Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hidden Gems - August Edition

While BookGig is great at sourcing popular events to take care of all your book cravings, it also prides itself on finding those lesser known gems! Take a trip off the beaten path and delve into these exciting opportunities coming up in August....

Sean Hugh’s Blank Book – 14th-24th August

Irish comedian Sean Hughes joins forces with Carl Donnelly, Hannah Norris, Joe Rowntree and special guests in an improvisation extravaganza as the comedians attempt to create a narrative for the audience to enjoy. Whether the improv works seamlessly into the pre-determined beginning or descends into narrative chaos, Hughes’ Blank Book is guaranteed to be filled with laughter.

The Beginners Guide to Writing a Novel – 15th August 

Love writing? Think you have what it takes to be the next bestselling author but no idea where to start? Tim Lott, author of The Scent of Dried Roses, has just the answer. Providing invaluable advice for novice writers, Lott aims to breakdown the classic story structure as well as other important story writing techniques to get first time writers off to a roaring start.

Join author Naomi Hamill at Manchester-Deansgate Waterstones as she celebrates the release of her new novel How To Be A Koskovan Bride. Learn about the little-known history of Albania, along with folk tales and the experience of modern Kosovan women, as Hamill takes questions from the audience.

If the science of the Universe, life and everything sounds like a complicated and vast topic then join Sam Kean and Helen Czerski in conversation, exploring and further expanding on their publications Caesar’s Last Breath and Storm in a Teacup respectively. Held in Daunt Books, Hampstead Town, what better place to uncover the science behind the air we breathe and the importance of physics in our everyday lives.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Hidden Gems June - July

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, handpicked from lesser known sources and brought to your attention! So, take a look and attend an event, or two, or even three …

Send your imagination to Mars at this creative writing session in York that looks to lend some creative flair to Earth’s near-future mission to an off-world colony. Leading the workshop will be York St John University staff who will provide prompts and a topical sci-fi discussion on classic texts and ideas to stir the cosmic energy in the room. Attendees will be supported in producing their work, with the chance to join the Terra Two digital archive, which will collate contributions of writing, music, pictures, games and podcasts for the Terra Two website in time for its launch. Whether you want to take your sci-fi writing to the next step and be published with the support of editors, or simply want to get creative and have some fun proffering your version of a journey to the stars, this is an event not to be missed. 

At present, our only vehicle by which to travel back into the past or forward into the future is fiction. For a small fee you can peruse an abundant showroom of fiction’s time travelling vessels at Durham’s Palace Green Library. This exhibition of short stories will guide you outside of time with audio installations, music, film and literature that bend the rules of the space time continuum, and hopefully inspire you to produce your own story live from the fourth dimension. 

Most can’t see the wood for the concrete in London’s urban jungle. Thankfully though, Paul Wood is on hand (and foot) to show you the vast beauty of London’s urban Forest at this fascinating guided walk examining the beauty and history of London’s trees. 

Spelunkers of independent thinking would be remiss to pass by this hidden gem of an event celebrating hidden gems themselves. Organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, formed to raise awareness of literary indie-thinking, the London Radical Bookfair is a free event gathering the most unique and rebellious minds in the publishing trade. Over 130 exhibitors and 20 guest speakers will showcase the depth and breadth of radical publishing and unveil the new grass roots initiatives shaking the corporate foundations of the industry; witness the revolution. 

If a ‘psychedelic frolic through altered states and parallel realities’ is what you look for in a poetry reading, then A.A. Walker’s performance of erotic prose-poem Licentia is the answer to your mid-week lull. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Ozlem Simsek’s harp and theremin loops, this is a poetry reading like no other, where music and verse synchronise to experimental and enchanting effect. 

Purity, innocence, and light. The colour white has draped female characters in film and literature in these symbolic connotations throughout history. As part of the Lancaster Words three-day celebration of the written and spoken word, Dr Catherine Spooner provides an engaging insight into the women in white of gothic narratives.

