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Latitude: The Literary Arena 2008

The Literary Arena

Sitting crossed-legged with a beer or a glass of wine in Suffolk’s now legendary library, is a Latitude experience you cannot miss. This cosy corner of the festival is a hub of compelling stories, inspirational discussions and raucous laughter. Many who pop their heads in will end up staying for hours, transfixed by the flights of fancy and comic genius of these book readings with a difference.

This year’s festival offers the absolute cream of the literary crop with many more to be announced over the coming months. Running throughout the weekend and showcasing the very best in contemporary authors and guest speakers, this is simply the hippest and coolest literary event in the country

Vox ’n’ Roll

Vox ’n’ Roll returns for another year. Readings from big name authors and rock ‘n’ roll writers together with well scripted and thought out music provides an alternative take on literature. With forums and discussions on music, albums, gigs, and the industry at large, Vox ‘n’ Roll is a hilarious and insightful Latitude must.

The WordTheatre

The phenomenal WordTheatre bring their storytelling magic to the Literary Arena. This non-profit organization are dedicated to keeping the love of language and literature alive through the wonders of oral storytelling. They create and produce live events featuring literary works performed by world-class authors and big name actors. With salons in Los Angeles, New York and London, they are igniting a new generation of literature fans everywhere. The full cast and short story writers is to be announced.

Robin Ince's Book Club & School For Gifted Children

The Literary Arena at Latitude wouldn’t quite be the same without the magnificent mayhem of Robin Ince and his unique literary comic genius. Bringing both good and bad books to life, Robin Ince’s 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, ‘Book Club’ will take place exclusively at Latitude this year. Robins Ince’s hilarious ‘School for Gifted Children’ is the best lecture you ever had; splintered and haphazard, like the popular children's magazine of knowledge, ‘Look and Learn’. Like a Show-and-Tell, with fewer dinosaurs and more words, some of which will be songs. Oh, and Robin will be bringing some very special guests, featuring brand new characters from Steward Lee, Jo Neary, Josie Long, Wayne Shepherd, Ben Goldacre, Bridget Christie, Martin White, Gavin Osborn and a cacophony of ukuleles and xylophones and most definitely a triangle.

Mark Thomas

Political activist, stand-up comedian and author Mark Thomas the man with the facts and a technique for political probing that could cause a mini riot in the House of Commons is a welcomed addition to Literary Arena. Mark Thomas has lobbied, demonstrated, protested, fought and made a mockery of politicians and corporate companies and is mostly renowned for his political comedy shows, ‘The Mark Thomas Comedy Product’ and ‘The Mark Thomas Product’ on Channel 4. He is also a regular on Radio 4, has presented many Dispatches programmes, and has had many articles published in the New Statesman, Guardian and Sunday Times. Presently working on his new book ‘Belching Out The Devil’ an investigation into the global corporation Coca Cola. He has won the Time Out and Perrier Award for his stand-up comedy as well as being recognised for his political campaigning, including: Kurdish National Congress Medal of Honour (2002), UN Global Human Rights Defender Award (2004), MediActivist Awards (MISTY) (2005) and is the Guinness World Record Holder for Most Number of Political Demonstrations in 24 Hours

Dave Gorman

Latitude welcomes documentary-maker, stand-up comedian and celebrated writer Dave Gorman to the Literary Arena. For Latitude, Dave Gorman brings his current book ‘America Unchained: A Freewheeling Roadtrip In Search of Non-Corporate USA’ which tells the true story of his quest to travel coast to coast across the United States of America to discover whether it is possible to make the journey without ever patronising any corporate or chain-style businesses and to only give money to privately owned businesses. The documentary version won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Austin Film Festival 07. Other accolades include Best One Person Show at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Colorado for his ‘Googlewhack Adventures’ stand-up, for which every date sold out, and the Sunday Times Number One Best Seller for the book version. He was also listed in the Observers Top 50 funniest acts in British comedy. And not forgetting his Perrier Award nominated show ‘Are You Dave Gorman?’ which followed his international search for fellow Dave Gormans. A unique talent that simply cannot be missed

Marcus Brigstocke

Latitude welcomes back Marcus Brigstocke: and The Early Edition. Recognisable from just about every other TV show and arguably the voice of Radio 4, Brigstocke’s recent stand-up includes last year’s excellent ‘Planet Corduroy’. Marcus and his guests will present an insightful and witty daily digest of current affairs in the media, over the weekend.

