Londonist is proud to be media partner to the British Academy’s Literature Week.
If you like books, eating, the tube, storytelling or just having an awesome time, the British Academy's first ever Late on 14 May — for its fairy and folk tale themed Literature Week, and all free — will be right up your street.
For starters, we'll be there, with a blank tube map for you to fill in with your own monsters. What, for example, made the Brent cross? And what is a Brent anyway? What trolls lurk beneath Putney Bridge? Is Royal Oak a king turned into a tree? Bring your ideas along on the night or, if you can't make it, leave them in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org with mini stories or drawings. We'll also be joined by London Dreamtime for some eerie and fantastical storytelling from Vanessa Woolf and Nigel of Bermondsey.
Elsewhere in the British Academy's beautiful Carlton House Terrace HQ, seek out artist Chloe Spicer as she leads creative workshops where you can make an edible book and also a book hat. We were intrigued so asked for more info...
"There'll be two activities on offer," Chloe told us. "In one you'll get the opportunity to make your own 100% edible (suitable for vegetarians!) fairy tale book. Using wafer paper and edible ink pens, participants will get to collage extracts or draw inspiration from different fairy tales from across the world to make their own unique folklore tale — then at the end they'll get to eat it! Yum!
"The other activity I'm planning is called Book Art Hats. In it we'll explore how you can tell a story, on a hat? It involves cutting and sticking pages, images and text from a book and crafting it into your own style of headpiece — maybe a hat, fascinator or crown. It includes lots of floristry wire, sticky tape and tearing up books!"
It's not all just about plain old fun (though there is a lot of that). "I'm on a mission to explore if there are other, more creative ways of reading or understanding books," Chloe explains. "It relates to how we track the cross-cultural universal understanding, translation or interpretation of a story, in this case folklore."
And if you're all fingers and thumbs you can still join in. "I'm a big fan of spontaneous creativity," says Chloe. "I think the best things are made when people start to break the rules — so although I have some simple instructions on offer to get the workshop started, what individuals make at the end might be very different. This fear about being rubbish stops a lot of people even having a go at making art. Who said art had to be any good? However, the great thing about edible books is that even if you were able to make something rubbish, you can just eat it to cover your tracks and start again!"
You can also grab a drink and go listen to one of these four mini lectures:
- Fairytale, film and the American Dream with Tracey Mollet
Exploring the Disney-fiction of fairy tales in the 20th century
- Evolutionary Tales with Jamie Tehrani
The origins and evolution of fairy tales and the value of applying biology methodology to literature and anthropology
- The Political Power of Make-Believe with Andrew Teverson
- Considering the role of folk and fairy tales in the development of cultural and national identities, past and present
- Women and the Witch with Dianne Purkiss
Looking at the concept of the witch, how it developed and its relationship to women and their place in society.
Don't forget to browse the pop-up exhibition of fairy tale illustrations from works published by The Folio Society, and definitely make sure you enter the competition to win a pair of tickets to Wonderland Session: Building Alice at The Vaults on 25 May for discussion with Alice’s Adventures Underground show creators and designers. Just fill in a postcard on the night and the winner will be selected at random.
The British Academy's Literature Week Late runs 6pm-9pm on 14 May at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y. Entry is free, and the first 100 visitors will get an exclusive limited edition Literature Week tote bag. And if you'd like a taste of what's on offer, watch the discussion below between Marina Warner and Marcus Sedgwick from the opening night.
The British Academy’s Literature Week runs 11-17 May. All events are free. To explore the programme and register visit the British Academy’s website. You can also follow #LiteratureWeek on Twitter for updates from @britac_news.