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Welcome to Bristol Lit Fest 2016

This is a festival, lit-shape and Bristol fashion. We showcase acclaimed authors alongside voices from across the city. Everyone has a tale, so bring your ears or bring the truth you want to tell. We run from Thursday 20th – Saturday 29th October 2016, in venues across Bristol.

If you want to be part of the festival, if you have a great idea for an event, or just want to perform at one of our spoken word events then drop us an email at

Save the Date!

Thursday 20th – Saturday 29th October 2016

Grab tickets while you can - some events guaranteed to sell out!

Scroll down for full details of program

WriteClub presents: Writing Inspiration workshop

Find out how to turn your local paper into a goldmine of writing ideas

Thurs Oct 20th, 10am – 12pm

Paper Arts

£5 Get tickets

Join Bristol journalist and author Emily Koch for a flick through the local paper, on the scrounge for creative writing prompts to fill your notebook. It’s more than tomorrow’s chip paper – if you know where to look, any local or national rag easily becomes fodder for your next short story, poem, or even that bestselling novel you’ve been promising to write for years. We will use newspapers as a starting point for a series of activities designed to stimulate your imagination and get creative juices flowing. There will be timed writing and reading opportunities, all with prompts and instant feedback. You’ll leave the session with new ideas to follow up and develop. Everyone is welcome – whether you’re an old-hand scribbler with stacks of stories to your name or you haven’t written more than a shopping list in years, come and join in. Emily Koch co-founded Bristol’s WriteClub, a monthly session aimed at inspiring creativity. Her debut novel is due to be published in 2018.

North Bristol Writers: Tales from the Crypts

Join the North Bristol Writers at Arnos Vale Cemetery for an evening of spooky tales by candlelight.

Thursday Oct 20th, 7pm – 9pm

£8 This event is now SOLD OUT – if you’d like to be added to the waiting list email us at

The North Bristol Writers are an eclectic writing group that meet in the north of the city (hence the name). Many of them are active on the lit scene and can be seen at various events throughout the year. At last year’s Festival of Literature the group came second in the Flash Slam. They include both published and unpublished writers and have a strong genre element. Join them as they explore the gothic, the chilling and the weird in Tales from the Crypt. Arnos Vale is an appropriate venue for a pre-Halloween evening of the macabre. The North Bristol Writers include Pete Sutton, Ian Millsted, Kevlin Henney, Roz Clarke, Jo Hall, Clare Dornan, Justin Newland, Maria Herring and Suzanne & Ian McConaghy. They seldom tweet but they do have a twitter account at @NBCWG , they seldom blog but do have a website at: where you’ll find bios and links for individual writers.

Creativity Circle Workshop

Daring to bridge your imagined world with this one. Workshop to deep-dive into your unique voice and vision.

White Lion Space Bristol BS6 6ER (enter from courtyard)

Friday 21st October, 1 – 2pm

£5 Get Tickets

Do you dream of diving into your creativity – and find every reason not to? Ready to discover + explore your voice and vision, to ground your purpose? How about choosing to make the first step NOW to meeting your Muse!

Creativity Circles support your creative journey – the gateway to fun, freedom and fulfilment. They guide you through the life-changing steps to share your original gifts with this world… and transform whatever holds you back from expressing your uniqueness. Through simple practices, any creative medium becomes a vehicle for self-discovery and transformation. Everyday details become fuel to explore life’s bigger canvas. Guided by a map of ‘descent’ – you will discover the physical steps to harness your creativity – in order to embody what longs to take life within you and express through you. Author and facilitator Mags MacKean has immersed in indigenous cultures and practises in Latin America and South Africa. From her Bristol base, she shares simple tools for creativity and how to bridge imagined worlds into this life. Her first book, Meetings On The Edge tells the story of quitting her BBC career to climb some of the world’s highest peaks. Newly published, The Upside Down Mountain, explores what happens next – when Mags forsakes the summit quest for the journey of descent. It’s been described as “a new story for our time” by ecologist Satish Kumar, and a “sat nav for men and women of the road less travelled” by the Daily Express.





The Flash Slam!

