2023

On the lineup: popstar-turned-published-author JB Gill (formerly of boy band JLS) who will discuss his new writing career; Emma Kennedy, best-selling author, actor, presenter and Celebrity Masterchef champion; award-winning journalist Angela Saini; actor Rebecca Humphries who will talk with friend and Limelight author Daisy Buchanan; Miki Berenyi, frontwoman of 90s Britpop phenomenon Lush and author of Fingers Crossed; actor and author Andi Osho who will crown the winner of the Primadonna Prize; bestselling political writers Ian Dunt with his book How Westminster Works (…and Why It Doesn’t); and many more award-winning and bestselling authors including Diana Evans, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Joanna Cannon, Adele Parks, Patrice Lawrence and Joanne Harris. Plus everything you need to become a published author yourself, alongside workshops of all kinds designed to inspire and enlighten. For fun, there’s stand-up comedian Cally Beaton, a regular on BBC1’s QI, Live at the Apollo and The Apprentice: You’re Fired, all-female entertainment troupe Figs in Wigs, a Mary Poppins Dancealong and live music, DJs, wellbeing and much more. And loads of stuff for kids including Captain Loo Roll and Rapunzella, Or, Don’t Touch My Hair.

Adele Parks

British born author Adele Parks is the author of 22 bestselling novels including the recent Sunday Times Number One hits Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck. Over four and a half million UK editions of her work have been sold and her books have been translated into 31 different languages. She is an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency: two charities that promote literacy in the UK. Adele also writes for national media including The Times, Guardian, The Telegraph and appears regularly on TV as a spokesperson for the publishing industry. In 2022 she was awarded an MBE - a British order of chivalry – by His Majesty King Charles III for services to literature.

Andi Osho

Andi Osho’s eighteen year career spans film, TV and theatre, from much-loved BBC drama like Line of Duty, Death In Paradise and Holby, to movies such as Lights Out and DC Comics’ Shazam!

Other projects include Michaela Coel’s ground-breaking I May Destroy You: Kiri, which became Channel 4’s highest rated drama and Olivier-nominated The Miser – Andi’s West End debut.

Andi also wrote and starred in Twin Thing on Sky Arts and E4 sketch pilot The Andi O Show. Her debut novel, Asking For A Friend was published by HarperCollins in 2021 and her follow-up, Tough Crowd, was released March 2023. 

Andi also hosts the Creative Sauce podcast

Angela Saini

Award-winning journalist Angela Saini joins us to discuss her radical new book about the true history of gendered oppression and how men came to rule.

Angelle Joseph

You'll have heard her on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and 6Music – including this year’s Radio 1 New Year’s Day Indie Show – and regulars to BBC Radio Suffolk will know her BBC Introducing and Belongings shows. We know her as a LEGEND, and are so excited that she’s bringing her mix to the Museum for a Friday night mash-up of hip-hop, indie, dance and more in the late night barn. 

Athena Stevens

Athena Stevens is an Olivier nominated actor and playwright. She is an associate artist at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre as well as a playwright on attachment at Finborough Theatre. Currently she is writing the book for a new musical as well as being under commission for BBC Radio 3 and National Youth Theatre. She was the first actor in a wheelchair nominated for an Offie for her performance in Schism, as well as appearing at the Barbican as Juliet last year. Stevens is also a spokesperson for the UK’s Women’s Equality Party. See her website here or find her on Twitter @athenastevens

Anita Bagwandas

Anita Bhagwandas a multi award-winning freelance journalist and beauty director based in London. She’s a beauty columnist at The Guardian’s Saturday magazine, Beauty Director at Conde Nast Traveller and her non-fiction debut Ugly was released in February 2023. 

Prior to being freelance, Anita spent the last decade climbing the ranks of some of the UK’s biggest titles with prestigious roles at Marie Claire, Women’s Health and most recently Stylist where she held the roles of Features Director and Beauty Director, and has chatted on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Radio 4 and The Asian Network as well as live stints on ITV’s This Morning and Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch as a beauty expert.

Ashley Hickson-Lovence

Ashley Hickson-Lovence is a novelist and Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Suffolk. While working as a secondary school English teacher, he completed his MA in Creative Writing and Publishing and is currently finishing his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of The 392 (2019), Your Show (2022) and Wild East (2024).

Bee Rowlatt

Bee is a writer and producer. Her award-winning travelogue In Search of Mary was a ‘biography of the year’. She co-wrote the best-seller Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, dramatised by the BBC, and was one of Virago’s Fifty Shades of Feminism. Her play about Mary Wollstonecraft debuted in London’s West End. Bee led the Mary on the Green campaign for a memorial artwork for Wollstonecraft and is chair of the new human rights education charity the Wollstonecraft Society. Bee has judged the Poetry Society Young Poets’ award and the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. She mostly lives at the British Library.

Brigitte Aphrodite

Brigitte Aphrodite is a neurodiverse punk poet, musician, writer, theatre-maker and intersectional feminist show-woman from Kent. She makes genre-crossing, status-quo defying, passionate multidisciplinary work which is free from pretension, is anti-hierarchical and aims to be accessible to all. During Brigitte’s formative years she toured extensively as a musician, alongside artists such as Kate Nash and Josie Long. Brigitte has written three critically acclaimed shows (featured in The Guardian, Elle, BBC News); My Beautiful Black Dog: a punk, gig theatre musical exploring depression, Parakeet: an eco-punk musical made and set in Margate about nature, young women and fighting for what you believe in and The Christmas Goblin: a gig-theatre mythological family show. Her work has sold out at the Edinburgh Fringe and Southbank Centre, and toured nationally. Brigitte is also an experienced community facilitator, hosts and curates a number of creative events, and is an occasional bangin DJ. Her expressive, multifaceted work has won her a loyal following, including the likes of Arthur Brown and Lauren Laverne.

Cally Beaton

Cally Beaton is a comedian, business leader, podcaster, writer, keynote speaker and entrepreneur. Well-known for being a natural storyteller, full of intelligent, distinctive and punchline-rich material, Cally is one of the UK’s most sought-after acts for both comedy and corporate work.

