Staff Highlights – Lex Hirst

This year we have more than 80 cracking events over the 4 day festival. We asked our staff to tell us the events that they are most looking forward to attending. Our Co-Director Lex Hirst picks her top five.

The Literary Picnic

This is a bit of a cheater’s event to choose because there’s so much going on in one space, but after spending a week in Newcastle leading up to the festival I just can’t picture anything better than sitting on a picnic rug at one of our two bookclubs with a hamper of Mexican food, with lawn games on one side, markets on the other and the zine fair behind me. I’ve somehow managed to wrangle my perfect Sunday right here at the festival – do check it out.

Other Englishes

Last year’s event about language and culture, Speaking in Tongues, was one of my absolute favourite discussions so when the host, Adolfo Aranjuez, suggested we carry on the discussion to a whole new level we jumped at the chance, and this panel is totally chock full of amazing young writers from different linguistic, cultural and writing backgrounds – I can wait to see this one go down.

TED-esque Talks

The reason we’ve had to blatantly appropriate the TED branding for this event is simply because we had so many artists apply with fascinating ideas that bloody well just need to be shared – for the good of us all! These are those artists, ideas distilled into mini-TED-esque talks that will blow your mind.

Romance is a Feminist Genre

A panel of romantic babes talking about a genre written for women, by women, about women – what more could you want? Hosted by Jodi McAlister, who just finished her PhD on virgins in romance, and consisting of some of the most exciting young romance voices out there, this is for anyone and everyone – not just those who like a happily ever after.

Writing to Constraint workshop

I wouldn’t usually include a workshop in my top tips but I’ve been privy to the discussions between these two artists and I really think this is just going to be aces – part showcase of the different ways these guys use cool techniques of constraint in their own writing, part workshop that will get you started on introducing it into your own, this is going to be one damn sexy event that might just open up your writing world.