Brighton Book Festival – The Literary Festival Making Marginalised Mainstream

Brighton Book Festival returns to Brighton for a second year for six days of literary events. The festival will take place on Tues 20 – Sun 25 June, within the same week as Independent Bookshops Week and Windrush day. Using the core values of the festival – Representation, Inclusion, Access and Community, we delve deeper into what events the festival hosts, and more importantly, how they use the festival to celebrate marginalised writers. 

REPRESENTATION 

Founded by two independent radical bookshop owners, Carolynn Bain of Afrori Books, and Ruth Wainwright of The Feminist Bookshop, at the core of Brighton Book Festival is making the marginalised mainstream. Represented at the festival are a range of authors from all types of communities across twenty events in the week. Some events include, ‘Real Life Dystopia’, ‘Colourful Nature’, ‘Boyz to men’ plus Nikesh Shukla as this year’s Writer in Residence. The award winning writer will host a workshop ‘Your Story Matters’ on the Saturday evening, encouraging participants to sharpen their own writing skills through themes of identity. 

At the forefront of the event is not just showcasing underrepresented authors, but also the heterogeneity of readers. Brighton Book Festival allows the opportunity for readers beyond the spectrum of white middle class to see themselves in books and writing too. 

Plus, on Thurs 22 June, a fully immersive multimedia experience will celebrate 75 years since the HMS Windrush arrived into the Tilbury Docks from the Caribbean. This will purport interesting conversations about migration and shaping diverse communities. Brighton Book Festival is not just about creating new literature and revolutionising a future for publishing opportunities; participants can also celebrate how or why our contemporary society has been formed beyond the books. 

The line-up also features Dorothy Koomson, Patrice Lawrence, Marvyn Harrison (founder of Dope Black Dads), Natalie and Naomi Evans (founders of Everyday racism), Yomi Sode, Diana Evans, Louise Hare, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Fats Timbo and many more.

INCLUSION 

As suggested by the diversity in which authors and communities are represented via the events, Brighton Book Festival is an incredibly inclusive space. In their first year, over 50% of attendees said they had never participated in a book festival before, which is a huge achievement for making ticket buyers feel included in the world of literature. 

Even if you do not love escaping into fascinating Sci-Fi, or getting your teeth sunk into horror novels, Brighton Book Festival ensures all types of literature is included. For instance, ‘It’s All Greek to Me!’ Is a discussion about classic plays on Weds 21 June. Or, Tuesday night’s Supper Club treasures recipes as stories using Lerato’s cook book Africana

Included in the process of putting the festival together is a committee of all Brighton based women. They are proud to be working in partnership with the Brighton Centre for Contemporary of Arts at the University of Brighton where many of the events will be hosted. Founding member of Sistas by the Sea and Legacy Film Festival Althea Wolfe joins Ruth and Carolynn as a director of Brighton Book Festival this year.

ACCESS 

Speaking on last year’s festival, Ruth Wainwright said “we had a big dream to create a festival for Brighton that was accessible for everyone, not just a small elite group. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, we know that people need to have events that they want to attend and can afford. So, we are ensuring that ticket prices are as accessible as possible.” 

There are many other ways Brighton Book Festival is looking to be as accessible as possible, with all venues being wheelchair friendly. Alternatively, you can register for some events online, participating via livestream. This opportunity really broadens the landscape for who can attend the festival, no matter where in the world literature lovers may be. 

COMMUNITY 

The collaborations with local publishers, local charities, local businesses, independent booksellers, and other partners truly makes Brighton Book Festival a communal event. A sense of community that you could also volunteer for. Should you be interested in volunteering at the festival, helping run the events therefore developing organisation and communication skills, go to brightonbookfestival.co.uk/volunteer. 

The sense of community at Brighton Book Festival is guaranteed to be second to none as everyone is encouraged to feel inspired and get creative. To read, write, listen and vocalise stories, regardless of who you are. It is truly a revolutionary era for literature in terms of who is being published and whose stories are being heard. Become a part of this history by attending the festival, and hopefully other major literature events will follow suit. 

Spread the word and also get involved with the Brighton Book Festival online community at @brightonbookfestival

For specific event information over the six days, and to book your tickets, got to www.brightonbookfestival.co.uk/events.

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