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.