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Latitudes Literary Arena

Latitude celebrates the art of the written word and all its many splendid facets at Suffolk’s now legendary library by the sea.

Literary Arena

Latitude celebrates the art of the written word and all its many splendid facets at Suffolk’s now legendary library by the sea. Like all good books, the Literary Arena will transport you to the far reaches of your imagination guided by the storytelling talents of the very best authors and special guests scheduled for the weekend. Discussions, Q&As, stories and comic genius are the order of the day for these book readings with a difference. Immerse yourself in Latitude’s literary world and learn, explore, laugh and discover at the best literary event of the summer.

Latitude welcomes The School Of Life to the Sunrise Coast; bringing specially selected workshops to the Literary Salon, designed to help you live life to the full. The workshops will include ‘How To Talk To Strangers’ and ‘How To Be A Good Lover’. The School of Live will also be offering Bilbliotherapy sessions which can be booked on site. The School of Life is a new social enterprise providing good ideas for everyday living. Based in a small shop in Central London, they offer a variety of programmes and services concerned with how to live wisely and well. The School of Life is a place to step back and think intelligently about everyday questions and concerns. You will be directed towards a variety of ideas - from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts – that tickle, exercise and expand your mind. A haven for the curious, sociable and open-minded, The School Of Life is an emporium of emotions, a bazaar of bibliotherapy, a convenience store of concepts, a trading post of triumphant philosophies. Fellow Literary Arena performer Geoff Dyer declared “At a stroke the phrase ‘too cool for school’ has been rendered obsolete.”

Would Latitude be the same without the utterly brilliant Robin Ince’s Book Club? The magnificent mayhem of Robin Ince and his unique literary comic genius brings both good and bad books to life. The legendary ‘Book Club’ of comics writers and performers will tell stories and bring you readings accompanied appropriately by saccharine and sublime soundtracks; a fantastic concept in wisecracking wit and literary lunacy.

Joining Robin Ince for Latitude this year are: comedy genius Stewart Lee; craft-loving, if.comedy award-winner Josie Long; Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ columnist and funny man Ben Goldacre; master of comedy characters Jo Neary; stand-up and improv legend Michael Legge, Dublin writer and stand-up performer Johnny Candon; multi-award winner Peter Buckley Hill; the young quick-witted Luke Roberts; film and comic book buff Rich Sandling and cult singer-songwriter and guitarist, Robyn Hitchcock. Former member of 70's psychedelic punks The Soft Boys, Hitchcock's surreal and comedic songs characterising English eccentrics and melancholy are a fantastic addition to Ince's Book Club.

Celebrated writer of fiction, poetry, journalism, critique and adaptation, literary genius Blake Morrison will be coming to Latitude armed with a wealth of work to perform readings and discussions from. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and former Chair of the Poetry Book Society and Vice-Chair of PEN, Blake Morrison’s best-known works include his two memoirs, ‘Things My Mother Never Told Me.’(2002), ‘And When Did You Last See Your Father?’ (1993) - which won Esquire/Volvo/Waterstones’ Non-Fiction Book Award and the J.R Ackerley Prize – and his most recent novel ‘South Of The River’ (2007) which has been made into a TV series.

Award-winning writer Geoff Dyer joins the literary line-up with readings from his latest book: ‘Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi’ out this year. Some of Dyer’s best work includes the non-fiction book about jazz entitled ‘But Beautiful’ (1991), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; and his novels: ‘The Search’ (1993), a complex narrative about a woman's search for her missing husband, and ‘Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It’ (2003) – a hilarious account of Dyer’s worldwide travels. He is one of the most original and talented writers of a generation and an exciting addition to the arena.

Controversy is shrouding Julie Myerson’s latest book ‘The Lost Child’ – an autobiographical tale of Myerson's decision to lock her 17-year-old son Jake out of the family home over his use of skunk cannabis. Her narrative puts forward the many questions and moral dilemmas that face an ever increasing number of families who are dealing with drug abuse and addiction and her reading at Latitude will no doubt bring many of these issues and debates to some lively discussions. Her other novels have received wide acclaim, such as ‘Something Might Happen’ – a story of murder in a Suffolk seaside town – which was shortlisted for the WH Smith Literary Award.

With a truly original voice, renowned novelist and short story writer Tibor Fischer brings his fantastically surreal story ‘Good To Be God’ to life with readings from this, his latest book. Fischer gained attention with his incredible debut novel ‘Under The Frog’ which was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize, won the Betty Trask Prize and helped earn him the accolade of one of the 20 'Best of Young British Novelists 2' by Granta magazine in 1993.

Radio DJ, television presenter, writer, journalist, critic and champion of pop music and popular culture Stuart Maconie joins the Latitude Literary line-up. Come and enjoy Afternoon Tea with Maconie and a few of his friends as he ponders, mulls, discusses and debates the themes of his current book ‘Adventures On The High Teas In Search Of Middle England’. The quest for what is quintessentially Middle England took Maconie on a tour of maypole dancing, fine ale drinking and quirky tradition alongside binge drinking, flooded market towns and rundown concrete sprawls including such gems as Tamworth and Slough. Join in his expedition and discover just what it is that lurks at the centre of this great nation.

