Again it seems most events in Brum coincide with the new academic year and the Birmingham Book Festival is appropriately slotted here in the first week of October.
Birmingham Book Fest and its accompanying Fringe Festival are going from strength to strength. Admittedly some of the more high-profile events featuring well-known authors such as Stuart Maconie and Caitlin Moran are sold out but there is still lots going on over the next week if you are in town. Along with the numerous helpful writing workshops, I’m particularly interested in the night of European Literature at the Ikon Gallery in Oozells Square this Friday which features authors from Hungary, Sweden and Bulgaria. Hungarian vampire novels? Yes please!!!!
In the remainder of this post though, I have tried to focus on the best of the free events. That way you can spend your pennies on the lovely books and keep the impoverished writers from freezing this winter.
The hub of the festival is situated in the Birmingham Central Library. It ‘s good to see this library is still getting used, especially as the mammoth spira-graph accident replacement in Centenary Square is rapidly nearing completion. As a recent literature grad, I have a lot of respect for libraries and their contents, even the ones housed in Brutalist 1960s architecture. The library’s Pop Up Bookstore will be selling some of the featured books and merchandise at discounted prices so it’s perfect for a bit of ultra-organised Christmas shopping. The added bonus is sticking two fingers up at those marauding e-readers (seriously, have you ever smelt one? Not nearly as satisfying as bound book with a spine waiting to be cracked!) Head on down here to catch these wonderfully free babies:
Writers Without Borders: Independence Party, Tuesday 9th October, 7.30-9 pm (free but booking advised)
The annual showcase for this Birmingham-based multicultural and professionally diverse group of scribblers takes place in the Library Theatre and will feature works of prose, poetry, drama and dance based around the theme of (you guessed it) independence. It’s a popular event so it’s worth going to and you may end up seeing a future literary superstar.
City of 1000 Stories, Tuesday 2nd October-13th October
This is intriguing because I’m not sure what kind of installation it is yet. I’m heading down tomorrow when it opens. It seems to involve drawing. The best part is that it only takes a moment or two and the event will be open most afternoons so you can pop down on your cigarette break.
A Right Read, Friday 5 & Friday 12th October, 12-2 pm
This appears to be a clinic for poorly book clubs. It will help you turn your imaginary book club (i.e. you on the sofa, reading while eating a Mars Bar, drinking an alcopop and flipping through the celebrity column of the Daily Mail) in to an actual literary salon (other people on the sofa with you – thus giving the gift of perfect posture – sipping a cheeky little Pino Prigio, nibbling mini beef wellingtons and applying Marxist theory to Fifty Shades of Grey). It could also help your book club out of a slump (i.e. what to do after you’ve exhausted the Jackie Collins back-catalogue). But it cannot promise to help your book club with one-upmanship, alcohol consumption or in-group affairs.
Go, enjoy, look bookish!