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Inaugural Reading Literature Festival brings leading international writers to Berkshire

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Poets, authors, playwrights and screenwriters are set to take the stage this November for Reading’s first Literature Festival.


Growing out of Reading Poetry Festival’s three successful years from 2013-15, the Festival will bring together many of the most exciting talents in contemporary writing from across the UK and abroad.


The events, taking place across the town, include discussions and readings, interviews with authors, creative writing workshops, film screenings, and a writing competition.


Festival director and Doctoral Researcher at the University of Reading, Sam Morrish said:

“We are very pleased to launch Reading’s first literature festival. Reading’s Year of Culture provides the ideal time to start up this event and we’re delighted to be part of Reading 2016. A diverse range of activities will take place across the town to celebrate local talent alongside international literature. We look forward to welcoming writers and audiences to the Festival in November.”


Celebrating local young writers

The annual Gerald Finzi Lecture will take place on Friday 4 November, showcasing the celebrated poet Alice Oswald, who has links to the town, and will speak about her art and read from her work. She will also present the prizes for a local schools’ writing competition whose theme is ‘My Reading’.


The children’s fiction-writer Wendy Meddour, who recently took up a lectureship at the University, will lead another event for local schools, offer a creative writing workshop, and, with award-winning poet and translator Peter Robinson, judge the writing competition.


Performance poetry

There are two events highlighting spoken word poetry, featuring Hollie McNish, Theresa Lola, and Dan Simpson on Friday 11 November, and a presentation of local performance poets mentored by McNish on Sunday 13th.


Also on Sunday, Reading’s own poetry publisher, Two Rivers Press, whose national profile has risen recently thanks to prominent reviews in the THES and the TLS, will present new books by four of its poets published this year. The Festival also hosts a reading of new fiction writers showcased by the Newbury-based publisher Holland House Books.


International flavour

Saturday sees a centenary celebration of the Italian writer Giorgio Bassani, the film of whose most famous novel The Garden of the Finzi-Contini is discussed and shown the previous Monday. This celebration includes accounts of his poetry and fiction, as well as his work as an editorial advisor for Feltrinelli – which included the discovery and promotion of Lampedusa’s classic, The Leopard. Jamie McKendrick, currently retranslating all Bassani’s fiction for Penguin Books, will be among the contributors.


A symposium on English language poetry and its relations with Europe and the world will feature Fleur Adcock (New Zealand/UK), Justyna Bargielska (Poland) and her translator Maria Jastrzębska (Poland/UK), Jamie McKendrick (UK), and Sudeep Sen (India), in which they will discuss this urgent issue with Steven Matthews and give readings from their own work.


For updates and ticket information find us on Facebook: /Reading Literature Festival, follow us on Twitter @RdgLitFest and visit our Website:







The Festival is directed by Sam Morrish, who is currently at work on her doctorate at the University of Reading, the first Reading Literature Festival is planned as a contribution to Reading’s Year of Culture, and a town and university collaboration supported by the University of Reading and its Committee for the Arts, the newly founded Heritage and Creativity Institute, the School of Literature and Languages, and the Department of English Literature.