There had to come a time when computers could create our art for us, and that time is now. Artist Naho Matsuda created live poetry for her ‘every thing every time’ exhibition by using a computer programme that interacts in real-time with information created and collected by CityVerve Manchester. The final product was a never ending, ever changing poem feeding off the city’s movement:

the sun rises
the streets are empty
today is the last day of the term
the car park is almost empty
the traffic light turns green
the cleaning shift starts
the bus is on time
and it is colder than yesterday

With Matsuda’s guidance and alongside the multi-award-winning Manchester-based live literature team Bad Language, you can have a go at creating utterly unique robot poetry yourself.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Interview with Abie Longstaff

Abie Longstaff is a children's author with a lifelong affinity to fairy tales and fantasy, whose highly popular picture books reinvent classical stories to teach children about cultural diversity, ethical approaches to life, and most importantly, to have fun. We caught up with her about what to expect from her upcoming appearance at Barnes Children's Literature Festival, what it means to reinvent the fairy tale, and what she has in store for the future.

You are heading to Barnes KidsLitFest this May, will it be your first time at the festival? And what do you have planned for the session?

It’s my second time at Barnes – I really enjoyed the festival last time, so I’m looking forward to coming back. I can’t wait to read the children the new Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin. I’m going to tell them all about how I make a book, and we’ll have a go at doing hairstyles on the different characters.

What is the importance of these events for you as an author?

In my normal life I sit at my computer, tap, tap, tapping away on my own. Events are a treat – a way of meeting children and listening to what they like about the books.

What difference do you think it makes for children to be able to meet authors and get interactively engaged with reading?

I think it’s great for children to realise we are not magical beings who came up with our books with a stroke of a wand. Writing books is hard work but it’s achievable. I like to show children all the mistakes I’ve made along the way and tell them they could be an author or illustrator too. Going into more detail in the text or pictures also makes children really focus and engage with the story – and want to read on.

You seem to not only use your events to have fun and connect with your audience, but also to engage them in discussion. What have you learnt from the children when they approach you with questions about your stories?

I try to create a relaxed atmosphere so children have the confidence in interact. I love hearing their questions! Children seem to pay a lot more attention to the illustrations than the adults, and spot all kinds of things Lauren Beard and I have hidden in the background. Children will identify and engage with the characters quite strongly and often ask very insightful questions about how they are thinking or feeling. Having said that, a little boy did once put his hand up only to say ‘I had pineapple for breakfast’.

Does your background in law and your work as a barrister and for the police influence the stories you tell? Or is your writing kept separate from your work life?

I can’t stop influences from my legal background creeping in! All my baddies go to jail – none of them are dancing to death in red-hot shoes, or having their eyes pecked out (like in earlier, more gruesome fairy tales). Mine all receive fair, proportionate, legitimate punishment. And, once they’ve done their time in jail, they are let out again to appear in later books.

You mention that children in general, and more specifically your own (until they grew up) heavily influence your stories and ideas, how do you manage the balance between the childish, silly ideas and the serious themes of human rights?

The human rights and ethical points are just in the background – indeed some parents don’t spot them at all. At their heart, the books are simply stories, full of fun and adventure. I’d hate for the ‘messages’ to overtake that.

How did your children react when they saw your games with them had become fully developed picture books?

My sisters, in particular, love spotting the references to our childhood. I‘m the eldest of six girls and many games I played with my sisters have become stories. My kids think it’s funny too.

Adapting fairy tales is an increasingly popular genre, not only in children’s stories but also in adult fiction and cinema. Why do you think this is? Is it a cultural nostalgia trip, or is there a modern lesson to be learned from the fairy tale genre?

I think it’s because fairy tales are stories of struggle - they track the success of the underdog; the triumph of good over evil. Their pattern and structure is ingrained into storytelling and we see their motifs across different cultures and ages. They are the basis of ‘hero’ stories today, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and others.

We read in your blog that you believe in bringing the world of fairy tales up to date to help children engage with the story better and also to tackle current issues such as class, gender and diversity, but that you steer away from the dark themes of the originals. How difficult is it to draw the line as to what young readers can deal with, or understand?

As an adult I like the darkness of the very old tales – although the themes (Little Mermaid’s suicide, Rapunzel’s pregnancy) aren’t always suitable for young children!
But, fairy tales can provide a vehicle for talking about difficult issues, so I do keep some of the darkness. You wouldn’t read a non-fiction book to a child about abuse, but you might read them Cinderella. Most modern books for small children avoid direct mention of death, cruelty, pain, hatred. Yet children do feel emotion very strongly. They get very angry or very upset, and they do not possess the control adults have learned. Fairy tales confront evil head on and, at their core, are about emotional problems such as jealousy, hatred, fear, separation or resentment. They help children realise that strong emotions are part of life and to understand and cope with them. They teach hope and patience and kindness, as well as the knowledge that, however bad things are, there is always a chance of something better ahead.

