BEST SELLING authors and independent thinkers are coming together for a celebration of books at a historic riverside site.
The Greenwich Book Festival organised by the University of Greenwich with journalist and author Patricia Nicol is to be held at the Old Royal Naval College site in Greenwich Town Centre. The event, on Friday May 26 and Saturday May 27, is also to see the return of the hugely popular Children’s Festival featuring roving book characters, face-painting and free workshops.
Highlights for adults include Sarah Perry, Waterstones Book of the Year winner for The Essex Serpent along with Lisa McInerney, Bailey’s prize winner for The Glorious Heresies and The Versions of Us author Laura Barnett at the Pool Party, an evening showcase of the best new novels.
Award-winning, Deptford-based poet Sabrina Mahfouz is to introduce anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, Korean violinist Min Kym is to talk about her stolen Stradivarius and Eltham historical writer Wendy Moore is to discuss her new book The Mesmerist, about science and superstition in Victorian London. There is also to be a tribute to the great novelist Buchi Emecheta, and the chance to tour London with Chris Rogers.
The festival’s ‘Independent Thinking’ strand is to bring together authors, journalists and activists to explore contemporary issues ranging from post-colonial India, Trump’s America to northern cities facing the fall-out from Brexit. Visitors will also be able to catch the work of playwriting and screen writing students from the university at Greenwich Theatre’s pop-up space. Work will be performed by professional actors, students and talented youngsters from Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre.
Treats for youngsters are to include the chance to help celebrate children’s favourite Elmer and meet M.G. Leonard and her creations Beetle Boy and Beetle Queen. There is also to be a masterclass with comics wizard Neill Cameron and the opportunity for childen to take their teddy to Michelle Robinson’s A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting after-school session.
Friday is also to be Schools’ Day, sponsored by Greenwich council, which will give primary school children the chance to meet authors, have a go at story-telling and discover how books are made.
Festival co-director Dr Alex Pheby, who leads the creative writing courses at the university said the event was also a great way to showcase student’s work.
Dr Pheby, whose novel Playthings was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize last year, added: “From novelists like Jenni Fagan to poets like Filippa Bahrke, many of our students get published before they even graduate. We are committed to innovation and cross-genre experimentation which means students can develop their own form and style. The festival attracts well known authors and exciting new voices each year, as well as publishers.”
Fellow co-director Patricia Nicol who was deputy arts editor at the Sunday Times for many years, said: “This young London festival reflects the best of the city in being inclusive, welcoming and diverse.”