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Writeidea Programme Friday and Saturday

All the events are FREE. You can just come along on the day but most events will be very popular and we strongly advise booking a ticket in advance. We allocate more tickets than there is capacity in order to allow for the high number of no-shows that unfortunately happen when events are free of charge. Please arrive early as entry to events is on a first come-first served basis, with ticket holders getting priority.

For hearing impaired members of the audience, a number of our events will have live subtitles, also known as speech-to-text transcription (STT) provided by Stage Text www.stagetext.org These will be marked with the Stage text logo.

 

Friday 15 November

 
 
colin grant

Colin Grant
Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation
7:00pm

When Colin Grant was growing up in Luton in the 1960s, he learned not to ask his Jamaican parents why they had emigrated to Britain. “We’re here because we’re here,” his father would say. ‘You have some place else to go?’ But now, seventy years after the arrival of ships such as the Windrush, this generation of pioneers is ready to tell its stories.
Homecoming draws on over a hundred first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs by the women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. In their own words, we witness the transition from the optimism of the first post-war arrivals to the race riots of the late 1950s. We hear from nurses in Manchester; bus drivers in Bristol; seamstresses in Birmingham; teachers in Croydon; dockers in Cardiff; inter-racial lovers in High Wycombe, and carnival queens in Leeds. These are stories of hope and regret, of triumphs and challenges, brimming with humour, anger and wisdom. Together, they reveal a rich tapestry of Caribbean British lives. Homecoming is an unforgettable portrait of a generation which brilliantly illuminates an essential and much-misunderstood chapter of our history.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 


book your free tickets

 

Saturday 16 November

 
   
Celeste Bell and Zoe Howe

Celeste Bell and Zoe Howe
Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story

1:00pm
Dayglo tells the story of Poly Styrene, star of brilliant first-wave London punks X-Ray Spex and radical songwriter. Poly Styrene, who passed away in 2011, left a dayglo-bright legacy and a multi-faceted archive of never-seen-before lyrics, stories and sketches, many of which feature in this vibrant oral history, which takes in everything from the singer’s London roots to her Somali heritage. Poly Styrene, born Marian Joan Elliott-Said, was the daughter of a Somali seaman, Osman Said, and an English legal secretary, Joan Elliott. Although Marian spent her early years in Brixton, her father lived and worked in the docklands of London’s East End for most of his adult life. The history of the Somali seafaring community in the port cities of Britain is one that goes back to the 19th century, at a time when Somali seamen saught their fortune as sailors and ship-workers on merchant navy vessels across the world.

Join Celeste, Zoe, and Kinsi Abdulleh (Numbi Arts) as they explore the impact of migration and nomadism on the imagination and creative expression of Poly Styrene as a writer and artist.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 


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bob gilbert

Bob Gilbert
Ghost Trees
1:00pm

Ghost Trees is the story of a city landscape told through its trees. Beginning from Poplar, where he lives, Bob Gilbert explores our relationship with the trees that have helped shape London; from the original wildwood to the street trees of today. He draws from history and natural history, poetry and painting, myth and magic, and his own walking, observing and listening. Beautifully written, passionate and defiant, Ghost Trees tells the secrets and stories of the urban wildscape, of glorious nature resilient and resurgent on our very doorsteps.


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ayisha malik

Ayisha Malik
This Green and Pleasant Land

1:00pm
This is her third book following on from Sofia Khan is not obliged and the sequel The Other Half of Happiness which dubbed her as the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones.’
This Green and Pleasant Land follows the accountant Bilal Hasham following his mother’s dying wish to build a mosque in the sleepy, chocolate box English village they live in and the trials and tribulations that follow.
Be sure to join Ayisha discuss her new book as well as her exceptional back catalogue!
 

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Danny Stack and Tim Clague

Danny Stack and Tim Clague
UK Scriptwriters Podcast
1:00pm

Tim and Danny host the UK Scriptwriters Podcast, giving honest and entertaining advice on writing, based on their own experience. As a writer/producer/director duo they made family films Who Killed Nelson Nutmeg? and Future TX, and they’ve just completed the live-action children’s TV show, Dog Years. Tim and Danny advocate doing—not just sitting back and hoping that the industry will pick up your script. Experience the very first live version of their podcast, an absolute must for aspiring writers.