Do you target certain issues that you believe need addressing, or does the story take precedent and naturally involve specific topics?
I start by looking at the old tale – there are often lots of versions and I try to read as many as I can. Then, I think through which elements I want to change and which to keep. I tend to change the more old-fashioned elements, for example, I do like my royals and heroines to have jobs, and I like having the women make the marriage proposals sometimes.

What are you working on at the moment and what projects do you have for the future?

Lauren and I are working on more Fairytale Hairdresser stories, and finishing the last in our Magic Potions Shop chapter books, which have been a lot of fun to write, and a great follow-on from Fairytale Hairdresser for young readers. I also have more middle-grade books coming out this year – the second in my How to Catch a Witch series (Scholastic), as well as more in The Trapdoor Mystery series (Hachette). 

You can book a ticket to Abie's event and other excellent sessions at Barnes Children's Literature Festival through BookGig here.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Poetic Diversity: Poetry Translation Centre Q&A

In times of tension it often falls to the arts to strengthen community values, and poetry has always provided a vocal beacon. We are in a special position in the 21st century, because while global tensions might force seclusion, global voices can be heard rallying against it in more places than ever before. Making the most of the world's access to an eclectic mix of voices here in Brexit Britain is The Poetry Translation Centre.

Established in 2004 by the poet Sarah Maguire, the Poetry Translation Centre began with the desire to introduce new audiences to the important work of foreign poets. The organisation champions diversity by bringing communities together for the love of poetry at workshops, live readings and discussions.

Their website is a free archive of international poetry showcasing the work of poets from Africa to Latin America. Each translation begins its journey at regular workshops open to the public, where poetry enthusiasts are instrumental in the translating process no matter their linguistic dexterity.

We spoke with the PTC’s managing director Erica Jarnes about the importance of foreign poetry in multi-cultural understanding, free events for refugees, the recent success of live poetry, and what’s next for the organisation.

How important do the live events prove to be in promoting your poets and their work?

Live events are perfect for poetry. It's a literary form that really works on a stage: people love hearing the musicality, the rhythm and the emotion. We find that bilingual events, where the poems are read aloud in English and in the original language, are especially successful. I'd guess that the fact that poetry works so well live is part of the reason for the recent boom in UK poetry festivals. In terms of promoting our poets, our events are where we sell the biggest number of books.

We're having a pretty turbulent time, whether you look at the environment, Daesh or the creep of far-right nationalism. At their best, poems reflect the state we are in, in a very immediate, direct way. They can also be written quickly and in response to unfolding events, in a way that novels just can't compete with. It's great that poetry is having a resurgence at this time.

How well attended are the events?  Are some languages more popular than others?

When we've taken our international poets to 'mainstream' venues we've encountered the same (often modest) audiences as other poetry presses and organisations. These are people who already know and love poetry, and perhaps have an interest in exploring other cultures. By contrast, when we've taken our poets to meet their 'home-away-from-home' diaspora audiences in community venues, we usually pack the room, and not everyone is already a buyer of poetry books. There are lots of sizeable communities in the UK for whom poetry is culturally very important, for example British Somalis and second-generation Urdu speakers, who aren't necessarily noticed by big publishers as potential readers but who are really enthusiastic when work is made available to them, and are willing to pay for books and tickets to events.

At present in the UK there is a real need for multi-cultural understanding. What can poetry translation offer to a Britain that wishes to seclude itself?

In some ways the UK is much more harmonious and integrated than somewhere like the USA, but it's dangerous to be complacent. Our current anxieties, in light of Article 50 and the refugee crisis, seem to be a lot about how the UK understands and relates to the outside world - and that includes the outside world that has become part of the fabric of this country, i.e. the generations of immigrants from around the world who have settled here.

Translation is about exchange, friendship and curiosity. It is about shared and different histories, and about finding common meaning in myriad messages. Our hope at the PTC is that by translating great poets from languages that are spoken by significant communities in the UK, who are neighbours to English-speakers but may inhabit different cultural worlds, we can both help to promote great contemporary writing from around the world and acknowledge and celebrate the UK's own diverse communities. The point is that everyone should feel welcome in British cultural life. Plus translation as an activity in itself is really fun and surprisingly easily to get stuck in to!

