Sissay, Rankin and Anam to headline Bradford digital festival

Sissay, Rankin and Anam to headline Bradford digital festival

Lemn Sissay, Ian Rankin and Tahmima Anam are to lead Bradford Literature Festival, as this year's digital edition releases new events on a daily basis to re-create the festival environment. 

The festival will include a mixture of live and on-demand events, and opens this Friday (26th June). American politician Ihan Omar and actor Christopher Eccleston will also be among those appearing in talks and conversations, alongside interactive workshops with poet Rose Condo and academic Omid Safi. 

Organised by the Royal Society of Literature, Anam and Rankin will appear in conversation in "On The Same Page" which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. 

Other events include English Heritage historian Michael Carter giving a talk on the "ghastly, gory, gothic" history of certain UK sites, a virtual tour of artefacts from the British Museum and producer and director Lucy Hannah discussing artist David Hockney, Angela Dunbar and David Oxtoby with members of live literature events company Speaking Volumes.  

The BLF schools and education programme will also move online, split across four days. The events are designed for children aged five to 18, and will include poet John Hegley, Ella Enchanted author Gail Carson Levine, writer and illustrator Johnny Duddle and slam poetry champion Peter Bearder. The events are supported by resources packs for children. 

Festival director Syima Aslam said: “While it is sad to not be able to meet our audiences and artists in person this year, I am delighted that we have been able to translate the unique spirit of Bradford Literature Festival onto a digital platform. The change in form and scale has not changed who we are – you will still find voices and topics that are as remarkable and diverse as Bradford itself and, as always, we’re keen to ensure that our events are as easy to access as possible.

"Our schools programme is always a central part of the festival, and this year we are particularly proud of the online programme of events and the supporting resources that we have created, which we hope will be helpful to both parents and teachers. I look forward to extending our traditional welcome to the live festival again soon, and in the meantime welcome to BLF digital.”