by our roving reporter Al Smith
About a year and a half ago I moved to That London from Newcastle, my adopted home and a place still close to my heart. I had studied in the North East and been brought up in Yorkshire. I’m very much Northern and feel an invisible pull northwards and eastwards. Perhaps that’s how I ended up living in Stoke Newington after moving to the big smoke for work.
I looked to meet new people with shared interests, so I became a volunteer for Stoke Newington Literary Festival. I spent the jubilee last year listening to poets, authors, artists and musicians sharing their passions and I enjoyed every minute of it. This year I’m looking forward to it even more as the lineup covers many of my own passions and interests.
Of course lots of planets have a North, as Who fans all know. The Science of Doctor Who (Saturday, 12.30, Library Gallery) will surely share many more insightful facts than this, in a family event which explores space and time and features both monsters and rapping.
It’s at this intersection of science fiction and science fact that two of my other festival highlights sit. Cory Doctorow (Sunday, 19.00, Library Gallery) is a commentator on the internet and the social behaviours it has created and exploited. He is also an author, having written several science fiction novels. He’ll be discussing his latest book ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ as well as freedom of speech and cyber utopianism.
Ben Aaronovitch (Sunday, 15.00, Library Gallery) is a some-time Doctor Who author whose latest series of novels combines police procedural with a touch of magic. His ‘Rivers of London’ books follow Detective Peter Grant as he investigates crimes in a very real London which hides old Gods, spirits and the supernatural. He’s joined by George Mann, who also writes Doctor Who short stories and new Sherlock Holmes mysteries, to discuss genre fiction.
My final highlight of the weekend sees Danny Baker and Danny Kelly (Sunday, 20.00, Stoke Newington Town Hall) take the stage. The irrepressible Baker is a cult hero and one of Britain’s finest broadcasters. What Baker and Kelly will cover in their two(ish) hours is anyone’s guess. They may discuss music or football or ramble down surreal alleyways sharing anecdotes and bizarre facts. But then again they may not.
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