Plymouth International Book Festival attracts star authors
THE Plymouth International Book Festival has revealed a star studded line up.
Organisers say the event will raise the city's profile and engage with all types of readers.
Pulling in authors with a world-wide reputation would give the celebration a reach beyond Britain, said Tracey Guiry of festival partner Literature Works.
And festival director Bertel Martin said the careful choice of writers, venues and mix of events would ensure that habitual readers and less-confident ones will be attracted.
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"Our aim is to get as many people involved as possible," said Mrs Guiry.
"We want to build on last year's pilot festival which sold out over 70 per cent of events. It is bigger and a festival for the whole city."
The star names include Nigerian author Ben Okri and Plymouth-raised Philip Gross, the winners of two of the leading prizes in English literature.
Worldwide best-seller Kate Mosse and comic-turned-writer Charlie Higson also feature.
The programme for Plymouth International Book Festival, October 31-November 9, covers readings, talks, poetry, workshops, demonstrations, music, films and plays.
"Our festival's approach is that the authors don't just have a new book to sell, they will talk about what makes them a writer, the process and their subject," said Mrs Guiry, chief executive officer of Literature Works, a charity that promotes reading and writing.
The festival's reach extended to children, including through the City Laureate competition to find a young writer.
"Introducing children to reading at an early age makes a positive difference. It boosts confidence and helping them form opinions, helps them fill in CVS and find work," she said.
Mr Martin said that hosting events such as readings in the community would keep more cautious readers in their comfort zone.
"But even established readers can get stuck in their own comfort zone," he added. "This will bring in authors that are new to them and encourage them to read outside their usual subjects."
The festival had an international reach, but was Plymouth in character with local authors and subjects including the city and Dartmoor, he said.
Topics included The War in Plymouth: Destruction And A New Beginning, a history project led by city publishing social enterprise The Word Machine and the university, said Mr Martin.
The festival's budget is £40,000. The Arts Council is giving £35,000 annually to support the festival this year and next.
Mrs Guiry said the aim was to bring in commercial sponsorship to sustain and grow the event.
"This can grow into a huge international event," she said. "Plymouth has a huge reach. It is the city with most places named after it in the world."
The Plymouth International Book Festival is organised by Plymouth University, Plymouth City Council and Literature Works, with funding and support from Arts Council England. The Herald is the official media partner for the event. For more information and tickets go to www.plymouthinternationalbookfestival.com.
STAR AUTHORS AT BOOK FESTIVAL
THE leading names at the book festival.
HIS novel The Universe Versus Alex Woods enjoyed acclaim on release this year and was a Waterstone's 11 prize winner as one of the best debut works.
Extence will be talking about the book.
THE former Fast Show writer and comedian's work includes a series of books featuring a young James Bond. He will be speaking about his teen horror series, The Enemy.
THE poet and novelist was brought up in Plymouth and is the festival's patron.
He won the TS Eliot Prize for his collection of poems, The Water Table (2009).
The Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan will lead a workshop at the festival.
LINTON KWESI JOHNSON
IN 2002, Jamaica-born, UK-based Johnson became the second living poet to be published in the Penguin Modern Classics series.
The dub poet will perform during the festival.
HE IS probably best known as poet-in-residence at his hometown football club, Barnsley, and holds a similar position at the English National Opera.
McMillan has written, co-authored or edited 28 books, mainly of poetry. He will also be performing at the Plymouth festival.
AN AUTHOR and broadcaster, her 2005 novel Labyrinth has been translated into 37 languages.
She will talk about her debut collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Winter Tales.
A FORMER a rapper and music producer, Newland published his first novel, The Scholar, in 1997. His others include Society Within and Snakeskin and he has written short stories and edited collections.
He will lead a workshop at the festival.
THE Nigerian "dream logic" author won the Man Booker Prize – the leading international award for a novel in English – in 1991 for The Famished Road.
Okri is regarded as one of the leading authors in Africa.
THE official poet of the London 2012 Olympics, Sissay was appointed artist in residence at the Southbank Centre, London, in 2007. He will read his poetry.
HE IS the author of six novels including What I Did and The Devil's Mask. Wakling is Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at The University of the West of England.
He, too, will be leading a workshop at the festival.