Writeidea Literary Fringe, Tower Hamlets

AND (I know) I’m curating the fringe of a Writeidea literary festival in Tower Hamlets this coming weekend. Blurb below:


For the very first time this year, we’ll be presenting a fringe as part of the festival – focusing on non-traditional forms of writing, alternative narratives and creativity in all shapes and sizes.

The fringe will run across both days of the festival, from 2-6pm, and feature a wide variety of sessions – think of it as a sort of cultural smorgasbord of delights for you to sample!

Nat Guest

The Writeidea Festival Fringe is curated by Nat Guest.

Nat Guest is a writer and blogger, and the founder and organiser of Hackney’s ‘BBC Question Time Tweet-a-Long’ (featured in The Guardian, Total Politics and The Londonist). She has written for The Sunday Times, The Independent, the New Statesman and Skeptic Magazine, amongst others.


2pm. Performance: Grace Petrie

In 2010, singer-songwriter Grace Petrie’s music began to take a new, political direction. She picked up a guitar and wrote what has become one of the most celebrated anti-establishment anthems of recent times, ‘Farewell to Welfare’. When folk legend (and Grace’s personal hero) Billy Bragg heard her music and invited her to play at Glastonbury on the Leftfield stage, she went down a storm and, in Bragg’s own words, “stole the f@!#ing show, sister!”

Alongside UK tours with Emmy the Great and Josie Long, Grace has had a string of festival appearances including End of the Road, Greenbelt and, of course, a triumphant return to Glastonbury. National airplay on BBC 6 Music from Josie Long, Tom Robinson and Steve Lamacq as well as interviews in The Guardian and Diva magazine have cemented Grace’s name in the public consciousness.

3pm. Discussion Panel: How Our Words Shape the Future

With the rise of the citizen journalist, where everyone with an internet connection can easily become a publisher, more and more people are using the power of blogging and social media to hold power to account. But is the pen really mightier than the sword? And can writing have an impact on our political future – or even on our political now?

Join Liberal Conspiracy founder and political blogger Sunny Hundal, green activist Adam Ramsay, author of ‘Counterpower: Making Change Happen’ Tim Gee. This panel will be chaired by Dawn Foster of The Guardian’s Comment is Free.

4pm – 6pm. Workshop: Writing Poetry, with Hannah Chutzpah

Come along and join us for a session of poetry-writing. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert, all are welcome – all you need to get started is a pencil and your brain!

Hannah Chutzpah is a copywriter and editor by day, and a blogger and performance poet by night. She studied English Literature with Creative Writing at UEA and has been published in magazines, chapbooks, on various blogs and in The Guardian and The Independent. She runs the ‘Whippersnapper Press’ (www.whippersnapperpress.com) for short, sharp, funny creative writing. Hannah has been described as “fine” by three therapists, “of good character” by a high court judge, and as “a rotten brat” by her mother.


2pm. Discussion Panel: The Future of Comics

Comics are one of our oldest ways of storytelling – just think of Egyptian hieroglyphics, or the pictures that cavemen daubed onto the walls of their homes. They’re also one of our most varied, imaginative and innovative types of narrative. So how are comics changing? What impact is digital having upon them, and are webcomics paving the way forward? And is the success of Joss Whedon’s recent reimagining of Marvel for the silver screen making superhero comics popular again?

Joining us to discuss are Marvel writer Kieron Gillen, New Statesman resident comic writer Tom Humberstone, and author of graphic novel ‘Britten & Brulightly’ Hannah Berry. This panel will be chaired by Alex Hern, tech reporter at The Guardian

3.30pm. Rehearsed Comedy: Wil Hodgson

Retro culture geek, stand-up comedian and general subculture enthusiast Wil Hodgson takes us through his recollections of growing up as a comic book nerd – and wherever else his twisted mind might drag us.

‘The most charismatic of storytellers’ (Scotsman). ‘Genius’ (Russell Howard). ‘A creature of rigorously maintained authenticity … he remains one of the most original and consistently funny performers in the UK’ (Guardian).

4.30pm. Getting Better Acquainted: Helen Zaltzman

Join Dave Pickering in conversation with Sony Award winning podcaster Helen Zaltzman. They’ll be talking about her experience of writing for BBC Radio and TV, changing the UK’s most popular entertainment podcast, ‘Answer Me This!’(answermethispodcast.com) into a book, and making the ‘Sound Women’ podcast, which focuses on and advocates for women in radio.

This is a live recording of Radio Production Award nominated podcast ‘Getting Better Acquainted’ (www.gettingbetteracquainted.co.uk), in which Dave Pickering captures intimate conversations with people he knows about their lives. Daveis a Sony Award nominated writer, musician, performer, producer and podcaster. He co-produced and wrote for the CBeebies Radio series ‘Ministry of Stories’, hosts the Hackney branch of true storytelling night ‘Spark London’ and is the creator of the variety night ‘Stand Up Tragedy’.


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