Fancy a Friday night out in the pub with slammers, flashers and the Bristol Festival of Literature? Of course you do!

Friday 21st October 7-9pm

51 Stokes Croft

Free – sign up on Facebook

After the success of last year’s event, the Flash Slam is back. It brings together local writing groups to battle it out for literary glory. In this spoken word event, compèred by comedian and poet Angie Belcher, writers from each team will be slamming flash fiction rather than poetry or each other. Come along to this free event, immerse yourself in readings of the shortest and best stories Bristol has to offer, cheer on your favourites and see whether the Bristol Novelists will be able to defend their title from last year.
Angie Belcher

Screenwriting Workshop

Screenwriters workshop with Timon Singh of Bristol Bad Film Club. Timon will be moderating panel of professional screenwriters for a discussion & Q&A on the art of screenwriting

Everyman Cinema

Saturday Oct 22nd, 13:00-14:00

£5 – Tickets

Have you ever wondered what a script looks like? What  Int & Ext mean. What goes in a script and what doesn’t and what makes a good script. Then this workshop is for you. Come along to hear a panel of experts discuss scriptwriting and answer all of your questions on what it takes to get a script from paper to screen. The panel will include Patrick Makin (Morph, When President Obama Met Sir David Attenborough, The Wonder of Animals and Shaun the Sheep), Phil Gladwin (Holby City, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Casualty, New Tricks and The Dumping Ground), Ellen Waddell (Stages, The Photographic Memory Recalls the Highlights) and Stephen Volk (Afterlife, Ghostwatch and The Awakening)This workshop will take place in the newly re-opened Everyman theatre, what better venue could you discuss scriptwriting than in a cinema over a bucket of popcorn?


How to write a novel readers won’t want to put down

Sunday Times Bestseller C.L. Taylor will teach you to write a novel that’s so gripping readers won’t be able to stop turning the pages.

Strawberry Thief Bar

Saturday 22nd October 09:30-12:30

Tickets: £40 available from Novel Nights This event is now SOLD OUT – if you’d like to be added to the waiting list email us at

C.L. Taylor, the author of two Sunday Times Bestsellers, has written three psychological thrillers (HarperCollins) and two romantic comedies (Orion). Her novels have sold to over 20 countries, sold in excess of half a million copies and won several awards. Her last two novels also hit the #1 slot on Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play.

The Bristol Story Carousel – BYO Language

A children’s book event with local publisher Book Island

Bristol Central Library

Saturday 22nd October 2 – 5pm

Free – sign up on Facebook

Supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London

A fun, multi-language children’s event for all Bristol families

Story Carousel: 3 hours of non-stop storyreading by local authors – and everyone who would like to bring own books along – in various languages

Arts & Crafts Workshop (age 6+) based on a Polish children’s classic

Create your own paper cup character workshop (age 6+).


Ancient Egyptian Storytelling

Amidst the atmospheric surroundings of the Bristol Museum, four local authors will read original stories inspired by the myths and mysteries of Ancient Egypt.

Saturday Oct 22nd, 3 – 4pm

Bristol Museum, Whiteladies Rd

Free – Just turn up, first come first served

The event is a reading of original stories with an Ancient Egyptian bent and all written by local authors. The event takes place in the Assyrian Galleries, which are adjacent to the Ancient Egyptian Galleries, which has seating space for 20-25 people. First come first served (as this event is free). Come along and be transported back to the land of the pyramids!

The stories are not suitable for children.

Talking Tales

A warm, friendly story-telling night, showcasing the talent of Bristol and beyond.. Expect stories, prizes and live music.

Saturday 22nd Oct

LeftBank, Stokes Croft

7pm – late

FREE – sign up on Facebook

Well-established Stokes Croft regular evening of storytelling, fill in the lines, badges, laughs and music. If you are a Talking Tale newbie come along and soak up the evening’s tales, if you’ve been before perhaps this one will be the one you tell your tale?

Talking Tales

Write-in Sunday

Kick start your novel or dust off your short story, and join us for a write-in.

