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12 - 21 November 2010

The Writeidea Festival 2010 East London’s

FREE Reading Festival

17 authors, including: Tony Benn Esther Freud Sarah Wise Robert Elms Julian Baggini Jill Dawson Kia Abdullah

Fri 12 November 2010 Tony Benn in conversation with Penny Wrout 7:00pm Idea Store Whitechapel Welcome to Writeidea Festival 2010, London’s free reading festival. Following on the success of Write Idea 2009, this year’s programme is much expanded and demonstrates Tower Hamlets’ continuing commitment to literature. Our line up this November includes poets, politicians, presenters, philosophers, performers, as well as novelists and other writers talking about their work. The theme of the festival is ‘our city’, and the flavour is definitely East London, but the appeal is universal, covering past, present and future. All our events are free because we think everyone should have the opportunity to engage with the best writers, and we are very grateful to our guests who have agreed to appear for no charge. The 10-day festival starts in style with a conversation with Tony Benn, and ends on a musical note, with plenty of food for thought in between. Enjoy Write Idea Festival 2010. Idea Stores – bringing writers and readers together.

Tony Benn

Ticke Only t Even t*

Tony Benn is the iconic elder statesman of the British left. He served almost continuously in Parliament from 1950, holding cabinet positions in the Wilson and Callaghan governments, and remained there until 2001, when he famously retired to give himself “more time for politics”. He has published twenty books, including ten volumes of Diaries covering the period from 1942-2007. Tony Benn is one of Britain’s true political heavyweights.

Photo: Isujosh

*For more details please visit

Sat 13 November 2010 2:30-4:30pm & 7:30pm

Talking Poetry Idea Store Whitechapel

An afternoon poetry workshop led by Caroline Gilfillan followed by an evening event where she is joined by fellow poets Salena Godden and Adam O’Riordan.

Beauty in the City 2:30-4:30pm Poetry Workshop with Caroline Gilfillan, open to all, exploring the unexpected beauty of the inner city.

Caroline Gilfillan Caroline Gilfillan is a poet and novelist. She was a winner of the North West Poetry competition in 2000, and ‘Drowned in Overspill’, a collection of her poetry, was published by Crocus Books in the same year. ‘Yes’, her new collection was published in December 2009.

Salena Godden Salena Godden has been published in an array of both mainstream and art-house literary magazines and anthologies including Penguin’s ‘IC3’, Canongate ‘Fire People’, Serpents Tail’s ‘Croatian Nights’, Hodder & Stoughton’s ‘Oral’ & ‘Dedalus The Decadent Handbook’.

Adam O’Riordan Adam O’Riordan was born in Manchester in 1982, and educated at Oxford and London University, where he was awarded the inaugural Peters, Fraser and Dunlop Poetry Prize. In 2008 he was awarded an Eric Gregory Award and was Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. He lives in London.

Sun 14 November 2010 The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum 2:30pm Idea Store Whitechapel 6,000 inhabitants crammed into the thirty streets of the Old Nichol on the edge of Bethnal Green. Award winning historian Sarah Wise recreates this black hole in the heart of imperial London.

Sarah Wise Sarah Wise’s book, ‘The Blackest Streets’ was published by Bodley Head in June 2008 and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literatures Ondaatje award in May 2009. Her debut, ‘The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave Robbery in 1830s London’, was published in 2004 and was shortlisted for the 2005 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. Sarah was a major contributor to Iain Sinclair’s compendium London, ‘City of Disappearances’, published by Hamish Hamilton in 2006. She lives in central London and is working on her third book about 19th-century asylums.

Mon 15 November 2010 How Should I Live? Ethical Philosophy Today 7:00pm Idea Store Canary Wharf In conversation with Julian Baggini & Robert Eaglestone.

Robert Eaglestone Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He works on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies. He is the author of four books and the editor or co-editor of four further books. He is the Series Editor of ‘Routledge Critical Thinkers’ and his work has been translated into five languages. He is on the Executive committee of the Forum for European Philosophy.

Julian Baggini Julian Baggini is editor and co-founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine. He is the author of several books, including ‘Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind’ published by Granta, ‘Complaint’ published by Profile and, most recently, ‘Should You Judge This Book by Its Cover?’ also published by Granta. His monthly philosophy podcast is available on iTunes or via his website, He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian, The Financial Times, Prospect and The New Statesman, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research and Demos.

Tue 16 November 2010 Messing with people’s lives: fictionalising fact 7:00pm Bethnal Green Library The pleasures and pitfalls of novels based on true stories.

Jill Dawson Jill Dawson, one of our patrons, is one of Britain’s most talented contemporary writers. She is the author of six novels, editor of six anthologies of poetry and short stories and has published one poetry pamphlet. ‘Fred and Edie’, her third novel, was shortlisted for both the Whitbread and Orange Prize, and was voted one of fifty essential novels by a living author.

Wed 17 November 2010 7:00pm

London Lines Idea Store Whitechapel

Fiction and non-fiction: Explore London Fact and fiction with authors Robert Elms and Alex Wheatle.

Robert Elms For more than fifteen years Elms has been known as “the voice of London” because of his daily radio show on BBC London, covering all aspects of life in the metropolis, including his passion for great music. This multi-award winning show highlights his love of urban culture and is the culmination of 30 years in the media.