Catherine Mayer

Catherine Mayer is a bestselling author, journalist and activist. She is the co-founder and President of the Women’s Equality Party and co-founder of Primadonna. Her books include Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly; Charles: The Heart of a King, and Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World! Her most recent book, the memoir Good Grief: Embracing Life at a Time of Death, contains letters written by her mother after both women were widowed at the start of the pandemic. After the February 2020 death of her husband, the musician Andy Gill, she took on his unfinished projects, releasing two EPs by his band Gang of Four, and acting as executive producer for a tribute album, The Problem of Leisure: A celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four featuring globally famous musicians which was released in June 2021. See her website here or find her on Twitter @catherine_mayer

Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ

Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire and raised in Awka, Nigeria. A product of not one but two Nigerian boarding schools, she went on to attend Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was the winner of the Curtis Brown First Novel Prize in 2019. Her work has also been shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Awards (2015), a Nommo Award (2020) and the Caine Prize for African Literature (2017 & 2020).

Daisy Buchanan

Daisy Buchanan is an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster. She has
written for every major newspaper and magazine in the UK, from the Guardian to
Grazia. She is a TEDx speaker, and she hosts the chart-topping podcast You're Booked, where she interviews legendary writers from all over the world about how their
reading habits shape their work. Her other books include the nonfiction titles How To
Be A Grown Up and The Sisterhood, and the novels Insatiable: A Love Story For Greedy Girls and Careering.

Dean Atta

Dean Atta is a British author from London. He is a Malika's Poetry Kitchen member, National Poetry Day ambassador and LGBT+ History Month patron. Dean’s poems have been highly commended by the Forward Prizes for Poetry and shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize and Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. 

Dean's debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger (The Westbourne Press, 2013), was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His debut young-adult novel in verse, The Black Flamingo (Hodder Children’s Books, 2019), won the American Library Association's Stonewall Book Award, CILIP Carnegie Shadowers Choice Award, West Sussex School Librarians' Amazing Book Awards, What Kids are Reading Quiz Writers’ Choice Award and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Award, CILIP Carnegie Medal, Jhalak Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and The Bookseller's YA Book Prize.

Deb Googe

Deb Googe is a musician best known as the bassist for the band My Bloody Valentine. She is also the bass player for various projects fronted by the ex Sonic Youth singer/guitarist Thurston Moore and is currently touring as part of Brix Smith’s live band and working on an abstract noise project, Sleazy Tiger, with ex Snowpony singer Kath Gifford.

 

Debbie Smith

Debbie started DJ'ing in the late 1990s in various clubs and bars mostly in the Camden area of London, playing a mixture of 1980s – 1900s indie and alternative, Big Beat, Jungle, 1970s classics and a bit of disco. This was challenging to some audiences, and confusing for Debbie. In the early 2000s they started the much loved club night ‘The Nitty Gritty’ with DJ Jaybyrd Slim, and happily their style settled down to a much more straightforward and dance floor friendly blend of 1950s & 60s sounds – ska & rocksteady, girl groups, US Garage punk, funk, rhythm & blues, Northern Soul and UK mod grooves.

Diana Evans

Diana Evans is the author of Ordinary People, which won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Her previous novels are The Wonder and her bestselling debut 26a, which won the inaugural Orange Award for New Writers. Her journalism and essays appear in Time Magazine, the Guardian, Vogue and Financial Times among others. She is an associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. A House for Alice is her fourth novel, a sequel to Ordinary People.

Dija Ayedelo

Dosa Cat

Raheem Payne is the artistic genius behind Dosa Cat the Drag Queen. With a double Masters in Contemporary Movement and trained in Kathak, Raheem is a choreographer and performer having done a TedEx Talk on Fluidity, Sexuality and Identity. Raheem is a brilliant host, hilarious speaker and fabulous personality - breaking down gender norms and expectations in their natural presence, style and beauty. Raheem is also a professional stylist with a natural flare for fashion and beauty.

Elissa Soave

Elissa Soave is a Scottish writer. She won the inaugural Primadonna Prize in 2019, and her debut novel, GINGER AND ME, was published by HQ, Harper Collins in July 2022. Elissa is on the judging panel of this year's Primadonna Prize.

Ella McLeod

Ella McLeod is a writer, poet, performer and graduate of Warwick University. She has worked as a spoken word poet and actress and as an Assistant Producer for Somethin’ Else. Ella also created and narrated Celina and the Spider, a series of three family-friendly storytime sessions with HOME Manchester. Her debut novel Rapunzella, or, Don't Touch My Hair, was published in July 2022.

Emma Kennedy

Emma Kennedy is a best-selling author, TV writer, actress and presenter. She has appeared in numerous TV comedies including Goodness Gracious Me, The Smoking Room and Miranda, and wrote the BBC sitcom The Kennedys, based on her book The Tent, the Bucket and Me. Emma has also written for award winning-CBBC show Strange Hill High and Dangermouse. Her novels include The Things We Left Unsaid (2019) and The Never Ending Summer (2021), and her latest book, Letters from Brenda (2022), is a heartbreakingly funny account of finding a collection of her mother's lost letters after her death and exploring the question of who she really was. Emma won Celebrity Masterchef in 2012 and is a Guinness World Record Holder.

Figs in Wigs

Figs in Wigs have created Astrology Bingo - the world’s first ever* cosmic game show for astrology lovers, bingo wingers and their sceptic friends. You’ll need to listen closely for your ‘Scorpio Moon’ or your 'Capricorn Rising’ sign to be called before you can dab dab dab your pain away. 

Ian Dunt

Ian Dunt spent several years working in the heart of Westminster as editor of Politics.co.uk. He is
podcast host of Oh God What Now and Origin Story, regularly appears as a political pundit on TV and radio and is the author of two previous books – Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now and How to
be a Liberal.

Fats timbo

Hannah Silva

Hannah Silva is a writer and performer working in sound poetry, radio, and experimental non-fiction. Their record Talk in a bit was included in The Wire's Top 25 Albums of 2018. They have written eight plays for BBC Radio 3 and 4, winning the Tinniswood Award for best script and numerous placements in the BBC Audio Drama Awards. Their debut poetry collection Forms of Protest was Highly Commended in the Forward Prizes.
Silva's latest radio play An Artificially Intelligent Guide to Love was written using text generated by a machine-learning algorithm (Afonica, Radio 4) and starred Fiona Shaw. It was the starting point for My Child, the Algorithm, a memoir about queer single parenting and love (Footnote Press). Silva holds a PhD from Stirling University on the analysis of poetry in performance, and is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

ikra arshad

Ikra Arshad is an established artist and designer who is known for her unique mural and installation designs creating large scale bold & playful installations for public spaces that spark curiosity and play within communities. Selected exhibitions & locations include: Peckham Levels, East Quay Watchet, Deptford X festival, Bell House Dulwich, Somerset House & Hospice in the Weald.