Sunday Oct 23rd, 10am – 6pm

Starbucks – Wine Street

Free – just turn up

Writing can be lonely. Sometimes we need to get away from our distractions and set a dedicated space and time aside to just get it done. We have found that writing in a group is a wonderful way to get into that creative headspace you need to finally be productive. Come join fellow writers and get those words down! All are welcome, whether you are a professional or just starting out. All you need is passion for the written word and the desire to put it down on paper or screen.


Bristol, GB
830 Writers

The one genre everyone writes is horror. They’re called first drafts.Writing! is a relaxed, informal group for writers of all kinds. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re a pro…

Next Meetup

2 hours Write Together session

Monday, Oct 24, 2016, 6:30 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Story Sunday

The Twilight Zone: An evening of sci-fi and fantasy tales from Writers Unchained and guests…

Sunday Oct 23rd, 6 – 8pm

SouthBank Club, Bedminster

£5 on the door

Writers Unchained presents an evening of the best that Bristol’s sci-fi and fantasy writing community have to offer. Come and join us at the SouthBank Club for a celebration of all that is mind bending, bizarre and out of this world. Writers Unchained runs regular themed story evenings at the SouthBank Club in Bedminster and plays host to storytellers from all over Bristol. Come in, grab a drink from the bar and spend a couple of hours letting Bristol’s great writers transport you to other worlds – but beware – you are about to enter the twilight zone …

If you’d like to read at this event then please follow the link below to find out about submissions!

Creative Triggers and The Writer’s Voice Workshop

What does your writing taste of? Crossover fantasy writer, Ana Salote, presents a workshop designed to free your creativity, with readings from her Rubery short-listed novel, Oy Yew.

Monday Oct 24th, 1 – 3pm

Paper Arts

£5 – Tickets

Ana Salote writes for all ages from 9 to 90. Her crossover fantasy novel, Oy Yew, is the first book in the Waifs of Duldred trilogy. It was longlisted for the Times/Chicken House prize and has been shortlisted for the Rubery Award. Her adult short stories have appeared in Mslexia and The Forgotten and Fantastical Anthology. In this workshop you will be encouraged to delve into your own museum of curiosities in search of creative triggers. Exercises will help free your creativity and develop your writer’s voice. Suitable for novice and experienced writers, particularly those with an interest in children’s books and fantasy.

Oy Yew

Bristol Women’s Literature Festival Salon

Come and celebrate women’s writing by bringing your own work, the work by women you love, and have the opportunity to hear from some of Bristol’s best women writers. With Sian Norris, Shagufta Iqbal and Anna Hoghton

Monday Oct 24th, 6.30 – 8.30pm

Spike Island reading room

Free (suggested donation of £5) Please book via Eventbrite

Join the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival and Bristol Literature Festival for an evening that celebrates women’s writing – taking its cue from Gertrude Stein’s salon of the 1920s. We invite you to bring your own work, or the work of a woman writer you love, to share with the group. You might bring a section of a loved novel, or a poem of your own composition. Whatever you want to bring, this is an evening to celebrate women’s writing and creativity from the past and the present. To kickstart the evening, we’ll also hear from some of Bristol’s best women writers as they share their work with you

Sian Norris

Shagufta Iqbal

Anna Hoghton





OutStories: Ageing in the LGBT community

What happens to LGBT people when they get old? Do they have to go back in the closet, or has society changed enough to make space for them. This event will include readings from Alan Clark, & Dr. Jane Traies.

Monday Oct 24th, 7pm

Lecture Theatre, Helen Wodehouse Building, 35 Berkeley Square,

Free (but please book via Eventbrite)

What happens to LGBT people when they get old? Do they have to go back in the closet, or has society changed enough to make space for them. This event will include readings from Alan Clark, author of Rory’s Boys, a comedy novel set in a retirement home for gay men, and from Dr. Jane Traies, whose historical study, The Lives of Older Lesbians, was published this year. Alan and Jane will be joined for discussion by Dr. Paul Willis of Bristol University, a researcher in sexuality, ageing and social care, and Berkeley Wilde of The Diversity Trust, who has recently completed a study of the health needs of LGBT people in Bristol and the surrounding areas. The event will be chaired by Cheryl Morgan of OutStories Bristol. The event is co-hosted by the Centre for Research in Health and Social Care, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol:

Writers in the Caves

These talented local writers will entertain you in this unique setting with their subterranean tales. Essential: Bring a torch, coat, stout shoes and a chair.

