Friday, 3 July 2009

London Literary Showcases and Festivals

I'm off to ride First Class on a train for the first time ever, which I'm probably disproportionately excited about, but it means I'll be missing some top bookish events in London this weekend.Cafe Oto will be hosting a showcase of the talent from this year's boutique festival Standon Calling.Its a fiver to get in for the Saturday night
to enjoy The Book Club Boutique, London’s newest literary salon and Soho’s only free weekly spoken-word book club, created by the notorious poet Salena Godden. Heritage Arts will be using the cafe/performance space for interactive, experimental theatre, as they have done before with art projects in spaces like Shunt.Craig Taylor will be performing selections from his new book 'One Million Tiny Plays about Britain' (as seen in his weekly column in the Guardian Weekend Magazine).

Meanwhile at the Southbank centre, the London Literature Festival will be running until the 16th July, featuring some really great authors, big names include Arundhati Roy, Sarah Waters, and Vikram Seth. Other highlights include Harrison Birtwistle and David Harsent discussing music, narrative and myth through their artistic collaboration on The Corridor, a new piece of music theatre commissioned by Southbank Centre. The Corridor freeze-frames the moment when Orpheus turns to look back at Eurydice as they leave the underworld and he loses her forever. The event will be chaired by writer and critic Marina Warner, author of Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds and Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time. She also wrote From the Beast to the Blonde- which she'll be talking about to launch the Last Tuesday Society Faiytale masked ball Saturday night-SO gutted am missing this!

Also on Saturday afternoon, the first installment of Mashing the Classics will see Inua Elams performing Knightwatch, based on the death of Mercutio from Romeo & Juliet. Re-set in a stylised South London estate, the story deals with gun violence, friendship and betrayal against a backdrop urban dystopia. Described as the love child of John Keats and Mos Def, and influenced by classic literature and hip hop, Elams’ work crosses 18th century Romanticism and the West African tradition of story telling. Poet, author and film-maker Nikesh Shukla brings up to date the classic Indian tale of the Ramayan, whilst storyteller Rachel Rose Reid’s work consists of mashing and reworking classics so that people hear them afresh- tomorrow expect the story of Persephone, queen of the underworld.
Luckily one of the sassiest outfits around, The School of Life, will be holding their 'You are what you read' workshops both this weekend and next, so hopefully I'll pop along on the 12th.On 14th July, 4 authors of Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' will be reading from their stories, Eart, Water, Fire and Air. You may remember me mentioning the amazing names involved in this charity project after my trip to Hay Literary Festival- Jeanette Winterson, Hanif Kureishi, DBC Pierre and Kamila Shamsie will be reading from their work.
Meanwhile I'm off to exotic Weston Super Mare to write my first travel piece for The Guardian.Enjoy the weekend.x

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