James McDermott

James McDermott’s poetry collections include Manatomy (Burning Eye; longlisted for Polari’s First Book Prize 2021) and Wild Life (forthcoming from Nine Arches). Their pamphlets include Erased (Polari Press) and Green Apple Red (Broken Sleep Books). James’s poems have been published in various magazines including Poetry Wales, The North, Butcher’s Dog, Popshot Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears and Fourteen Poems. James's plays published by Samuel French include 'Time and Tide' (Park Theatre; Offie nominated for Best New Play) and 'Rubber Ring' (Pleasance Islington/UK Tour). James's other plays include 'Acid's Reign' (VAULT Festival), 'Robin Good: The Politico-Panto' (Norwich Playhouse) and 'Ghosted' (St George's Theatre/Out There Festival). James is also one of the writers on EastEnders and has written plays for BBC Radio 4. He is an Arvon writing tutor and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Iggy London

Iggy London is an award-winning filmmaker, artist and writer whose work touches upon themes of identity, community and coming of age. Known for his distinctive style and gripping, unexpected stories, his work crosses many mediums from film to poetry to photography. Iggy has directed films for Nowness, Love Magazine, Nike, Vogue and Adidas to name a few. He is best known for his powerful short Velvet and 2022 Timberland campaign Built For The Bold, with voiceover by Mary J Blige. His work has been covered by the likes of i-D, Highsnobiety, Hunger Magazine, Dazed The Guardian and many more.

Iggy edited Mandem, featuring essays from Yomi Sode, Jeffrey Boakye, Christian Adofo, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Athian Akec, Dipo Faloyin, Okechukwu Nzelu, Phil Samba, Sope Soetan, and Jordan Stephens – an unmissable, thoughtful anthology of Black male expression. 

JB Gill

JB Gill rose to fame as a member of one of the UK’s biggest boybands – JLS. They dominated the charts for five years, boasting five number 1 singles, over 10 million record sales worldwide and a multitude of awards.

Eleven years ago, JB set up a farm in the Kent countryside, where he lives with his wife, Chloe, eight-year-old son, Ace and four-year-old daughter, Chiara. Their smallholding successfully produces award winning KellyBronze turkeys and free-range Tamworth pork.

Now an established member of the farming community, JB has used his success within the entertainment industry to highlight his passion to educate children about the origins of their food and he is the lead presenter on CBeebies’ BAFTA-nominated television series, ‘Down On The Farm’ (created for children aged 0-6 years, teaching them about life on the farm and in the outdoors). JB’s enthusiasm for farming life and knowledge of countryside issues has seen him become part of the presenter team for Channel 5’s ‘on the farm’ series and regularly contribute to BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ and ‘Springwatch’.

Jenni Nuttall

Dr. Jenni Nuttall is an academic who teaches and researches medieval literature at the University of Oxford. She has a DPhil from Oxford and completed the University of East Anglia’s MA in creative writing. She is the author of a readers’ guide to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde from Cambridge University Press and she is contributing a chapter on “literary language” for the fifteenth century volume of The Oxford History of Poetry in English.

Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon is a Sunday Times bestselling author of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie. A Tidy Ending, her latest novel, is out now.

Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris (MBE) was born in Barnsley in 1964, of a French mother and an English father. She studied Modern and Mediaeval Languages at Cambridge and was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she published three novels, including Chocolat (1999), which was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche.  Since then, she has written 19 more novels, plus novellas, short stories, game scripts, the libretti for two short operas, several screenplays, a stage musical (with Howard Goodall) and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards.

 

She is a passionate advocate for authors’ rights, and is currently the Chair of the Society of Authors (SOA), and member of the Board of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). She works from a shed in her garden, plays in the band she first joined when she was 16, and lives with her husband in a little wood in Yorkshire.

Jónína Leósdóttir

Jónína Leósdóttir is an Icelandic novelist, playwright, former journalist and Spouse of the Prime Minister of Iceland from 2008 until 2013. She is the author of a dozen plays, eleven novels, two biographies and a collection of articles she originally wrote for a women's magazine.

Jyoti Patel

Jyoti Patel is the author of The Things That We Lost, published by #Merky Books. An extract of the novel was chosen as the winning submission from over 2,000 entries for the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, a competition that aims to discover unpublished, underrepresented writers aged 16-30 from the UK and Ireland. The panel of judges included #Merky Books founder Stormzy, Candice Brathwaite, Emma Dabiri, Guz Khan, and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Jyoti is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing Prose Fiction MA and was selected as one of The Observer’s 10 Best New Novelists for 2023. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted.

Kim Sherwood

Kim Sherwood is an author and creative writing lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, where she lives in the city. Kim Sherwood’s first novel, Testament (2018), won the Bath Novel Award and Harper’s Bazaar Big Book Award. It was longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize and shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Pick. In 2019, she was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Her second book, Double or Nothing (2022), is the first in a series commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to expand the world of James Bond. Her latest novel, A Wild & True Relation (2023), was described by Hilary Mantel as “a rarity – a novel as remarkable for the vigour of the storytelling as for its literary ambition. Kim Sherwood is a writer of capacity, potency and sophistication.”

Kuba Shand-Baptiste

Kuba Shand-Baptiste is a commissioning editor and columnist on the Independent's Voices desk. She typically covers news, politics, pop culture and social justice, and has written for the website since 2016. She has also written feature, news and opinion articles for the GuardianBlack BalladMetroVICE, Self.com, gal-demStylistLadybeardDazed, the FT Adviser and more. Her essay from Loud Black Girls, ‘Eating Britain’s Racism’, was recently extracted by Vogue.co.uk.

Laura Ichajapanich

Laura has been teaching Taiji (Tai Chi), Qigong (Chi Kung) for 25 years. She has learnt from several masters including with Professor Li Deyin, Professor Hu Xiao Fei and Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang and his son Chen Ying Jun. In 2006 she trained in Beijing and Wudang Mountain and in 2012 she visited Chen Jiagou, the birthplace of Taiji, to study with Chen Xiao Wang.

Laura has a Masters degree, with distinction, in Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture) from South Bank University and spent six months at Heilongjiang University (China) where she studied with the leading experts in the field. She has been practising Acupuncture and Chinese medicine for over 10 years.

Laura Kay

Laura Kay is an author and journalist. She has an MA in American History from the University of Sheffield, and now lives in East London. In 2018, Laura was selected as one of the ten PRH WriteNow mentees, where she developed her debut novel, The Split. Tell Me Everything is her second novel.

