Monday 12 December 2016

Festive Events for Children

With the help of some of Santa’s elves, we’ve put together a selection of festive events to get you and your little ones into the Christmas spirit.

What better way to get into the spirit of all that is Christmas than to enjoy story-time with Santa himself? There will be two sessions during the day, one at 11:30am and one at 4:00pm. This magical event is perfect for children aged two and above.

This is a wish list workshop with a difference! Bring the kids into Foyles, in Birmingham, and let their imagination run wild as they search the shelves high and low for the perfect book to add to their gift list. The children will be invited to note their selections down on a letter to Santa Claus and will be able to post them in a special North Pole post box. This event is fun for kids of all ages.

The Best of Times is an uplifting Christmas story by much-loved children’s author, Michael Morpurgo. In this special event it has been adapted for concert performance and features music, as well as a solo dancer who will perform the role of the Princess throughout. This is not an event to be missed so add that extra bit of magic to Christmas this year and treat the kids to this very special concert with Michael Morpurgo. This event is great for children aged five and above.

What better way to spend a Saturday morning in December than at your local library, enjoying some festive activities? There will be Christmas stories, face-painting, games, refreshments and you can even come along in fancy dress (optional)! This is the perfect way to encourage your children to get into the Christmas spirit as well as supporting your local library. Children aged five and above are all welcome.

Nicholas Allan is the author and illustrator of over 30 children’s books including The Queens Knickers, Jesus' Christmas Party , Cinderella’s Bum and Father Christmas Needs a Wee. Join him for a brilliant Christmas event that will be packed with humour and family fun. There is no better way to keep that festive feeling going than with an event that all of the family can enjoy together.

There you have it, some fabulous Children’s events that are perfect for fueling that festive spirit. From all of us at BookGig we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and that you receive all of the books that you wish for. If you do go to any of our events please tweet us at @BookGig and let us know how it was!

Monday 28 November 2016

Hidden Gems

Here at BookGig we know that sometimes you want to take a break from the norm, let your hair down and try something a little bit different. With that in mind, these events are just some of the hidden gems on the site, and we think they all sound absolutely fab! So, take a look and attend an event, or two, or even three …

For Adults

If a more educational event is your forte why not check out Einstein’s Greatest Mistake: The Life of a Flawed Genius. Bestselling author David Bodanis will talk all about his new book, which focuses on the life of the most intelligent man in history. He will explore Einstein's intellectual development across his professional and personal life and reveal how much we owe him today, as well as how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws.

Have you ever found yourself wondering why literary sex scenes are rarely any good? Neither had we … until now. This quirky event is all about the joys and difficulties of reading and writing sex. Literary critic Lucy Scholes will be in conversation with Katherine Angel, Peter Hobbs, Robert Olen-Butler and Joanna Walsh as they talk about everything from their own experiences to authors who they feel do it especially well.

If you’re a cool cat and sweet jazz is your bag why not mix it up with this hybrid of live music and literature. Author Oliver Cable will be reading from his debut novel, Fresh Air and Empty Streets, whilst a live performance takes place around him. If that’s not enough to entice you, the event is being held on possibly the only floating bookshop in London! 

Literature comes in many forms, so why not help celebrate the release of this brand new indie magazine? 404 Ink is a new, alternative, independent publisher based in the UK. They have teamed up with Interrobang?!, a spoken word and music night in Edinburgh, to bring you a fantastic evening of readings and carousing. So if you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the literature scene this is the place to be. 

For Children

Celebrate Christmas the Horrible Histories way with an adventure in the company of Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Children aged four and above will enjoy a show like no other with a journey through the history of Christmas.

Experience something a little bit different at this event for children that love to be active. Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy will talk about his latest book, On Your Bike, which teaches kids how to maintain and make the most of their bicycles with his top tips and tricks. If your children love getting on their bikes, or even dream of winning Olympic gold someday, this is the perfect event to inspire them!

So there you have it, our top pick of alternative events that are sure to be quirky, interesting and highly enjoyable. Why not try something new, and don't forget to tweet us at @BookGig to let us know how you got on! 

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Festival Spotlight: Nottingham's First Festival of Literature

Powerful Messages from Over the Wall: Global Influences in a UNESCO City of Literature

The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Literature runs from 8th - 13th November, with more than 30 events taking place over those six days, including readings and discussions with authors Amit Chaudhari, Jack Monroe, Sheila Rowbotham, Gillian Slavo and Nottingham's own Jon McGregor. There will also be workshops with poet Wayne Burrows, poet and literary translator Jen Calleja, author Megan Taylor and bestselling crime writer Stephen Booth.

The Festival was inspired by Nottingham's UNESCO City of Literature status, re-imagining its vision for a contemporary literature festival with globally recognised authors and contributors. It aims to deliver a series of powerful messages, providing a welcome platform for voices that struggle to be heard. All genres of writing and literature are included, from novels, poetry, journalism and creative non-fiction to game poetry, graphic novels, stage drama and literature in translation.

Festival Programmer Sara Beadle says, "In 2016, it is possible to feel that there are real rifts and alienated groups in society who are fighting for recognition and the embrace of the wider community. Feminists, refugees, migrants, people with disabilities, people who identify as of non-binary gender, race, politics and religion all continue to challenge our thinking as a society and push us to re-imagine the world.

"Our aspiration is for the Nottingham Festival of Literature to provide a platform for these voices to be heard, without fear, in the spirit of greater understanding, deeper discussion, empathy and openness. It is the role of great literature to hold up a mirror and to reflect the world from all perspectives, and we embrace that idea and attempt to extend a 'culture of welcome' to both those who live here and those who arrive here."