Tuesday Oct 25th, 8 – 9pm

Redcliffe Caves

£5 – This event is now SOLD OUT – if you’d like to be added to the waiting list email us at

Bring a folding chair and all the courage you can muster for a night of storytelling in Redcliffe Caves. Going Underground: Subterranean Tales features Bristol Writers Group and friends reading short stories and novel extracts by candlelight in the atmospheric setting of these man made red stone catacombs. Writers performing their work include Louise Gethin, Trevor Coombs and Piers Marter, Mike Manson, Terry Stew, Judy Darley & Sally Hare. Expect humour, a dash of violence and some truly haunting tales. Organiser Gavin Watkins says: “Allow yourself to be taken to unexplored depths as you hear about worlds created with words.” Last year this was a sell-out event, so get your tickets early.

Raise the Bar and Word of Mouth present Harry Baker, Chris Read and Miles Chambers

Miles Chambers is a Bristol poet, social commentator and Ujima Radio presenter well known for his larger-than-life performances and sharp wit. Miles almost stole the show at new mayor Marvin Rees’ official swearing-in ceremony at the M Shed with a dramatic rendition of a poem written especially for the occasion, Bristol, Bristol. Marvin named his friend Miles Bristol’s first city poet laureate.
Wednesday October 26th, Crofters Rights, Stokes Croft
£6  This event is now SOLD OUT – if you’d like to be added to the waiting list email us at


World slam champion Harry Baker and expert jazz musician and singer Chris Read have been performing together since their schooldays, and have now  teamed up as a duo to release their fantastic debut EP ‘Whaddyawannado’.

Having just returned from their successful sell-out Edinburgh Fringe run, Harry returns to Bristol for his third Raise the Bar performance, this time combining with the jazz/pop/funk musical stylings of Chris Read.

Two incredible and successful solo artists in their own right, check out what happens when you put the two on the same stage:

Please note, the capacity of this venue is 80 with seating for approx 40 people. Seating allocated on a first-come basis.

Strong Women

Bristol’s awesomely talented Becky Walsh – radio and TV presenter, author, client catalyst and comedian. – interviews a panel of local writers speaking up for strong women. The event is free, but please book your space here…

Afterwards there will be an opportunity to join a Wonderful Women Tour of Arnos Vale – £5 per person

Thursday 27th Oct, 10.30am – 12pm

Arnos Vale Cemetery

Free This event is now SOLD OUT – if you’d like to be added to the waiting list email us at

Strong women have changed the world, both in real life and in fiction.

Bristol’s awesomely talented Becky Walsh – radio and TV presenter, author, client catalyst and comedian. – interviews a panel of local writers speaking up for strong women.

Bristol author Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction and non-fiction, and has published a history of the local suffragette campaign, ‘The Bristol Suffragettes’.

Bristol artist Deenagh Miller survived a harrowing childhood, described in her autobiography “The Adulterer’s Daughter”.

Publisher and radio presenter Cheryl Morgan is an award-winning expert on science fiction and fantasy literature.

Be informed and entertained by a lively discussion in the atmospheric Anglican chapel at Arnos Vale, This mid-morning event is free, but you will also have the opportunity to pay a modest charge for a Wonderful Women guided walk around Arnos Vale at noon.

Please arrive from 10am for a 10.30am start.


Making History Workshop

A workshop aimed at those interested in historical writing – fiction or non-fiction. With Mike Manson and Lucienne Boyce

Thursday Oct 27th, 2 – 4.30pm

Royal West of England Academy

Tickets: £20  (Includes free entry into the current exhibition) – very limited number of Tickets

Will help you: consider how to move your project forward; widen your research; think about routes to publication.

