If we had to rank how much we love the London Word Festival, it would probably be up there with cake, the Shard and ring-tailed lemurs. This annual celebration of words and language always has fresh ideas, interesting venues and fantastic performers, and this year’s line-up has us literally – literally – salivating.
The Festival kicks off with a trio of immersive experiences: like the Cybraphon on Facebook and it will play you a happy tune, go with a friend to the Bishopsgate Institute Library or Hackney Library and explore the books in front of you, or join Hannah Jane Walker and a few other people to wonder why we say sorry.
A theme running through the Festival is libraries. The always inventive and passionate Robin Ince and guests start the more ‘conventional’ shows with Books vs Cigarettes, while No Furniture So Charming asks five artists and writers to present their vision of the library of the future and The Goodbye Library has a small geek-out mining the Dewey Decimal system for inspiration.
Ross Sutherland, Nikesh Shukla and Nathan Penlington are part of the gang performing their take on the relationship between man and machine with film, music and poetry; Debbie Pearson uses video footage to find out who she was and who she is now; Chris Goode looks at what can be communicated in one breath; and how’s this for a cast – Mel Brimfield, Simon Munnery, Josie Long, Kevin Eldon, Helen Lederer, Isy Suttie, Joanna Neary and Rachel Pantechnicon go intergender wrestling.
Comic king Alan Moore is in the house, plus Robin Ince and guests, to celebrate the work of Dodgem Logic, and Tom Basden, Francesca Millican-Slater, James Wilkes and Joe Dunthorne attempt to pinpoint the whereabouts and activities of a mysterious group of missing bankers in a brand new show which we expect to be brilliant and witty.
Sneak your list of two-letter-words into the Scrabble Sunday tournament at the Pembury Tavern, celebrate the King James Bible or the Prisoner (and speedlearning), look into the world of striptease and the sex industry with Lara Clifton and Hannah Silva, and enjoy a rare opportunity to see Canadian experimental poet Christian Bök.
On reflection, possibly better than cake.
The London Word Festival runs 7th April-5th May in various venues across East London. Ticket prices vary for each event. See the London Word Festival website for more details. Image by Oliver King.