26 April - 9 May 2021

Wednesday 28th April

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.

Manifesto! A workshop with Jen Hadfield

Event Time: 11:00 am

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MANIFESTO! Now feels like a really good moment for us to consider the hopes, dreams and changes we want to see in our lives .. it’s really been brought home to us, I think, how notional our control over our lives can be. It’s a hard time to imagine the future too – so this informal workshop is my prescription! In it, you’ll reconnect with your ideals and ideas and perhaps think of a few attainable steps that you can make to reset your compass and move in the right direction in the way that feels right to you. Your manifesto can be personal, political, ecological or creative – or all of these at once. If you’ve been thinking about how you want to live, what change you’d like to see, what you want to make – this is the workshop for you. We’ll explore some examples together – and then you get to have a go for yourself!

Please contact stayathomefest@gmail.com to book this session. This session is limited to 12 participants and will be booked on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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Author Bio

Jen Hadfield's fourth poetry collection The Stone Age explores neurodiversity and was published by Picador in March 2021. She is also working on Storm Pegs, a collection of essays about Shetland, where she lives. Passionately involved with the wild world, she uses poetry, lyrical essay and occasionally sculpture in cast porcelain, to try and share her intense experience of the here-and-now. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the 2008 T.S.Eliot Prize for her second collection, Nigh-No-Place, (Bloodaxe). She has performed her work internationally, attending festivals and residencies in – amongst other countries - Iraq, New Zealand and Canada. She is a Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Glasgow University and is building a house in Shetland, very slowly.

Two Poets: Rachel Bower and Jay Whittaker

Event Time: 12:00 pm

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Join these two excellent poets for conversations and readings from their latest works, followed by an interactive Q&A.

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Author Bio

Rachel Bower

Rachel Bower is an award-winning writer based in Sheffield. She is the author of Moon Milk (Valley Press, 2018) and a non-fiction book on literary letters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Her poems and stories have been widely published, including in Anthropocene, The London Magazine, Magma, New Welsh Reader and Stand. Rachel won The London Magazine Short Story Prize 2019/20 and the W&A Short Story Competition. She edited the Verse Matters anthology (Valley Press, 2017) with Helen Mort and she is currently editing an anthology with Simon Armitage (Faber & Faber). Her new poetry collection, These Mothers of Gods, will be published by Fly on the Wall Press in July 2021.

Jay Whittaker

Jay Whittaker is an Edinburgh-based poet. Her second poetry collection, Sweet Anaesthetist, was published by Cinnamon Press in September 2020. Her debut collection, Wristwatch, was Scottish Poetry Book of the Year 2018 in the Saltire Society Literary Awards. Both Jay’s books are accessible poetry collections on the themes of resilience, grief, living with cancer, family secrets, and LGBT+ lives (including her own). Jay has lived and worked in Edinburgh since 1995 and Scotland is very much home, though she grew up much further south, in Devon and Nottingham. She prioritised her writing after her personal annus horribilis, during which her civil partner died and she started cancer treatment. Her poems are included in the 404 Ink anthology We were always here: a queer words anthology and in the new Bloodaxe anthology, Staying Human.
www.jaywhittaker.uk / @jaywhittapoet

Culture Retrieval, Memory & Identity: The South Asian Post-Colonial Legacy

Event Time: 1:00 pm

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Of Necessity & Wanting is a collection of lyrical, atmospheric stories set in urban Pakistan by Sascha Akhtar. At the forefront are concerns of people who are lower down on the metaphorical ‘chain’ of status and power, especially in the context of their symbiotic relationship with those they see as ‘other,’ 'privileged' or 'fair.' Akhtar's breathtaking prose, which combines social realism with complex and intricate plots, desires, and psychogeographies, represents a groundbreaking exploration of women’s rights, such as independence and emancipation, in South Asia.

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Author Bio

Sascha Akhtar

Born in Chaklala, Rawalpindi in 1976, Sascha Akhtar has led an extraordinary life. Her ancestral roots are Baluchi, Kashmiri, Pathan & English & she has lived in Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, Murree, U.S.A & the U.K. Her love of stories & storytelling began at home. Her love for Pakistan came from her grandfather, who loved his country terribly and helped it and the poor throughout his lifetime. “The characters in Of Necessity & Wanting are all reflections of my beloved Grandad Haq Nawaz Akhtar. Long may he live on.”