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Raymond Antrobus

Raymond Antrobus
Spoken Word Poetry
1:00pm

Raymond Antrobus is a poet of Jamaican heritage, who, as a deaf spoken-word artist, has been performing poetry since 2007. This year he has won both the Ted Hughes Award for new work in poetry and the Rathbone Folio Prize, awarded for the first time ever to a poet. This was for his collection The Perseverance which uses his experience to consider the ways we all communicate with each other. Chair of judges Kate Clancy said: “Raymond Antrobus is as searching a poet as you’re likely to find writing today.” 

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East End Legacy

Dr Anne Kershen and Colin Holmes
East End Legacy
2:30pm

An East End Legacy is a collection of essays in tribute to William J (Bill) Fishman, writer of seminal works on the East End of London. Historians inspired by Fishman cover the social, political, religious and cultural changes that have happened here over the past 120 years and also examine East London’s links with other parts of the world.
Editors and contributors Colin Holmes and Anne Kershen will discuss the legend that is Bill Fishman and the way his influence has been reflected in the work of recent historians. 

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Isabella Tree

Isabella Tree
Wilding
2:30pm

In 2000, aware that intensive farming of the heavy clay soils on their Sussex farm was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband took a leap of faith and handed their acreage back to nature. With herds of free-roaming animals stimulating new habitats, their land is now heaving with life. The project shows how letting nature take charge can restore both the land and its wildlife in a dramatically short space of time, reversing the cataclysmic declines that have affected most species elsewhere in Britain.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 

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Deirdre Shanahan

Deirdre Shanahan
Caravan of the Lost and Left Behind
2:30pm

Caravan of the Lost and Left Behind, is the hauntingly moving story of Eva, a member of the traveller community, who returns to Ireland with her son Torin and finds Caitlin, the daughter she abandoned there years before. Torin and Caitlin meet and we see their entangled relationship and the consequences when they discover their true connection. The novel explores the tensions around family and what it means: escape and flight, urban and rural life and the compromises we have to make to survive and love.

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Susannah Stapleton

Susannah Stapleton 
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective
2:30pm

Maud West set up her detective agency in London in 1905. Her exploits grabbed headlines but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide her true identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. 
Susannah Stapleton investigates the truth about Maud West and illustrates the reality of being a female private detective in the ‘Golden Age of Crime’ by skilfully interweaving tales from the detective’s own ‘casebook’ with social history and extensive research.

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Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah
Take it Back
2:30pm

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from Tower Hamlets. Her new novel, Take It Back, is a gripping courtroom drama in which a 16-year-old white girl accuses four Muslim classmates of something unthinkable. Described by The Guardian as “superb” and The Telegraph as “sparklingly intelligent”, Take It Back explores ugly divisions in British society. 
Kia will talk about the pressure to write positive stories, the dearth of working-class authors and going from free school meals to a two-book deal.

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common voices

Spread the Word
Common People
2:30pm

Riley Rockford, Elaine Williams, Adam Sharp and Loretta Ramkissoon are the four London-based writers who were selected to have their writing featured in Common People – an anthology edited by Kit de Waal and published by Unbound. Join them in conversation with Charlotte Hutchinson (Publicity Manager at Unbound), as they share their work, discuss their experiences and the importance of raising working class voices in publishing.

This event is run in partnership with Spread the Word.

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Kate Thompson and Melanie McGrath

Kate Thompson and Melanie McGrath
Talking About All Things East End
4:00pm

Kate Thompson and Melanie McGrath, two much loved local authors, will be discussing their mutual love of social history while also talking about their acclaimed books, Secrets of the Homefront Girls and Pie & Mash Down the Roman Road, respectively. They will describe the men and women the history books forgot and tell us why they feel the time is ripe to tell the extraordinary clichedefying stories of ordinary men and women who call the East End home.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 

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kerry hudson

Kerry Hudson
Lowborn
4:00pm

Prize-winning novelist Kerry Hudson introduces her memoir, Lowborn, “one of the most important books of the year” (The Guardian). Lowborn is a powerful, exploration of poverty in today’s Britain. In it, Kerry Hudson lists devastating life experiences that had to be endured and describes youthful chaos (including nine primary schools, periods in care, a sexual abuse child-protection inquiry, abortion and rape). But it is also a moving portrait of the survival and eventual flourishing of a remarkable spirit. 