Can anyone join in with the translation workshops, without knowledge of the language being translated?

Yes! Anyone can join in. We have a great mix of participants in our workshops. Usually one or two people speak the language in question, and they bring their insights to the session. Others might know something about poetry, or have other tangential knowledge, or just have a really good ear. We always have really great, wide-ranging discussions. 

I notice you make an exception with fees for the unwaged and refugees who want to come along to your events: is this a successful way to attract those groups? And how popular are these events with refugees in particular?

So far we have reached some refugee participants but not a large number. Making things free is clearly not enough of a draw. We are working on how to get the message out through appropriate channels to let recently-arrived people know we exist and have our doors open. Watch this space!

What does the future hold for PTC events? Are you taking part in any festivals? Or have plans to hold one yourselves?

Our own festival? That is a pipe dream! For 2017, we are taking two brilliant Turkish-language poets - Karin Karakasli and Bejan Matur - to various summer festivals (kicking off with Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival on 21 June). Later in the year we will be touring the wonderful Somali poet Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf to Manchester Literature Festival, Somali Week London and other places with her new book The Sea Migrations, out in October with Bloodaxe Books. We're taking our translation workshops on tour to the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay in September, which will be really fun. And we've had invitations to Shubbak, Newcastle Poetry Festival... lots really. We're trying to strike a balance between big, high-profile events, and intimate events in schools and community centres, so that we reach as many different people with our poets as possible. It would be great to see you there!

If you want to be a part of the mission and give poetry translation a go yourself, don’t miss out on the PTC’s next round of workshops beginning April 25th.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

What to Expect From the Upcoming Shrewsbury BookFest

For 18 years Shrewsbury Bookfest has brought the world of books alive for children, giving them the chance to meet inspirational authors and create a grass roots literary culture that is the first of its kind.

This year the festival welcomes an eclectic mix of authors and creatives from April 28th – May 7th for talks, workshops and interactive storytelling, tickets to which can be bought here, but move fast as they are quickly selling out!

We caught up with the festival co-ordinator, Joanna Hughes, to hear how Bookfest has grown from its humble beginnings in 1999 to now attract the biggest names in literary entertainment.

Tell us a little about the history of Shrewsbury Bookfest.

Back in 1999, a small group of friends thought it would be fun to invite some favourite children’s authors and illustrators to come for a weekend in Shrewsbury, to talk about their books and their lives and give local children a chance to meet them. And so they did. It was such a success that families asked for it to happen again the next year … and the next …  And so the Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest May Festival was born; the first – and for many years the only – annual literary festival for children in the country.

And here we still are, 18 years on, having brought almost every leading figure in children’s books to Shrewsbury. Every event we hold gives children the chance to meet their literary heroes and discover their own creative potential in the process.

That our May Festival continues to attract the generous support of leading local businesses is testament to just how popular and well-established it has become. The fact that so many leading lights in children’s literature appear so regularly on our programme demonstrates the respect we have won among authors, illustrators and publishers alike. And most importantly of all, the consistent, enthusiastic and wonderful support of our audiences ensures the festival remains popular, inspiring and FUN.

What can we expect in 2017?

Shrewsbury Bookfest has always been an independent, not-for-profit organisation, run primarily by a small group of volunteers. In 2007 we obtained charitable status.  In 2009 we won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the equivalent of an MBE and the highest award that can be given to a voluntary organisation.

Through a series of regular projects with schools and families, Shrewsbury Bookfest’s aim is to bring the world of books alive for children in Shropshire; to inspire, entertain and enthuse them with a life-long love of reading

Shrewsbury Bookfest’s May Festival 2017 is being kicked off by Clare Balding, ready to set the festival off at full gallop with her wonderful tales of her childhood, her dreams and ambitions and of course her new book for children. Aardman Animations make a welcome return to show us how to make ‘Gromit’ and how we might become animators ourselves, while Harry Potter fans must make room on their timetable to explore his magical world with ‘Professor Potter’. Renowned Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown guarantees gales of laughter during his action-packed event which promises to unlock the artist in all of us, while the timeless tale The Tiger Who Came to Tea, will be brought to life with a very special visit from a very lifelike wild animal ... CBeebies’ presenter Ben Faulks invites us to wade in our wellies through a very muddy adventure, while two award-winning, gifted dream-weavers – Katherine Rundell and Emma Carroll - will be revealing their innermost magical secrets in a panel event. And finally, a child’s ear for rhyme can’t be denied, so ‘Let the Good Rhymes Roll’ will spark your young ones’ innermost poet.