Stand-up comic and celebrated crime writer, Mark Billingham brings his latest gripping thriller to Latitude. Billingham has created a best-selling series of intense crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne. The second novel in the series, ‘Scaredy Cat’ (2002) won the Sherlock Award for ‘Best Detective Novel Created by a UK Author’, and was also nominated for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for ‘Best Crime Novel of the Year’; and the fifth, ‘Lifeless’ (2005) was nominated for BCA ‘Crime Thriller of the Year’ Award in 2006. His standalone novel ‘In The Dark’ - another edge-of-your-seat, spine-tingling blockbuster - came out last year and he is also completing work on the next chapter of the Tom Thorne series called ‘Blood Line’.

At Latitude this year Richard Milward will be reading from his latest novel, Ten Storey Love Song (Faber&Faber), a story of sex, death and sweets in a North-East block of flats. Richard’s debut novel, ‘Apples’, was published to great acclaim in 2007, receiving accolades from such folk as Irvine Welsh and Lauren Laverne. Join Richard – a recent Fine Art graduate from Byam Shaw School of Art, London – as he adorns a specially-painted cardboard tower block on his bonce, and invites you to meet the intoxicated inhabitants of Peach House.

Famed poet and novelist Tobias Hill brings his fantastic imagination to Latitude. As well as winning many awards for his fabulous collections of poems, Hill’s novels also receive worldwide recognition. His acclaimed novel ‘The Love of Stones’ (2001), which spans six centuries, is the tale of a long-lost jewel once owned by Elizabeth I, and is currently being developed into a film by Granada Films. His most recent work is ‘The Hidden’ (2009), a story of secrets, loyalties and friendships is set on an excavation site in Greece. He is also the author of an acclaimed collection of short stories, ‘Skin’ (1997) which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award.

Celebrated for her spoken-word wizardry, Laura Dockrill will be story-telling and reading from her second book ‘Ugly Shy girl’ that was released in June. A dark tale of a girl who always says and does the wrong thing and dipicts the struggle of growing up in a place where you don't belong, surrounded by people you hate... and delicious revenge. Laura was voted one of the Top Ten literary talents of 2008 and has gone on to feature in Vogue, Elle, Time Out and the Independent on Sunday. Laura has appeared on The Verb, Bespoken Word and Radio 1’s Poetry surgery and is scheduled to appear on Women’s Hour later in the year. Quirky, playful and unique, Dockrill’s stream of consciousness is witty, wise and entertaining.

Songwriter and musician Luke Haines brings his warts’n’all autobiography to Latitude. Famed for forming The Auteurs and later Black Box Recorder, Luke Haines was a prominent figure in the Britpop era of the early/mid nineties and is often quoted as believing The Auteurs debut was responsible for starting the Britpop movement. In his book: ‘Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part In Its Downfall’ Haines dispels any myths and pretensions with an acerbic and hilarious tell-all account of this celebrated era of British music.

Multi award winning actress, comedian, author and scriptwriter Emma Kennedy, will be coming to Latitude to share her comic insight to life. Kennedy won the Comedy Lounge Best Actress Award and the British Television Advertising Craft Award for Best Actress, as well as the Sony Awards for her Radio shows the Sunday Format and The Now Show. Kennedy will be performing readings from her recent book, 'The Tent, Bucket and Me' - a hilarious Seventies childhood memoir of wet, windy and utterly disastrous family camping trips. On Kennedy’s book, Jo Brand enthused “I love camping! Relive the experience with Emma et al - you can almost taste the smell of the damp canvas."

"Britain’s best young female comic by any yardstick" (Guardian) Shappi Khorsandi is bringing to Latitude readings from her latest book 'A Beginner's Guide To Acting English', a funny and heartwarming memoir about an Iranian girl growing up in 80's Britain. Khorsandi is a leading comic appearing on countless radio and television programmes including Just a Minute, The News Quiz, The Now Show, Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo, Question Time and Newsnight Review.

William Fiennes is currently Writer-in-Residence at The American School in London. His first book, ‘The Snow Geese’, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, and won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Hawthornden Prize. Named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2003 he has contributed to many publications, including The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Granta, The Observer and The Daily Telegraph. For Latitude, Fiennes will read from his second book, ‘The Music Room’, which is set to be serialised for Radio4 and a number of broadsheets. A sensuous tribute to place, memory and the permanence of love. Eleven years older than Fiennes, his epileptic brother Richard, is a magnetic presence. His energy influences the rhythms of the family and the house's internal life, and his story inspires a journey, interwoven with loving recollection, towards an understanding of the mind.

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24th March 2009
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