Nottingham Festival of Words—here it comes!

After around nine months of planning and preparation, Nottingham Festival of Words is nearly upon us. Next weekend we’ll be at Newstead Abbey for a day of poetry, landscape poetry from Longbarrow Press, glimpses of Donny Johnny, a modern, irreverant take on Byron’s Don Juan coming out from Five Leaves Publications in 2014, Christy Fearn’s talk on Byron the First Rockstar, spooky storytelling, a book launch, and more.

The weekend after that (16–17 February) will be the Festival hub at Nottingham Trent University’s Newton building, where we’ve got readings, talks, workshops, a book fair and fun activities for people of all ages to get involved with from across the literary spectrum. With around six simultaneous events on at a time, everyone will get their way with words. Over the Festival fortnight (9–25 February) there are also events taking place around the city and its environs—Alice Oswald at Lakeside Arts Centre (one of the things I really hope to get to), talks on Scottish and Irish writers, Rachael Pennell’s play Byron Beloved at Thrumpton Hall, several literary walks, and Love, Lace and Bedtime Poems at the Flying Goose in Beeston, to name just a few.

If you’d like to attend the Festival, you can browse the programme at the nottwords website, where you can also sign up to the newsletter to receive updates. Tickets can be bought online and by phone from our partner Experience Nottinghamshire, and in person from Nottingham Tourist Information Centre. Follow us on Twitter (@nottwords) or Facebook.

Although I’m spending most of my time on organising the Festival, I’m still working on a couple of individual events. The Speaking Space is a room in the Newton building that people will be able to pop into to get away from the Festival bustle. I’m putting together a spoken word playlist of work by Festival participants and Nottingham writers, so visitors will get a chance to listen to some of the writers that they might have missed, and there’ll be a bookswap there too.

I’m also working with John Lucas of Shoestring Press on a jazz and poetry night at the Hotel Deux Guitar Bar on Wednesday 20 February from 8pm. We’ve got Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black, always a captivating performer, as our guest poet, and there will also be sets from Alyson Stoneman, Wayne Burrows, Zayneb Allak, and I’ll be doing the first part of ‘Time Is Running Out! (restart your system now)’. The band includes bass, guitar, cornet, and clarinet. If you’re thinking of coming, let us know of Facebook.

Additional content added December 2013.

Here’s a recording of Stephen Lowe’s stirring speech at the Festival of Words launch on 12 September 2012 about Nottingham as a city of literature:

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