If you were going to recommend three key events, which would they be?  

Clare Balding because it will be such a treat to hear as good a speaker as she come to Shrewsbury to share her life story with a young audience; an opportunity to work with a world class model maker such as Aardman and finally hear and ask questions of two dynamic, inspiring and talented storytellers in Katherine Rundell and Emma Carroll. 

Tell us something about Shrewsbury we wouldn’t know.  

Shrewsbury was transformed into Victorian London for the 1984 filming of Charles Dickens's classic tale, A Christmas Carol. Shrewsbury was one of Dickens's favourite places, so it was appropriate that the film should be made there. The money he made from the book paid for him to get out of debt and out of debtors' prison. The grave of Ebenezer Scrooge can still be seen in the churchyard of St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Hidden Gems March

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, handpicked from lesser known sources and brought to your attention! So, take a look and attend an event, or two, or even three …

Poetry is cool again thanks to Bang Said the Gun - the number one best poetry night as voted by The Times. Advertised with the tagline ‘poetry for people who don’t like poetry’ but recommended by laureates and celebrities alike, it has outgrown its aloof message – it must be cool. The events feature both headline spoken word artists and ‘Raw Meat Stew’ open mic spots for anyone brave enough to enter what spoken word seasoned vet Kate Tempest describes as ‘mud wrestling with words’. Dates are spread across the UK and occur every last Thursday of the month, so head down with the hoards if you know what’s cool for you. 

There are few better ways to spend a night than in a pub after hours, so this literary lock-in is a must for anyone in the Dundee area with a thirst for more than just the written word. Held at the namesake pub of the legendary George Orwell, this is a great opportunity for writers, readers, students, librarians, and all other book heads to mingle, relax, and keep the festivities of the Dundee Literary Festival going until the very end.

Take a dip into the rich, chocolate flavoured culture pool of Brixton at this live performance event with a side of chocolate, expert cakes and pastries courtesy of the hosts at Brixton Blend Café. Whatever your spoken word forte, be it poetry, storytelling, or aided by acoustic music, come and showcase your skills in the company of the iconic David Bowie mural, or simply join in by eating, listening and drinking.

The once palpitating heart of Punk Rock has arguably all but stopped in the UK these days, but once at the centre of its every beat was Stephen Micalef, a writer and prominent personality found in the legendary Punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue. In store at Housmans Bookshop, Steve will be resuscitating the glory days of Punk with a reading of poems that encapsulate 10 months amidst the raw power of a musical movement the ripples of which are still felt today.

Beautiful greenery, chilled vibes and a light refreshment are on the menu at an evening with Gynelle Leon, the founder of London’s first all-cactus, aptly named flower shop – PRICK. Join the history making Gynelle for a relaxed chat on all things travel, culture, and of course, cacti.  

Come and support one of the delicatessens of the publishing world Bluemoose Books as they host a salon to promote their independent publishing house with an array of author readings and anecdotes of attempts to take on the publishing world. Kevin and Hethy Duffy founded Bluemoose back in 2007 and have since achieved incredible success with numerous authors on leading prize shortlists, so this event particular appeals to those taking babysteps in indie publishing who will go away with a new arrow in their quiver to start their own war with major publishers.

London is full of secret and unknown spaces created in the wake of vast and rapid economic and cultural change, and here’s your chance to hear all about where to find your own forgotten part of the city. This talk features numerous voices from the book Art Night: Expanding the City’s Boundaries in which essays from acclaimed architects and urbanists argue for public art being a tool for safety, inclusion and inspiration. You are invited to discover a forgotten London well worth remembering.

Perhaps the publishing world wont admit the genius of your novel, and you haven't the expenses to buy your own printing press, or maybe you're just curious, in any case, come along to this event where you can learn to lovingly handcraft and bind your stories into a book. 