Iain Banks

Perhaps one of the most revered contemporary British authors of a generation, Iain Banks has earned a fanatical fan-base with his challenging and often controversial novels. From his notorious debut The Wasp Factory, his prolific career has been both populist and experimental, earning him critical and commercial acclaim. Reading from his most recent fictional novel, ‘The Steep Approach to Garbadale’, believed to be his best work since ‘The Crow Road’ and short-listed for the Catherine Mclean Prize, Banks is a thrilling addition to the Latitude Literary Arena.

Hanif Kureishi

Recently awarded the CBE for his services to literature and drama, Hanif Kureishi’s body of work, from plays to novels to screenplays and stories are nothing short of inspirational. Dealing with issues of diverse ethnicity, sexuality and politics, while more recently focusing on the finer points of personal relationships, Kureishi’s engaging and satirical writings have won him a plethora of awards including the Whitbread First novel prize for his bestseller, ‘The Buddha Of Suburbia’. Kureishi will be performing readings from his latest novel, ‘Something To Tell You’, a story centring on Jamal and his friends encroaching middle age, as well as conducting talks and a Q&A.

A L Kennedy

Multi-award winner A L Kennedy, known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work – will perform readings from her ‘Costa Book Of The Year 2007’ ‘Day’. ‘Day’ is a wonderful piece of storytelling: the freight of history and humanity carried effortlessly by the beauty of the writing, a superbly realised novel about the brutal simplicities of war.
Kennedy also contributes to columns and reviews in UK and European newspapers and writes essays for BBC Radio and manages to be an Associate Professor in Creative Writing with Warwick University. If this wasn’t enough talent, Kennedy also performs as a stand-up comedian!

Irvine Welsh

Another essential British author who’s debut novel, ‘Trainspotting’, played an influential role in mid-nineties Brit culture, Irvine Welsh brings to Latitude readings from his latest book, ‘If you Liked School, You’ll Love Work’. His books, often written phonetically in the dialect of Edinburgh’s urban underclass accent from the Leith estates that he grew up in, are smart, witty and frequently staggeringly shocking to the core. His performance will be simply un-missable.

Mike Gayle

British author and freelance journalist Mike Gayle and author of ‘My Legendary Ex-girlfriend’, presents his heart-warming and funny ‘Wish You Were Here’; a story about three 35 year olds holding onto their youth by going on a 18-30 holiday. It’s a witty and wise tale about love and friendship and how seven days in the sun can change your life forever. Mike also freelances for FHM and The Sunday Times style magazine. He will be bringing his bad rules show to Latitude.

Simon Armitage

Having headlined the Poetry Arena at last year’s Latitude, the legendary poet, author and playwright Simon Armitage comes to the Literary Arena performing readings from ‘Gig: The Live and Times of a Rock Star Fantasist’, published by Penguin at the beginning of April. Armitage’s prolific work has earned him a wealth of awards including the Sunday Times Young Author of the Year, one of the first Forward Prizes and a Lannan Award for his poetry; and the Gold Award at the 2005 Spoken Word Awards for his recent dramatisation of The Odyssey, ‘Mister Heracles’, a version of the Euripides play ‘The Madness of Heracles and Jerusalem’.

John Burnside

Award winning poet and author John Burnside will be reading from his new book ‘Glister’, which is out in May and published by Random House. Burnside previous work includes the Catherine Maclean award winning, ‘The Devil's Footprints’; a classic tale with an old-fashioned, gripping plot that incorporates all that Burnside loves best: geography, the neighbours, the way people's lives go, and the way people's other, secret lives turn out. A chilling and thrilling journey.

Esther Freud

Daughter of painter Lucian Freud and great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud, Esther Freud has not only worked in television and theatre as both actress and writer, but has also penned novels that include ‘Hideous Kinky’ which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, ‘Peerless Flats’, Gaglow’, ‘The Wild’ and ‘The Sea House’. Her recent book, ‘Love Falls’, is a coming-of-age tale, expertly realised and empathic. Financial Times journalist Gautam Malkani presents his critically applauded novel, ‘Londonstani’, a satirical look at South Asian extended-family psychodrama set in Hounslow and written in a mash up of text speak rude boy patter and Punjabi. It’s more than the hype that’s been heaped upon it.

Jenny Colgan

A past health service employee and stand up comic queen, novelist, journalist and occasional radio “big gob”, Scottish born rom com writer Jenny Colgan and her funny latest novel ‘Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend’, come to Latitude Festival. A regular writer for the Guardian her blogs about anything and everything to do with TV, film and popular culture Colgan’s sharp wit and observational comment make her worth checking out.

Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond’s ‘Emotional Rollercoaster’ explores nine universal emotions in turn and looks at the science behind them, combining the latest theories and discoveries from neuroscientists and psychologists with everyday human experience. In a highly entertaining and thought-provoking journey through the science of feelings, Emotional Rollercoaster asks how the brain and body interact to produce emotions, and what, if anything, we can do to harness them. The possibilities are far-reaching, from finding the perfume that make lovers fall at your feet to learning to cheat a lie detector! Claudia is also a columnist for Psychologies magazine has written work for BBC Radio 4.

Antonia Quirke

Chick-lit and film criticism collide in Antonia Quirke's ‘Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers’. Quirke is a young film critic of eccentric brilliance who currently writes for the Guardian. She lives and breathes film, and cannot stop living her life through a viewfinder. This beautifully written, shamelessly honest and deeply comical account is about Quirke’s two parallel lives and her obsession with Hollywood actors describes how her fixations have thwarted her attempts at romantic fulfilment with a string of lesser, real men.

Andrew Clover

Stand-up comic, Sunday Times contributor and author of the hilarious book ‘Dad Rules’ and more recently the poignant ‘Dirty Angels’ Andrew Clover is a welcomed addition to the Literary Arena. Andrew wrote ‘Dirty Angels’ in installments which were sent daily to his friend who was suffering from cancer. Aimed at teenagers who dress in skateboarding clothes, and who like sneaking round to each other’s houses to smoke and listen to music described by Clover as a cross between Catcher In The Rye, and Northern Lights.

Jon Ronson

Just when you thought every possible conspiracy theory had been exhausted by ‘The X-Files’ or ‘The Da Vinci Code’, along comes Jon Ronson’s ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’. Acclaimed documentary maker and Guardian columnist, ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’ is Ronson’s bizarre quest into "the most whacked-out corners of George W. Bush's War on Terror," as he puts it. Ronson is inspired when a man who claims to be a former U.S. military psychic spy tells him he has been reactivated following the 9-11 attack. Ronson decides to investigate. His research leads him to the U.S. Army's strange forays into extra-sensory perception and telepathy, which apparently included efforts to kill barnyard animals with nothing more than thought - a book that strikes a perfect balance between curiosity, incredulity, and humour.

Bill Drummond

Described by The Sun as a “madcap Scots genius”, Bill Drummond is a musician, music industry figure, writer and artist. He is best known as co-founder of the avant-garde pop group The KLF of the late eighties, K Foundation in the nineties and for burning a million pounds. He’s written several books including 1988’s infamous ‘The Manual (How to have a number one the easy way)’, ‘45’ – a series of loosely related vignettes forming the rambling diary of one year. Drummond will read from his new book ‘Seventeen’.

Peter Hook

Bassist from Joy Division and New Order, and co-owner of Manchester’s legendary club and music venue the Hacienda, Peter Hook recounts the tales in his hilarious book, ‘How Not To Run A Club’. Once the epicentre for Manchester’s revolutionary counter culture in the 80’s heyday, the Hacienda played host to riotous gigs and banging club nights. Bad management, bad decisions, and bad luck meant this piece of rock ’n’ roll history is now a block of purpose built luxury apartments. Consider this a lesson in what not to do.

Stuart Maconie

Co-presenter with Mark Radcliffe on Radio 2, Stuart Maconie brings ‘Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North’ to Latitude. A humorous book that discusses the modern reality of the North of England (as opposed to the popular myths), Maconie, himself a 'northerner', uses his own childhood experiences alongside anecdotes from recent visits to illuminate the book. Stuart’s work extends to other mediums including a couple of screenplays for Televison and Films and has also written for a number of top music magazines including Q, Word Magazine and Mojo.

John Niven

Ex-A&R man at London Records and Independiente during the Brit-pop period, John Niven uses his experiences in the dirty world of the music business in his first novel ‘Kill Your Friends’. ‘Kill Your Friends’ gladly hammers the final and needed nail into the coffin of self-serving and undignified spin that was ‘Cool Britannia’. It exposes a world that seethes alongside us and in which we all collude but whose nasty little machinery is rarely glimpsed. The novel is furiously, filthily funny; a must for anyone working in or trying to get into the music industry.

Jon McGregor

Receiving a wealth of press attention and awards for his debut ‘If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things’, Jon McGregor is an emerging gem of a writer. His latest novel ‘So Many Ways To Begin’ shines. His poetic and easy-to-read style and his sharp observations make this book an exhilarating read.

Gregory Normington

Gregory Normington will be performing readings from his gripping book ‘Serious Things’. From the acclaimed writer of ‘Ghost Portrait’ and ‘The Ship Of Fools’, beautifully and intelligently written, ‘Serious Things’ is a tale of vengeance, morality and the complex paths that can lead to redemption.