Her debut fiction comes after an 18 year career in writing, during which time she has had six collections of poetry in English published in the U.K. Currently, Sascha is a Poetry School London Tutor and judge for the Streetcake Prize for Experimental Writing.

Natasha Junejo

Natasha Junejo is the founder of South Asian Writers, a community that began from a viral hashtag inviting writers of South Asian descent to introduce themselves and their work. The community has since flourished and aims to platform and uplift writers from the SA community through; features, book launches, speaking events, and collaborative visual ethnography projects like, Our Stories Matter.

In 2018, Natasha was a national finalist in Penguin Random House’s Editorial Scheme and she now proudly leads the Literary arm of the UK’s first ever South Asian Heritage Month.

A Panel on Motherhood and Writing

Event Time: 6:00 pm

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Nikki Dudley and Pragya Agarwal discuss writing and motherhood, with performances and additional insight from writing mums on how they write as parents.

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Author Bio

Nikki Dudley

Nikki is managing editor of streetcake magazine and also runs the streetcake writing prize and MumWrite. She has a chapbook and collection with KFS. She is the winner of the Virginia Prize 2020 and her second novel, Volta will be published in May 2021.

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.

How Can Illustration Tell a Story?

Event Time: 6:30 pm

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Join the Survivor Arts Community in launching their Freehand exhibition of illustrations by survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse, plus two beautiful commissioned illustrations by Chioma Ince and Molly Hankinson. Learn a little about the Freehand project, view a selection of illustrations, and hear from the artists about the stories their artworks tell.

Please note bookings for this session take place through Survivor Community Arts.

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Secrets and Lies: Two Thriller Authors Reveal Dark Truths

Event Time: 7:00 pm

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Felicia Yap, and Erin Kinsley are among the top thriller writers working today. Join this amazing duo as they discuss the dark truths that lay at the heart of their work.

Please note that Harriet Tyce has sadly had to withdraw from this event.

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Author Bio

Felicia Yap

Felicia Yap grew up in Kuala Lumpur. She read biochemistry at Imperial College London, before achieving a doctorate in history (and a half-blue in competitive ballroom dancing) at Cambridge University. She has written for The Economist and The Business Times. She has also worked as a radioactive-cell biologist, a war historian, a Cambridge lecturer, a technology journalist, a theatre critic, a flea-market trader and a catwalk model. Yesterday was her first novel, Future Perfect is her second.

Erin Kinsley

Erin Kinsley is a full-time writer. She grew up in Yorkshire and currently lives in East Anglia. Her first novel, Found, was a BBC Radio 2 Book Club and Sunday Times Crime Club pick. Erin’s second novel, Innocent, published in August 2020 and her new page-turning thriller, Missing, is out this summer.

Ana Sampson in conversation with Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Event Time: 8:00 pm

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Join Ana Sampson as she discusses her new anthology with Carolyn Jess-Cooke.

Night Feeds and Morning Songs is a collection of honest, fierce and beautiful poems about being a mother, from pregnancy and birth to growing up and leaving home. Curated by acclaimed anthologist Ana Sampson, Night Feeds and Morning Songs examines motherhood from all angles, capturing the mess and the madness – as well as the joy and the wonder.

Immerse yourself in classic verse from Carol Ann Duffy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jackie Kay and Sylvia Path, to poems from bold new voices Kate Baer, Liz Berry, Nikita Gill and Imogen Russell Williams to name but a few.

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Author Bio

Ana Sampson is the author of many bestselling anthologies including I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Other Poems You Half-Remember from School, Tyger Tyger Burning Bright: Much Loved Poems you Half-Remember, Poems to Learn by Heart, Green and Pleasant Land: Best-Loved Poems of the British Countryside and Best-Loved Poems: A Treasury of Verse. Ana grew up in Kent and studied English Literature at the University of Sheffield. After achieving both a BA and an MA, she began a career in publishing PR and has appeared multiple times on radio and television discussing books and poetry. Ana lives in Surrey with her husband, two daughters and two demanding cats.