As regular Linda’s Book Bag readers know, before I decided to ‘retire’ I used to work in education, with a particular focus on English, reading and literacy. I’m involved in my local Deepings Literary Festival which will be celebrating its third full festival in 2021 with a Read Dating event to come at the Deepings Library on May 2nd this year. There will be news to come about those events soon.
With this focus on books and words, and festivals away from London, when Steph from Words Weekend got in touch to see if I’d be interested in telling blog readers about the forthcoming event at the Lowry in Salford I knew it was something I had to support. The festival takes place the weekend of 27th-29th March 2020 and includes over sixty different events from poetry to television.
This is what Steph told me about Words Weekend:
Words Weekend is a brand-new festival series celebrating the power of words. Our central aim is to unite communities through the power of words and stories, speaking and giving a voice to demographics usually under-served by traditional literary festivals.
Following the success of our first Words Weekend at Sage Gateshead in early December (where 12,000 people attended!), next up we’re heading to the Lowry from 27-29 March for what will no doubt be an equally exciting and engaging weekend.
At least 25% of the programme is free and all events will be accessible, as well as BSL interpreted. We’re also committed to being a festival that works with and is driven by local voices and local concerns – we’re here to go beyond Londoncentricity!
To give you a sense of our programme, we will be exploring issues such as the importance of access to education and the incredibly damaging personal and societal impact when such access is restricted, be that due economic reasons, religious or political motives, or on the grounds of prejudice.
Another strand is social activism and participation. The third core strand is mental health and how sense of place and identity tie in with self-expression and emotional literacy.
We’re so excited to hold the second edition of our festival at the unquestionably iconic Lowry, and to embrace Salfordian narratives and culture. We want to showcase the confident voices of the North West, particularly in this current climate where so much important work never reaches the region. We intend to draw national focus back the North West, through platforming both local and international speakers.
Now doesn’t that sound a fantastic rationale and basis for a festival? I’m so disappointed that I won’t be able to attend as I’ll be in India but I hope some of you might be able to visit Words Weekend.
You’ll find the full line up of speakers and events here. With everything from children’s events like The Wimpy Kid Show, through celebrities like Sir Bob Geldoff to Amrou Al-Kadhi’s Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen there is something for everyone at this festival.