Bradford Literature Festival

Friday 20th to Sunday 29th May 2016

The Bradford Literature Festival, in association with Provident Financial Group, opens on May 20th, with 200 events and 350 special guests including authors, poets and filmmakers, all adding up to a spectacular ten-day celebration of the written arts in all its forms.

If you’re interested in stand-up comedy, Russian paper cutting, Jayne Eyre as a feminist manifesto or seeing Peter Pan with the kids, there’s something for everyone. Equally diverse are the guests, including the judges for 2016’s Man Booker International Prize, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, socialist Harry Leslie Smith, historian Tom Holland, Egyptian feminist Mona Eltahawy and freshly-minted Great British Bake Off national treasure Nadiya Hussain.

The star of the festival of course is Bradford itself, with a myriad of events in and around the city, including fun for children in City Park, heritage tours, talks and a mini film festival. As Yorkshire folk our literary net is cast even wider, so we’ll be inviting you to walk in the footsteps of Charlotte Brontë as we commemorate 200 years of her birth.

We’re also looking outward with plenty of national and international flavour; readings from Jo Bell, Imtiaz Dharker and the young poet laureate for London, Selina Nwulu, or perhaps the Lyrical Mehfil, a poetry event based on a fusion of traditional South Asian poetry symposiums and European tapas dining. All things Ireland and Irishness is celebrated, complete with Céilí dancing; a look at the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji; artistic reaction to the events of Syria; and a workshop with world renowned calligrapher Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang, whose work is nothing less than a sincere attempt to beautify the word of God. Even more lies beyond, from how to dismantle the ideology of ISIS through to the power of Roma storytelling.

We see the festival as a means to inspire; with the opportunity to attend workshops, you will have the chance to take in everything from vlogging to mystic Sufi whirling and for families there’s a huge range of free events, including Harry Potter-set live wizard duels, open air film screenings, craft workshops and storytelling sessions; fancy dress is very much encouraged.

Bradford Literature Festival in association with Provident Financial Group

In Conversation: Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain

Thursday 26th May | 7pm-8:30pm | The Midland Hotel – Princes Ballroom

How does it feel to charm the nation, make the mighty Mary Berry cry and turn the humble act of baking into a life-affirming triumph and rallying cry to anyone who ever doubted themselves? The woman who knows is Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, instant national treasure, here to talk about life before, during and after Bake Off. From how audiences have reacted to her as a young Muslim mum through to the upcoming publication of her books Nadiya’s Kitchen and Bake Me a Story, her children’s title for later this year.

Nadiya's Kitchen
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Lyrical Mehfil

With Carol Ann Duffy, Imtiaz Dharker, Sudeep Sen, Jo Bell, Selina Nwulu, Avaes Mohammad, Rehana Roohi and Ralph Dartford

Carol Anne Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy

Saturday 21st May | 7:30pm-10pm | Bradford College – ATC

Our Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy headlines this very special evening of spoken word and poetry, inspired by traditional mehfils, gatherings of courtly entertainment in South Asia for Muslim nobility.

Joining Carol Ann Duffy for this unique event is a stellar line up of creative talent. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, poet, artist and film-maker Imtiaz Dharker; translator, artist and editor Sudeep Sen, recognised as one of India’s finest younger poets; former Canal Laureate Jo Bell, whose recent online project led to the bestselling book 52: Write a Poem a Week; the third young poet for London, Selina Nwulu; Avaes Mohammad, a writer and performer who’s influences range from the Sufi saints of South Asia to dub poets of Jamaica; and Rehana Roohi, one of Pakistan’s foremost contemporary poets, who recites her poetry in the traditional, melodious tarannum style. Fielding all this extraordinary ability is our host for the evening Ralph Dartford, founding member of the acclaimed spoken word collective A Firm of Poets.


Elif Shafak: The Philosophy of Rumi

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak


Saturday 28th May | 2pm-3pm | Bradford College - ATC

‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’ – Rumi

In her book The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi, Turkish author, essayist and academic Elif Shafak brought her distinctive blend of the modern and the mystical to bear on a parallel tale of love between a contemporary Sufi and a housewife, and the spiritual link between Rumi and Shams Tabriz. Here she talks about Rumi’s philosophy of love and life, as well as her own experience of Sufism and its impact on her work. As she told the Guardian in a recent interview, 'Sufism makes you erase what you know, what you are so sure of. And then start thinking again. Not with your mind this time, but with your heart.'

The Forty Rules of Love
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Manga Shakespeare

With Emma Vieceli and Chie Kutsuwada
Emma Vieceli

Saturday 21st May | 12:30pm-1:45pm | University of Bradford – Small Hall

A troubled, sword-toting hero, tormented by the ghost of his father. A warrior brooding on honour and ambition. An ageing wizard, sensing the advance of time and the dwindling of his powers. Young lovers defying their families and their rival gangs to be together. Swordfights, battles, madness... it’s as if Shakespeare had Manga on his mind from the start.

British publisher Self Made Hero’s acclaimed Manga Shakespeare series takes the Bard’s greatest works - including HamletMacbethThe Tempest and Romeo and Juliet - and renders them in classic Manga fashion.

Although all the dynamic elements we associate with manga are in place, here they are enhanced by the glorious light and shade of Shakespeare’s universe, spectacularly reinvented for new readers and existing fans to discover. Joining us are Emma Vieceli (Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing) and Chie Kutsawada (As You Like It) two of the artists behind this extraordinary project. They’ll be talking us through their process and we’ll be able to discover - if when faced with a deadline – did they exclaim ‘O cursèd spite, That ever I was born to set it right!’

Hamlet
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William Shakespeare
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