latest work, Things in Jars before the bandwidth is handed over to sci-fi author and critic, John Clute who will consider the work of legend of the genre, Brian Aldiss and reveal the treasure trove of artefacts connected to the writer in the University’s Special Collections and Archives.
Adele Parks, whose 20th novel Just My Luck achieved bestseller status, offers inspiration to all wordsmiths as she recalls the moments that helped her secure a literary career. Heidi Thomas – one of the pens behind TV hits such as Call the Midwife, Cranfield and Little Women – follows, to share her insights on screenwriting and adaptation.
Which leads very smoothly into the next event, featuring screen star Stephen McGann – Call the Midwife’s Dr Turner – discussing the challenge of working as both an actor and a writer. Stephen is followed by Merseyside’s own Alexei Sayle, in conversation with the University’s Executive Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Kenny, as Saturday’s headliner.
Sunday begins with poet and novelist, Lavinia Greenlaw reading from her latest collection, The Built Moment before Lynne Truss – of Eats, Shoots and Leaves fame – opens up about her years as a sportswriter, following the publication of her latest work, Get Her Off the Pitch: How Sport Took Over My Life, to the University’s Professor Dinah Birch.
Francesca Wade, Editor of literary journal, The White Review is then joined by poet and English academic, Professor Sandeep Parmar for a discussion around her new book, Square Haunting: Five Women, Freedom and London, before Louise Hare continues the theme of urban tales by reading excerpts from her debut tome, This Lovely City, which tells the story of a jazz musician in the age of Windrush.
The University’s Science Fiction Collections Librarian, Phoenix Alexander then welcomes Paul Mendez to discuss his semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel, Rainbow Milk which features a young protagonist grappling with racial and sexual identity, before the artist behind graphic masterpieces, Beyond Watchmen and Judge Dredd closes the festival with a thinkpiece on the continuing allure of dystopias in fiction.
Liverpool Literary Festival Director, Professor Dinah Birch said: “I’m delighted to be able to present such a rich and fascinating programme – we look forward to welcoming you in October!”