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Eighth annual University of Leicester literary festival promises to explore the magic of Wonderland, the mystery of Jack the Ripper and the genius of James Joyce

Posted by ap507 at Nov 03, 2015 12:16 PM |
Literary Leicester festival takes place between Wednesday 11 November and Saturday 14 November

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 November 2015 

  • Highlights include an in-depth look at Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, as part of a series of events on ‘Fantasy Fiction Saturday’
  • Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson delves into the mystery of Jack the Ripper
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin author Louis de Bernières talks about his new novel
  • Two of the country’s leading writers, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Caryl Phillips, in conversation

A vibrant celebration of the written and spoken word is set to visit the city once again as this year's completely free Literary Leicester festival prepares to welcome a distinguished selection of authors, poets and performers.

Now in its eighth year, the thriving event, organised by the University of Leicester’s College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, welcomes an array of talent including an Oxford scholar, BAFTA-winning screenwriter and a best-selling novelist.

The event takes place at numerous locations in the city, such as The Attenborough Art Centre, Phoenix Square and the University’s main campus, between Wednesday 11 November and Saturday 14 November.

In total, 20 literary-themed talks, readings, discussions and lectures will take place during the packed four-day-long free festival.

Highlights include legendary ‘Withnail and I’ director Bruce Robinson discussing how he ‘solved’ the Jack Ripper mystery, a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland with leading biographer Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, and a talk about 60 years of The Lord of the Rings on our ‘Fantasy Fiction Saturday’.

Festival director, Dr Harry Whitehead from the School of English, says: “This year Literary Leicester is bigger than ever, and extended its events beyond the university all around the city. As a completely free festival, we're keen to see more people who might not ordinarily come to a literary festival attending. With big names, big subjects, multiple schools and children’s events, we’re confident we have something for everyone to enjoy.”

Previous festivals have included Booker Prize-winning novelists and world-leading historians, famous children’s authors to topical subjects like the centenary of the First World War – Literary Leicester really does offer something for everyone.

This year, the University has continued to honour its long-running goal of bringing some of the best literary speakers to people of all ages for free.

Youngsters will also be able to enjoy the festival with a number of workshop aimed at broadening their reading practices. Multi-award winning children's writer Emily Gravett will host a talk for youngsters aged six and over, and celebrated author David Almond will take part in a schools only event at English Martyrs' School.

Dr Whitehead said: “We are particularly proud of our range of events this year for children and young adults. This includes a large-scale panel discussion with authors, publishers and two selected local students discussing whether it makes a difference if an author is male or female, authors Emily Gravett and David Almond and much more. We’re working with numerous local and national arts and charitable organizations this year, including Book Trust, Whatever it Takes and Everybody’s Reading.”

Festival running order:

Wednesday 11 November 2015

  • Jamie Mollart: A Reading and Conversation with Henderson Mullin: Attenborough Arts, 12pm.
  • David Almond (Schools-only Event): English Martyrs' School, 12.50pm
  • James Joyce: Apocalypse and Exile: Quaker Meeting House, 2.30pm
  • Writing Women in the Midlands: Workshop: Leicestershire Records Office, 3.30pm
  • Raving Beauties - 'Hallelujah for 50 Foot Women': Attenborough Arts, 8pm

Thursday 12 November 2015

  • First Story: Young Writers' Showcase: Attenborough Arts, 1.30pm
  • Remembering G.S. Fraser: David Wilson Library, 3.30pm
  • Literary Salon: "Unlearning Childhoods" with novelists Caryl Phillips and Elleke Boehmer: Attenborough Arts, 4pm
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson and Caryl Phillips in Conversation: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm
  • Louis de Bernières: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 8pm

Friday 13 November 2015

  • 'Does it Make a Difference if a Writer is Male or Female?' A panel discussion with authors, publishers and local students: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 1.15pm
  • Why did Samuel Pepys Keep his Diary? Attenborough Arts, 2pm
  • 'Who Loves Jack the Ripper?' with Bruce Robinson: Phoenix, 6.30pm
  • Withnail and I: screening with an introduction by its director, Bruce Robinson: Phoenix, 8pm

Saturday 14 November 2015 - 'Fantasy Fiction Saturday'

  • Emily Gravett: Letterbox Club Event (children aged 6 and up): Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 11am
  • Rigby Graham: Artist and Writer: David Wilson Library Seminar Room, 1pm
  • Stuart Hill: “BLOOD, BLAST AND FIRE!" The Icemark Chronicles (for 10-15 year olds and readers of all ages): Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 3pm
  • The Kingdom of Dreams: The Uncanny Worlds of Graham Joyce: Ogden Lewis Suite, 4.30pm
  • The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland, with Robert Douglas-Fairhurst: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 6.30pm
  • 60 Years of The Lord of the Rings, followed by panel discussion: 'What's the Point of Fantasy Fiction?' with leading authors Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Stuart Lee Juliet E. McKenna & Farah Mendlesohn: Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, 8pm

All events are free, but some are ticketed, so please check the University of Leicester website, or venue, for more information. 



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