Prolific feminist author and playwright Fay Weldon to speak at Literary Leicester Festival

Posted by pt91 at Nov 01, 2016 10:39 AM |
Literary Leicester takes place at the University of Leicester and venues across the city from 16-19 November inclusive

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 1 November 2016

Photograph of Fay Weldon (Credit: DDP/S.Willnow) available to download from: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gqqdoc9vhtxeu9b/DDP.%20Sebastian%20Willnow.JPG?dl=0

  • Fay Weldon to speak at Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing, at the University of Leicester, on Saturday 19 November, 6.30-7.30pm

The prolific feminist author and playwright Fay Weldon will be one of the highlights of this year’s Literary Leicester festival when she appears on stage to talk about the changing landscape of contemporary women’s writing.

Organised by the University of Leicester, the festival is the ninth incarnation of the city’s celebration of the written word. The collection of talks, lectures, workshops, readings, and more, from some of the country’s biggest talents, has this year received Arts Council funding to help it grow.

Literary Leicester takes place at the University of Leicester and venues across the city from 16-19 November inclusive.

Closing the festival on a high, Fay will discuss her latest book, Before the War (2016), with Founder Chair of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association, Professor Mary Eagleton. They will reflect on changes in the social and literary landscape since the publication of Fay’s first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke (1967), almost 50 years ago.

This event is the first in an annual series of talks and lectures held in partnership with the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association.

Professor Harry Whitehead, Director of the festival, said:  “We are delighted to welcome Fay Weldon to this year’s Literary Leicester Festival.

“In addition this year, we welcome children’s authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson and David Wood. David Crystal describes how Shakespeare would have sounded 400 years ago. Happy Valley writer/director Sally Wainwright tells us about putting the Brontës on film. Philip Eade and Alexander Masters discuss Evelyn Waugh and using letters and diaries to write biography. Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze and Maggie Harris celebrate Caribbean verandah culture. We hear from a ‘wandering gay Moroccan novelist and filmmaker.’ Leicester’s own Leonie Orton, Joe’s sister, launches her autobiography. The University of Leicester’s academics offer talks on subjects from The Victorian Magic Lantern to Charlotte Brontë’s readers. Celebrated poets Tom Pickard and Sarah Howe join us. We have new writing being launched, from the charity First Story’s school children, to readings by authors from the first new black British short story anthology in fifteen years. And we formally open the festival with an illustrious panel of authors discussing ‘Writing and Racism’ after Brexit.

“With famous writer Q and As, film screenings, panels, readings, workshops, new writing launches, children’s activities and more, the festival has something for everyone, whatever your age or background. And, as always, it’s completely free! We look forward to seeing people at the Festival this November.”

Born in Birmingham, Fay travelled the globe, growing up in New Zealand and returning to the UK aged 14. She studied psychology and economics at the University of St Andrews and had a successful career in advertising in the 1960s. In 2006 she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University in West London, and she then moved in 2012 to become Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She has several honorary doctorates and a CBE for services to literature.

The veteran novelist published her first book in 1967 and went on to carve out a successful writing career, which includes winning a Writers Guild award for Best British TV Series Script for penning the first episode of the landmark television series Upstairs, Downstairs.  Her latest novel is called Before the War.

Now, Fay will be sharing tales of her life in literature at the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing, at the University of Leicester on Saturday 19 November, 6.30-7.30pm.  The event is free but you most book for a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literary-leicester-2016-registration-27121892310

Speaking in advance of the event in an interview with the University press team, she said: “I’m doing a platform interview with Professor Mary Eagleton.

“I don’t know exactly how the evening will go, but we will, I expect, cover changes in women’s writing over the last fifty years – its themes, preoccupations and obsessions, the coming of the internet and subsequent changes in publishing - for good and bad.

“It should also be of interest to writers trying to finish a novel, or even start one, and we’ll most likely cover subjects such as the fall of the editor and the rise of the marketeer.

“But we’ll also include enough personal stuff to keep the evening lively!”

Fay said the intimate and punchy nature of the annual event is what gives it character and life.

“I’m looking forward to the Leicester festival.

“It will no doubt be short and snappy and relevant to today – the big festivals tend to be rather amorphous.

“The smaller ones I find are the best – run by enthusiasts, and attended by a lively crowd.”

But festivals such as Leicester’s are also beneficial for established authors like Fay, who in 1983 chaired the judges for that year’s Booker Prize.

“It’s easy for writers to drift off into ivory towers,” she said. “Audiences bring one back into the real world with a salutary bump – they can also be addictive, of course.

“It’s always pleasant to be appreciated, and seen as worthy to invite.”

Finally, commenting on Leicester’s literary notables, she revealed a friendship with one of the city’s and country’s best known writers.

“As for your autochthonous children,” she said. “Sue Townsend I knew quite well and liked a lot - brilliant yet so down-to-earth.

“And Orton’s angry eccentricity is a model for any natural-born subversive, but I’m not one to acknowledge influence – that’s for others to infer.”

  • Fay will discuss her latest book, Before the War (2016), with Founder Chair of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association, Professor Mary Eagleton. They will reflect on changes in the social and literary landscape since the publication of Fay’s first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke (1967), almost 50 years ago.
  • The event takes place in the Peter Williams Lecture Theatre, Fielding Johnson Building South Wing, at the University of Leicester, on Saturday 19 November, 6.30-7.30pm.  The event is free but you most book a place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literary-leicester-2016-registration-27121892310

More information: http://www2.le.ac.uk/institution/literary-leicester/events/fay-weldon-in-conversation

Ends

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