The region’s bookworms came together at an intimate evening at the Library of Birmingham last night to celebrate the launch of this years’ Birmingham Literature Festival. With big shoes to fill, this year’s line-up is a mixture of homegrown and international talent which, based on the excited whispers at the launch will go down very well indeed.

The Reverend Richard Coles, children’s writer Allan Ahlberg, Birmingham-born crime novelist Mark Billingham and broadcaster Stuart Maconie are set to join musicians-turned-writers Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt (who fronted new wave duo, Everything but the Girl) to entertain booklovers with more than 40 events in the city.

The big announcement of the night was that literary heavyweight Rita Dove is set to headline the festival on Friday 9 October. The American Pulitzer Prize-winner and former US Poet Laureate rarely performs in Europe and will dazzle audiences with an awe-inspiring performance.

Visitors will not only get the chance to see, and possibly meet, their favourite writers but also experience a wide range of exclusive live music and theatre. The relationship between words and music will be explored by jazz soprano singer Laura Kinsella and country music duo My Darling Clementine. The British band will accompany Mark Billingham as he tries his hand at playwriting.

A creative look at current affairs will take place on Monday 12 October as Birmingham Literature Festival hosts The Writing of Protest with Everyday Sexism campaigner Laura Bates.

Poetry fans will be given the chance to enjoy literature in unusual places with a poetry vintage bus tour through the Black Country. Science meets art Saturday 17 October, giving guests the chance to lie back and look at the stars while enjoying e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g: History of the Universe in 45 Minutes.

There won’t be a rumbling tummy in sight as the festival offers a feast with foreign literature at the Baltic Breakfast on 10 October at IKON’s Cafe Opus. The morning will feature talented writers from Latvia and Lithuania. Cooked Up authors will also share their short stories on Tuesday 13 October that have been inspired by their favourite foods.

The festival will run from 8 – 17 October in various locations around and across Birmingham. For more information and to book tickets  visit

About The Author

Theatre Correspondent

Amanda is a lover of books, theatre and music. When she's not working at a Birmingham-based PR agency, she can be found blogging, exploring cities or eating sushi by the bucket load.