wisewords bookfest – London – 12-13 March 2010
Celebrating women writers, artists & performers
March 2010 Women’s History Month
produced by alternative arts
From fiery debates at Amnesty International to thoughtful, thrilling and funny women at the Wisewords Bookfest and the opportunity to get up and speak your stuff at the Poetry Open Mic Night Wisewords celebrates women writers, artists and performers with an exciting programme of events and exhibitions during March – Women’s History Month.
Fri 12 & Sat 13 March 2010
2pm to 10pm each day
The Women’s Library
London Metropolitan University
Old Castle Street, E1 7NT
Aldgate East tube http://www.thewomenslibrary.ac.uk
Tickets £12 per day/£20 for 2 days
Individual talks before 5pm £4/£3 concs, after 5pm £6/£5 concs
Available in advance and on the door 020 7320 2222
The Wisewords Bookfest presents two days of thrilling, thoughtful, radical and humorous writing by women authors introducing their latest publications. Come along and spend an enjoyable day with writers reading and discussing their work. Each session lasts one hour with a half hour break in between for refreshments and the opportunity to buy books.
Friday 12 March
TAMSIN BRADLEY and EMMA TOMALIN and a panel of contributors discuss their new book DOWRY (Zed Books) about a practice which is much misunderstood and often regarded as synonymous with acts of violence against women. This engaging volume highlights the particular role that academic research can play through providing an understanding of a widespread social practice in South Asia which has disempowered women for so long and presents suggestions about the sorts of activism and action necessary to end dowry injustice.
Tamsin Bradley Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Social Anthropology (BSc) London Metropolitan University.
Emma Tomalin Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Leeds.
3.30pm-4.30pm BOLLYWOOD WEDDINGS
KAVITA RAMDYA presents her debut book BOLLYWOOD WEDDINGS: Dating, Engagement and Marriage in Hindu America (Lexington Books). An anthropological study of Indian-American Hindus in the tri-state New York area.
By interviewing twenty couples and attending their weddings Kavita Ramdya addresses the various methods of meeting a potential future spouse as well as family tensions that arise with inter-marriage. The Bollywood film industry emerges as a significant influence on conceptions of love and marriage and a means by which couples can assert their cultural identity.
5pm-6pm CRIME WRITING
DREDA SAY MITCHELL and CLAIRE SEEBER discuss writing the highly popular genre of crime fiction.
Dreda Say Mitchell is one of the hottest crime writers around. She was born and grew up in the East End and writes big gangland thrillers. Her first novel RUNNING HOT won the CWA John Creasey Award for debut crime in 2005. Her latest novel GANGSTER GIRL (Hodder) is published in March.
Claire Seeber has worked in front of and behind the tv screen and now writes thrilling fiction. Her third novel NEVER TELL (Harper Collins) is published in April.
6.30pm-7.30pm THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE CHILDREN
CLARE MULLEY launches the paperback edition of her book THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE CHILDREN a Biography of Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save The Children published by Oneworld Publications.
Eglantyne Jebb was a charismatic and complex woman who founded the international Save the Children movement and dedicated her life to the promotion of children’s rights and welfare despite confessing that she was ‘not fond’ of children. Hers is a story full of intrigue and drama, sorrow and humour, resolution and great achievement, and deserves to be much better known.
8pm-9pm THE EQUALITY ILLUSION
KAT BANYARD launches her first book THE EQUALITY ILLUSION – The Truth About Women & Men Today (Faber) with a distinguished panel including Hannah Pool from the Guardian and Chris Green from the White Ribbon Campaign who will discuss ‘Why equality is an illusion, and how we can make it a reality’. Kat Banyard argues passionately and articulately that feminism continues to be one of the most urgent and relevant social justice campaigns today. She draws on her own campaigning experience with the Fawcett Society as well as academic research, interviews and case studies to promote women’s rights.
Saturday 13 March
2pm-3pm CRACKING ON
JOY HOWARD, KATE FOLEY, ANGELA KIRBY, DINAH LIVINGSTONE, ALWYN MARRIAGE, RUTH O’CALLAGHAN read poems they have contributed to CRACKING ON (Grey Hen Press) a new anthology exploring all aspects of ageing from losing parents to confronting the inevitability of our own deaths. This is a great opportunity to listen to the voices of older women who all too often remain unheard and unnoticed.
3.30pm-4.30pm NEW WRITING
KIA ABDULLAH and LAURA LONGRIGG in conversation.
Born and raised in Tower Hamlets Kia Abdullah is one of the first Asian authors to write genre fiction that doesn’t tout ethnicity. Her latest novel CHILD’S PLAY (Revenge Ink) is a violent, sexual thriller that shatters the delicate sensibilities that govern output from most British Asian Muslim writers. She talks to MBA Literary Agent Laura Longrigg about building her career as contemporary writer.
5pm-6pm THRILLER WRITING
CATHI UNSWORTH and ELIZABETH WILSON discuss writing thrillers
Cathi Unsworth began her career on the legendary music weekly ‘Sounds’ at the age of 19 and has worked on many other music, film & arts magazines since. Her latest novel BAD PENNY BLUES (Serpents Tail) is ‘A haunting and utterly absorbing London Noir that takes us to all the bright lights and dark places of the big city’ – Jake Arnott.
Elizabeth Wilson is a researcher and writer best known for her books on feminism and popular culture. Her latest book WAR DAMAGE (Serpents Tail) is a high-class thriller and a wonderful evocation of Britain staggering back to its feet in the aftermath of WW2.
MAGGIE GEE and YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN discuss their lives & latest autobiographical books.
Maggie Gee has published many novels to great acclaim including THE WHITE FAMILY short listed for the Orange and IMPAC prizes. Her latest book MY ANIMAL LIFE (Telegram Books) is a wise and witty memoir telling the true story of becoming an adult in the 1960s and living through dramatic changes in attitudes towards race, class and gender in the second half of the twentieth century. Her latest novel MY DRIVER (Telegram Books) is also just published in paperback.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown came to this country in 1972 from Uganda. She is a journalist, broadcaster and author of several books and currently a regular columnist on The Independent and London’s Evening Standard. In 2001 she was awarded an MBE but returned the honour in 2003 in protest against the war in Iraq. Yasmin’s latest book THE SETTLERS COOKBOOK (Portobello Books) is an enchanting memoir with recipes.
8pm-9pm SHAZIA MIRZA ‘Columnist of the Year’
SHAZIA MIRZA is a very funny award winning British Asian stand up Comedian from Birmingham. Shazia could have married a rich man and lived on Bishops Avenue in a mansion with servants, bidets and horses. But instead she chose to drive up and down the country for as little as ten pounds, staying in dirty lurid bed and breakfasts trying to make people laugh. Shazia has toured the world with her ground breaking humour. Currently she writes a delightfully irreverent column in the Guardian Weekend magazine.
For any updates or to download a copy of the programme go to