Monday, 8 July 2019

NUCoL Collaborative Board Meeting

Want to find out more about Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and meet the people who make it happen? Then read on...

Every summer, NUCoL holds an annual open meeting to report back to the city on their plans and what they’ve been doing for the past year. This Saturday the NUCoL team will answer your questions and hear your ideas about Nottingham’s role as a UNESCO City of Literature. This year's meeting, which will also be attended by members of the NUCoL’s collaborative board, takes place on Saturday July 13 at 1pm at Nottingham Mechanics ( on North Sherwood St.

The meeting is expected to be ending by 2.30pm. Please come along, meet the team, hear what they’ve been doing and find out more about NUCoL. There will also be opening the call for a Nottingham writer to join the NUCoL’s board of trustees and this will be an opportunity to find out what the role involves.

Big City Readers' Day Fri 12th


Friday July 12th is Big City Readers’ Day, with four of the featured authors appearing between 9.30am and 1.00pm in the Council House Ballroom.

As part of Nottingham's first ever Big City Reads campaign, you can join us as we celebrate the power of reading for pleasure in this special readers’ event, co-produced by Nottingham’s 14 Young City of Literature Ambassadors.

Welcoming a selection of authors from the four books featured in the campaign, the event will feature a blend of author readings and discussion/creative activity and will be of particular interest to individuals/organisations engaged in working with young people and literacy projects in the community.

Confirmed authors (so far) are Alice Oseman (Heartstopper: Volume One), Natalia Gomes (We Are Not Okay), Catherine Johnson, Ayisha Malik (A Change Is Gonna Come)

IMPORTANT: Tickets for this event must be booked in advance online, as none will be available at the door.

Link for tickets:

What Is The Big City Reads?

Four books, championed by our young ambassadors, have been nominated for distribution to libraries, schools and cultural venues across the city, ready to fill neighbourhoods with stories that speak to what it is to be alive in 2019: engaging with the voices, themes and issues of our time:

A Change Is Gonna Come - Anthology

We Are Not Okay - Natalia Gomes

Heartstopper: Volume One - Alice Oseman

The Boy Who Lied - Kim Slater

The books have been available for free and feature positive messaging that explores relevant, experiences, including assets such as reading guides to encourage discussion, debate and a deeper exploration of the diverse stories found within them.

Why Are We Doing This?

We want to celebrate reading for pleasure and encourage everyone in Nottingham to pick up a book. We believe there is something for all communities to connect with in our selection of books and want to champion the range of voices and experiences of our readers. This is also a timely opportunity for us to shine a spotlight on our young readers in a campaign co-produced by them, championing what they are reading and why.

For any queries around this event or the Big City Reads campaign as a whole, please contact our Programme Manager, Jim Hall:

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Football V Literature

In 2014 Nottingham was named the first UK City of football. A year later, Nottingham became a UNESCO City of Literature, a permanent title. But which accolade do we most deserve? That question was answered at last Sunday’s Ey Up Duck event at the Canal House.

I presented a strong argument for each title. Kicking off with football I began with Forest’s first great player Sam Weller Widdowson who came up with the first formation, invented shins pads, helped introduce the whistle, refereed the first match with goal nets (the first player to put the ball in the back of the net was a Hyson Green man playing for Everton), facilitated the first night matches (using gas light then electricity) and founded the amateur cup. Cloughie was then given the full ‘top one’ treatment before the focus shifted to Nottingham’s shaping of Italian football, our current obsession with the game, and the rise of girls' football in the city.

As for literature, I explored how our radical writers have changed the world with their words, looking at how we influenced the American constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, how we presented the first coherent theory of evolution, how the Chatterley trial impacted on censorship, and how working-class characters have been represented. Writing of many forms was highlighted including the role our journalists, scriptwriters and poets have played in making us a city of literature, and how we have led the way in children’s reading with the first children’s library, Mee's The Children’s Newspaper and Children's Encyclopaedia, Trease, Howitt, and our current writers and plans for the future.