Mike Manson is the author of four books on Bristol: Bristol Beyond the Bridge (Past & Present Press), Riot! (Bristol Books), The Hidden History of St Andrews (Past & Present Press) and Vice and Virtue – co-authored with Edson Burton – (Bristol Books). He has a Post-graduate Diploma in Local Studies and is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

Lucienne Boyce writes historical fiction and non-fiction. She has published two novels set in the 18th  century: To The Fair Land, and Bloodie Bones: A Dan Foster Mystery (shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society Indie Award 2016). She has also published a history of the suffragettes – The Bristol Suffragettes. Lucienne has an MA in English Literature (with Distinction), specialising in eighteenth-century literature. She is on the steering committee of the West of England and South Wales Women’s History Network.

Meet the literary agent; Carrie Kania, Conville & Walsh

Strawberry Thief Bar

Thursday 27th October 7-9pm

This event is Sold Out – More great events throughout the week

Novel Nights presents a talk and Q an A with top London literary agent and bookshop founder.  Carrie Kania will reveal what agents look for in submissions, give tips for writers,  the low-down on UK / US publishing and literary agencies. Local novelists will also showcase their writing at this inspiring evening.

Carrie’s a top literary agent representing fiction, non-fiction and photography for Conville & Walsh and co-founder of independent bookstore and cocktail bar, The Society Club in Soho. Her clients include Terry O’Neill, Daniel Rachel, Paul McVeigh and Simon Van Booy. Prior to coming to London Carrie worked for 15 years at Harper Collins in New York. As Senior Vice President of Harper Perennial, she watched after countless authors, including classics, new writers and notable names such as Michael Chabon, Barbara Kingsolver and Mary Karr. She co-founded It Books, an imprint dedicated to pop-culture, fashion, film, music and celebrity. In the imprint’s first 18 months, It Books boasted 13 New York Times bestsellers, including two #1 titles: Shit My Dad Says and Red by the former lead singer of Van Halen, Sammy Hagar. She now lives and works in London and represents a variety of non-fiction, novelists and photographers.

Let me tell you a story, Jack!

Free & frivolous open mic storytelling on Stokes Croft

Thursday 27th October 7-9pm

Famous Navy Volunteer

Free – Just turn up

Are you a fond rambler, explorer or adventurer? Tell us of your frolics, whether it be trekking across mountains, or scaling the heights of the nearest NCP car park – we want to hear it all!

Bristol’s first variety storytelling club kicked off in fantastic fashion at the beginning of October 2013 and has been entertaining the general public ever since – come along for a chance to see this city’s best writers, musicians, poets, rappers, comedians, illustrators and general raconteurs get together over their ability to spin a good yarn.

Feel free to come by and tell a story of your own, in whatever medium you see fit, or just come along to listen. Anyone who performs on the evening will get a free drink and there will be cheap and tasty food on sale from the kitchen too if you feel peckish.

The evenings are organised by Bristol blogger Shonette (find her wittering on about food and events Here) and compered by Will from the Shaky Hand Hangover Band, who will entertain you with his own style of eccentric and witty storytelling.

Come along, bring your friends and let us tell you a story!



A Hint of Crime

A Hint of Crime at Foyles – the Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group tell short stories and tall tales of sleaze, seediness and suspense.

Friday 28th October 3-5pm


Free – Just turn up

Theft, murder and shrunken heads – the darkness lurking below the surface of society has inspired the Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group to produce their latest anthology of thought-provoking, unnerving and hair-raising short stories, A Hint of Crime. Join them for unsettling readings of original fiction as they launch A Hint of Crime at Foyles Bookshop Bristol. Following on from their critically well-received debut anthology, A Dark Imagined Bristol, A Hint of Crime takes the action global, with contributions from 12 writers including Suzanna Stanbury, AA Abbott, Judy Darley, Tim Kindberg, Nigel Lapworth and more. Each of the 24 stories contains an element of crime – a con job, a stolen handbag or two, a blazing building, a shoplifted lipstick and an illicit kiss, or full-blown cold-hearted murder… At this special event for Bristol Festival of Literature, the authors will be read from a selection of these depraved tales and answering questions (in some cases honestly) about their inspirations. Be shocked, be amused, get some tips for your next misdemeanour, and leave your moral compass at the door. This is going to be an eye-opening event.


