Literary Leicester festival celebrates black and ethnic minority creativity

Posted by pt91 at Nov 11, 2016 01:11 PM |
Film, literature and debate during Literary Leicester turns focus on multicultural communities

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 11 November 2016

Images of authors available to download from:

A diverse celebration of the written and spoken word this month (November) brings together speakers and contributors with a focus on the black and ethnic minority community.

The University of Leicester is hosting the ninth annual Literary Leicester festival at various venues across the city.

This year's highlights include talks from renowned authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson, creator of Tracy Beaker; and Fay Weldon – playwright and winner of the esteemed Writers' Guild award. English television writer and playwright, Sally Wainwright, who won the 2009 Writer of the Year Award, also unfurls tales of her experiences and gives a talk about her latest project at Phoenix Square.

There will also be poetry readings, film screenings, workshops and Q&As.

Literary Leicester 2016 runs from Wednesday 16 November to Saturday 19 November.

On 16 November, from 6.30pm-7.30pm in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre.  Dr Corinne Fowler from the University of Leicester Chairs a discussion on Writing and Racism

Britain has seen a rise in racist hate crimes after Brexit. What can writers do to challenge contemporary racism? Is their role limited to documenting society or can they truly affect change? Literary Leicester brings together a distinguished panel of authors to Britain’s first plural city.

Among the panellists are Gary Younge, Courttia Newland and Kavita Bhanot.

Gary Younge is an award-winning journalist for the Guardian and The Nation magazine in the US. He was posted to the US for The Guardian for 12 years before returning to London in 2015. Younge’s previous books include The Speech, Who Are We?, Stranger in a Strange Land and No Place Like Home. In 2009 he won the prestigious James Cameron award for his coverage of the Obama election and the "combined moral vision and professional integrity" of his work. Formerly the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor of public policy and social administration at Brooklyn College, CUNY, he is also the Alfred Knobler fellow for the Nation Institute. His new book, Another Day In The Death Of America, considers the effect of gun crime on children in the US.

Courttia Newland is a novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His first novel, The Scholar, was published in 1997. Further critically acclaimed work includes Society Within (1999) and Snakeskin (2002), The Dying Wish (2006), and A Book of Blues (2011). He is co-editor of IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) and has short stories featured in many anthologies. Plays include B is for Black, and an adaptation of Euripides' Women of Troy. He was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary award, the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, the Alfred Fagon Award, the Frank O’Connor Award and the Edge Hill Prize 2012. His latest anthology, co-edited with Monique Roffey is Tell Tales 4: The Global Village (2009). The Gospel According to Crane, published in February 2013, is his latest novel.

Kavita Bhanot’s fiction and non-fiction has been published widely in anthologies, magazines, journals, online forums. Two of her stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She is editor of the anthology Too Asian, Not Asian Enough (Tindal Street Press 2011) and the forthcoming Book of Birmingham (Comma Press 2017) and is co-editor with Courttia Newland of the forthcoming Bare Lit anthology (Brain Mill Press/Media Diversified.) She has a Phd from Manchester University and is a reader with The Literary Consultancy.

On Nov 17, 2016 from 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM in the Diana, Princess of Wales Hall, Attenborough Arts Centre there is a Film Screening: The Black Heathcliff.

This is a rare public screening of the documentary A Regular Black: The Hidden History of Wuthering Heights, which presents the historical case for arguing that Brontë's Heathcliff was a black man. This short film features local historians and the novelist Caryl Phillips. Dr Corinne Fowler will introduce the film.

On Nov 17, 2016  from 04:30 PM to 05:30 PM in the Library Seminar Room, David Wilson Library, University of Leicester, Literary Leicester celebrates the launch of Closure, the first Black British short story anthology in fifteen years.

Voted 'a 2016 must read', by The Guardian and Buzzfeed, this anthology is rich with stories which, like life, rarely end in the way we might expect…

Come hear four top-notch writers read and discuss their stories with Peepal Tree Press Associate Editor, Jacob Ross. Readers include Jacqueline Crooks, Leicester’s own Mahsuda Snaith, Leone Ross and Desiree Reynolds.

On Nov 19, 2016 from 03:00 PM to 06:00 PM in the Film Theatre, Attenborough Seminar Block, University of Leicester, there will be a film screening and talk by Abdellah Taïa: The Wanderings of a Gay Moroccan Author and Filmmaker.

Literary Leicester is delighted to welcome the fantastic Moroccan author and filmmaker, Abdellah Taïa, to the UK. Abdellah is the first Arab author to ‘come out’ in the Islamicate world. His autobiographical and fictional writings in French deal with such hot topics as homosexuality, feminism, class, terrorism and migration. His novels Salvation Army (2009), An Arab Melancholia (2012) and Infidels (2016) have been recently translated into English.

Salvation Army is Taïa’s film début, based on his own novel. It depicts his experiences as a gay man in Morocco and his migration to Europe.

This event is held in partnership with the project Queer Diasporas: Islam, Homosexuality and a Micropolitics of Dissent.

Festival Director Dr Harry Whitehead said: “We want to grow the numbers of people attending our free events who might not usually think about going to a Literary Festival, for example specifically people from BME groups and those who have not studied within higher education. The festival is for everyone.”

For more information on Literary Leicester 2016, visit:

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