Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival: Author Sathnam Sanghera going back to his roots

Sathnam Sanghera's extensive list of awards proves just how highly regarded a writer he is.

Wolverhampton Original Literature Festival: Author Sathnam Sanghera going back to his roots

From Young Journalist of the Year in 2002 to having his memoirs named the 2009 Mind Book of the Year – he is undoubtedly one of the brightest literary talents in the UK today.

And it all started here in Wolverhampton, and specifically at Heath Town Library where as a child he would visit roughly each fortnight with his family from their home in Park Village. His developing love for reading and writing will likely form part of the discussions when he appears at Wolverhampton Art Gallery as the star attraction of the city's literary festival taking place later this month.

Speaking ahead of the event, Sathnam explained how he was encouraged to get a good education despite his father being unable to read.

He said: "I grew up in a very working-class family. Nobody in my family had gone to university.

"Despite that dad would take all his children to Heath Town Library every fortnight or so which is amazing given he couldn't read.

"He wanted us to have the gift of education and it was where I fell in love with reading."

Before long Sathnam was enrolling at Wolverhampton Grammar School and went on to be awarded a first class degree in English Language and Literature from Christ's College, Cambridge. Between 1998 and 2006 he was a reporter at The Financial Times and currently is a columnist and feature writer with The Times.

In the meantime he has penned two critically-acclaimed books – the first, The Boy With The Topknot, is an often funny account of his early life in Wolverhampton, while his novel, Marriage Material, follows a successful graphic designer as he returns to his family's Black Country corner shop.

Now aged 40, Sathnam lives in London and it is his love for the written word which meant when he was asked to take part in his hometown's inaugural literary festival.

He said: "A few months ago I went to a meeting about Wolverhampton's regeneration and I said the city needs to develop its cultural offerings as it has to be a nice place to live. I get invited to a lot of literary festivals up and down the country. Almost every town has one and it annoyed me Wolverhampton did not."

* Sathnam will be in conversation with Paul McDonald at Wolverhampton Art Gallery at 3pm on January 28. Tickets are available from the venue.

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