Ever been to a sleep clinic in Islington, queued for lamb chops at Tayyabs in Whitechapel or prayed with monks in Barking Abbey? These are just some of the stories to be discussed at two Influx Press events during Stoke Newington Literary Festival between 3-5 June.
An Unreliable Guide to London explores the places that we wouldn’t normally consider literary destinations. Kit Caless, one half of Influx says “often the London we have in our heads through memory and fiction doesn’t match the one that we live in.
"How often do you find yourself reading about Wormwood Scrubs, Twickenham, Brentford or Leyton? Yet the lives of ordinary Londoners are played out in these areas."
Caless, who has attended every festival since it began seven years ago, says “Hackney has changed so much, that I often find myself looking beyond buildings to the ones that used to be there, to the layers of history and people beyond the hoardings".
The festival unpicks those layers of history and flaunts Stoke Newington’s radical credentials, uncovering the area’s jazz scene of the 80s and 90s, retracing the steps of feminist pioneer Mary Wollstonecraft, plus there are separate events on punk history, punk poetry and punk women.
This year’s big ticket authors include David Mitchell (Booker shortlisted author of Cloud Atlas), Australian writer Thomas Keneally (winner of the Booker Prize for Schindler’s Ark, adapted to the Oscar winning film Schindler’s List), historian Alison Weir and children’s author Judith Kerr. Join literary critic Alex Clark as she looks ahead to the upcoming authors of 2016.
William Patten School will keep the little ones entertained with The Gruffalo, Phoenix comic workshops and a protest camp in which kids can create their own banners about the change they’d like to see in the world.
Stoke Newington Literary Festival doesn’t have that London Book Festival sheen to it but most events are free or under a tenner so you won’t break the bank getting your literary fix. Win win!
Stoke Newington Literary Festival takes place 3-5 June, in venues across Stoke Newington. See the full programme on the website. All money raised goes towards literary initiatives for kids and adults in Hackney.