Lisa Milton

Lisa Milton is Executive Publisher HQ Stories as well as sitting on the Exec Committee of HarperCollinsUK. She joined HarperCollins in 2015 after a decade as Managing Director of Orion Publishing where she was responsible for Orion, Orion Children’s, Gollancz and Weidenfeld & Nicolson, which was awarded Imprint of the Year at the 2015 Bookseller Industry Awards. Whilst there she published major bestsellers and award winning authors including Maeve Binchy, Ian Rankin, Gillian Flynn and Malala Yousafzai. Previously Lisa was Editorial Director at BCA, the UK’s biggest book club, and prior to this she had a successful career at Waterstones, where one of her most notable achievements was opening the flagship store in Piccadilly and winning the Bookshop of the Year Industry Award in 2000. Find her on Twitter @MsLisaMilton

Louise Mumford

Louise was born and lives in South Wales. In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then! Louise’s debut novel Sleepless was published in December 2020 by HQ HarperCollins. A UK Amazon Kindle Top 50 bestseller, it was the Asda Karin Slaughter Killer Read for July 2021. Her second thriller, The Safe House, was published in May 2022.

Mahsuda Snaith

Mahsuda Snaith is a writer of novels and short stories. After the release of her debut novel 'The Things We Thought We Knew' she was named an Observer New Face of Fiction. Her second novel 'How to Find Home' was chosen as a BBC Radio 4 'Book at Bedtime'. She is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2014 and Bristol Short Story Prize 2014. Mahsuda is a commissioned writer for the Colonial Countryside project and her short story 'The Panther's Tale' is included in 'Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold'. She works as a writing coach for The Novelry. Find out more about her work at www.mahsudasnaith.com.

Margaret Meyer

Margaret Meyer was born in Canada, grew up in New Zealand and now lives in Norwich, England. She worked in publishing and literature promotion before retraining in a second career as a mental health therapist. In 2020 she completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. The Witching Tide is her first novel.

Matt Carr

Matt is an author and illustrator of ridiculous picture books. His new book Captain Looroll is about a superhero toilet roll who sort of saves the world with the help of his band of friends. Think Marvel Avengers but with household cleaning products and more toilet humour.

Maxine Mei-Fung Chung

Maxine Mei-Fung Chung is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and training psychotherapist. She lectures on trauma, gender and sexuality and clinical dissociation.

Originally trained in the arts, she previously worked as a creative director for ten years at Condé Nast, The Sunday Times, and The Times (London).

Maxine currently works in private practice where she has a particular interest in the creative feminine, advocating for women and girls finding a voice. She lives in London with her son. 

Miki Berenyi

Miki Berenyi is a singer, songwriter and guitarist, formerly of Lush and now with Piroshka and the Miki Berenyi Trio.

Described as ‘an extraordinary life story’ by MOJO Magazine, her critically acclaimed autobiography, Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me from Success, tracks the trials and tribulations of being a female singer-songwriter rising to fame in the 90’s. Much more than your average rock autobiography Miki explores with great honesty how music became the route out from a troubled childhood, marked by neglect, frequent relocation and abuse. Told through frank confession, wry humour and emotional honesty, this is the remarkable, beautifully told story of a trailblazing woman in an often infuriatingly male world.

Monika Radojevic

Monika Radojevic is a Brazilian-Montenegrin poet, award winning writer and women's rights campaigner. In 2019, she became the inaugural winner of the Merky Books New Writers' prize for her poetry, and her debut collection, teeth in the back of my neck was published in 2021 with Penguin Random House. Her writing has been described as a "vital contribution to literature" by Huck Magazine and "courageous and arresting...a poet to watch" by the Independent. In 2022, Monika launched 'Feminist Invoicing', a poetry project and workshop series about power dynamics and what we're owed from systems of oppression, and she is also working on her first short story collection.

Missfits

Plus size fitness instructor and fat liberation activist with her own inclusive feel-good dance based exercise classes - designed for those who don't feel at home in the gym! Becky knows that all bodies are good bodies and everyone deserves an opportunity to explore joy in movement to feel the general wellbeing benefits but also to feel more connected to their bodies.

Patrice Lawrence

Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian and Trinidadian household. Her first book for young adults, Orangeboy, was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and won the Bookseller YA Prize and Waterstone’s Prize for Older Children's Fiction. Indigo Donut, her second book for teenagers, won the Crimefest YA Prize. Both books have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Patrice worked for more than 20 years for charities supporting equality and social justice. These themes (along with a serious amount of music) inform her stories. Patrice still lives in Brighton.

Rachelle Atalla

Rachelle Atalla is a Scottish-Egyptian novelist, short story writer and screenwriter based in Glasgow. Her debut novel The Pharmacist was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2022 to critical acclaim, and her second novel Thirsty Animals was published in March of 2023. Her short stories have been published widely, she is the recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and she also co-edited Scotland’s leading literary anthology New Writing Scotland for three years. Rachelle’s first short film screenplay Trifle was commissioned by the Scottish Film & Talent Network, appearing at BAFTA and Oscar qualifying film festivals, and in 2021 she was selected to participate in the Young Films Foundation Skye Residency Programme, developing her first feature-length screenplay with BBC Film.

Rebecca Humphries

Rebecca has written for Vogue, Elle, the Guardian and the Telegraph on relationships, singledom and womanhood. In 2019 she spoke at the House of Commons on behalf of the organisers of the Women's March London about gaslighting and the media.

As an actress, Rebecca has most recently appeared in Ten Percent (Amazon Prime), The Crown (Netflix) and Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4).

All of the above has happened following her public break up in 2018.

Robin Stevens

Robin Stevens was born in California but grew up in Oxford, directly opposite the house where Alice in Wonderland lived. A life-long fan of detective fiction she is best known as the author of the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, starring dynamic duo Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. She is also the author of The Guggenheim Mystery and the Deepdean Mini-Mysteries.

Sabeena Akhtar

Sabeena Akhtar is a Writer/Editor and an Arts and Culture programmer working across a variety of literary festivals. She is the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the UK’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora, a co-founder of the Primadonna Festival which spotlights the work of women writers including through the Primadonna Prize for writing, and also co-founder of Bare Lit Kids, the UK’s first children’s festival showcasing the work of writers of colour. She is also Senior Programmer at the WOW Foundation, working on its London festival at the Southbank Centre and across its global programmes. A keen advocate for Partition commemoration, in 2017 she partook in the BBC’s coverage of the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and alongside her daughter, filmed a programme on the Partition of India for children. She has since been invited to discuss the subject on various media outlets. She has published a wide variety of work including editing Cut From The Same Cloth? an anthology by visibly Muslim women in Britain, Talking About Islamophobia published by Hachette, and is currently working on a novel. You can find Sabeena tweeting at @pocobookreader

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas was born in Scotland, brought up in Kenya and lives in London. Her debut novel, Queen K, was published by Serpent's Tail in February 2023.

