University of Leicester Literary Festival 2014 to pay tribute to Sue Townsend

Posted by ap507 at Oct 30, 2014 10:10 AM |
The seventh annual festival of the written word takes place from 12-15 November

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 30 October

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Highlights of this year’s completely free festival include:

  • Novelist and journalist Will Self
  • A celebration of the work of Leicester writers Sue Townsend and Joe Orton
  • Booker Prize-winning authors Penelope Lively and John Banville
  • Eimear McBride discusses her multi-award winning A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
  • Former Children’s Laureate Anne Fine
  • As part of our commemorations for WW1, leading historian, Mark Bostridge, discusses life in England in 1914
  • Many Festival Fringe events
  • Workshops and talks for younger readers
  • CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell
  • A free drinks reception prior to the festival’s formal opening.

Leicester’s literary legacy will be celebrated by a host of award-winning writers, novelists and poets at this year’s University of Leicester annual festival, taking place from 12-15 November.

Literary Leicester - a feast of factual and fictitious prose - will be delivered by a multitude of writing talent over four days and includes author Will Self, Leicester children’s writer Bali Rai and Leicester-born former children’s laureate Anne Fine, author of the novel that became the smash-hit film, Mrs Doubtfire.

The star-studded collection of wordsmiths will also pay tribute to the late Leicester author and Adrian Mole creator Sue Townsend, who died in April, as well as engage in discussions about Charles Darwin, Evelyn Waugh and the Canterbury Tales.

Festival organiser Dr Harry Whitehead, of the University’s School of English, said: “The whole city, of course, was so sad to learn of Sue Townsend’s death this year.

“Leicester has a vibrant local writing community and to them, as to everyone, she was a talisman.

“She was an honorary graduate and Distinguished Honorary Fellow of the University of Leicester and her personal papers are stored in the University Library. It would have been unthinkable not to recognise her achievements.

“As such, we have chosen to close the festival with an event celebrating her life and work chaired by perhaps Leicester’s other most renowned author, Bali Rai.”

Bali Rai will take part in two events, the first titled ‘What’s the Point of Young Adult Fiction?’ (Thu 13 Nov) and also to celebrate the life of his “role model and friend” Sue Townsend on Saturday 15 November.

He said: “I am delighted to be taking part in the University's literary festival. It's a great showcase for reading and I feel honoured to be so closely involved.

“Promoting literacy and reading for pleasure are passions of mine, and the chance to showcase young adult and teen novels is very welcome.

“I'll also be helping to celebrate the brilliant life and work of my biggest role model and late friend, Sue Townsend - the woman who made me want to become an author. It's a superb showcase of established and new talent, and I can’t wait for it to start!”

All events are free and run from Wednesday 12 November to Saturday 15 November.

A panel discussion about young adult fiction, involving local young adult readers as well as celebrated authors, literary agents and publishers, is on offer for those aged 13 and over. Also, a Creepy Crawlies workshop, as well as an appearance from CBeebie’s presenter Cerrie Burnell, are sure to keep children aged four to eight entertained too.

Novelist and journalist Will Self will appear at the festival on Friday 14 November, followed by Booker Prize winning author and doyenne of British letters, Dame Penelope Lively. John Banville, another Booker Prize winning author (and often tipped for the Nobel), flies in from Ireland on Wednesday 12 November to speak.

All of the main events will be held at the University’s Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, in the Fielding Johnson Building South Wing, except the Creepy Crawlies Workshop, which will take place at New Walk Museum.

Fringe events will take place at the University’s arts centre, Embrace Arts – except Decadence, Diaries and Discovery, which will be held at Leicester Central, and the Sue Townsend and Joe Orton archive event, which will both be held at the University’s David Wilson Library.


Note to newsdesk:

To arrange interviews with any of the speakers or to find out more about the festival, please contact Dr Harry Whitehead, Festival Chair, on:

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