Launched on 25 October, the Inside Out festival is a one-week cultural extravaganza, with events across the capital. Organised by the London Centre for Arts and Exchange, the festival aims to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise, whilst also celebrating the significant contributions made by London’s universities to our cultural and musical life.
A number of the universities have opened their doors to the public, hosting events as diverse as film screenings, musical events, theatre performances and talks by eminent academics and commentators. Venues vary from Goldsmiths, City University and Birkbeck to well known cultural venues such as Barbican, the National Portrait Gallery and Somerset House.
An evening of live readings and discussion from the Birkbeck Creative Writing Alumni and Writers’ Hub saw us comfortably seated in one of the Birkbeck lecture rooms imbibing pearls of wisdom from published novelists Nii Ayikwei Parkes (the Blue Bird), Emma Henderson (Grace Williams), Sally Hinchcliffe (Out of a Clear Sky) and Jill McGivering (The Last Kestrel). The novelists read extracts from their books and dispensed useful advice on their craft to an eager audience. Tips ranged from how to publicise your novel to the difficulties of creating a literary masterpiece with a two-year old child close by. A refreshingly different evening, complete with some lively discussion and debate.
Ideal for Londoners seeking inspiration or a thought provoking evening away from humdrum everyday life, admission is free to many events, but booking is required.
By Rachel Phillips
Further details can be found on the Inside Out Festival website.