Shona Abhyankar

Shona Abhyankar is an award-winning book publicist and one of the Primadonna founding members. She is associate director at ed public relations, a PR agency who specialise in fiction and non-fiction book campaigns, as well as publishing awards and events. Shona’s former roles include Head of Publicity at Penguin Random House and PR Lead for Amazon Publishing UK. She is a mentor for the Publishers Publicity Circle (PPC) and has won PPC awards for her work. Shona’s previous authors include Arianna Huffington, Abi Morgan and Sheryl Sandberg. Find her on Twitter @PublicityShona and on Instagram @shonaandotherstories.

Suad Kamardeen

Suad Kamardeen is a British-Nigerian Muslim writer, Head of Editorial at Amaliah, fiction editor at Rowayat, proofreader, photographer, engineering graduate and a Creative Writing Masters student at the University of Oxford. She is interested in documenting histories and cultures through storytelling.

Her young adult novel, Never Enough, won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022 and was also selected as runner-up for FAB Prize 2021. Her adult novel was shortlisted for the Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021, and in 2017, she co-authored a short story collection, Soulful Stories: of Hope, Love and Light. Her writing has also appeared in Bad Form Review and Sapelo Square.

In 2022, Suad launched a writing community, Qalb Writers Collective, to support Black and Muslim women writers and share the knowledge she’s gaining through her writing journey.

She also co-hosts two podcasts with friends: Bookversations, where she has reflective conversations inspired by books she cares about, and Ọrẹ Meji: Yoruba ni ṣoki, a podcast centred on embracing her mother tongue, Yoruba, and reconnecting with her heritage.

Tia Fisher

Tasneem Abdur-Rashid

Tasneem Abdur-Rashid is a British Bengali writer born and raised in London. A mother of two, Tasneem has worked across media, PR and communications for over 15 years, in the UK and in the Middle East. She holds a BA and MA in Creative Writing, and her debut rom-com, Finding Mr Perfectly Fine, was published by Bonnier/Zaffre in July 2022 as part of a two-book publishing deal. She is also the co-host of the award-winning podcast, Not Another Mum Pod, which empowers women who feel voiceless a platform to share their stories. Tasneem was also the anonymous writer behind the Middle Eastern bestseller, Desperate in Dubai, published by Penguin Random House.

Throughout her childhood, teenage and young adult years, Tasneem struggled to find books that contained characters that she could relate to. As a visible Muslim growing up in North London, the otherness she experienced in day-to-day life followed her home and continued in the books she read.
Tasneem hopes to bring diversity to publishing by creating stories that explore underrepresented cultures with sensitivity. Through her writing, she hopes to help create a world where everyone – children and adults - can see themselves in the books that they read.

William Lee Adams

Winnie Li

Winnie M Li is an author and activist. Her debut novel, DARK CHAPTER won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, was nominated for an Edgar Award, and translated into ten languages. She is currently adapting it for the screen. Her second novel Complicit explores #MeToo in the film industry and prompted an intense bidding war for US rights. It will be published in Summer 2022. A Harvard graduate, Winnie previously wrote for travel guide books, produced independent films, and programmed for film festivals. She has received grants from the Royal Society of Literature and the Arts Councils of England and Northern Ireland. Winnie is also Founder of Clear Lines, the UK’s first-ever festival addressing sexual assault and consent through the arts and discussion. Her PhD research at the London School of Economics explores media engagement by rape survivors as a form of activism. She has appeared on the BBC, Sky News, Channel 4, The Guardian, The Times, The Mail on Sunday, BBC Woman’s Hour, and TEDx London. Winnie has an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland in recognition of her writing and activism. She lives somewhere between London and Somerset, with her partner and toddler.

The Patriarchs

Award-winning journalist Angela Saini speaks to a very special guest about her radical new book examining the true history of gendered oppression and how men came to rule

Are You Paying Attention (to Yourself)?

In this session, actor and author Rebecca Humphries, and author and broadcaster Daisy Buchanan talk about self-love, resilience and friendship. Rebecca's bestselling memoir Why Did You Stay? reveals how she found a way to rebuild a whole new life after a toxic relationship ended dramatically and publically.  Daisy's brand new novel Limelight is a story of sexuality, sisterhood and self-esteem. Together, these two brilliant women will explore how we can navigate our way past shame and judgement, and start paying attention to ourselves.

From popstar to published

JB Gill shot to fame in 2008 as one quarter of X Factor runners-up JLS. The band split in 2013, after which JB had some solo success before moving on to TV presenting, linked to his love of farming. He is now a published children’s author, with his first title Ace and the Animal Heroes: The Big Farm Rescue published this year by Penguin. It’s been described as ‘Dr Dolittle meets Dick King-Smith – a funny charming animal adventure from pop-star, presenter and award-winning farmer JB Gill’.

Pecs appeal

Last year Emma Kennedy took her power back, lifting weights until she felt better. Here, she sits down to talk about female strength, getting hench and satisfying appetites of all kinds.

Note books

Is it because we all want to be pop stars? Or just that all of us have a soundtrack to our lives that means that special moments – good and bad – bring to mind musical as well as visual memories. And does all this explain the meteoric rise in the music memoir in the last decade or so? We ask all this and more of our incredible panel as we explore some of the best recent music memoirs and speak with their authors about the songs that have defined their lives. With Miki Berenyi, frontwoman of 90s Britpop phenomenon Lush and author of Fingers Crossed which chronicles her own ‘story of avoiding success’

Westminster: WTF?

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that our political system is failing (badly). From scandals and resignations to the outright corrupt, how can we have any trust in the highest office in the land?  In this fun and informative session, author of How Westminster Works (...and Why It Doesn’t), Ian Dunt leads our panel through the problems – and how to fix them.

Modern romance

Girls who want boys

Who like boys to be girls

Who do boys like they're girls

Who do girls like they're boys… it’s all a blur for today’s hottest writers of modern-day love stories. Join journalist and author Laura Kay, whose third novel Wild Things tells the story of a platonic friendship developing into something more; K Patrick whose debut Mrs S chronicles the burgeoning love affair between a boarding school matron and the headmaster’s wife; and Raheem Payne, whose drag performances break down gender norms and expectations of style and beauty. Together, they think about what it means to represent queerer ideas of love and sex, and the joys and pressures of trying to live and love authentically.

