(Image: Verity Milligan)

The Birmingham Literature Festival returns from 3rd – 13th October with a jam-packed programme of workshops, discussions and presentations from writers and creatives across twelve different venues in and around the city.

The festival seeks to bring writers, readers, artists, commentators and thinkers together with a reminder of the importance and power of writing, reading and communication. With categories including fiction, non-fiction, writing workshops, poetry, performance, short stories and TV and digital, there’s something for everyone during this incredible ten-day event.

Director Antonia Beck said:

“When conversations about Brexit, LGBTQ+ rights, refugees, the NHS and climate change are front and centre, we can’t help but reflect on how creative writing and reading can give us strength and a voice in challenging times. Literature and the arts are important in all our lives, and we work hard to create a festival that is relevant and reflective of the conversations people are having today.

As always, the programme is packed with highlights from many different writers and creatives. With events about sex, politics, the supernatural, grief, real-life parenting, the Windrush scandal, activism, mental health, LGBTQ+ culture, dystopian stories, exile and disconnection, murder and true crime, democracy, feminism, masculinity, money and psychology (to name a few!) you’re sure to find something which intrigues and excites you.”

Here are just some of the highlights that you can expect from this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival. All events are individually ticketed.

The festival begins on National Poetry Day with Sue Brown, Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Jessica Mookherjee, Jacqueline Saphra, and Julia Webb – some of the most exciting female poets working in the UK today – for a special performance of their latest collections on Thursday 3rd October at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at 6.00pm.

Poet Laureate Carol-Ann Duffy and Friends, will be presenting an evening of performance and poetry with readings of old and new work from herself and selected poets at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at 8.00pm on Thursday 3rd October.

Writer and performer Seth Kriebel will be retelling the story of Beowulf on Friday 4th October at the Midlands Arts Centre in an exciting, highly interactive new show at 8.00pm.

Editor Mariam Khan is joined by three contributors Jamilla Hekmoun, Sufiya Ahmed and Afia Ahmed from the anthology It’s Not About the Burqa: Muslim Women on Faith, Feminism, Sexuality and Race at the Midlands Arts Centre on Saturday 5th October at 11.00am.

Poet Nick Makoha, publicist Crystal Mahey-Morgan and writer Martin Sketchley will discuss what it means to be a literary entrepreneur and share their own experiences of writing and approaches to publishing at 12.00pm on Sunday 6th October at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Literary performances from some of the West Midlands’ most exciting writers will include sketches, stories, songs and poems at the ‘pARTy Lines: A Literary Cabaret’ event at The Old Joint Stock Pub & Theatre Venue on Tuesday 8th October at 8.00pm.

Writers Ewan Morrison (Nina X), Hanna Jameson (The Last) and Sophie Mackintosh (The Water Cure) will discuss their latest books and the current wave of dystopian fiction during their presentation at the Midlands Arts Centre on Wednesday 9th October at 6.00pm.

Award-winning poet and fiction writer Justina Hart hosts a workshop at the Birmingham and Midland Institute at 1.30pm on Saturday 12th October focusing on how therapeutic writing such as journalling and ‘morning pages’ can help with difficult or traumatic experiences.

Chef and food writer Olivia Potts will be hosting a delicious afternoon tea at the popular Bar Opus, where she will discuss her moving and beautiful debut A Half Baked Idea over sandwiches, scones and cakes on Saturday 12th October at 2.00pm.

Town Hall Symphony Hall will bring together a panel of well-known writers and bloggers – Matt Coyne (Man vs Baby), Kathryn Wallace (“I Know, I Need To Stop Talking”) and Liz Berry (The Republic of Motherhood), sharing hilarious true stories of life at the coalface of parenting also on Saturday 12th October at 2.00pm.

Fatima Bhutto shares her experiences of meeting and uncovering the ‘new kings of the world’ – the stars of Bollywood, Turkish soap opera Dizi and South Korean pop music – which have a larger following around the world than American Pop-Culture – at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire at 5.30pm on Sunday 13th October.