Tony Benn, Ester Freud and Robert Elms are just some of the names who will appear at the Writeidea festival which starts tonight.
The 10-day festival which is completely free and run by Tower Hamlets Council’s Idea Store project, begins with Tony Benn at the Idea Store in Whitechapel.
The iconic statesman, who is also set to appear at an anti-cuts rally at Goldsmiths on November 25, will be talking about his life in politics and writing in light of the festival’s theme, ‘Our City.’
Judith St John, head of Idea Stores said: “All our events are free because we think everyone should have the opportunity to engage with the best writers. We are very grateful to our guests who have agreed to appear for no charge.”
The programme has been expanded to ten days this year and the line-up includes poets, politicians, presenters, philosophers and performers, as well as the authors and writers talking about their work.
Robert Elms, known as “the voice of London” for his daily radio show on BBC London, and the author, DJ and poet Alex Wheatle will also explore ideas of the city at their event on November 17.
Wheatle, who grew up in a politically explosive 1970s Brixton, feels that “all stories from London’s rich cultural mix are important and the public should be made aware of the incredible variety of life that feeds London.”
As well as his relationship with the city, the author will be talking about ‘Brenton Brown’, his new novel and much-anticipated sequel to his debut novel ‘Brixton Rock.’
Jill Dawson, who was shortlisted for both the Whitbread and Orange Prize, will be appearing at the Bethnal Green Library on November 16.
The author lived in Hackney for 16 years and worked at the Eastside bookshop in Whitechapel. She is delighted to be taking part in the festival as she has “a real fondness for the area.” Dawson’s new novel ‘Queenie Dove’ details the life and adventures of the East End thief and is due to be published in 2011.
On November 20 local residents can take part in a discussion panel with Tower Hamlets born author Kia Abdullah, the London based writer, Daniel Davies, and Gautam Malkani, journalist and author of ‘Londonstani.’
Other distinguished authors and poets taking part include Caroline Gilfillan, Salena Godden, Sarah Wise and Julian Baggini. The events will take place at Idea Store Whitechapel, Idea Store Canary Wharf and the Bethnal Green Library.
For more details visit http://www.ideastore.co.uk/