Sit down with some of the brilliant Black writers and thinkers who contributed to the recent anthology Mandem – a series of essays examining contemporary culture, covering everything from the importance of male role-models to the unique relationship between mother and son, the sexual pressure placed on young heterosexual men to the question ‘what does contemporary Black queerness actually look like?’

Get to grips with modern beauty standards and why beauty capitalism preys on insecurities. From dying our gray hair to BBLs we ask if we're simply socialised to hate ourselves in order to buy more shit!

Disappearing women

Bestselling author Joanne Harris’s new novel Broken Light tells the story of Bernie, who feels herself growing less visible, less surprising, less lovable, with every passing day until the murder of a woman in a local park unlocks a series of childhood memories, and with them, a power that she has suppressed for all her adult life. Margaret Meyer’s debut The Witching Tide is based on true events and set during the English Civil War, holding up a mirror to the world we live in now to devastating effect. Together they discuss the phenomenon of the vanishing older woman: why do they become invisible with age, and what happens if they take back control? 

From Gay to Z: The queer parent guide

Options for queer parenting are more diverse than ever before, but is all the information readily available? Whether you are a queer parent, or one day hope to be, authors Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley sit down with writer and performer Hannah Silva – author of My Child, the Algorithm, a genre-fluid memoir that questions what it is to write, to parent and to love – to give us the lowdown on everything you need to know about starting a family – and holding one together. 

On a journey...

We sit down with three brilliant authors of books that explore literal and metaphorical journeys: Octavia Bright’s This Ragged Grace tells the story of her recovery from alcohol addiction, and the parallel story of her father's descent into Alzheimer's as she moves between London, the island of Stromboli, New York, Cornwall and Margate, ultimately learning that wherever you go, you take yourself with you. Emma Styles’ No Country for Girls follows two strangers as they go on the run across Australia's remote outback: a new take on the classic road trip genre that’s been described as ‘Thelma & Louise for a new generation’ with the same tropes of female friendship, escape… and a great car. And William Lee Adams’ Wild Dances: My Queer and Curious Journey to Eurovision is a memoir of glitz, glamour, geopolitics, and the power of pop music, following a misunderstood queer biracial kid from small-town Georgia who became the world’s foremost Eurovision Song Contest blogger. In the chair is novelist Elissa Soave, whose debut Ginger and Me also explored the journey undertaken by two female friends… often on a bus. 

Absolute power corrupts... absolutely

Two authors of must-read new novels come together to talk about the themes of wealth, privilege and the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots – and the shared humanity that lives in between. Featuring Women’s Prize-shortlisted author Ayòbámi Adébáyò, whose new novel A Spell of Good Things unveils a dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession and political corruption; and Sarah Thomas, whose literary thriller Queen K revolves around a high society party thrown by an oligarch's wife on her superyacht.

Colonial countryside

Professor Corinne Fowler made headlines last summer as the lead academic author of the National Trust’s Colonial Countryside report, with its publication attracting intense media coverage for exploring the links between National Trust properties and colonialism. Mahsuda Snaith is a commissioned writer for the Colonial Countryside project linked to the report: a child-led writing and history project that explores the African, Caribbean and Indian connections at 11 National Trust properties in order to inspire a new generation of young people to advocate talking about colonial history. In this session they address the collective amnesia about Britain’s four colonial centuries through discussion of the parts of our country deemed most idyllic and most untouched by the darker shades of the past, taking in the histories of mining, wool production, land ownership, dispossession and enclosure – and how they’ve shaped the very ground we walk on. 

Dog hearted

Join our panel of humans and their four legged furry friends as they delve into the new Dog Hearted anthology, which brings joy and delight, and surprising depth and poignancy. It goes beyond the wet snouts and wagging tails and gets to the heart of what makes dogs our true lifelong companions. All dogs welcome!

Diana Evans

How do we fulfil our obligations to each other, whilst also finding happiness for ourselves? Can we uproot our lives in search of something better without hurting those closest to us? Set in the shadow of Grenfell and a country in turmoil, award winning author, Diana Evans discusses her latest novel A House for Alice in this intimate ‘in conversation’.

art of opinion

In the argy-bargy of the newsroom, what does it take to cut through the noise and get your opinion across? How do you carve out a USP that allows you to challenge ideas, hold truth to power and persuade readers to pause, think or even change their minds? And what do opinion writers do when they’re not filing 300 words for the weekend supplements? We asked some of the best in business...

round the twist

Joanna Cannon’s latest novel A Tidy Ending has been hailed as her best yet by everyone from Marian Keyes to Fern Britton. But what does it take to write such a complex, twisting and tense tale, and how do you hold it all together without losing it a little yourself. Ask Joanna all this and more in this masterclass of plotting and penwomanship. Not to be missed. 

Adele Parks

British born author Adele Parks is the author of 22 bestselling novels including the recent Sunday Times Number One hits Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck. Over four and a half million UK editions of her work have been sold and her books have been translated into 31 different languages. She is an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency: two charities that promote literacy in the UK. Adele also writes for national media including The Times, Guardian, The Telegraph and appears regularly on TV as a spokesperson for the publishing industry. In 2022 she was awarded an MBE - a British order of chivalry – by His Majesty King Charles III for services to literature.

mum's the word

In this session we speak to the authors who juggle parenting responsibilities and writing careers. What is the impact on our creativity – does it make us better writers or worse?

Main character energy

Narrated through 10 hilarious commandments, comedian and podcaster Fats Timbo shows us how to subvert tired expectations and become the main character in our own lives. Shamelessly finding fun in her life and the world around her, Fats has amassed a following of millions for her disability advocacy and quick witted Tik Toks, and now she’s written the book on main character energy so that you can discover your passion – and own it, too.

poetry open mic

Come along to our open-to-all session where Justine de Mierre (aka ‘Lady J’) will host a very special hour for all-comers, Justine has been hosting super-friendly open mics across Suffolk for a decade and will be bringing that community vibe to Primadonna. Try out your ideas or work on new material in this inclusive space for poets of all kinds – Justine will even read your work for you if you’d prefer. You can also put yourself forward to be considered to perform on the main stage as part of Sunday’s Rhyme and Shine event. 

feminist book society

The first rule of Feminist Book Society? You must talk about Feminist Book Society! Join Eleanor Dryden and Rosie Beaumont-Thomas as they host this special edition of FBS, bringing together three feminist authors who would never usually share a stage to discuss a burning feminist issue: justice for women. Come with questions as this event is inclusive in every possible way: you’ll be part of the discussion, and you’ll leave with the intention to do something differently tomorrow because of what you hear.

