The inaugural Reading Literature Festival (4 – 13 November 2016) will bring together many of the most exciting talents in contemporary writing from across the UK and abroad. Writers include: Hollie McNish, Alice Oswald, Jamie McKendrick, Justyna Bargielska and Jonathan Coe.

Growing out of Reading Poetry Festival’s three successful years from 2013-15, the events, which will take place across the town, include discussions and readings, interviews with authors, creative writing workshops, film screenings, and a writing competition.

The Festival opens with the annual Gerald Finzi Lecture, 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’.

Highlights include discussions of their work with the stage and screenwriter Penelope Skinner, on Wednesday 9th, and with the internationally best-selling novelist Jonathan Coe on Saturday 12th. The children’s fiction-writer Wendy Meddour, who recently took up a lectureship at the University of Reading, will lead an event for local schools, offer a creative writing workshop, and, with award-winning poet and translator Peter Robinson, judge the writing competition.

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 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.

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:




Highlights include:-

4 November – Alice Oswald gives the Finzi Lecture – University of Redsing

11 November – An Evening of Performance Poetry: Hollie McNish, Dan Simpson and Theresa Lola. Hosted by Becci Louise – RISC & Global Cafe, London Street RG1 4PS

12 November – International poetry symposium, including Jamie McKendrick, Justyna Bargielska – Reading Town Hall

12 November – Jonathan Coe and Nicola Wilson In Conversation – Waterstones Reading

There are plenty of other activities to get involved in from creative writing workshops to competitions. More events to be announced. For updates and ticket information follow us on Twitter @RdgLitFest.

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