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Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

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Bristol Women’s Literature Festival 2018, launched, 16-18 March, programmeBristol Women’s Literature Festival 2018’s programme has been launched.

And the Festival is ‘thrilled’ to be working in partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas, Bristol Women’s Voice, Watershed, and Spike Island to bring you some of the UK and US’s best writers over three days in March.

The programme of events for the three days 16-18 March looks largely like this:

16 March: Bristol Women’s Literature Festival launch party: Spike Island Associate Space: 6.30pm–8.30pm.

Step back in time to 1920s Paris, where women from all over America and Europe came together to form a community of writers, publishers and artists, and act as one another’s muses.

The night kicks off with a screening of Greta Schiller’s documentary film ‘Paris was a Woman’ which explores the lives of these remarkable women, from Gertrude Stein and Colette, to Sylvia Beach and Janet Flanner.

Volunteer performers will then read pieces by some of the women featured in the film.

“Because after all,” said salon hostess and ‘notorious lesbian’ Natalie Barney, “Paris is the only place where one can live exactly as you please.”

This event is the launch party of the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival and produced in collaboration with Bristol Festival of Ideas. Greta Schiller has given kind permission to screen her film for free. Tickets are on sale NOW

17 March: Living alone and liking it, with Joanna Scutts: Watershed, Waterside 3: 10am–10.45am.

In 1936, Vogue writer Marjorie Hillis was a single woman in her 40s living alone in Brooklyn. That year she published Living Alone and Liking It – a witty and quietly radical self-help book for woman who claimed the right to be happy and content without a husband or children.

Scutts’ biography of Hillis, The Extra Woman, is the Live-Aloners story. She takes us on a journey from her 1930s heyday to the dawn of the 1960s Women’s Liberation Movement. It’s the story of feminism between the waves, of pathbreaking writers, artists and politicians, who along with thousands of unsung women claimed the right to live on their own and like it.

Scutts will kick off 2018’s Bristol Women’s Literature Festival with a lecture on Hillis and the independent women of 20th Century America. Tickets for this go on sale on 27 January 2018.

17 March: 100 years since suffrage: feminism and protest: Watershed, Waterside 3: 11.30am–1pm.

After a long and often violent fight, women over 35 won the right to vote in 1918. 100 years later, and what battles are the feminist movement fighting today?

For a long time, the narrative went that the feminist battle had been won – in the west at least. But in a Trump and #MeToo world, where austerity cuts have hit women hardest and where women are still fighting sexism and misogyny online and off, we need feminism as much as ever.

Professor Helen Taylor will be joined by leading feminist journalists Samira Ahmed and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, historian and author Sheila Rowbotham, and activist and writer Nimco Ali. Together they will discuss the role of feminist protest, writing and activism in 2018, the challenges the movement faces, and our hopes for a feminist future.

Tickets for this go on sale on 27 January 2018.

17 March: Women Writing Today: Watershed, Waterside 3: 2.30pm-4pm.

Join writer, broadcaster and journalist Bidisha, as she speaks to some of the UK’s leading contemporary writers as they discuss their work in a lively and inspiring panel discussion.

Louise Doughty is one of the UK’s most successful modern novelists. Her most recent novel, Black Water, was published in 2016 and was chosen as one of the New York Times’ Most Notable Books of the Year. Her novel Apple Tree Yard was adapted into a hugely successful BBC drama starring Emily Watson.

Jenny Landreth’s joyous celebration of women swimming, Swell: A Waterbiography was published to great acclaim in 2017. She’ll discuss the process of bringing to life a forgotten aspect of sporting history, while weaving in memoir and the voices of modern women.

Meena Kandasamy is a poet and novelist. Her poetry collections Touch and Ms Militancy combine her love of language and her passion for social justice.

In 2017 her second novel, When I Hit You: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Wife drew upon her own experiences of domestic violence to create an extraordinary read.

Final panellist and chair TBC.

Tickets will go on sale 27 January 2018.

18 March: 200 years of Frankenstein, with Professor Marie Mulvey-Roberts: Watershed, Waterside 3: 11am–12noon

In 1818, a young woman holidaying in Geneva played a game of telling ghost stories. Her name was Mary Shelley, and the tale she wove that evening became one of our most enduring and best-loved novels, Frankenstein.

200 years since it was first published, Professor Marie-Mulvey Roberts will explore with us just what it is about Shelley’s masterpiece that was so enduring, as well as take us on a journey through the gothic and women’s relationship to this fascinating genre.

Marie Mulvey-Roberts is reader in literary studies in the English department of the University of the West of England, Bristol. She is the author of ‘Gothic Immortals: The Fiction of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross’ and editor of many books.

Tickets for this go on sale on 27 January 2018.

18 March: Read Women: Why we love talking about books: Watershed, Waterside 3: 1.30pm–2.30pm.

In 2014, writer and illustrator Joanna Walsh set up the Read Women project. Initially the project involved a challenge to read only women for the whole year, but it quickly evolved into a celebration of women’s writing, and a challenge to reviewers, festival line-ups and book awards that pre-dominately favour male writers. A huge success, the New York Times called the project a ‘rallying cry for equal treatment of women writers’.

Joining project founder Joanna Walsh are her fellow Read Women tweeters: Alexia Richardson, Shoshana Kessler and Bristol Women’s Literature Festival founder Sian Norris. The four will discuss why readers find such pleasure in discussing books, the importance of digital communities of readers, and generally celebrate the joy of discovering and sharing new or hidden writers.

Tickets will go on sale on 27 January 2018.

18 March:Writing YA: Watershed, Waterside 3: 3.30pm–5pm.

If you are an avid reader of YA fiction, then it doesn’t matter what age you are – you won’t want to miss this special opportunity to hear from some of the leading YA writers working in the UK today.

Author of Beautiful Broken Things, A Quiet Kind of Thunder and Goodbye Perfect, Sara Barnard loves books, book people and book things. Her debut novel was a Zoella Book Club Choice.

Patrice Lawrence is the author of Orangeboy which won the Bookseller’s YA Book Prize 2017, and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Children. In 2017 she published her second novel, Indigo Donut.

Holly Bourne’s first two books, Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting, have been critically acclaimed and translated into six languages. The first book in the ‘Normal’ series, Am I Normal Yet?, has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2016 and has inspired the formation of Spinster Clubs around the country.

Holly, Sara and Patrice will join Eleanor Pender to discuss their love of writing, how they approach telling stories for a young adult reader, the importance of the YA community, and their forthcoming projects.

This is an absolute must for every teenage reader in Bristol and beyond, with a special opportunity to meet the writers at a book signing after the event. Tickets will go on sale on 27 January 2018.

For further Festival information, click here.

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