26 April - 9 May 2021

Saturday 1st May

Kathryn Koromilas

Event Time: 9:15 am

Join Kathryn Koromilas for a daily morning meditative writing session. In this calm and mindful session, we’ll meditate - in writing - with a poem. The intention of meditative writing is to help you remove mental obstacles, encourage mindful concentration, enhance your creative practice, and just generally supercharge your day. Sessions will be streamed live on Instagram, every morning from 9:15am to 9:45 am for the duration of the festival.

Follow the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival Instagram account to take part.

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Author Bio

Kathryn Koromilas is a creative writer, a teacher & a gentle, joyful Stoic! She uses ancient wisdom and writing practices to help reignite creativity, reimagine purpose, and foster a thriving writing practice.

Elizabeth Parker on Instagram Live

Event Time: 11:00 am

Join Seren poet Elizabeth Parker for a reading of poems from her collection, In Her Shambles, as well as a selection of new work on Instagram Live. Be inspired to create new poems by her writing workshop 'Our Objects', in which you will be encouraged to reflect on the objects that have been significant to you during the pandemic and to express your connection to them, taking inspiration from a selection of poems which you will explore in depth, with plenty of time for your own writing.

Follow the Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival Instagram account to take part.

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Author Bio

Elizabeth Parker’s poetry has been published in various journals including Magma, The Stony Thursday Book, The Interpreter’s House and Agenda. She was a prizewinner in the 2016 Troubadour International Poetry Prize. Following her 2016 pamphlet, Antinopolis (published by Eyewear), Elizabeth’s first full collection, In Her Shambles, was published by Seren in April 2018.

Dangers of a Single Story: Diversity in UK Literary Culture

Event Time: 12:00 pm

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Join our panel of writers in discussion about what Chimanada Ngozi Adichie called 'The Danger of the Single Story'. In her 2009 TedTalk, Adichie called on us to embrace multiple narratives as a way to create deeper empathy and cultural understanding. After a pandemic, are we able to make headway on enabling multiple stories to co-exist? How can we create more diversity within the literary culture of the UK?

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Neema Shah

Neema Shah’s parents and grandparents left India to make their homes in East Africa and later in London, where Neema was born and lives. Kololo Hill is her debut and was shortlisted for the Bath Novel Award and the First Novel Prize. She is currently working on her second novel. You can find Neema online at the following: https://neemashah.com/ | Instagram: @neemashahauthor | Twitter: @NeemaMShah

Yvonne Battle-Felton

Yvonne Battle-Felton, author of Remembered, is an author, academic, and creative producer. Remembered, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (2019) and shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2020). Winner of a Northern Writers Award in fiction (2017), Yvonne awarded a Society of Author’s Foundation Grant for Remembered in 2018 among other accolades. Twitter: @YBattleFelton Instagram: whyIwritebattlefelton Clubhouse: whyIwritebattlefelton

Okechukwu Nzelu

Okechukwu Nzelu is a writer and teacher. In 2015 he was the recipient of a New Writing North Award. In 2020 his debut novel, The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Polari First Book Prize. He lives in Manchester and is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He is @nzeluwrites on Twitter and Instagram.

Pragya Agarwal

Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural scientist and author of Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias and Wish We Knew What To Say published in 2020. Her next book (M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman is out on 3 June with Canongate. She has also just written her first book for children about racism which is out in August. Pragya is on twitter and instagram at @drpragyaagarwal

What We Do to Get Through

Event Time: 1:00 pm

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Q and A and discussion with author and editor James Withey about his new book What I Do to Get Through: How to Run, Swim, Cycle, Sew or Sing Your Way Through Depression, with writers Orna Cunningham and Georgina Woolfrey.

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James Withey

James Withey is author of the bestselling book How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life Back, published by Little, Brown in 2020. The follow up book How to Tell Anxiety to Sod Off, will be published in Jan 2022. He is the founder of The Recovery Letters project which publishes online letters from people recovering from depression, addressed to people experiencing it. He is the co-editor of The Recovery Letters book which was a World Book Night title and selected as a Reading Well title. Cosmopolitan magazine named it as 'One of the 12 mental health books everyone should read'.

What I Do to Get Through: How to Run, Swim, Cycle, Sew, or Sing Your Way Through Depression, was published by Jessica Kingsley in Feb 2021. James lives in Hove with his husband and emotionally damaged cat.

Orna Cunningham

Orna Cunningham is an editor, illustrator and designer. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, she has been based in her adopted home of Toronto, Canada, since 2015. She has worked for titles like the Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, The Irish Sun, and Russia Today. She is passionate about destigmatising topics surrounding mental health, and apart from her work as a journalist, writes short stories, personal essays, and poetry, and presents the occasional podcast.

