Bradford Literature Festival, in association with Provident Financial Group, has announced 2017’s new, exciting events and literary greats. The now iconic festival, held for ten days from 30 June to 9 July, has always considered literature in its broadest possible sense, celebrating the wonderful world of words that connects everything from poetry to music, fiction to science, theatre to sport.
This year’s guests include literary greats Jeanette Winterson and Ben Okri, world-renowned poets Jackie Kay and Linton Kwesi-Johnson, feminist Germaine Greer and historian and politician Shashi Tharoor. There’ll also be a trio of events on Yorkshire cricket, held in association with The Cricketer Magazine, Tiff Needell, host of Top Gear and Fifth Gear, joins the festival for a look into the world of Formula One, and there’ll be a fittingly adult celebration of Harry Potter’s 20th birthday – Potter’s Potions, a bespoke cocktail-making class in the dungeonesque setting of Bradford’s stunning Sunbridge Wells. At the Bradford Literature Festival there’s something for everyone.
Fans of film and theatre will be thrilled by this year’s programme. With films as diverse and wide ranging as Holy Terrors, which brings to life the macabre tales of Welsh writer Arthur Machen, and the highly controversial Lipstick Under My Burka, banned in India for being ‘too lady orientated’, with its scenes of feminist rebellion, there’s plenty to keep cinema lovers entertained. There’ll also be a series of exceptional theatre productions – Bradford-born Asif Khan brings his debut play Combustion, a fabulously comic take on young British Muslim lives in the north of England, and celebrated poet Lemn Sissay will perform his internationally acclaimed Something Dark, recently added to the national syllabus.
This year’s dates have moved the festival further into the summer months, and, with a spectacular line-up of free family fun days held in Bradford’s own City Park sun trap, families will be spoiled for choice this July. The first weekend – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July – will see superheroes descend upon the city, followed by a fairytale wonderland of mythical characters, whilst the second weekend – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July – will see Bradford’s first Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and the finale, a Harry Potter extravaganza, promises a magical end to what is sure to be an incredible ten days.
For parents of teenagers, the festival’s Young Adult strand will come as a welcome relief. Radio 1 DJ and fashion stylist Gemma Cairney joins this year’s A-list line-up for a frank discussion on the highs and lows of growing up, king of controversy and YA author Melvyn Burgess, whose novel Junk defined a decade, will join Glamour columnist and LGBT activist Juno Dawson to discuss The Books They Don’t Want You To Read, and there’ll be interactive workshops on everything from Manga drawing to opinion writing to performance poetry.
The full programme of events is now available via the festival website, including a digital version of the festival brochure, and with events already selling out, literature lovers are encouraged to buy tickets now to avoid disappointment!
Here’s a tantalising sample of events…
Wednesday 28 June, 7pm
Preview Event: The technology disruption has happened. What will your world look like?
Friday 30 June
7:30pm – An evening of comedy, with Maureen Younger, Jo Enright, Inder Manocha and Stefano Paolini.
Saturday 1 July
9:45am – Freya Johnston – the life and times of Jane Austen.
10am – Gothic Yorkshire, with Sarah Dunnakey, Ben Myers, Sophia Tobin.
10:45am – Film screening: Rita, Sue and Bob Too, followed at 1pm by – Andrea Dunbar, the writer, with George Costigan, Claire MacDonald, Adelle Stripe.
11:15am – The Science of Star Wars – Karl Byrne.
1pm – King Arthur of the North – Simon Keegan.
1:30pm – Arabian Nights: the original science fiction – Robert Irwin, S.F. Said.
2pm – The T20 Revolution – Rob Bagchi, David Hopps, Huw Turbervill, Tim Wigmore.
4:30pm – The Cottingley Fairies: 100 years on – Merrick Burrow, Vivian French, John Hyatt.
6pm – An audience with Jeanette Winterson.
7:30pm – Lyrical Mehfil, with Jackie Kay, Raymond Antrobus, Aviva Dautch, Steven Camden, Shazea Quraishi, Naeem Haider.
Sunday 2 July
10:15am – Wonder Woman: from Amazon warrior to UN Ambassador – Michael Goodrum, Joan Ormrod, Leah Moore.
11:45am – Why we’re losing the war on terror – Professor Paul Rogers of the University of Bradford.
12pm – Game of Thrones: myths & history – Tom Huddleston, Carolyne Larrington.
1pm – Lost Princes Of Empire – Christy Campbell, Lemn Sissay.
1:30 – Northern Noir: Bradford in crime fiction, with A.A. Dhand, Liz Mistry.
2:30pm – Black & British: a forgotten history – David Olusoga.
3pm – Disrobing Mr Darcy – Carol Dyhouse, Moni Mohson, Janet Todd.
4pm – LGBT 50 – Paul Burston, Phyll Opuko-Gyimah.
5:30 – Why do we like to be scared? Juno Dawson, Peadar O Guilin, Kirsty Logan.
Monday 3 July
7pm – Political Memoirs: Harriet Harman & Rachel Reeves.
7pm – Mount Sinai: a history of travellers and pilgrims – George Manginis.
Wednesday 5 July
8pm – Historical Tour: Undercliffe Victorian cemetery by twilight
Thursday 6 July
7pm – Yorkshire Rows: Four Mums In A Boat – Janette Benaddi, Helen Butters, Frances Davies, Niki Doeg.
7:30pm – Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung – Min Kym.
7:30pm – Poetry with a punch – Linton Kwesi Johnson, Zia Ahmed, Javaad Alipoor, Anthony Anaxagorou, Damian Le Bas, Zeina Hashem Beck, Zodwa Nyoni.
Friday 7 July
7pm – John Boyne in conversation
7pm – How not to write bad sex – Maya Blake, Frank Brinkley, Flo Nicoll.
7:30pm – A nearly infallible history of the Reformation – Nick Page.
Saturday 8 July
10:30am – Jerusalem: the anthem – Ben Okri, Boyd Tonkin, Jason Whittaker.
11:15am – Tiff Needell in conversation.
12 noon – The untold story of Elizabeth I and Islam – Jerry Brotton, Jenni Murray.
1pm – Time theories of JB Priestley – Luke Goaman-Dodson, Anthony Peake, Alan Roberts.
2:15pm – Gender expectation in the lives of the Brontës – Germaine Greer, Boyd Tonkin.
2:45 – Derek Walcott: In Memoriam – Linton Kwesi Johnson, Burt Caesar.
3pm – The ethics of artificial intelligence – Joanna Bryson, Hassan Ugail.
4pm The science of immortality – Akram Khan, Anthony Peake.
7:30pm – An Evening With An Immigrant – Inua Ellams.
8:30pm – Erotic bedtime stories – Maya Blake, Wray Delaney, Monique Roffey.
Sunday 9 July
10am – Brontë heritage tour – Christa Ackroyd.
10:30am – A man’s game – Ellis Cashmore, David Park, Ross Raisin.
11:45 – Relax! meditation and mindfulness for beginners – Shabnam Qasim.
12 noon – Christina Lamb in conversation.
1:30pm – Winter harvest: from Bob Dylan to Jalaluddin Rumi, with Shems Friedlander.
2pm – The Triwizard Tournament: the ultimate Harry Potter quiz.
2:45pm – Facts in the era of fake news – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Christina Lamb.
4:30pm – Today’s society as a reflection of Dante’s Inferno – Anthony Anaxagorou, Claire Holness, Simon Unsworth.
6pm – Sacred poetry – Ranjana Ghatak, DH Maitreyabandhu, Keertan Kaur Rehal, Claire White-McKay.
7pm – Sufiana Kalaam – Nadeem Abbas.