Write a short story in an hour

This event has been Cancelled


How to Write About Difference with Nikki Owen and Gilly Macmillan


This event has been Cancelled

Erbacce Poets’ Performance

Erbacce Poets gathered under one roof in a special performance

Phoenix Cafe

Friday 28th October 7-9

Free – Just turn up

A special night of Poetry Readings from Erbacce Poets that include Matt Duggan, Knotbrook Taylor, Sarer Scotthorne, Pascale Gouverneur, Sam Smith, Paul Hawkins, Natasha Borton, with music set from Poet and Musician Tim Burroughs.

The Erbacce prize for poetry is an annual prize that gets thousands of entries. This special evening brings together 7 of the prize’s previous winners to share their work. This is an event not to be missed by poetry lovers!




A 1-day Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

Doubletree Hotel, Bristol

Saturday 29th October from 10am

£25 adv. /£30 door

BristolCon is a one-day convention organized by the BristolCon Foundation, a charitable foundation set up to support and promote speculative fiction writing, art and related activities in the South West.

Every year we feature panel discussions and lectures, an art show and small group sessions including kaffeklatsches and workshops. Books, comics and merchandise are available in the dealers’ room and authors will be available for book signings. There’s also a games room and a ‘brick-out’ space (a cafe-style area with lego to play with). A variety of entertainment is offered in the evening.

This year’s Guests of Honour are artist Fangorn, and authors Ken MacLeod and Sarah Pinborough.



Science and Science Fiction: Versions of the Future

Science Fiction writers and Scientists bring you near-future stories designed to provoke lively debate.

Saturday 29th October

2pm to 3.15pm

 Mercure Brigstow, Welsh Back, BS1 4SP

£5 – Tickets

Researchers Michael Reinsborough and Christine Aicardi from the Human Brain Project and SciFi authors Sarah LeFanu, Stephen Oram and Allen Ashley have worked with leading scientists to bring you three fictional versions of the future. Come along to hear their short stories and then use them as a springboard for what is bound to be a lively discussion between the authors, the scientists – and you.

Sarah LeFanu is the author of two books on science fiction and fantasy, one of which, ‘In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction’, won the prestigious MLA award. She was Senior Editor at The Women’s Press, responsible for their innovative and highly-regarded science fiction list.

Stephen Oram writes near-future fiction intended to provoke debate. As a teenager he was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk. He is the Author in Residence at Virtual Futures and has published two novels and several shorter pieces of work.

Allen Ashley is a British Fantasy Award winning editor, writer, poet, creative writing tutor and critical reader. He is sole judge for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. As a tutor, he currently has five groups running across north London , including the advanced science fiction and fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of the Future and Emerging Technology Flagship initiatives funded by the European Commission. It is a ten-year initiative in medicine, neuroscience and computing which brings together scientists and institutions from 20 nations across Europe.


How I Became a Bestseller, with Rachel Abbott

Rachel Abbott talks about her route to self-publishing success, and how her 2015 crime thriller Stranger Child became the UK’s bestselling self-published ebook.

Saturday 29 October 2016 6-7pm
If you’re planning to self-publish, you’ve already done so, or you just want to sell more of your books, come and hear how a bestseller is made. Described by The Guardian as an e-publishing sensation, Rachel Abbott has sold in excess of two million books, and her crime thrillers are known for their plotting ingenuity. In 2015, it was announced by Amazon that Rachel Abbott was the number one bestselling independent author over a five-year period. She was also placed fourteenth in the chart of all authors, joining a list of some of the best-known authors of this century, including Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn, and Lee Child. Stranger Child – the UK’s bestselling self-published ebook in 2015 – has sold 300,000 copies worldwide, picked up over 1,000 five star reviews, and been named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Books of the Year. Rachel has been working with Bristol-based publishing services company SilverWood Books since late 2014, producing beautiful retail-quality paperbacks for bookshop distribution. At this event, hosted by SilverWood, Rachel talks about writing, book marketing, growing an engaged and supportive following on social media, getting media coverage, and working with a literary agent to sell foreign rights. Closes with a Q&A session.