The audience were then asked the question, are we a city of football or a city of literature? and a vote was undertaken. The result was a resounding win for literature with about 75% of the audience deciding that Nottingham is a City of Literature.   

Monday, 1 July 2019

Masterclass with Megan Taylor

Fiction Masterclass with Megan Taylor
Thursday July 11th 2019 at 7pm - 9pm
Join Weathervane Press in the elegant surroundings of Newark's Carriages café, on the platform of Newark Castle station, for an evening with widely published local author Megan Taylor. With three novels already out, plus one on the way, a short story collection, and stories regularly winning competitions and featuring in literary magazines, Megan will offer the benefit of her experience, read from her work and answer any questions. 

After the interval she will give a taster creative session where you will be encouraged to fire up the imagination, develop an idea and produce a short piece of work of your own.
All proceeds for Newark-based charity Think Children.
Tickets cost £7.50 and can be purchased in advance from Think Children by calling 01636 676887, emailing Sarah at or at Carriages Cafe.
Ticket includes a filter coffee or tea. Fully-licensed bar available.
The event will be hosted by Newark publisher Weathervane Press and all proceeds will be donated to Think Children.
Please note there are no parking charges in the station car park after 6pm for Carriages customers

BIG City Reads

A brilliant new project launches today which aims to encourage everyone in Nottingham to get reading.
Books are appearing in a host of unusual and wonderful places from July 1st. Four special titles, selected for their suitability for teenagers and upwards, and championed by Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature’s Young Ambassadors, are available for free – you just have to find them!

The city’s collective page-turners are:

A Change Is Gonna Come – an anthology
We Are Not Okay by Natalia Gomes
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater
Clues to the books’ whereabouts are being left on social media via the hashtag #BigCityReads

A tip: you might want to try Five Leaves Bookshop, Broadway, Rough Trade, Nottingham Contemporary, Metronome, Nonsuch Theatre, Jam Café, Dice Cup Café, Sobar, New Art Exchange, Zero Latency, CRS, at Nottingham Beach and Splendour.

If you find a book please celebrate the fact with a photo. And, after you’ve read it, pass it on to a friend. You can even submit a review of the book to the City of Literature website.

There is to be a Meet the Authors event taking place on Friday July 12th at the Council House, with the books’ authors all in attendance (tickets can be booked HERE).

Big City Reads 2019 is supported by generous grants from Arts Council England and Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Key partnerships include Nottingham City Libraries and Nottingham Education Improvement Board.

Jim Hall, Project Manager of Nottingham Big City Reads said “Big City Reads is a unique chance to collectively celebrate the power of reading for pleasure. We are excited to create a dialogue throughout the city of the stories matter to our communities, encouraging everyone to track down a book, read it, then share how it made them feel using our hashtag #BigCityReads.”

For updates, follow @Nottmcityoflit , Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website #BigCityReads

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Lowdham's Last Saturday

Lowdham Book Festival – Saturday 29th June

10am – 5pm All Day Book Fair and Café, Village Hall, Main Street, Lowdham

The final Saturday of the Lowdham Book Festival is always one of the highlights of Nottinghamshire’s literary calendar. This year’s is the Festival’s 20th last Saturday.

Throughout the day the Village Hall hosts a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, salads and panini, cakes and ice cream. The bookfair is spread over the Village Hall, a big marquee behind the Village Hall and assorted gazebos. It features publishers, charities, book trade organisations and booksellers with new and second-hand books. There are displays of old-fashioned letter press printing equipment, and an eclectic mix of talks and readings.

No need to book but turn up early for any event you are particularly keen on to guarantee a seat! Entry is FREE to the bookfair and all events.

Take a look at the order of play:

11am Difficult issues? Not so difficult issues?

Committee Room, Village Hall Troy Jenkinson (The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World, about children with lesbian parents), and Rose Robbins (Me and My Sister, about having a sibling with autism) discuss writing books about "issues" for younger children.