Alex Wheatle Alex Wheatle was born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in London. He spent most of his childhood in a children’s home, which he left at 14 to live in a hostel in Brixton. At 18, he was involved in the Brixton uprising and went to prison for 3 months. On his release, he continued to perform as a DJ and MC under the name Yardman Irie, moving on to the performance poetry circuit as The Brixton Bard in the early ’90s. His second novel, ‘East of Acre Lane’, won the London New Writers Award (2000). In 2008, he was awarded an MBE for services to literature.

Thu 18 November 2010 7:00pm

An evening with Esther Freud Idea Store Canary Wharf

Esther Freud Esther Freud was born in London in 1963.She trained as an actress before writing her first novel ‘Hideous Kinky’, published in 1991. ‘Hideous Kinky’ was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was made into a film starring Kate Winslet. She has since written six more novels, including ‘The Sea House’ and ‘Love Falls’. Her new book, ‘Lucky Break’, will be published in April 2011. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

Fri 19 November 2010 Soho Days, Soho Nights or Soho Boho? 6:30pm Bethnal Green Library Literature from London’s most colourful district including readings from ‘Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond, Soho’s Billionaire King of Burlesque’ and Gerald Kersh’s ‘Night and the City.’

Paul Willetts Paul Willetts is the author of ‘Members Only: The Life and Times of Paul Raymond, Soho’s Billionaire King of Burlesque’ described by Lynn Barber as “An exceptionally interesting slice of social history” (The Sunday Times.) He is also the author of two previous works of non-fiction, ‘Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia’ and ‘North Soho 999’, the latter described by Mark Gatiss as “absolutely gripping”. Alongside these, he has edited four much-praised collections of writing by the bohemian dandy, Julian Maclaren-Ross. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The TLS, The Spectator and other publications.

Martin Knight Martin Knight is an author and co-founder and owner of London Books. Born in Surrey he worked for The Financial Times before launching and selling a number of businesses in the media monitoring and business information sectors. As a writer he has published three novels and has collaborated on autobiographies with footballers George Best, Peter Osgood, Dave Mackay and Charlie Cooke. In 2009, ‘Gypsy Joe’, co-written with a gypsy bare-knuckle fighter turned pro-golfer, was selected Observer Sports Book of the Year. In 2006 he formed London Books with John King, author of ‘The Football Factory’, with a view to reviving long lost London low-life literature including Gerald Kersh’s Soho classic ‘Night and the City’.

Sat 20 November 2010 Shocking! Courting Controversy in Modern Fiction Idea Store Whitechapel 2:30pm Panel discussion with Daniel Davies, Kia Abdullah and Gautam Malkani.

Daniel Davies Daniel Davies is a London-based novelist and the author of ‘The Isle of Dogs’ published by Serpent’s Tail in 2008. Earlier this year, he was the recipient of grants from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. He is currently working on his second novel.

Kia Abdullah Kia Abdullah is an author and journalist from London. She has written two novels: ‘Life, Love and Assimilation’ published in 2006 and ‘Child’s Play’ published in 2009. Kia has appeared on a variety of television and radio programmes, from BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show to Channel 4 News. She contributes to a range of publications and is one of the youngest journalists to write comment for The Guardian newspaper.

Gautum Malkani Gautum Malkani is a journalist for The Financial Times and the author of the novel ‘Londonstani’. He has worked on the FT’s UK news desk in London as well as in the Washington bureau.

Sun 21 November 2010 Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music Idea Store Whitechapel 4:30pm Rob Young introduces his book, ‘Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music’ plus music from Jake Wilson, Milly Hirst and Geri van Essen.

Rob Young Rob Young has worked at The Wire magazine since 1993, including four years as editor. He is the author of ‘Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music’, published by Faber and Faber, and ‘Rough Trade and Warp’. He is also the editor of ‘Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music’ and ‘The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music’. He has contributed to publications including Uncut, Sight and Sound, Frieze and Art Review. He lives in London.

Jake Wilson Jake Wilson is a folk-rock guitarist and songwriter in the Richard Thompson mould. As well as playing his own material, Jake has recently started collaborating with ex-Fairport fiddle legend, Dave Swarbrick.

Milly Hirst

Milly Hirst is a folk singer, songstress and all round troublemaker on the influential Norwich folk scene.

Geri van Essen Milly Hirst

Geri van Essen is a singer of traditional folk songs and is soon to be supporting Martin Simpson.

Writeidea Festival

Idea Store Whitechapel

321 Whitechapel Road London E1 1BU Tel: 020 7364 1735 Whitechapel Underground Station

Idea Store Canary Wharf Churchill Place London E14 5RB Tel: 020 7364 1250 Canary Wharf Station

Venues Signe d be avbooks wil l ai to bulable y. All ev ents are F


Bethnal Green Library

Cambridge Heath Road London E2 0HL Tel: 020 8980 3902 Bethnal Green Underground Station All venues are fully accessible (except Bethnal Green Library where there are no accessible toilets) For more information about any of our events visit

The Writeidea Festival 2010  

Writeidea Festival brochure: A reading festival taking place in Tower Hamlets Idea Stores and libraries 12-21 November 2010