Writing with chronic illness

 From Virgina Woolf to James Joyce, many of our favourite authors have famously struggled with chronic illness, but can we be creative about getting creative and redefine what productivity means for us? In this session we ask what creativity looks like for those of us struggling with chronic illness and how we can thrive at a pace of one's own!

just criminal

Icelandic writer Jonina Leosdottir has written 20 crime novels in her 34-year career, and has just been published in English with her novel Deceit. Here, she is joined by Jacky Collins (aka Dr Noir) who set up the crime writing festival Newcastle Noir and has interviewed all the great and good of the crime genre from both the UK and Scandinavia, including Sophie Hannah, Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves.

dazzling debuts

We speak to two incredible debut novelists about their first books, centred on their characters’ quests for closure, adulthood and fulfilling their destiny following the death of their fathers. Jyoti Patel’s The Things That We Lost is a thoughtful and assured debut that explores what it means to be a young person of colour in Britain today, narrated from a dual perspective – that of 18-year-old Nik and his British Indian mother Avani – as Nik tries to unravel the circumstances of his father’s death. Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ’s debut Dazzling chronicles two girls dealing with the  the legacy of their fathers' decisions and their own burgeoning freedom at a boarding school where terrible things start to happen…

Yes, we know it sounds a bit dodgy, but what is Cli-fi and why should we be reading it? From spooky forebodings to real life dystopias, we talk to the authors bringing climate fiction to the top of our reading lists.

Get *!$@-ing On With It!

Don't miss this masterclass on being productive with your writing: if you’re slow to get started, easily distracted or crippled by impostor syndrome… stop it! Sit down for this session and get yourself in the writing hotseat and on to great things. 

Mother tongue

The history of women’s words is full of surprises. From the monthly flux or flowers to the mægs that experience them, from the original helpmeet, Eve, to the viragos who fronted early feminism, there was a wealth of riches for describing women’s experiences, lives and selves. Jenni Nuttall, academic and author of Mother Tongue discusses the rich, provocative and entertaining history of women’s words – the language women have, and haven’t, had to share their lives.

Dear future me

Where do you hope to be in a year’s time? Who do you hope to be? What do you wish to accomplish? Have the opportunity to write a letter to your future self with all your hopes and dreams and it’ll be posted to you in a year’s time! With Samanta Bell who runs Stowmarket’s Fox Yard Studios and has recently established Stowmarket Arts CIC.

historical fiction

Join Polly Crosby for this masterclass in writing about (and around) the past. If you've got a story that you want to set authentically in a different time period, don't miss this session with one of the leading authors in the genre. 

Primadonna Prize: award ceremony

Find out who has won this year’s Prize for unsigned writers: and a book deal and an agent! With head judge Lisa Milton and the five shortlisted writers, as well as the judging panel of experts. Not one to miss!

goodness gracious grief

Join this creative collaging workshop expressing the themes surrounding grief with Nafeesa and Ikra Arshad who created Goodness Gracious Grief, a space for communicating and exploring themes surrounding death and loss.

Qi gong

Join Laura Ichajapanich as she leads you through a series of gentle exercises based on Traditional Chinese medicine. 

breaking the stigma

Join us for this practical session on how to take the best care of your mental health: and how to avoid the shame associated with asking for help. 

graffiti wall

Learn the art of graffiti in our all-ages workshop, then head to our graffiti wall to add your contribution at any time you feel inspired throughout the festival weekend. Just make sure you put the paints back! 

 

how to be a podcaster!

It seems like everyone (and their misogynistic relative) is a podcaster these days, but how do they do it? Join us for a fun and informative session that breaks down the basics of becoming a podcaster. From mic set-up to finances and more, our team of experts covers it all.

Ready, set, goals!

Primadonna is a place to spark ideas in your mind and dreams in your heart. But how are you going to go about turning those dreams, that book, that business idea into reality? Wouldn’t it be great to come home with a plan of how to make the world a little bit more as it should be for more than one weekend? Putting aside her merits and accolades (seriously you can google her if you’re curious) Athena Stevens sits down for a very special workshop that hits close to home: how to set goals and get a game plan. From having to learn to walk to basic functions such as swallowing, Athena has a lifetime of experience setting goals and making the seemingly impossible possible. Step-by-step. It doesn’t matter what you want to accomplish, that stays between you and the page, but here’s an opportunity, while experiencing the Primadonna high, to spend time with yourself and understand what you could do next. 

drag king workshop

Join Lenna Cumberbatch as she takes you through an interactive session on dragging up as a king. Bring any clothing and props that you’d like to try out (facial hair is provided) as well as an extra pair of socks (all will be made clear).

missfits workout

MissFits Workout® was designed as an 'entry level' dance-based workout for people who don't feel at home in the gym. Rather than scaling back routines, participants build up the moves together, working at the level that works for you and your body. The focus is about finding the joy in movement and exercise. MissFits Workout® is for bodies of all shapes and sizes – come along and get into the groove.

feminist invoicing

What would you reclaim from the patriarchy if you could? What do we lose thanks to unequal power dynamics and how can we both heal and feel empowered through the process? Feminist Invoicing is a creative project exploring those questions by submitting creative ‘invoices’ to the patriarchy in the form of poetry or other writing. Join us for performances and a creative writing workshop led by award-winning poet, Monika Radojevic, with an open invitation to submit your own ‘invoice’ and reclaim your story. The interactive session will open with free-writing exercises exploring themes of power and oppression, before guiding participants through the act of 'invoicing' the patriarchy, and will culminate in poetry performances open to all. Come ready to write, share and reflect on the power of poetry to shape political and personal change.

natural voices

Join Lynn Whitehead, member of the Natural Voice Network, for this no-pressure,  good-for-the-soul unaccompanied singing session. You’ll learn by the sing-back method, taking on simple, folky harmonies and rounds. No previous experience necessary. 

teatime tales

A gentle introduction to the ever-evolving tradition of oral storytelling with professional storyteller Justine de Mierre. Everyone’s a storyteller, even if they don’t yet know it, and in this workshop Justine will start you on the journey to discovering what a great tale spinner you already are! There’ll be games, exercises and for those who are brave, the opportunity to tell their story out loud! (Workshop suitable for adults and accompanied children age 11+).

