Thursday 28 February 2013

Just over two weeks to go until the first ever Bristol Women's Literature Festival!

Join Bidisha, Stella Duffy, Helen Dunmore, Selma Dabbagh, Professor Joan Adim-Addo and more for the first ever Bristol Women’s Literature Festival. 

In just a couple of weeks from now, some of the UK’s most celebrated writers and academics will be arriving in Bristol to celebrate their love of books with you. 

The first ever Bristol Women’s Literature Festival aims to celebrate the work of women writers working today and throughout history. It brings together the diverse and exciting talent of women writers, academics and activists to showcase our fantastic literary heritage. 

Chaired by Bidisha, the programme includes TV screenwriter Emilia di Girolamo whose suspenseful and chilling crime dramas include Law and Order UK and The Poison Tree and keep viewers at the edge of their seats. Playwright, novelist and twice winner of Stonewall Writer of the Year Stella Duffy, Orange-prize winning writer Helen Dunmore, first time novelist Beatrice Hitchman and novelist and short story writer Selma Dabbagh will be talking and reading from their work. Taking us through the fascinating and often hidden history of women’s writing will be celebrated academics Professor Helen Taylor, Professor Joan Adim-Addo, Doctor Marie Mulvey-Roberts, Dr Charlotte Crofts and the historian Kate Williams. The festival closes with a discussion on feminist publishing, featuring co-author of Reclaiming the F Word, Kristin Aune, writer and publisher Debi Withers and blogger and writer Josephine Tsui. 

These women are, without doubt, some of the most influential and vibrant writers working today.  

The programme in a nutshell:

Saturday 16th March

11am – 1pm: Feminism on the Small Screen

TV writer Emilia di Girolamo discusses her work writing successful crime dramas and how she uses her work to bring women’s issues to a primetime audience. Her talk will be accompanied by a screening of her Law and Order UK episode, Line Up.

3.30pm – 5pm: Women Writing Today

Stella Duffy, Helen Dunmore, Selma Dabbagh and Beatrice Hitchman discuss and read from their work. 

Sunday 17th March

2pm – 3.30pm: Bluestockings and Muses

Professor Helen Taylor, Professor Joan Adim-Addo, Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts, Dr Charlotte Crofts and Kate Williams discuss the history of women’s literature. This talk is a must for English literature students. 

4pm – 5.30pm: Out of the Ivory Tower

Kristin Aune, Debi Withers and Josephine Tsui discuss feminist publishing and how we bring feminist issues to a new audience. 

Why do we need a women’s literature festival?

Although women have always written and always read, the UK literature scene continues to be very male dominated. Research conducted by UK Feminista in 2010 found that only 38% of the writers nominated for the Booker were women, and, despite women’s success in the prize this year, by 2010, 70% of the winners of the Costa Novel of the Year have been men.  A survey by For Books’ Sake revealed that at Manchester Literature festival, only 20 out of 74 speakers were women, whilst at the Latitude Literary Area, women made up 15 of 53 performers.

The festival’s founder, Siân Norris, explains:

I’m so excited to be inviting such an inspiring and interesting line-up to the first ever Bristol Women’s Literature Festival. There really is a talk here for everyone – from those who want to learn more about women’s literary history, to fans of TV drama and lovers of literary fiction. We have historical novelists, contemporary novelists, feminists, historians and specialists in romantic, gothic, modernist and black women’s writing. So whoever your favourite writer is or whatever your bookish interests are, this festival is for you!

The festival is supported by Watershed, Foyles and The Bristol Festival of Ideas. 

Buy tickets online or call the Watershed on 0117 927 5100

Festival logo designed by Robert Griggs

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