A journey through T.S Eliot’s The Waste Land can be an uneasy one, but this event hopes to restore some balance to your footing with a walk through some of the sites that inspired the aesthetic of Eliots renowned poem.  Visits will be paid to important architectural sites that offer a tangible insight into the inspiration that London lent to The Waste Land, while readings will be performed in the hope of enlightening many themes and ideas through group discussion. So come and let your imagination fly through Eliot’s Unreal City.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Valentines Events 2017

Literature and love often come hand in hand. From love letters and poetry to connecting over a favourite book, the written word can incite romance in many forms. Whether you're looking for love, a special event for you and a partner, or even looking to celebrate singledom, here's a pick of some literary events you can attend for Valentine's Day. 

For Adults: 

My Literary Valentine - 10th February

Join an inspiring line-up of authors for a sophisticated Valentine's evening of love poetry readings, discussion, and exclusive snippets of forthcoming work. This annual event is hosted by The Authors Club, a group founded by Walter Besant in 1891 for those professionally involved in literature to meet and discuss. Graced by the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, T.S Eliot and Mark Twain, the group is a staple of English literary tradition and continues to mark its influence with events like this. 

Valentine's Guided Tour of John Keats' House - 12th February

The love story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne is one of literature's most famous romances, and you can visit the very house where their idyllic, passionate relationship began. The muse for some of Keats' poetry, and the love of his life up until his untimely death at 25, Fanny Brawne is responsible for much of what made Keats the beloved romantic poet that he was. Come along and learn the history of this inspirational pairing, and maybe pick up a tip or two from the romantics on how to live in love.  

Valentines Day: Book Speed Dating - 14th February

Speed dating isn't always a surefire way to guarantee a date, and may feel like a highly pressurised environment for some. However, these Waterstones events are speed dating with a literary advantage. Two minute sessions with a partner and your favourite book in hand could become the start of your own romantic story. At the very least, you'll be spending time with fellow book lovers where your shared adoration for the written word has already broken the ice. See below for the two Waterstones event locations.

Canterbury Event

York Event

Translating Swahili Love Poetry - 14th February

The language of love is woven by poets the world over. Come along to this translation workshop run by the Poetry Translation Centre on Valentine's day, and broaden your romantic and literary horizons as you translate Swahili love poems and unlock their secrets.

Anti-Valentine's Night with Dead Good and Killer Women -14th February

Of course, there is an option for those of you who wish to escape the love fest. Dead Good and Killer Women, two prevalent suppliers of crime fiction, are more concerned with sharing the stories of spilled blood than spilled emotions on Valentine's day. The two organisations have come together to put on a night of crime fiction readings from four authors at Waterstones surrounding tales of love gone wrong. Hunker down away from Cupids arrows with Prosecco, cupcakes, a 
goodie bag, and some anti-Valentine's Gothic crime fiction. 

Twisted Love: An Antidote to Valentine's - 14th &17th February

For many people nowadays the thought of Valentine's day is repulsive. Some find the idea of the day fundamentally ugly in its over zealous display of emotion, while others see its true meaning as being hi-jacked by consumerism. In any case, there are still ways to variate the theme and start to enjoy the day again. Theatre company Hand of Doom are offering this very opportunity. At two separate events they will be showcasing talented spoken word artists for a night of alternative love stories that they hope will be an antidote to Valentine's day pain. 

Faversham Event

Folkestone Event

For Children:

I Love Books: Valentine's Day Card Making - February 14th

Younger celebrators of Valentine's Day can get involved at Foyles, London, where the message of love is spread through a storytelling session, complimentary sweets, and a card designing workshop. Come along and handcraft your Valentine's Day message to send to your loved ones. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

What to Expect from the Upcoming Purbeck Literary Festival

Purbeck Literature Festival in Dorset on England's South West Coast is soon approaching. The festival is running from February 16th - 25th, and will be hosting a fantastic array of events. From wild tales of travels, nature, poetry, music and art, to adventures in restoring old buildings, finding fossils and a whole host of kids events. 

We spoke to the organiser Emma Fernandez to find out more about what to expect from this year's festival, learn the literary history of the town, and get some tips on events not to be missed.

Tell us a little about the history of the Purbeck Literary Festival.

The festival came about as I was working on promoting the area, which included a year-long Enid Blyton Campaign to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Famous Five. And so we thought we might be able to do a weekend children’s festival here too. It seemed to go down well, but after feedback it was thought we could pull off a whole event over the course of February half term in two weeks.

What can we expect in 2017?

2017 is a little different as it’s just a week, and we have lots of events at our festival hub at Durlston Castle rather than numerous village halls, etc.