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Lesley Thomson

Lesley Thomson
The Playground Murders
4:00pm

Lesley Thomson is a Londoner whose first crime novel, A Kind of Vanishing, won The People’s Book Prize in 2010. She will talk about her writing journey, and what has inspired her best-selling novels, including the renowned The Detective’s Daughter series.
She will describe the themes she chooses to explore and her research process. This has involved attending a Catholic Mass, learning how to deep clean and travelling on the District Line in the cab of an Underground Train.

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not about the burqa

Mariam Khan
It’s Not About the Burqa
4:00pm

Mariam Khan is editor of It’s Not About the Burqa. The book started life when Mariam read about the conversation in which David Cameron linked the radicalisation of Muslim men to what he called the ‘traditional submissiveness’ of Muslim women. As a counterblast, Mariam has compiled this collection of essays that explores the pressures of being a Muslim woman today. The collection has been described as: “incredibly important… passionate, angry, selfeffacing, nuanced and utterly compelling.”

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Diane Atkinson

Diane Atkinson
Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes
4:00pm

Diane Atkinson’s detailed and authoritative Rise Up, Women! has become the definitive history of the suffragettes and is both moving and thrilling. Her talk charts women’s struggle for the vote through the lives of those who took part – and describes the vitriol they faced. What comes through is the power and courage of the ‘bloody difficult’ women who continued to challenge the establishment and, at the same time, changed the perception of women, for the better, before the war in 1914.

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david hepworth

David Hepworth
A Fabulous Creation
5:30pm

The era of the LP began in 1967, with ‘Sgt Pepper’; The Beatles didn’t just collect together a bunch of songs, they made an album. The end came only fifteen years later, coinciding with the release of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. By then, the Walkman had taken music out of the home and into the streets and the music business was looking for new ways to make money. It was a short but transformative time. Musicians became ‘artists’ and we, the people, became patrons of the arts. This is the story of that time.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 

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Janine Booth

Janine Booth
Minnie Lansbury: Suffragette, Socialist and Rebel Councillor
5:30pm

Minnie Lansbury, who joined the East London Federation of Suffragettes in 1915, was elected alderman on Poplar’s first Labour council in 1919. She was one of the councillors jailed for six weeks in 1921 for refusing to levy full rates in the povertystricken area. Due to her imprisonment, she developed pneumonia and died in 1922 aged only 32. This is a story of a remarkable woman whose experiences and struggles are directly relevant to today’s labour movement, and to today’s campaigns against anti-semitism and for women’s equality.

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Jack Shenker

Jack Shenker
Now We Have Your Attention: Inside the New Politics
5:30pm

Jack Shenker is an awardwinning reporter on politics and protest, whose work has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. In Now We Have Your Attention he explores Britain’s current political turmoil from the perspective of ordinary people and shows how disillusionment with Westminster politics is fuelling a passionate engagement with politics of a different kind: local, personal, effective and utterly fearless, inspiring and terrifying in equal measure. The book uncovers a revolutionary transformation in attitudes and behaviour, and a future that will shape us all.

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Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths
Now You See Them
5:30pm

Elly Griffiths discusses her successful writing career, from the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series to her new novel Now You See Them (part of The Brighton Mysteries series). Her first crime novel, The Crossing Places, is set on the Norfolk coast where she spent holidays as a child and where her aunt still lives. She also tells the story of how she came to be Elly Griffiths.

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Hallie Rubenhold

Hallie Rubenhold
The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
7:00pm

The Five is the first full-length biography to explore and contextualise the lives of the five victims of Jack the Ripper. Offering new insights and drawing on previously unseen or unpublished material, its focus is entirely on the women and not on their murderer. A general lack of understanding of how poor, working class women lived in the Victorian era — or how ‘respectable society’ perceived them — has helped establish the view that Jack the Ripper’s victims were ‘just prostitutes’. But historian Hallie Rubenhold’s groundbreaking research proposes that virtually everything we’ve ever come to assume about these five women is largely untrue. As an investigation into these women’s experiences, The Five traces the surprising triumphs and heart-breaking difficulties they encountered throughout their lives. In hearing their stories it is impossible for us to ever again see them as something other than daughters, wives, sisters, lovers and mothers, or remember them simply as nameless, faceless victims.

We are delighted to welcome Hallie Rubenhold to Writeidea. Her talk will be chaired by Diane Atkinson, author of Rise Up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes.

This event will have speech-to-text transcription provided by Stage Text 

book your free tickets