Egyptian novelist and award-winning poet Omar El Hazek, the Festival's writer in residence, was arrested and imprisoned by Egyptian authorities for supporting the family of a man beaten to death in custody and is now banned from travelling abroad. Omar will join festival-goers virtually, taking part in several digital events such as a video conversation with Tunisian activist and blogger Lina Ben Mhenni.

Sheila Rowbotham has published several groundbreaking books on feminism and radical social movements. At the Festival, she will discuss her new book Rebel Crossings: Transatlantic Feminism, Free Love and Radicalism, offering fascinating perspectives on the historical interaction of trends between liberalism, feminism, socialism and anarchism, and alternative approaches to dress, health and sex in the late 19th century.

Writer and journalist Katharine Quarmby explores how disability writing conveys what it is to be human and to live with impairment. Her lecture 'A Message from Over the Wall' is inspired by the words of American author and disability advocate Hugh Gregory Gallagher, who wrote about the 'land of the crippled': "a great wall surrounds this place, and most of what goes within this wall is unknown to those outside it. What follows is a message from over the wall." Quarmby will explore the characterisation of disability as a message within both mainstream and emerging disability literature.

The Festival also draws upon the city's own rich literary heritage to provide a platform for regional authors and poets to talk about their work as well as offering inspiration and support for aspiring writers in workshops and networking events. The line-up includes the acclaimed writer Jon McGregor, named in 2014 as one of The Guardian's top 10 writers to see live.

Other Festival highlights include:

  • Tuesday 8th November: Wayne Burrows presents Writing Across the Meridian Line, exploring time as a subject and feature in poetry; Alison Moore's After Dark Workshop helps writers unearth eerie stories, practicing setting, atmosphere and suspense
  • Wednesday 9th November: In Voices of Jewish and Muslim Writers, four poets from four countries - Michael Mehrdad Zand Ahanchian, Yvonne Green, Shamin Azad and Amir Darwish - read from their work, giving insight into the complexity of identity
  • Thursday 10th November: Playwright and author Gillian Slovo talks about her writing, her career and her social and political influences; Ovid's Heroines with Clare Pollard rediscovers and brings to life a cast of women from Greek and Roman myths who are brave, heartbreaking and surprisingly modern
  • Friday 11th November: Reading from her new book, The Sex Lives of English Women, Wendy Jones shares the stories from 24 women from all walks of life, about their everyday lives, families, partners, bodies and sexual histories, what they have learned, how they have been hurt, what they enjoy and what they long for
  • Saturday 12th November: An evening of reading and discussion with Amit Chaudhuri, one of India's most significant literary figures and author of six novels
  • Sunday 13th November: Food writer, journalist and activist Jack Monroe presents Queer, Austere and Here, discussing overcoming austerity, how we should adjust our thinking around gender identity and what it means to try to live a peaceful life among the perils of modern society. 
For more information about the Festival, including full listings and booking details, visit

Monday 24 October 2016

A Brilliant Start for BookGig

It’s been just two weeks since we launched BookGig, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far on Twitter and via email. It’s fantastic to hear that so many of you have been looking for a website just like this. We created BookGig to make it easier for readers across the country to connect with authors and we hope it’s already demonstrating how valuable a resource it can be for book lovers.

We’re also thrilled by the number of event submissions we’ve received through our online form. We’re working through them as quickly as possible, but do give us as much notice as you can so your event has the best chance of being showcased on the site. And don’t forget, if you work for a library or bookshop and regularly organise a large number of events, you can email to discuss setting up an easier way to get all of them over to us in one go.

Even if we can't feature your event on the site, we'd love to share it on Twitter, so if you'd like a shout-out, we're @BookGig. We have well over 2,000 followers already (thanks friendly Twitterverse), all keen to hear about your events!

We’ve loved getting all your feedback so far, so please continue to let us know what you think of BookGig. In the meantime, check out our competitions, sign up to our email to make sure you’re among the first to find out about exciting event news, and we hope you have a great time at the events you discover on BookGig.

Thanks for a great start!

The BookGig Team

Monday 10 October 2016

Introducing BookGig

Welcome to BookGig!

We’re absolutely thrilled to launch this site, and we’re hoping it will become a must-visit for all book lovers in the UK.

There are so many fantastic author and book events happening in our fair isles, at bookshops, festivals and in local communities, but it can be difficult to find out about them all. That’s why we’ve created BookGig, your one-stop destination for literary happenings. You can search for an event in your local area or browse by genre to find your favourite authors or discover new ones you’ll love. Want to know what’s on at that festival you keep hearing about? Fancy a dose of culture with a glass of wine after work? Looking for activities to inspire your children this weekend? BookGig has got you covered.

The BookGig team has been working hard to compile as many events as possible – and will continue to do so – but it’s a big task. So we’d love to hear from you. If you’re an author or organiser with an event coming up, do let us know by filling out some details or contacting the team. We can’t promise we’ll be able to feature everything, but we’ll always endeavour to support your events on Twitter if we can’t do so on the site itself. You can check out our event guidelines here.

Finally, we’re particularly keen to hear from libraries and other local community centres about their events. We’re passionate about supporting what you do and would really like to work together. Please do get in touch.

So have a look around, follow us on Twitter, talk to us and ask us questions. At BookGig, we want to showcase the UK's thriving literary events scene, bring readers and authors together and share our love of books. We'd love you to join us.

The BookGig Team