Georgina Woolfrey

Georgina Woolfrey is a writer and Spanish teacher from SE London. Her writing journey began in 2015 when her debut blog post, ‘My journey to hell: how depression hijacked my soul and how I finally wrenched it back’ gained thousands of views overnight, leading her to write for Mind, Thought Catalog and HuffPost. Her blog, ‘Wolves’ Wit and Wisdom’ gives readers tips based on her experiences of overcoming depression, anxiety and SAD. What I Do To Get Through is Georgina’s first work in print, and combines her two loves of singing and writing.

Home in Our Bodies

Event Time: 2:00 pm

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Join Aoife Lyall (Bloodaxe) and Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet) for a reading and discussion of their body-focused debut collections, followed by a generative workshop to help you to explore and connect with your physical self in a safe and welcoming environment.

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Author Bio

Aoife Lyall

Aoife Lyall (née Griffin) was born in Dublin in 1987 and now lives in the Scottish Highlands. Awarded an Emerging Scottish Writer residency by Cove Park in 2020 and twice shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards, her poems have also been shortlisted in the Wells Festival of Literature Open Poetry Competition and the Jane Martin Poetry Prize. She was longlisted for the inaugural Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize in 2018. Her first collection, Mother, Nature, is published by Bloodaxe Books in 2021. She has worked as a guest curator for the Scottish Poetry Library and as a guest editor for Butcher’s Dog. Her reviews have appeared in Browse, The Interpreters’ House, Poetry London and PN Review.

Victoria Kennefick

Victoria Kennefick’s first collection, Eat or We Both Starve, is published by Carcanet Press and a selection of her poems appear in the Carcanet New Poetries VIII Anthology. Her pamphlet, White Whale (Southword, 2015), won the Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition and the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. Work has appeared in Poetry, The Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Ambit, PN Review, Prelude, Copper Nickel, The Stinging Fly and elsewhere. She is an Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Artist.

Ripples Through Time: Finding Inspiration for Historical Fiction

Event Time: 3:00 pm

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A panel of historical fiction novelists will discuss the inspiration behind their books and characters. The conversation will focus on how the authors have drawn on real events and people to create fiction. This international panel will explore books set in Vietnam, Russia, France and the UK.

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Author Bio

Debra Barnes

Debra Barnes is the debut author of The Young Survivors (Duckworth Books). The book was inspired by her mother, Paulette, who was born in France in 1938 and lost her parents and two siblings in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, including her twin sister at just six years old. Debra said, "I wanted to write this story to shed light on the fate of Jews in France during the war, something which is not often considered. Writing this book has been a bittersweet experience for me." Debra joined The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in 2017 to run their My Story project. This initiative produces individual life-story books for Holocaust survivors and refugees with the participation of volunteers as interviewers.

Poppy Cooper

Poppy Cooper has a background in advertising and now runs her own consultancy specialising in psychological interviewing and focus groups. Her debut saga, The Post Office Girls (Hodder and Stoughton) , is the first in a series about the lives and escapades of the first women to work in the Army Post Office’s Home Depot in Regent's Park in WW1. Married with a son and daughter and two exceptionally fluffy moggies, Poppy is also a keen amateur archaeologist and a staunch supporter of Wycombe Wanderers. Poppy also writes contemporary uplit as Kirsten Hesketh. Her debut novel, Another Us (Canelo) is a story of love, family and Aspergers.

Molly Gartland

Molly Gartland worked in Moscow from 1994 to 2000 and has been fascinated by Russian culture ever since. She has an MA in Creative Writing from St Mary’s University, Twickenham and lives in London. The manuscript for her debut novel The Girl from the Hermitage (Lightning Books) was shortlisted for the Impress Prize and longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Bath Novel Award and Grindstone Novel Award.

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is an award-winning writer in both Vietnamese and English. Her eight books of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese have received some of Vietnam's top literary awards including the 2010 Poetry of the Year Award from the Hanoi Writers Association. Her debut novel and first book in English, The Mountains Sing, is an International Bestseller, Winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, Winner of the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship, Winner of The Blogger's Book Prize 2021 and has been named NB Magazine's Book of the Year. Quế Mai currently divides her time between Indonesia and Vietnam.

Witches of Scotland Podcast - Claire Mitchell QC and Zoe Venditozzi

Event Time: 4:00 pm

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Claire Mitchell QC and Zoe Venditozzi talk about their Witches of Scotland podcast and their work to secure a national monument and apology for those accused of witchcraft during the Scottish Witch trials.

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Author Bio

Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell studied Law at the University of Glasgow and was called at the Scottish Bar in 2003, having been a solicitor in private practice since 1996. She specialises in criminal law and criminal extradition. She has built up a strong Appeal Court practice, with an emphasis on constitutional, human rights and sentencing questions. She has attended the Privy Council and Supreme Court on a number of occasions in relation to cases of general public importance to the law of Scotland. At the 2013 Law Awards of Scotland, she received a "Special Recognition Award" for her contribution to legal thinking over the previous decade.

