26 April - 9 May 2021

Sunday 9th 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.

Copywork for your Creative Practice - A workshop

Event Time: 10:00 am

Join Kathryn Koromilas for an exploration of how copywork - literally copying the work of selected texts, word for word - can help you overcome blank-page syndrome, ease the demands of having to produce "original, genius, groundbreaking" work, increase confidence in crafting excellent sentences and finding voice, and build a writing practice that is humble, mindful, and blissful. In this 50-minute session, we will start quietly with a text, then read, copy, imitate, and leap into our own creative voice. The sessions will be delivered live on Instagram

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.

Debi Alper Workshop

Event Time: 1:00 pm

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A workshop on writing voice, with author Debi Alper. Agents can usually tell if your manuscript is worth their time with a single glance – and they will often base their assessment on narrative "voice."

Creating an engaging voice -whether it's first, second or third person- is an essential writing skill. Yet many people struggle to define what is meant by 'voice'. In this session, Debi will give you the tools to evaluate and improve the narrative voice of your writing.

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Author Bio

Debi Alper is the author of the Nirvana series of urban thrillers, a freelance editor and creative writing tutor. For the last ten years, she has been running Jericho Writers’ highly successful Self-Edit Your Novel course. She also judges competitions, has been a reader for the Costa Short Story Awards since their inception and is on the jury for the London Independent Story Prize.

SAHLF 2021 Showcase

Event Time: 2:00 pm

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Come and see a special showcase of writers who have participated in the workshops at SAHLF2021 perform their work! A chance to see the next Hilary Mantel and Stephen King in the making...

If you have participated in an event across the festival and been inspired to, we would love to hear what you've written! We have space for a few last-minute sign ups! If you want to take part, please email joanna@stayathomelitfest.co.uk. Please prepare a 2-5 minute reading.

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Author Bio

Janet Floyer holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. She is inspired by the quirky side of family life and fully embraces the term creative non-fiction. You can find her work in From Glasgow to Saturn, Random Reject Project, and languishing shyly on her laptop. Floyer’s monologue ‘Can you See Me?’ was performed in November 2020 by Rachel Ogilvy for Hidden Women online at In Motion Theatre. She facilitates creative writing workshops for people in addiction recovery, and writers about town who need a little extra inspiration and encouragement. Since 2019, Janet has been opening her door for literary salons both at home and online including the #Stay-at-Home-Literary Festival and the #Stay-at-Home-Fringe in 2020. Janet lives in Malaga, Spain with her husband, daughters and miniature schnauzers. So far, they’re all still speaking to her.

Write a Book in 10 Easy Steps!

Event Time: 3:00 pm

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Blank page and no idea how to begin? This practical hour-long workshop is guaranteed to kickstart your inspiration. We will explore the nuts and bolts of what a satisfying story needs. If you want to write commercial fiction that readers will adore this workshop is perfect for you!

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Author Bio

Cesca Major is a novelist and screenwriter. She writes books based on mysterious events and The Thin Place is based around the sinister happenings at Overtoun Bridge in Scotland - a place where dogs have been known to leap to their deaths. Cesca has presented shows for ITV West and Sky Channels in the past. She enjoys hosting or speaking on festival panels and films vlogs about the writing process. She runs writing retreats twice a year in the West Country and teaches creative writing courses for the Henley School of Art. She writes uplifting books under other names and currently has a TV series in development. Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.

My Publication Dream Came True After 50

Event Time: 4:00 pm

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Aliya Ali-Afzal always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn't until the age of 50 that she took up the pen, wrote her debut novel, and managed to sell it at auction in the UK.

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Aliya didn’t start writing until her late 40s. Signing with her dream agent, getting book deals in the UK and US, and the publication of her debut in July 2021 all happened after the age of 50. Aliya talks about her journey to publication, including zoom book auctions in lockdown, starting a writing career in mid-life, and the importance of ignoring naysayers! She will also discuss her novel, a ‘gripping, funny, page-turner’, about what happens when you have your dream life, and are about to lose it.

Aliya Ali-Afzal is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and is an Alum of Curtis Brown Creative. Her work has been longlisted for the Bath Novel award, The Mslexia Novel Competition, The Primadonna Prize and the Mo Prize Hachette UK. Aliya has a degree in Russian and German from UCL and worked as an MBA Career coach before becoming a writer. She lives in London.

Let's Talk About Death, Baby

Event Time: 6:00 pm

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From three writers who write with honesty and intimacy about death and grief. This panel explores writing about the intimacy of dying and grief, from the ethics of sharing the stories of the dead, to the decision to write about loss; asking why is it important to write up close to these things, especially in these times?

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Author Bio

Peggy Hughes

Peggy Hughes is Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing based in Norwich. She is also Chair of Literature Alliance Scotland, and on the board of publishers 404Ink and charity Open Book Reading. She is from Northern Ireland, and before moving to Norwich worked in literature in Scotland, at the University of Dundee, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, Scottish Poetry Library and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Peggy chairs events and interviews authors for festivals and bookshops around the UK and when not doing that can be found walking, running or looking closely at things outdoors.

Catherine Simpson

Catherine Simpson is a memoir writer, novelist, poet, short story writer and journalist. She runs creative writing courses, chairs book events and is a regular culture critic on BBC Radio Scotland. Her memoir, When I Had a Little Sister, (4th Estate, 2019) investigates the suicide of her sister, Tricia, on the Lancashire farm where they were both born and brought up. Her novel Truestory (Sandstone Press, 2015) was inspired by raising her autistic daughter, Nina. Another volume of memoir is forthcoming in 2022 from Saraband, called One Body, about the experience of living and surviving in a female body.

Cathy Rentzenbrink

Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love, A Manual for Heartache and Dear Reader. Her first novel is called Everyone is Still Alive and will be out in July. Cathy regularly chairs literary events, interviews authors, reviews books, runs creative writing courses and speaks and writes on life, death, love, and literature. In previous lives Cathy worked for The Bookseller, The Reading Agency, Quick Reads, and spent ten years at Waterstones. Despite being shortlisted for various prizes, the only thing Cathy has ever won is the Snaith and District Ladies’ Darts Championship when she was 17.

Victoria Bennett

Victoria Bennett is a poet, writer and creative producer. She founded Wild Women Press in 1999, as a space for women to share their stories and create positive change. Her most recent poetry pamphlet, To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2020, and is an invitation to witness to the intimate moments of dying, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief. Her forthcoming memoir, All My Wild Mothers, is a story of motherhood, family and loss, and celebrates the beauty that can be found in disturbed ground. It was long listed for the Nan Shepherd Prize and won a Northern Debut Award in 2020.

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Event Time: 7:00 pm

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Join New York Times bestselling author Katherine May in discussion with Leah Hazard (Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story) about her memoir Wintering, a poignant and comforting meditation on the fallow periods of life – times when we must retreat to care for and repair ourselves. Katherine May thoughtfully shows us how to come through these times with the wisdom of knowing that, like the seasons, our winters and summers are the ebb and flow of life.

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Author Bio

Katherine May is a New York Times bestselling author, whose titles include Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times and The Electricity of Every Living Thing, her memoir of being autistic. Her fiction includes The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club and Burning Out. She is also the editor of The Best, Most Awful Job, an anthology of essays about motherhood. Her essays have appeared in a range of publications including The New York Times, The Observer and Aeon. She lives in Whitstable, UK with her husband, son, two cats and a dog.