Sunday, 2 December 2012

Nottingham Festival of Words

Nottingham Festival of Words - February 9th to 24th, 2013

The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words welcomes all lovers of words to Nottingham. Taking its inspiration from Nottingham's lace industry, the festival will host a diverse range of talks, readings, children's events, panels, discussions, workshops, comedy, poetry and live music, all involving words in one form or another.

BOOKER Prize nominee Alison Moore will be among the guests for the 16-day festival along with Michael Rosen, David Belbin, Alice Oswald, and David Almond plus comedian Al Kennedy.

Festival spokesman Ian Douglas says, "We aim to draw attention to the vibrant and diverse literary culture in the city and its environs and to raise its profile. We want to provide a variety of ways for audiences to discover and engage with literature in a live context." He adds: "We are keen to build bridges through Nottingham's literary history, taking guests on a journey from Lord Byron through to the present day, via the likes of DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe."

Events will be held at the Newton Arkwright Building of Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Playhouse, Broadway Cinema and Newstead Abbey.

"Our own literary festival is long over-due," says David Belbin, adding, "Nottingham has a very talented array of writers with an astonishing range of work. It will be good to see them showcased alongside international names."

The festival’s Writer in Residence is Deborah Tyler-Bennett. In addition to her poetry collections Deborah co-wrote the V&A Museum creative writing web package, and is also the editor of Coffee House, a small poetry press magazine. 

The festival is also to have its own Artist in Residence, Sue Bulmer, for the main festival weekend. These main events will take place on the weekend of February 16 and 17, alongside the Lace Season and Light Night.

Festival highlights include:

Alice Oswald and Michael Rosen: On Friday 15th and Saturday 16th of February, the Djanogly Theatre at the Lakeside Arts Centre will be hosting the poets Alice Oswald and Michael Rosen.
Alice will be performing her most recent work, Memorial; a modern recreation of Homer’s Iliad. Her performance of Memorial is dramatic and moving and is absolutely unlike any other poetry reading you will see. This event is on Friday February 15th at 7.30 pm. Suitable for 14 years +, tickets £10 (£7 concessions)
On Sunday February 17th at 1.30pm and 3.30pm Michael will be performing ‘Favourite Stories and Poems’, his non-stop one-man show of poems, stories, songs and jokes. It’s his first visit to Nottingham sharing old favourites like Chocolate Cake and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt along with newer stories from Even My Ears Are Smiling and Michael Rosen’s Big Book of Bad Things. Tickets are £6.50, suitable for families and children age 4+.

For full details of the events see the Lakeside Arts Centre website:
To book call the Lakeside Box Office on 0115 846 7777

Newstead Abbey will be filled with the sound of spoken word on Saturday 9th February with a host of poetry and spoken word events. It all starts with free entry into the gardens and free afternoon events including prizewinning poets CJ Allen and Adrian Buckner reading and talking about their recent work, a spoken word performance from Dori K, and Jonathan Taylor’s launch of his poetry collection ‘Musicolepsy’. And while you take in the inspiring scenery and architecture, costumed poets will be performing works to keep the words flowing.
Nottingham Festival of Words continues into the evening with two fantastic ticketed events: Poetry, Landscape and Radicals and Something in the Shadows. You can now buy tickets for both events via Experience Nottinghamshire.

Lord Byron: The First Rockstar?
Saturday 9th February 2013 at Newstead Abbey. 5.40pm
Mad, bad and dangerous to know, Lord Byron rocketed to fame after the publication of his poem 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage'. He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords about the Nottingham Luddites, and embarked on a life of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Hear all about it at the poet's ancestral home, where he lived, wrote and partied...

Twitter Novel: Join the collaborative twitter novel and help shape the narrative. A dual story set in Victorian times and the present day. A Victorian lace worker finds love in a dark place, while in modern times a cross-cultural relationship enters forbidden territory. Help spin out these stories of love and lace. Details here.

Paul Anderson will be showing what the World Wide Web might actually look like. Visit his blog at

Nottingham Lace Competition: Children are encouraged to write about Nottingham's lace industry for a competition, with book tokens and publication in the Festival anthology as prizes. In Memory of Dorothy Bell, the Nottingham Lace Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or under and living in Nottingham.
There are three age groups (under 10, 11–14, and 15–18), and you can enter eithera poem or a short story on the theme of lace.
Make lace. Wear Lace. Love lace. Lace words together. What does lace mean to you?
To enter the competition, download your form:
For a .doc version
click here
For a pdf version
click here.
Your poem or story mustn't be longer than one page on 12-point font size.
Send the form with your piece of writing by 24th February 2013.

You can email it to or post it to:
Nottingham Lace Competition
Nottingham Writers' Studio
32a Stoney Street

Children’s Writers:
Renowned author David Almond will talk about his fiction. David has penned many much-loved books over the years including Skellig, turned into a TV drama, Kit’s Wilderness and Clay.
Over at the Newton Building keep an eye out for Vikings and Victorians as the Nottingham History Roadshow pitches up. There will be a lively mix of quizzes, readings and slideshows. But be warned, this is not for the fainthearted as the Roadshow covers everything from burning castles to explosive diarrhoea!

Ever been on a story walk? Did you know there are secrets hidden in the nooks and crannies of Nottingham? Amanda Smith will guide you, taking parties of children on imaginative excursions around the capital.

Little Gem Storytelling will be taking us all the way to Scallywag. Local storyteller Pete Davis will also be thrill audiences and self-published author Robb Hann will lead an event around his beautifully illustrated book The GrumbleGroar (winner of New Writer’s UK Children’s Book of the Year 2012). Older children might also enjoy the workshop on writing graphic comics. And look out for Riddle Me This, A Way with Words and the Poet Trees.

Libraries and schools are also involved. For example the Central Library will be hosting a Revolutionary Cookbook for children. Watch, listen and taste! And at historic Wollaton Hall there’s a whole day of storytelling and children’s activities under the banner A Way With Words.

Keep an eye on for programme information.
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Nottingham Festival of Words is a collaborative effort, organised by Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Writing East Midlands, and Nottingham City Council in partnership with Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.