Shafak and Hemsley to star in Balham Literary Festival

Shafak and Hemsley to star in Balham Literary Festival

Authors including Melissa Hemsley, Elif Shafak and Michael Ondaatje are to feature at the Balham Literary Festival taking place this June in London.

Under the theme of summer loving, the festival will welcome food and fiction writers to south London for a month of "great food and escapist reads".

As the heat turns up on international politics and social activism continues to make waves, the festival will invite writers AC Grayling, Tim Marshall and Zing Tseng to discuss the broader challenges facing democracy and global society.

Embracing this year’s theme, authors Rosie Wilby and Holly Bourne will discuss the minefield of modern love in an evening of light-hearted romantic reflection. Whilst Arab writer Hanan Al-Shaykh will discuss her new novel The Occasional Virgin, a "fresh and fearless" romantic comedy about love in a multicultural age. Hanan will be in conversation with Turkish writer, Elif Shafak.

"Essential" societal questions will be posed and debated this year, starting with Malia Bouattia, Matt Myers and Koshka Duff who will look at the history of student revolt and young people as a catalyst for change; Tim Marshall will be discussing the fences, walls and borders that play an ever-growing role in dividing the global population; and Professor AC Grayling will be reflecting on the nature of democracy, and how governmental systems have induced its failure.

The festival will include events for the whole family, with author Natasha Farrant hosting a children’s writing workshop and a story time session with Dr Anne Rooney, and "Instagram’s favourite dad" Simon Hooper – aka Father of Daughters – will also be sharing his "side-splitting stories" of modern family life.

Balham Literary Festival is part of the MILD group’s Live Lit series, which includes two annual literary festivals and a year-round series of in-store events at Dulwich Books.

Commenting on the festival programme, Susie Nicklin, owner of Dulwich Books, said: “Summer in the city can be a wonderful thing. Poised between half term and the liberation of the summer holidays, throughout June there’s a sense of expectation in the air. It’s a time to get away from screens and to participate in activities, or to lose yourself in a good book outside in the garden or on the Common. So come along and let yourself be transported –whether you like to get away from every day matters or prefer to take time out to consider politics and ideas, there is something for you at the Festival.”

For more information and tickets visit the festival's website.