11am Watson Fothergill - an illustrated talk by Darren Turner Methodist Chapel, Main Street

The Victorian architect Watson Fothergill left a distinctive stamp on Nottingham, making him the most famous local architect of the period. His works can still be seen all over the city.

11am Stephen Booth – Peak District Crime fiction Marquee behind the Village Hall

Stephen makes a welcome return to the Festival, and brings us up to date with murder and mayhem in the Dark Peak. His Cooper and Fry series is now up to 18 books. It's dangerous in Derbyshire!

11am Ruth Charnock on Joni Mitchell  WI Hall, Main Street

In this sound and image-illustrated talk, Ruth Charnock looks at Joni Mitchell’s work as a musician, composer, cultural commentator and antagonist, thinking particularly about Mitchell’s album Blue and its depiction of desire, free love, and the late ’60s, whilst also exploring Mitchell’s wider cultural contributions and significance.

12.30-1.30pm Shoestring Poetry Hour  Committee Room, Village Hall

John Lucas presents Malcom Carson and Paul Binding, stalwarts of the independent publishing scene. Malcolm has three full collections, Breccia, Rangi Changi and other poems, Route Choice and a pamphlet, Cleethorpes Comes to Paris. Paul is a novelist, critic, poet and cultural historian.  He has written on Eudora Welty and Lorca as well as his own poetry.

12.30-1.30pm Bird Therapy with Joe Harkness Methodist Chapel, Main Street

On depression and bird watching - how becoming a bird watcher saved Joe. 'I can't remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will' Chris Packham.

12.30-1.30pm Rules are meant to be broken Marquee behind the Village Hall

Darren Simpson (Scavengers) and Kate Mallinder (Summer of No Regrets) write for teenagers. Kate's novel is about four sixteen-year-old best friends who pledge to live a summer regret-free, taking risks however much it scares them. Darren's character Landfill lives as a scavenger, behind the wall, swimming with turtles and eating fresh gull. But he wants to explore the world outside.

12.30-1.30pm Protest and Power:  the battle for the Labour Party with David Kogan WI Hall, Main Street

Journalist David Kogan's talk can best be described by these quotes about his book: 'If you want to understand Corbyn's long march to take control of Labour this is the only book to read’ (Robert Peston) ‘New insights, vivid interviews, granular, often objectively funny details, combine to build a portrait of the British left that is both honest and dignifying.’ (Zoe Williams Guardian)

2-3pm Lux, historical fiction with Elizabeth Cook Committee Room, Village Hall

King David sings his psalms while King Henry plots. Courtier Thomas Wyatt sees them both, his beloved falcon Lukkes on his arm. Lux is a story of love, fidelity, faith and power. Elizabeth Cook was born in Gibraltar, and spent her childhood in Nigeria and Dorset. She is the author of the novel Achilles, and wrote the libretto for Francis Grier’s The Passion of Jesus of Nazareth, broadcast by the BBC.

2-3pm Welcome to the Cheap Seats, with Andrew Graves Methodist Chapel, Main Street

This is an illustrated talk on working class film, with a strong Nottingham element, including the films of Shane Meadows, and of Alan Sillitoe's books as well as Kes, To Sir, With Love and many others.

2-3pm "Don't mention the war", with Clare Harvey Marquee behind the Village Hall

Clare is the author of several books set during WWII, some in Nottingham. She will be talking about her research, her development of strong female characters and how to set stories within a war.

2-3pm Epic Continent, with Nicholas Jubber WI Hall, Main Street

Award-winning travel writer Nicholas Jubber journeys across Europe exploring Europe's epic poems, from the Odyssey to Beowulf, the Song of Roland to the Nibelungenlied, and their impact on European identity in these turbulent times. 

3.30-4.30pm Mug without a Handle: Life after Loss of a Long-term Partner with Alison Chippendale Committee Room, Village Hall

Alison will be reading her own poems about dealing with widowhood.

