A host of literary and cultural figures will be taking part in this week’s “biggest ever” Stoke Newington Literary Festival, which opens today.
Liz Vater, festival director, said “The tickets for the major events sold out instantly.” And EastLondonLines has two pairs of free tickets to give away to two of the top events taking place next weekend.
The festival audience has also become much wider in comparison to previous years. The reach has increased from local boroughs of Hackney and Islington to Greater London and even from outside the capital with attendees coming from Portsmouth, Cambridge and Leeds.
Vater said: “A lady even drove all the way from Bedfordshire to book the Mark Billingham event.” Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers.
This year’s eclectic programme of over 90 speakers will include Irvine Welsh, John Niven, Caitlin Moran and Suzanne Moore.
Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting and the director of the new film Filth that comes out this summer, will be host a conversation with John Niven in the Stoke Newington Town Hall on Monday. Niven is a best selling novelist and a good friend of Welsh, both of them are also self-appointed twitter tennis commentators.
Vater thanks a lucky coincidence for putting her in touch with Welsh – “Back in March I tweeted a photograph of Clissold Park looking beautiful on a sunny day and Irvine replied saying “Ah Stokey, how I miss you”.
Welsh was himself a resident of Stoke Newington where Vater said he used to develop properties.
Another highlight at the festival is writer and Times columnist Caitlin Moran, “A fascinating commentator on modern feminism”, in conversation with Suzanne Moore, the award-winning columnist for the Guardian. The event “has gone like gangbusters and was sold out in 24 hours” according to Vater.
Vater’s personal favorite is “a cult event of the festival”, Juke Box Fury, that will take place on June 9 at Stoke Newington Town Hall.
The host of Juxe Box Fury is “the world’s coolest librarian” Richard Boon, who used to manage the Buzzcocks and now works in the Stoke Newington Library. He will bring a panel of music writers together to play the track that inspired them to start writing about music.
Another one of Vater’s special picks is the event by Martin Rowson, a cartoonist for the Guardian, who “writes a political story every day in one picture”. Rowson was ‘Cartoonist laureate’ for London when Ken Livingstone was the mayor and he was paid a salary of one pint of London Pride per year.
This year Rowson hosts a “fantastic foul-mouthed hilarious event about 37 thousand years of visual satire.”
Stoke Newington has got a history of writers going back to Daniel Defoe and Edgar Allan Poe.
Vater has lived in Stoke Newington for 25 years and was inspired to start Stoke Newington festival when she visited the Henley Literary Festival with her husband who is a writer.
“It was like a bolt came down from the sky” Vater remembers, as she thought “Why on earth is there no literary festival in Stoke Newington? And so here we are, four years in.”
Eastlondonlines has two pairs of free tickets for Juke Box Fury and Martin Rowson events this weekend to give away in a prize draw. Just email your contact details to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ including a mobile telephone number before 9am on Thursday.
Juke Box Fury – 18:00 Sunday, Stoke Newington Town Hall
Martin Rowson – 17:00 Saturday, Library Gallery
For more information on the events visit Stoke Newington Literary Festival website :
Facebook: Stoke Newington Literary Festival