John King

John King’s raw, gritty and powerful London based writing will have you on the edge of your seat. Best known for his 1996 book ‘The Football Factory’ which was later made into a popular motion picture, King’s tales of British working class cultures, football violence and underlying political unrest are both unsettling and fascinating. Latitude will be a very rare opportunity to catch John reading live.

Raffaella Barker

In contrast Norfolk local Raffaella Barker is heavily influenced and inspired by the countryside around her, Growing up in such a beautiful setting has had an unmistakable impact on Barker’s selection of words and use of language. Her debut novel ‘Come And Tell Me Some Lies’ was published in 1994, followed by another six best selling novels including ‘The Hook’, ‘Hens Dancing’, ‘Summertime’, ‘Green Grass’, the children's book ‘Phosphorescence’ and ‘A Perfect Life’. In addition Barker is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times Style magazine, Harpers & Queens and The Spectator. She writes brilliantly and comically about eccentric characters and family life in the Norfolk countryside – an enthralling writer perfect for the lush surroundings of Henham Park.

Toby Litt

Nominated by Granta magazine as one of the 20 'Best of Young British Novelists’ Toby Litt has had eight novels published including the critically acclaimed ‘Adventures In Capitalism’, ‘Beatniks: An English Road Movie’, ‘Corpsing’ and ‘Deadkidsongs’. His latest novel 'I Play The Drums In A Band Called Okay' the continuing adventures of a mid-level Canadian indie rock band called, Okay has been published this year.

Helen Walsh

The newest voice to emerge from a vibrant literature scene in Europe’s Capital of Culture, Helen Walsh certainly knows a thing or two about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Discovering clubbing and drugs at the tender age of 13, and involved in the drag queen scene by 16 – now in her twenties she has drawn on these life experiences for her controversial, coming of age debut ‘Brass’ which won the Betty Task Award. Walsh will read from her new book, ‘Once Upon a Time in England’, a window into the lives of a lone mixed-race family on a desolate all white council estate in the North. Insightful and sensitive, Walsh has created a family who will stay in your heart long after you have left the Literary Arena.

Catherine O'Flynn

British novelist Catherine O'Flynn has received critical acclaim for her debut book 'What Was Lost' and won the prestigious first novel prize at this year's Costa Book Awards. An examination of the often lacklustre and empty experience of modern life, contrasted with the energy and optimism of a young girl who went missing in the mid-1980s, 'What Was Lost' was longlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the Orange Prize for Fiction and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. It also won the Jelf Group First Novel Award at the Guildford Book Festival.

Mark Barrowcliffe

Funny man Mark Barrowcliffe brings his hilarious and original writing to the Literary Arena. Ex-stand up comedian, Mark has a brilliant way with imagery and in the case of his debut novel 'Girlfriend 44', he provides a great insight into the workings of a man's mind who is in search of the perfect woman. His latest offering 'Mr.Wrong' is a brutally honest and funny account of his own lovelife - a single mans search for ‘The One’ and in Barrowcliffe’s own words “My life as a fool for love”.

Tania Glyde

Journalist, author and ex-sex columnist for Time Out, Tania Glyde is a fascinating addition to the Literary Arena. Her fiction and journalism is often focused on the female predicament, particularly with respect to sex, and power and as a recovering alcoholic, Tania’s recent book ‘Cleaning Up – How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived’ is about how she took on British booze culture and survived to tell the tale. Tania’s previous work includes fiction novels ‘Junk DNA’, and Clever Girl’, two short stories and work published in the Independent and Independent on Sunday.

John Williams

John Williams has penned a number of books surrounding themes of Cardiff’s tough criminal underclass. His thrilling, exhilarating writing style has seen his appeal reach beyond his native city with books including ‘Bloody Valentine - A Killing in Cardiff’, ‘Temperance Town’ and ‘Cardiff Dead’ all capturing the imagination.

Michael Hodges

Time Out's Editor-at-Large Michael Hodges has been working hard to reveal the uncomfortable truths about London democracy. He secured enough signatures and raised the required £10,000 minimum to stand for Mayor of London through Time Out's magazine and website, and whilst doing so Hodges created a 'people's manifesto' - fighting an electoral system he deemed unfair and undemocratic. He is proposing an early day motion in the House of Commons, which will call for an end to the discriminatory barriers that prevent ordinary Londoners contributing to the running of their own city and although they have now withdrawn from the official election, the fight against the system continues!

 

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Latitude: The Literary Arena 2008
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