3.30-4.30pm I Went for a Walk, with Gabriel Stewart Methodist Chapel, Main Street

"Just over a year ago I decided I wanted to go for a walk, a rather long one. I had a plan. I'd use my home in London as a base and strike out into the countryside, starting small - short jaunts to Brighton or Norwich, leading up to walking London to Penzance and finishing my year with a walk to Edinburgh. That was the plan. And it couldn't have gone more wrong."

3.30-4.30pm Our Lady of Everything, with Susan Finlay WI Hall, Main Street

Susan's debut novel is set in Nottingham, 2004. It chronicles the lives of Eoin O'Shea's friends and family, and what happens to them when he, a second-generation Northern Irish soldier, is posted by the British army to Iraq.  The Games Workshop, Broadway Cinema, the Post, and Nottingham's Polish church all feature, as does chaos magik and Warhammer.

3.30-4.30pm Milkman and other novels from the North of Ireland, with Deirdre O'Byrne Marquee behind the Village Hall

 Milkman, by Anna Burns, which won the Booker Prize, was set in Belfast during the height of "the Troubles". In this talk Deirdre discusses the book in relation to other novels set in the North at a time when Irish writing has rarely been so popular with British readers.

Saturday extras in the big marquee!

12pm and 4pm (for 20 minutes each time)

Join Clare Stevens and a group of writers from Maggie's, Nottingham reading their own material. Like all our events today, these are free, but there is a Maggie's collecting box!

Maggie’s Stall, Main Marquee

1.30pm and 3pm (for 20 minutes each time)

Join Tuesday Shannon, Pippa Hennessy and Elizabeth Hourston from Soundswrite women's press, reading their poems about Orkney, archaeology and quantum physics (!).

Soundswrite Stall, Main Marquee

The full programme can be read HERE

Monday, 24 June 2019


Nottingham Speakers’ Club Presents
A Speakers’ Sunday Event
FIVE SPEAKERS on all things Notts - Creativity, Literature, Football, Photography, Rebellion, Architecture, Suffrage, and much more…
On: SUNDAY 30th June 10.45AM – 12.30PM
Price: £5.00 (concessions available), Includes Breakfast, Tea/Coffee.
No booking required, turn up on the day. 
At: The CANALHOUSE, Canal Street, Nottingham NG1 7EH
In: The function room, upstairs.

What: The LeftLion editor, ex-Mouthy Poet, and current Writer-in-Residence at NTU, BRIDIE SQUIRES will talk about mental health and creativity, with Nottingham as the narrative thread which ties it all together.
Bridie Squires
Author CAROL LOVEJOY EDWARDS on Struggle and Suffrage in Nottingham, the story of many women across the generations and their struggle for equality. This was not just a struggle for the vote but also for equality in the workplace and even in their own homes. 
Lovejoy-Edwards is the author of Struggle and Suffrage in Nottingham
REBECCA SPARHAM-SIMPSON an illustrated talk on Nottingham’s Buildings and Architecture, from the early settlers through to the designers T.C. Hine, Joseph Else and Watson Fothergill, and the future regeneration of the city.
Rebecca Sparham-Simpson
Hear ‘My Nottingham Journey’, from local poet and author VICTORIA WILLIAMS.
Victoria Williams
With photography – including Nottingham at night - from local artist and Mathematical Physician LAMAR FRANCOIS, who thinks of photography as both an art and science, making new discoveries visually. 
Lamar Francois
And: In 2014 Nottingham was named the first City of Football and, a year later, it became a UNESCO City of Literature, but which title is Nottingham most deserving of? The case will be made for both accolades and then it’s over to you to decide! 
Plus: Breakfast (pastries, cakes, fruit), and unlimited tea and coffee!

All hosted by @NathanTalking

This is the third Nottingham Speakers’ Club public outreach event. Fuel for the body and the mind, come along and learn a few things you may not know about Nottingham.

Nottingham Speakers’ Club is a part of the UK-wide Association of Speakers’ Clubs, a not-for-profit members’ organisation open to all.