Already on the lineup for this year are author and Primadonna Prize judge Andi OshoEmma Kennedy, best-selling author, actor, presenter and Celebrity Masterchef champion; popstar-turned-published-author JB Gill (formerly of boy band JLS); award-winning journalist Angela Saini; Miki Berenyi, frontwoman of 90s Britpop phenomenon Lush and now memoirist; and actor and author Rebecca Humphries chatting with her friend author and broadcaster Daisy Buchanan

Bestselling writers Joanna Cannon, Adele Parks, Patrice Lawrence and Joanne Harris, who will lead the line-up on our dedicated strand of programming for writers and aspiring writers. 

Plus Figs in Wigs offering Astrology Bingo, Mary Poppins Dancealong, poetry performance headlined by Dean Atta, live music, DJs, comedy and cabaret – and for our younger crowd, The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, Captain Loo Roll and Rapunzella, Or, Don’t Touch My Hair.

And this is just the start! Keep checking back for updates in the coming weeks… but book now to make sure you don’t miss out.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Sohom Das

Dr Sohom Das is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, working in prisons, secure hospitals and criminal courts, assessing and rehabilitating mentally ill offenders. He works as an expert witness in criminal and civil court cases. On his YouTube channel, A Psych for Sore Minds, he dissects a multitude of criminal cases and mental-health topics, covering diagnoses such as schizophrenia and PTSD, and offences from arson to murder. In between work, creating YouTube videos and parenting his two young sons, he occasionally dabbles in stand-up comedy and battle-rapping on TV.

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.

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. She leads our panel through a discussion of the phenomenon of the vanishing older woman: why do they become invisible with age, and what happens if they take back control? 

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?’

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. 

what it takes to be a success

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.

expert turned author

From doctors to judges, many professionals turn their expertise into writing books which readers can’t get enough of. In this session on the enduring appeal of the nitty gritty detail of real-life experience, we hear from former teacher Louse Mumford whose experience in schools led logically enough to her writing murder stories; and consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Sohom Das whose recent book In Two Minds looks over his career working in high-security prisons and secure hospital wards.

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!

Join the experts from Writers’ HQ in the Green Room for this don’t-miss 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. 

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. 

From pills to injections, spiking is on the increase despite UK-wide protests to make women safer on the streets. Join us for a workshop in which we ask why this worrying trend is on the increase, how you can keep yourself safe, and what you can demand the government do to make your streets, bars and clubs safer.

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! 


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. 

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.