We’ve been buffing up the bumpers of this year’s programme and we’re confident it’s another blinder.
Weekend tickets are on sale at a very reasonable £70 (if you’re not on our mailing list, you’ve missed the £60 Earlybirds, sorry) but with individual events ranging from absolutely nothing to a hardly-budget-busting £10, we hope it’ll encourage you to explore events outside your comfort zone, to see which new synapses they fire in your brain.
So if you aren’t familiar with the war poetry of Wilfred Owen (or have never seen it performed with musicians, by former anarcho-punk Penny Rimbaud in London’s only surviving Elizabethan church, for example), you should definitely give that a go.
If you’d like to hear from a woman who looks after 5,000 body parts in jars talking about death, we’ve got that too. In the graveyard, obvs.
If dub poetry has previously escaped you, we have the very best of it at the festival: Roger Robinson and Nick Makoha bring their Mixtape session to the festival with special guests Momtaza Mehri (the new youth laureate for London) and the award-winning Theresa Lola. You will be transported and you may never return to Pam Ayres.
Things kick off on Friday 1st June at the Town Hall with an event based on the Tales of Two Londons anthology, featuring the incomparable Ali Smith and guests exploring the two very different Londons we all navigate.
Our food & drink programme is an extraordinary collection of talent. Diana Henry is one of our favourite food writers and will talk about her exquisite new book How To Eat a Peach. As Nigella says, “I couldn’t love anyone who didn’t love this book.” We’re with you, Nige.
We’re also talking about the vegan revolution, food memories (Gastrosalon), our favourite beer magazine Original Gravity goes LIVE (with free beer tastings) and 3 of the most extraordinary and influential food writers – Claudia Roden, Elisabeth Luard and Jill Norman (Elizabeth David’s editor) – get together to tell some of the best food stories you’ll ever hear.
It wouldn’t be StokeyLitfest without some impassioned debate and possibly some shouting: we’re covering The Establishment (is it smashable? is Corbyn the man to do it?), the Trumpian / Putinian / fake news dystopia (we’re working on a better title), Brexit, the inhumanity of the recent Windrush debacle and we’re even laughing at how rubbish things are thanks to John O’Farrell, who takes us through the pain and confusion of being a long-term Labour supporter.
Note to audiences: a question is not a question if it’s a long rambling statement with no discernible point.
Saturday Night at the Town Hall gets a medical turn with No.1 best-selling author, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay. You will laugh and you will probably cry. Spoiler alert: Jeremy Hunt isn’t his biggest fan. His support act is neurologist & stand-up comedian (we love ourselves an over-achiever) Dean Burnett, who discusses our Idiot (and Happy) Brains and asks whether we can ever be truly happy and whether it matters anyway.
Anyway we don’t want to spoil ALL the surprises.
We just hope you enjoy what we think is one of our most eclectic and interesting programmes.
The LitFest Team
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