We have a ‘wild’ theme to celebrate the outdoors (Autumn Watch has just recently been here) and the whole of the UK has gone mad for adventure. We have the best of the UK’s coast and countryside so it’s a great way to incorporate the environment: wild seas, travel, history, wildlife, and even wild romance!

Last year we had cracking success with award winning explorer and adventurer Jason Lewis who packed Swanage library, as well as a wonderful night of music and words from Sunny Ormonde (The Archers' Linda Bellamy), and who could forget Katie Fforde launching us in 2013 ... 

If you were going to recommend three key events, which would they be?

Rowan Coleman’s High Tea would definitely be on my list, as well as Marianne Surh from TV’s Restoration; she is coming to do an evening on how to restore your house or building sensitively. Paul Stickland of Dinosaur Roar is opening our event and bringing his bug shop, which should be super, as should Stamford Travel shortlisted writer and adventurer Nick Hunt, who is coming to Wareham Library.

Tell us something about Purbeck we wouldn’t know.

Purbeck was home to a host of literary figures. The area is famous for Hardy and Blyton but it should be celebrated for so much more: Ian Fleming went to school here, Tolkien was a regular visitor to Durlston, and HG Wells' ashes were scattered from the cliffs. T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) also used to have tea every Friday at the Fisherman’s Catch Cafe, but he was only known as the soldier with the motorbike then ... 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Hidden Gems January - February

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, handpicked from lesser known sources and brought to your attention! So, take a look and attend an event, or two, or even three …

Modernist avant-garde literature isn’t for everyone. But it may be for you. Libreria’s book club in East London are offering James Joyce’s Dubliners up as an accessible introduction into complex Joycean storytelling. Discussion can be key to making the most of Joyce’s intricate style. So grab this opportunity to gather together on the last Sunday of every month and bury yourself in naturalistic tales from the Irish middle class in 20th century Dublin.

Control and Surrender: Fireside with Jamie Catto - 31st January

If you've amounted pressures or ideas about yourself or the world around you that you feel need talking through with an acclaimed musician and self-help author, then Jamie Catto has you covered. Renowned for being the Co-Founder of beloved electronic outfit Faithless, Catto has turned his years in the creative industry that took him all around the world into developing the self-help book Insanely Gifted: Turn Your Demons into Creative Rocket Fuel. And now, he is opening himself up for a chat with you, and there is no topic too big or too small that you can discuss with him live, or over the power of the internet. 

Dice Slam with Apples and Snakes - 17th February

Live poetry and spoken word is often an intense experience; and Apples and Snakes boast poetry events with more bite than the usual. As part of the Verve poetry festival, the UK's leading organisation for performance poetry Apples and Snakes will be throwing a collection of spoken word artists into deep waters by asking them to deliver performances dictated by absurd, arbitrary rules. Come and find out if the artists will sink or swim at this event that looks to let spoken word off the leash, to the peril of the performers and to the delight of the audience.

Unsung Live #7 - 21st February

Here’s an opportunity for an alternative night at the pub. Indie publisher Unsung Stories will be hosting authors for readings of some of the best contemporary speculative fiction in the boozy chilled ambience at The Star of Kings Cross. This will be the seventh occasion for this event that has built a regular following and continues to gain new members. Readings will be supplied on the night by three authors: Courttia NewlandE.J Swift, and Jamie SawyerUnsung Live’s groups love the laid back atmosphere and the holy trinity of live literature, friends, and alcohol – come along and see if you can disagree! 

Noir at the Bar - 26th February

Sometimes the formality of book events can get in the way of really getting to know the author behind the work you love. Instead, here's a chance to get closer to authors in a more familiar, loose setting. Writer Russel D McLean introduces and hosts Noir at the Bar as part of the Granite Noir Crime Writing Festival. The first night is an informal gathering for lovers of crime fiction to hang out and drink with Norwegian crime writer Gunnar Staalesen, with the chance to hear some off the cuff work from the author.

Poetry Translation Workshops at the PTC - January - March

If you've ever wondered about the process of translating foreign poetry into English or even wanted to give it a go yourself, there are plenty of opportunities available. The Poetry Translation Centre are running an all new season of translation workshops where you can help to introduce international poetry to new audiences with award winning poets and transltors. Current opportunities include poetry from Africa, Cuba, Thailand and India, so get down to the PTC and get to grips with international poetry.