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Women’s literature festival in March

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bristol women's literary festival, 14-15 March 2015Celebrate the work of women writers in a literary scene too often dominated by male voices.

Bristol’s Women’s Literature Festival aims to celebrate the work of women writers working today and throughout history by bringing together the diverse and exciting talent of women writers, academics and activists to showcase the fantastic literary heritage of women.

Organised by feminist writer Siân Norris, the festival is a celebration of the work of women writers in a literary scene that is all too often dominated by male voices.

The fascinating and varied programme this year – 14-15 March 2015 – features some of the most influential and vibrant female writers working today – and tickets are on sale now!

The writers include award-winning novelist and short story writer Michele Roberts, winner of Faber Young Poet of the Year Helen Mort, writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo, poet and filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, activists and writers Beatrix Campbell and Caroline Criado-Perez, and leading academic Professor Helen Hackett.

Feminist activists, writers and journalists Beatrix Campbell and Caroline Criado-Perez, Nimko Ali, feminist activist Finn Mackay and Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the New Statesman, will discuss feminism, writing, the development of the movement and their own careers in the Women, Feminism and Journalism discussion.

What are the challenges and triumphs of feminism in journalism? Come and hear from panel and share your thoughts.

The film Paris was a Woman is a portrait of the creative community of women writers, artists, photographers and editors who flocked to the Left Bank of Paris in the early decades of the 20th century, when Paris was the undisputed cultural capital of the world.

Greta Schiller’s 1996 film explores the lives of some of the key Left Bank women, including Stein, Djuna Barnes, Colette, and Sylvia Beach.

The showing of Paris was a Woman will be followed by a brief audience discussion, chaired by Sian Norris, the founder of the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival who is currently writing a book about Gertrude Stein and her circle.

Selma Dabbagh is a London-based British Palestinian writer of novels, short stories and plays and lawyer. Her first novel, ‘Out of It,’ published in 2011, is set between Gaza, London and the Gulf and has been voted Guardian Book of the Year.

Annemarie Jacir is an award-winning director, poet and activist currently living between Palestine and Jordan. The work of Palestinian writers and poets has been a major influence on their lives.

Alongside their own works, at Poetry, Prose and Palestine, Dabbagh and Jacir will read and discuss the poems of other well-known Palestinian writers.

Their presentations and discussion will explore how prose and poems challenge the dominant narratives on Palestine and the occupation, reaffirm Palestinian identity and maintain a constant struggle for equality and fairness, land, home and nationhood.

They will explore why it is that people on a global level relate with the Palestinian cause in the way that they do and the role that the arts have in influencing activism and change.

In her talk, The Vagina – A Literary and Cultural History, academic Emma Rees will consider why British and US culture has such a problem talking about the female body.

She will map the long history of advertising that profits from the taboo of the vagina, reflecting on how writers, artists and filmmakers have been influenced by, or even perpetuate, this ‘shame’.

Women Writing in Shakespeare’s Time; learn about women’s contribution to drama in Shakespeare’s time from Helen Hackett, Professor of English at UCL.

Helen Hackett is the author of five books on Renaissance literature and has special interests in Renaissance women writers and in literary images of Elizabeth I.

During Women Writing Today, Sarah Lefanu will be talking to novelist and short story writer Michele Roberts, playwright and memoirist Samantha Ellis, five times winner of the Foyles Young Poet award Helen Mort, novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo, and first-time novelist Amy Mason about their work.

Bristol Women’s Literature Festival brings together women writers, academics and feminist commentators to the Watershed for a weekend of thought-provoking discussion, debate and activity.

The festival has three aims: to celebrate the diversity and creativity of women writers; to counter the male dominance of literature and cultural festival line-ups; and to promote women’s writing and literary history,

The festival is entirely unfunded. If you would like to support this event, please click here to donate.

And you can keep up to date with what’s on by following the festival on facebook.

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