This year’s Stoke Newington Literary Festival was as enjoyable as ever. A bit less hectic than last year with Influx Press only running two events over the two days as opposed to an entire day of events, which was a nice change of pace and ensuring we hadn’t gone mad by 10pm. We also had a banner this year, making every think we were somehow more professional. Best 80 quid I ever spent.
I was chairing the first of the two events celebrating the upcoming release of An Unreliable guide to London, our anthology of untrustworthy, useless and plain made-up London writing from lesser known places and perspectives – the perfect way to explore this most tricky, wonderful, perplexing and frustrating city I myself living in.
The anthology has an absolutely stellar line-up, and I was lucky enough to be hosting the discussion between four of the contributors: Yvvette Edwards, Eley Williams, Courttia Newland and M John Harrison, all who brought unique slants to the slippery notion of London writing. As ever, the event didn’t seem nearly long enough with the discussion and Q&A with the audience only beginning to scratch the surface of all the issues raised. I realised that any discussion about London and London fictions needs most likely days, or possibly weeks, to get everything said.
The next day, nursing hangovers, Kit chaired our second event about the Guide, this time featuring Noo Saro-Wiwa, Will Wiles, Chloe Aridjis and Nikesh Shukla. Again the discussion could have lasted hours. Thanks to everyone who turned up to both events!
It was also great catching up with both familiar and new faces (who I’d previously only chatted to on Twitter). In no order, it was great to chat to (however briefly): Ben Thompson, Andy Miller, Sarah Perry, Nikesh Shukla, Rowena Macdonald, Martin Fuller, Tim Wells, Tim Burrows, Gareth E. Rees, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Will Wiles, Fernando Sdrigotti, Wayne Holloway, Mike and Eley.
My favourite quote from the weekend is Nikesh Shukla describing present-day Stoke Newington resembling a film set for a Richard Curtis film set in Stoke Newington. Make of that what you will.
Martin Fuller made a strange video of me talking about cormorants at the festival here.
M John Harrison has written an entertaining account of the day here.
You can pre-order the book here. The official launch in on July 13th – full details up soon.