Read all about it! Words Weekend is a new literary festival launching this weekend with a line-up of some of the best BAME voices around (and a silent books disco – yes, you read that right).
Starting on 6th December at the iconic Sage Gateshead on the River Tyne, it aims to celebrate the power of words with a wholly diverse and dynamic approach. The event has found support in some of the biggest and best names in culture right now. From A-list Booker winners such as Ben Okri and Bernardine Evaristo to the hottest new names on everyone’s lips including Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams and Cash Carraway, who penned the highly anticipated memoir Skint Estate.
Words Weekend aims to truly be open to all, and is making every event accessible, BSL interpreted, and an incredible 40% is free!
The best of BAME voices in books
What can you expect? Aspiring poets can marvel at the vocal dexterity of the likes of wordsmith and activist Salena Godden and writer and performer Kema Kay, foodies can listen to Bake Off winner and national treasure Nadiya Hussain discuss her book Finding My Voice based on her role as a mother, Muslim, and working woman, while music fans should hot-foot it to the Gil Scott-Heron celebration and while away the evening with live musical tributes to the legend in jazz, beat poetry, proto-rap and political activism format.
Hugely popular zine Gal-Dem is holding an event called ‘Growing Up with Gal-Dem’ with author Reni Eddo-Lodge, writer Mariam Khan and journalist Anna Sethi. The Gal-Dem team said: “Hosted by Liv Little and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, our panelists will be sharing their messages from the past, reflecting on what they meant to them, and how their experiences growing up have shaped who they are today. It’s going to be a great discussion so if you’re in the area, come!”
Making literature accessible for all
Words Weekend comes during a time of deep reflection for the literary community in the UK, which is intent on publishing more under-represented authors from across the racial, geographical, disability and working class divide.
David Olusoga, the popular British-Nigerian historian and broadcaster, and ambassador for the festival, said: “Words Weekend is a truly unique new festival, set to shake up the literary events industry. From the vast number of free events, accessible ticket pricing, the diversity of the programme and even the way speakers are paid. The aim is to reach much further than one weekend, and we are really proud to be partnering with so many inspiring local charities and organisations in order to have year-round impact in the region. This really is a festival for the North East of today; confident, diverse and exciting.”
Words Weekend takes place 6 – 8 December at Sage Gateshead, St Mary’s Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2JR