Zoe Venditozzi

Zoe Venditozzi is a writer and teacher who lives in Scotland with her husband and various children. She works as a Support for Learning teacher and also teaches Creative Writing in various settings. Her first novel Anywhere’s Better Than Here won the Guardian newspaper’s Not the Booker popular prize and she has just finished writing a book about madness and psychic phenomena.

How to be Funny When the World is Far From It

Event Time: 5:00 pm

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Join the founder of the Comedy Women in Print prize Helen Lederer and witty authors Lucy Vine and Abigail Mann to talk about funny fiction, what it's been like writing comedy when the world doesn't seem funny, and whether humour has the power to unite us.

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Author Bio

Helen Lederer

Helen began her career in stand-up comedy at London’s famous Comedy Store, as part of the early 80s comedians including French & Saunders and Rik Mayall. She wrote her first play aged ten and was an avid diarist which served her well when asked to reveal them in BBC Radio 4’s My Teenage Diary. On television, Helen is possibly best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in all five series of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. She has written and performed several one-woman shows- ‘Still Crazy’ a sell out at the Edinburgh Festival in the 90’s, ‘I Might As Well Say It’ was a sell out in 2018. Books include, Coping with Helen Lederer (Angus and Robertson), Single Minding (Hodder and Stoughton) and Finger Food (Accent Press). Her comedy novel, Losing It, published by Pan Macmillan was nominated for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. She founded the Comedy Women Print Prize to celebrate witty writing by women in 2019.

Lucy Vine

Lucy Vine is a writer, editor and the bestselling author of novels, Hot Mess, What Fresh Hell, Are We Nearly There Yet? and Bad Choices, out 10 June 2021. Her books have been translated into ten languages around the world, with Hot Mess optioned for a TV series in America. She's been twice longlisted for the Comedy Women In Print Award and also hosted the podcast and live event series, the Hot Mess Clubhouse, celebrating funny women. Her journalism has appeared in the likes of GRAZIA, Stylist, heat, Fabulous, New, Now, marie claire, Glamour Online, COSMOPOLITAN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Sun and The Mirror.

Abigail Mann

Abigail is a comedy writer living in London and surviving on a diet of three-shot coffee, bourbons, and vegetarian sausage rolls. She was born and brought up in Norfolk, which she says is to blame for the sardonic humour that runs through her novels. Abigail was the runner up in 2019's Comedy Women in Print award for The Lonely Fajita and has recently published her second book The Sister Surprise. Abigail takes inspiration from unconventional cross-sections of modern society and the impact this has on identity and the relationships we create. When she's not writing, she teaches creative workshops.

Malika's Kitchen

Event Time: 6:00 pm

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Readings from Katie Griffiths, Arji Manuelpillai, Courtney Conrad and Janett Plummer, introduced by the Director of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, Jill Abram. Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (aka MPK, aka Kitchen) is a writers’ collective founded in Brixton by Malika Booker and Roger Robinson in 2001. It nurtures the writing, performance and careers of poets by emphasising craft, community and development.

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Author Bio

Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (aka MPK, aka Kitchen) is a writers’ collective founded in Brixton by Malika Booker and Roger Robinson in 2001. It nurtures the writing, performance and careers of poets by emphasising craft, community and development. Jill Abram has been the Director since 2010. Under her stewardship the group meets for workshops on Friday evenings (the saying goes that, as MPK members give their Friday nights over to poetry, we must be very dedicated). Some sessions are led by members of the collective, others by guest poets from the UK and beyond, such as Kei Miller, Mona Arshi and Olive Senior. MPK Alumni include Inua Ellams, Warsan Shire, Kayo Chingonyi, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Nick Makoha and Aoife Mannix. This lively, London-based community of dedicated poets has inspired similar Kitchen models to be set up worldwide, from Chicago to Delhi, creating an international MPK family.

Rosie Wilby: The Breakup Monologues

Event Time: 7:00 pm

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Award-winning comedian, author and podcaster reads from her forthcoming book The Breakup Monologues (Bloomsbury, May 2021) and discusses the decade she has spent researching the psychology of love and relationships for her trilogy of shows The Science of Sex, Is Monogamy Dead? and The Conscious Uncoupling.

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Author Bio

Rosie Wilby is an award-winning comedian who has appeared many times on BBC Radio 4 programmes including Woman's Hour and Four Thought. Her first book Is Monogamy Dead? was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and followed a trilogy of internationally-acclaimed solo shows investigating the psychology of love and relationships. She has occasionally been described as a ‘lesbian Louis Theroux’, due to her chatty, immersive style of research.

Rosie also presents The Breakup Monologues podcast, which provides the inspiration for her brand new book and was nominated for a British Podcast Award in 2020.