Stoke Newington Literary Festival provides a refreshing alternative to the union jack teapots and misty-eyed monarchy-lovers.
For centuries Stoke Newington has been at the heart of the UK’s radical thinking and rabble-rousing. It has been the home to international icons of dissent and revolutionary writing including Mary Wollstonecraft, Malcolm McClaren, Daniel Defoe and Edgar Allen Poe. This year’s urban alternative to Hay sees it keeping true to it counter-cultural roots with debates about our post-riot communities, media reform and the future of the book.
The eclectic line-up features ‘punk poet’ John Cooper Clarke as its headliner on Saturday 2nd June, plus Jackie Kay, Nick Cohen, Wilko Johnson, George Alagiah, Suzanne Moore, Mark Billingham, Danny Wallace, Josie Long, Robin Ince and The Gruffalo, to name but a few of the star turns that will be appearing at venues across N16 over the festival weekend.
Hollywood screenwriter (and Stoke Newington resident) Tony Grisoni will be screening and discussing ‘Kingsland’, his short film which is cast and filmed locally and which features a perspective of the area that most people never see.
The School of Life are holding three events on Saturday which offer to show you how to change your life in radical ways - specifically looking at how to find fulfilling work with Roman Krznaric, change the world with John-Paul Flintoff and sort out your sex life with author of The New Joy of Sex, Susan Quilliam.
Hackney commentator par excellence Iain Sinclair sits in with noted London novelist China Miéville and urban explorer Laura Oldfield Ford (Savage Messiah). Ken Worple presides to discuss the Olympic Legacy.
Indie music fans are spoilt for choice again this year, as Stoke Newington Library’s very own Richard Boon (aka The World’s Coolest Librarian: he used to manage The Buzzcocks and is generally credited with ‘inventing’ indie music as we know it) pulls together a star line-up including David Quantick, James Brown, Paul Morley, Richard King and Pat Long for his Juke Box Fury and Indie Music events.
Our kids’ festival features a visit from The Gruffalo as well as family events in which kids can learn to write their own stories or draw their own comics. Additionally, the festival is going into 3 local schools on Friday 1st June, ensuring that as many kids as possible get to meet an author.
Festival director Liz Vater says: “We’re already being billed as one of the most exciting literary festivals in the UK, which is a huge honour considering we’re only in our third year. We set up to raise money for literacy initiatives within Hackney and already have some exciting projects in development. It’s going to be a fabulous weekend with loads to see and do, for the whole family.”
With some free events, and most tickets between £3-£8, it’s a great way of getting some brain food as well as having a fun-filled weekend without leaving the capital.
‘Just like Hay-on-Wye. But in Hackney.’ Time Out