Hastings Literary Festival is back from September 23rd-25th with a blend of author talks, writing workshops, expert panels, performances and ‘meet the agent’ sessions for budding writers.

The line-up includes leading playwright Sir David Hare, talking about his first book of poetry, and Costa Book of the Year award winner Monique Roffey discussing the challenges of writing about masculinity with The Book of Man website founder, Martin Robinson.

Also featured are journalist Lucy Mangan, who will be discussing her passion for books and her forthcoming first novel Are We Having Fun Yet?, and The Guardian’s acclaimed chief film critic Peter Bradshaw, who will talk about the challenges of translating literature to the big screen.

Other artists appearing include poet Jessica Mookherjee and author Michèle Roberts. Broad-caster Bidisha joins poet and teacher David Herd to discuss and read from Refugee Tales IV, real experiences of anonymous refugees retold by authors. The festival finale Bedtime Stories is an evening of saucy and salacious literary fun, hosted by Bavard Bar compere Tim B’vard and featuring writer and comedian VG Lee, author and poet Penny Pepper, musician Bev Lee Harling and singing ‘nun’ Sister Mary.

There’s support for new and emerging authors: the festival’s popular one-to-one ‘meet the agent’ sessions are with Tom Drake-Lee of DHH Literary Agency, who has nearly three decades of experience in book publishing.

An expert panel featuring Tom, novelist and New Writing South programme manager Sharon Duggal and spoken word poet Pete the Temp will offer new writers the chance to understand publishing from all sides. They will also discuss how the pandemic has affected the industry.

Meanwhile Sussex-based novelist Beth Miller will lead a workshop on Writing Sizzling Sex Scenes – without running the risk of a bad sex award.

Festival founder and director Sam Davey says: “This year’s festival was a leap of faith given all the uncertainty – and the health and safety of our audiences, performers and volunteers has been absolutely paramount in our planning.

“Despite that, the team have worked really hard to bring together an exciting, diverse and hugely entertaining programme.” 

Full details and tickets are available at hastingslitfest.org

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