Writers including Candice Carty-Williams, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Inua Ellams and Sara Jafari are to feature at Spread the Word's one-day festival, celebrating diversity and creativity in Deptford, south-east London.
Produced in collaboration with freelance Tom MacAndrew, The Deptford Literature Festival will take place on 19th March at The Albany, featuring writers, artists and organisations from the London Borough of Lewisham.
The event will focus on championing community and creatives from the borough, which is this year's London Borough of Culture. Playwright, poet and novelist Ellams will be hosting a special edition of R.A.P. (Rhythm and Poetry) Party, while Carty-Williams (pictued) and Azumah Nelson will be in conversation about their work.
The authors will also be joined by novelist Jafari, who will also be publishing a special edition of Token Magazine featuring new writing and illustration by local creatives and those inspired by the area. Copies will be free to pick up at Deptford Lounge and the Albany during the event.
“As Lewisham becomes Borough of Culture, it is fantastic to be able to come together and celebrate the amazing writing talent we have and the creativity of Deptford’s and Lewisham’s communities through The Deptford Literature Festival," said Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word. "We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Deptford and to making Lewisham the place where stories are made and celebrated.”
Also appearing is poet and visual artist Ella Frears, whose work has been featured at Tate St Ives, who will invite the public to walk along Deptford Creek, in collaboration with the Creekside Education Trust. Jamie Hale, a poet and essayist from Lewisham, will be inviting people to create radical nature poetry inspired by the local environment.
Inclusive children’s bookshop Round Table Books will be hosting a day of low-cost family activities at Deptford Lounge children’s library, featuring a number of authors and illustrators.
Other programme highlights include an audio-walk tracing Deptford’s literary history with local author Anna Sayburn Lane, a writing workshop on finding the extraordinary in the ordinary with Leone Ross, and a session exploring the stories of local women past and present with poet Laila Sumpton.
The festival also has a number of community projects taking place in the run-up to the festival. These include Park Life Poetry, an initiative engaging Year Five pupils from Lucas Vale Primary School with nature and science, held in partnership with the Friends of Brookmill Park, and a whole-year read-along by Year 10 students from Deptford Green School of Candice Carty-Williams’ Empress & Aniya (Knights Of). Aimée Felone, m.d. of inclusive children's publisher Knights Of, will also deliver a publishing career talk to students.
Matchstick Theatre Company will be showcasing Pieces of Eight, an evening celebrating all things Deptford in drama, poetry and comedy. Local organisation Entelechy Arts is working with residents of Manley Court Care Home to create artworks and poetry.
MacAndrew said: “After the last 18 months, the chance to plan something joyous and collaborative, bringing together people from across different age groups and communities to experience the breadth of Deptford’s writing talent, is hugely exciting. We hope to show off and to celebrate the great literature being created on our doorstep.”
The festival is funded by Arts Council England with support from the Albany and Deptford Lounge.