Brighton’s Book Festival returns for a second year!

After a phenomenal first year, Brighton Book Festival returns even bigger this June to bring six days of literary events to the city. The festival will take place from Tuesday 20th to Sunday 25th June 2023. Taking place in the same week as Independent Bookshops week, The Women’s prize for literature and Windrush day it is the perfect week to celebrate literature and give a platform to marginalised writers.

Brighton Book Festival picture board

Brighton Book Festival was founded in 2022 by two independent radical bookshop owners: Carolynn Bain of Afrori Books, and Ruth Wainwright of The Feminist Bookshop. Both bookshops have fostered communities of socially engaged, innovative readers in their local area since they opened their doors in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Ruth said

“Last year we had a big dream to create a festival for Brighton that was accessible for everyone, not just a small elite group. In the middle of a cost of living crisis , we know that people need to have events that they want to attend and can afford. So, we are ensuring that ticket prices are as accessible as possible.”

The festival was featured in the Guardian and the founders were invited to run a workshop for booksellers at the booksellers annual conference showing them how to run a diverse book festival.

There were some who did not feel that the festival was inclusive enough with one resident stating “they felt excluded” as the festival did not represent white middle class writers and because of that they would be boycotting the event.

Carolynn responded

“Our festival does look different to other festivals, especially for those who are unaware of the lack of exposure marginalised authors get. The feedback from those that did attend in 2022 was overwhelmingly positive. We were not expecting the high turnout that we had, with many events completely sold out and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from authors and audiences. We are excited to be back in a bigger venue, over more days and we plan to reach even more of the city than before.”

The festival will host over 20 events, online and in central Brighton from Tuesday 20th to Sunday 25th June 2023. Events such as ‘Real Life Dystopia’, ‘Colourful Nature’, ‘Boyz to men’, certainly keep you guessing about the content. With one of the big highlights a fully immersive multimedia experience celebrating 75 years since the HMS Windrush came to the UK. But with some of the biggest names in literature coming in for the week, visitors are guaranteed a once in a lifetime event.

The packed festival line-up will include Nikesh Shukla as this year’s Writer in Residence and feature authors such as award winning Dorothy Koomson (who is celebrating 20 years in publishing this year.) Patrice Lawrence, Marvyn Harrison founder of Dope Black Dads, Natalie and Naomi Evans founders of Everyday racism, Yomi Sode, Diana Evans, Louise Hare, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Iggy London, Fats Timbo and many more.

The festival committee this year are all Brighton based women who have a passion for the city and the marginalised voices within it. They are proud to be working in partnership with the Brighton Centre for Contemporary of Arts at the University of Brighton where many of the events will be hosted. Founding member of Sistas by the Sea and Legacy Film Festival Althea Wolfe joins Ruth and Carolynn as a director of Brighton Book Festival this year.

“Having had an enriching volunteering experience with Brighton Book Festival in its inaugural year, I am delighted to be joining the festival as a director. The diversity of books, authors and audiences make this a truly unique literary experience in itself but particularly revolutionises the literary landscape of Brighton and Hove. I would urge anyone who has not yet experienced the festival to join in this year. You won’t regret it!”

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