Reboot quiz show

Elaine Kasket's ‘Reboot: Reclaiming Your Life in a Tech-Obsessed World’ explores how technology influences our psychology, identity, and relationships at each stage of the life span. This interactive workshop uses a quiz-show format to highlight key themes and facts about our tech-saturated existence; sensitise participants to current events and trends; disabuse commonly held misconceptions and myths about our life on tech; and prompt attendees to interrogate and reflect on their own assumptions and biases. 

astrology bingo

Your favourite galactic gal pals Figs in Wigs have created Astrology Bingo - the world’s first ever* cosmic game show for astrology lovers, bingo wingers and their sceptic friends. You’ll need to listen closely for your ‘Scorpio Moon’ or your 'Capricorn Rising’ sign to be called before you can dab dab dab your pain away.

rhyme and shine

Headlining this Primadonna fixture is Dean Atta who will read from his poetry collection There is (still) love here, a personal and powerful exploration of relationships, love and loss, encompassing LGBTQ+ and Black history, Greek Cypriot heritage, pride and identity, dislocation and belonging. Alongside him, James McDermott will read from his new poetry collection ‘Wild Life’ which explores the nature of queerness, queerness of nature – notably McDermott's fluid Norfolk coast – and the queerness of ‘natural’ masculinity. And Brenda Read Brown will add her riotous celebration of growing older, taking in rhubarb, (not) climbing Everest, suitcases, soft-closing kitchen drawers, squirrels, and comic injuries. 

double d disco

Debs Googe and Smith return to the disco barn to liven up Saturday night with their inimitable mix of disco, trash, punk, funk, alternative... and more!

Mary Poppins dancealong

Watch the film, copy the moves, have a super (califragilisticexpialidocious) time. 

miki berenyi trio

Miki Berenyi is backed by Moose on guitar and Oliver Cherer on bass. The Trio started out doing a few Lush songs for book events around the publication of Miki’s memoir Fingers Crossed and as momentum built for the book and the band has been invited to play more often and for longer, the set has grown to encompass Piroshka tracks and the band have now started writing new music for some nebulous future project. Their early sell-out shows have seen the new tracks receive the most enthusiastic reception, so grab this opportunity to see the start of something special!

dosa cat the drag queen

Raheem Payne is the artistic genius behind Dosa Cat the Drag Queen. With a Masters in Contemporary Movement, a passion for dance and having done a TedEx Talk on Fluidity, Sexuality and Identity, Raheem is a brilliant host, hilarious speaker and fabulous personality - breaking down gender norms and expectations in their natural presence, style and beauty. Raheem is also a professional stylist with a natural flare for fashion and beauty.

cally beaton

Cally Beaton is a comedian, business leader, podcaster, writer, keynote speaker and entrepreneur. Well-known for being a natural storyteller, full of intelligent, distinctive and punchline-rich material, Cally is one of the UK’s most sought-after acts for both comedy and corporate work.

brigitte aphrodite

Join Brigitte Aphrodite on a wild literary road-trip, celebrating Living Legends (And Dead Ones Too) through original poetry, music, and stories. With composition by Quiet Boy, the show is a welcoming, communal experience: a conversation starter, a raucous night out. Brigitte delivers captivating, standalone odes to a glittering array of legends, highlighting both sung and unsung heroes who call our nation home. The legends include David Bowie in Bromley, Poly Styrene in Hastings and Aphra Behn in Canterbury to name but a few. The show collects local legends from every venue it is performed, which appear on Brigitte’s beautifully illustrated dress and becomes part of the fabric and conversation of future performances as it tours around the country. Commissioned by Inn Crowd, the show features dress design by Siobhan Hogan and legend illustrations by Megan Metcalf.

graffiti workshop

Joel Millerchip is an illustrator who can conjure up curly-haired characters, fantastic beasts, and distorted scenes with pen, paper or spray can. Join him for a how-to session on making a start with spray painting, and then head to our World As It Should Be Wall to express yourself however you want!

crossing the line

Erik is trying to figure it out. One moment he’s skipping school and the next, he’s running for his life from a drugs gang. How did everything go so wrong? Join Tia Fisher, author of the incredible Crossing the Line, for a deep dive into her narrative verse YA novel about a young boy’s escape from county lines trafficking.

steam engine rides

Make the most of your visit to Primadonna by treating yourself or a friend (or even a parent) to a drive of the Food Museum’s 1912 Steam Traction Engine, the Empress of Britain. Become an honorary member of the Steam Team as you take the wheel of this majestic machine for a half hour chug along the track. It’s a great photo opportunity too! Meet at the engine outside the Boby Building – you must book in advance, either online at www.foodmuseum.org.uk or in the shop. £20 per driver.

Badger and bat walks

Join the Museum team for a stroll through the beautiful site as you lookout for badgers and bats! They will talk through what you’re looking for and how to use binoculars, followed by a chat about other animals and birds that can be seen at this time of the evening. Once in the hide you will keep quiet and be on the lookout for badgers, bats and other creatures.

captain loo roll

Originating from the trunk of the magical everlasting oak tree, Captain Looroll is super strong, endlessly long, and brimming with courage. However, stuck in the deadly dull surrounds of the downstairs toilet, heroic adventures could not be further away. All that changes, though, when along comes a very stinky villain named Toilet-troll. Together with her band of trusty sidekicks, Captain Looroll must use her 3-ply powers to save the world from imminent – and extremely messy – destruction… Join Captain Loo Roll’s creator Matt Carr in this special session for younger readers.

Rapunzella, Or, Don't Touch My Hair

Ella McLeod’s incredible debut combines poetry and prose to startling effect in a heart-piercingly honest exploration of a teenager coming into her power as a young woman. Rapunzella is imprisoned in a forest made from her own Afro as she comes of age amidst the temptations and opportunities of the inner-city in this genre-bending YA that weaves together inner-city life and a wildly dangerous fairytale universe. Join author and poet Ella in this session for younger readers that incorporates a reading/performance and a discussion of the book and its origins. 

The Ministry of Unladylike Activity

1940. Britain is at war, and a secret arm of the British government called the Ministry of Unladylike Activity is training up spies.
Enter May Wong: courageous, stubborn, and desperate to help end the war so that she can go home to Hong Kong (and leave her annoying school, Deepdean, behind forever). May knows that she would make the perfect spy. After all, grown-ups always underestimate children like her...

get spooked!

Join registered tour guide Lynn Whitehead for this terrifying tour of the Museum grounds featuring beastly goings-on, ghostly visitations and more. But don’t worry: all children will be returned unharmed at the end of the session (probably). Suitable for ages 10 and upwards.