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Waterfront Festival

Preview: Middleway Words Book Festival

5 September 21 words: Elizabeth O’Riordan

Churning out authors like Alan Sillitoe and D.H. Lawrence, the Midlands has a long history with literature. It’s therefore unsurprising (but still exciting) that we have a Midlands book festival to look forward to this September. 

Taking place between Sunday 5 September - Saturday 11 September, Middleway Words is a free online book festival with the intent of showcasing writers from across the Midlands. As they put it, it’s a chance to connect with writers who “live next door to you, buy their groceries at the same shops as you and choose their books from the same libraries and same small-town bookstores.” 

The festival will start on Sunday afternoon with an opening interview of Kit De Waal – most famously known for her 2016 debut novel My Name Is Leon. Over the next few days there’ll be plenty of authors discussing their work, with talks from Penelope Jenkins, Katherine Hetzl, Lisa Blower and Bella Osborne to name a few. Spanning a wide range of genres, from thrillers to romance, there’s plenty of inspiration for any aspiring authors in the audience. 

There will be a special student’s showcase on the Tuesday evening where students from the University of Wolverhampton will reading pieces of their own creative writing – maybe a place to spot future Midland’s talent. 

The festival is also a place to hear from industry experts. Helpful discussions include ‘Submitting and Presenting to Publishers’ by Ashley Thorp, alongside ‘Typesetting your Book’ by Rachel and Nat Ravenlock. For any budding writers, there are a plethora of talks on how to begin, including a panel discussion ‘From Idea to Book’ by Robert Francis, Andy C Miller and Richard Dennings; ‘Writing Short Stories’ by Rebecca Burns and ‘Writing for Adults’ by Linda Newberry and Jane Rodgers. On the flip side, if you’re a reader rather than a writer, there are still loads of talks for you to attend, including ‘Books and Libraries’ or ‘The Bookshop.’ 

As co-founder Ignaty Dyakov-Richmond says, “We have put together a programme of events for everyone who loves books and wants to share their enthusiasm with a group of like-minded people."

Middleway words is a great festival to learn more about authors, writing, and publishing, with a ton of chances for audience members to ask questions. As the festival promises "we want to introduce you to a selection of authors working across a wide range of genres" as well as “showing you how an idea becomes a draft; how the draft becomes a book; and how this book then gets on to the library and bookstore shelf.” 

Middleway Words Book festival is taking place between Sunday 5 September - Saturday 11 September and is free to access. You can register for an Eventbrite ticket here

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