Preview: Birmingham Literature Festival

With a star-studded programme of over 80 guest speakers across nearly 50 separate events, this year’s celebration of the written word is unmissable. John Kennedy picks out a couple of highlights.

Beginning today (Thursday October 6), venues in and about town will be hosting an eclectic range of events for discerning literati and the plain curious alike. Brum Notes has a particular eye on October 13, when local boy made good Daniel Rachel will be speaking about the recent publication of his already critically-acclaimed book Walls Come Tumbling Down (Picador).

Many seasoned musos and punters will recall Daniel as frontman/songwriter with the intelligently-focused mid-90s indie band Rachels Basement. They may not be so familiar with his latter career as a successful writer. His debut tome Isle Of Noises: Conversations With Great British Songwriters (also Picador) was a Guardian and NME Book of the Year. He also guests as a contributor on BBC Radio 5 live.

On the festival’s opening night, Jean “Binta” Breeze appears at the National Poetry Day Gala, where Birmingham’s new Poets Laureate will be revealed. Ms Breeze was the first woman to write dub poetry, and is described as a “one-woman festival”. She was brought up by her grandparents, who were peasant farmers in rural Jamaica, and is internationally acclaimed for her poetry, as well as having worked as a theatre director, choreographer, actor and teacher.

Birmingham Literature Festival runs at various venues until October 16. For more information, visit


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