Bristol Women’s Literature Festival 2015

I came across Bristol Women’s Literature Festival on Twitter. The reason I’m promoting it on here, can be answered very simply with this comment from the press release:

Why do we need a women’s literature festival?

Although women have always written and always read, the UK literature scene continues to be very male dominated. A 2012 survey by For Books’ Sake revealed that at Manchester Literature festival, only 20 out of 74 speakers were women, whilst at the Latitude Literary Area, women made up 15 of 53 performers. Meanwhile, the VIDA Count shows the gross gender disparity in major literary publications and book reviews.

The Bristol Women’s Literature Festival aims to:

To celebrate the diversity and creativity of women writers
To counter the male dominance of literature and cultural festival line-ups
To promote women’s writing and history

Founder and director Siân Norris explains:

‘I decided it wasn’t enough to be frustrated at the continued marginalisation of women writers in our cultural scene. I needed to do something about it. The success of the 2013 festival was phenomenal. Everyone wants to be part of this event. It is a real and vital opportunity to talk about women’s writing and women’s role in shaping and influencing our culture – both historically and in the present. I am so proud to be part of it and delighted that Watershed will be hosting it again this year.’

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All the information you need is below:

The fascinating and varied programme features award-winning novelist and short story writer, Michele Roberts, winner of Faber Young Poet of the Year Helen Mort, writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo, poet and filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, activists and writers Beatrix Campbell and Caroline Criado-Perez, and leading academic Professor Helen Hackett. These women are, without doubt, some of the most influential and vibrant writers working today.

The festival takes place across the weekend of 14th and 15th March at famous Bristol arts venue, Watershed. Organised by feminist writer Siân Norris, the event aims to celebrate the work of women writers in a literary scene that is all too often dominated by male voices.

A stage full of brilliant, brainy, articulate and witty women discussing literature, women, history, activism and the future. An audience full of literature-lovers and woman-likers of all ages, races and walks of life. If anything restores a woman’s faith that we are not just roaring but writing and reading, it’s the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival.’


The programme

Paris was a Woman film screening

The festival opens on Saturday 14th March with a screening of the award-winning documentary film Paris was a Woman. Greta Schiller’s 1996 film explores the lives of the extraordinary women who made their home on Paris’ Left Bank in the 1920s, including Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Colette and Sylvia Beach. The film will be followed by a brief audience discussion, chaired by Siân Norris.

Women, Feminism and Journalism

In the afternoon, writers and activists, Beatrix Campbell and Caroline Criado-Perez, activist Nimko Ali, and Helen Lewis, the deputy editor of the New Statesman, will be talking about their work and the relationship between feminism and journalism.

Poetry, Prose and Palestine

On Saturday evening award-winning film director and poet Annemarie Jacir and novelist Selma Dabbagh will read and discuss their own work, and the poems of other well-known Palestinian writers. This event is organised in collaboration with the Bristol Palestinian Film Festival, as part of Conversations about Cinema: Impact of Conflict.

Women Writing in Shakespeare’s Time

Sunday opens with a talk from Professor Helen Hackett on the women of Shakespeare’s time. Professor Hackett will introduce us to the women writers of the Renaissance who have been written out of history, and the process of bringing them back into the canon where they belong.

Women Writing Today

The final event of the festival brings together some of the most exciting and innovative women working in the UK today. Novelist and short story writer Michele Roberts, first time novelist Amy C Mason, poet Helen Mort, playwright and memoirist Samantha Ellis, and writer and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo will join Sarah LeFanu to discuss their work.

The festival is supported by Watershed, Foyles, The Bristol Palestinian Film Festival and The Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Vital info

When? Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th March 2015

Where? Watershed, Bristol

How much? Individual events are priced at £8 (£6 concession) with a weekend ticket available for £30 (£25 concession. Please note there are a limited number of weekend tickets). Tickets are on sale at the Watershed Box Office and website.

7 thoughts on “Bristol Women’s Literature Festival 2015

  1. What a fantastic event to support Naomi – got a few friends in that neck of the woods so I’ll pass it on, more than slightly green eyed!


  2. Pingback: Some festival press! | womensliteraturefestival

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