Wolverhampton Literature Festival 2018: Top events to attend in the city

By Rebecca Sayce | Entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

Wolverhampton Literature Festival is returning for 2018 - and its bigger and better than ever.

Wolves Lit Fest

It follows the huge success of this year's event which included such names as author Sathnam Sanghera, Doreen 'Lazy Cow' Tipton and Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff attracting large crowds.

Venues include the University of Wolverhampton, Bantock Tractor Shed, the Central and other city libraries, the Slade Rooms and Newhampton Arts Centre.

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Take a look at our top picks of events to check out during the festival:

Children's story telling

Rosina Trotman: The Nonsense of Mr Marma and Mr Lade - Central Library - January 27

11.30am - 12.15pm


Rosina Trotman will be reading from her book The Nonsense of Mr Marma and Mr Lade - a tale written in rhyme about two good natured gentlemen who decide to take a journey to White-Water-On-Sea and build a sand castle.

Their journey is delayed by many adventures and in their excitement they overlook one very important fact – can you work out what it is before the end?

Free entry.

On the Dog Walk: Read by author David J Robertson - Central Library - January 27


David Robertson

2pm - 3pm

Local author David J Robertson's third book On the Dog Walk follows the adventures of border collie Misty and her friends.

Come and meet the author, some of his furry friends and see some of the original artwork from the book that follows Dognapped! And In The Doghouse.

Free entry.

Writing West Midlands' Young Writers Group - Art Gallery - January 27

1.30pm - 3.30pm

Writing West Midlands present a creative writing group for young writers aged 12 to 16.

Led by professional writer William Gallagher, the group will look at all sorts of writing to inspire creativity, expression and confidence in young people and a chance to make new friends.

Tickets cost £5, booking required online.

John Edgar's Big Story World - Bantock House Museum - January 28

12.30pm - 1.30pm

John Edgar’s Big Story World is a choice collection of favourites from John’s repertoire, taking in African, American, European and Asian traditional tales alongside John’s original bizarre ballads and riotous rhymes.

It’s a world in which mysterious beings lurk under every bush and tree, and animals talk. you’ll meet such characters as Himsuka, the parrot who could really talk, the fiercesome Hulak who once haunted the lakes of America (and may still be there!), the scratchy Fleaman, a runaway hamster, monsters lurking in the canals of England’s West Midlands, half a cockerel with ideas above his station and an ageing fox who proves to be far too clever for the hunt.

There’s also a song or two for good measure.

Tickets cost £4, £3 concessions.

Music, art and specialist

An Intimate Evening with Mark Stanway (ex-Magnum) - Newhampton Arts Centre - January 26


Come and spend an intimate evening with former Magnum keyboard player Mark Stanway, as he reminisces about his career as a musician and author.

The evening will include slide and video show, open mic for q&a, a keyboard demonstration, instant memorabilia raffles and more.

The event will be compered by Hard Rock Hell DJ and broadcaster Roger Fauske.

Tickets cost £9.50

Jonn's Atomic Memoir Won't Write Itself featuring Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Slade Rooms - January 27

Jonn Penney


Ned's Atomic Dustbin frontman Jonn Penney will perform a show in Wolverhampton as part of the city's Literature Festival.

He will be joined at the Slade Room event by fellow band member Rat, Ned's Atomic Dustbin's guitarist.

Entitled Jonn's Atomic Memoir Won't Write Itself, the show will see the pair perform 'newly interpreted acoustic versions' of their songs.

Tickets cost £13

Don Powell Look What I Dun: My Life In Slade - Art Gallery - January 27

5.30pm - 6.30pm

Drummer Don Powell is set to tell the story of Slade to audience's at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Leaders of the glam rock movement, Slade were the UK’s biggest singles band in the years 1971-74. Their many hits have become rock n roll standards, not least Merry Christmas Everybody, arguably Britain’s all-time favourite Christmas song.

For Don Powell, though, success came at a price. Lucky to survive, the aftermath of his accident in 1973 included alcoholism, financial woes and a life of reckless promiscuity.

Now sober and settled in Denmark with an adopted family of his own, Don Powell’s story is a no-nonsense journey to the heights and depths of the rock world.

Tickets cost £9.50

Tim Jarvis: When Cut, The Present You Leaks Out Into The Future - January 28


This performance will use analogues of chance evolution and metastatic spread to transform language into sound.

In literature, the Surrealists, Situationists, members of OuLiPo, and Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs with their cut-ups, used aleatory processes, games and constraints. For Burroughs, his cut-ups had the power of augury, for, ‘When you cut into the present the future leaks out.’

The core of the sound will be created by split-second decisions, where the word, the timbre of the voice, becomes the soundtrack, smeared into grainy drone and twisted into random melodies.

Free entry.

Educational workshops

Photography and Poetry with Simon Fletcher and David Bingham - Bantock Tracktor Shed - January 27

Photography and Poetry

1.30pm - 4pm

Explore the grounds of Bantock House on a leisurely walk to capture images and make poetry from photographs.

No previous experience required.

Please contact for more details.

Tickets cost £9, £7 concessions.

Short Fiction Masterclass with Louise Palfreyman - Art Gallery - January 27

10.30am - 12.45pm

University of Wolverhampton writer-in-residence Louise Palfreyman is set to help writers self-edit and share what will make a short story great.

Louise worked as a journalist for Birmingham Post and Mail as an editor and copywriter, before being published in Best British Short Stories and a range of journals and anthologies.

Tickets cost £7, £5 concessions.

Comic Book Illustration with John McCrea - Central Library - January 27

1.30pm - 3.30pm

Award winning illustrator and comic book artist John McCrea will be sharing his talents, skills and experiences in an exciting workshop at Central Library.

John is a highly respected graphic artist who has drawn for the likes of Marvel and DC Comics and has illustrated iconic characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, Spider Man, Daredevil, Wolverine, Star Wars, Judge Dredd and the Simpsons, amongst others.

Free aged 14+

Indie and Self Publishing Workshop with Andrew Sparke, Andy Conway and AA Abbott - Art Gallery - January 27

Andrew Sparke

1.30pm - 2.30pm

This short workshop provides an overview of what an author needs to know about self-publishing as well as how to become a professional, self-publishing entity.

Indie publishing is a tool for writers to take control, by producing books for niche markets that trade publishers ignore among other talents.

Free entry.

Theatre and performance

Hedda Gabbler - Grand Theatre - January 23 to 27


The modern production of Ibsen's masterpiece is coming to Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre.

Hedda and Tesman have just returned from their honeymoon and the relationship is already in trouble.

Trapped but determined, Hedda tries to control and manipulate those around her, only to see her own world unravel.

The show has been given new life by Olivier Award-winning playwright Patrick Marber, and has been directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Ivo Van Hove.

Tickets cost from £12.50 to £32.50.

Spoken Word: The Official Lit Fest Opening Event - Lych Gate Tavern - January 25


The festival is set to open with an event bursting with spoken word, poetry, stories, comedy and music.

A few open mic spots will be available on the night or to book in advance.

Suggested donation of £4.

Boycie!: With Author and Only Fools & Horses actor John Challis - Bantock Tractor Shed - January 26

John Challis


Meet Only Fools & Horses actor and author John Challis as he talks about his career, autobiography an his first novels that inspired the TV series The Green Green Grass.

Best known for his role as Boycie from the BBC TV’s award-winning comedy Only Fools And Horses, John Challis is one of the nation’s greatest comic actors.

He has worked with some of the biggest names in showbusiness and has counted among his friends The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oliver Reed and George Best.

Tickets cost £12.

The Life and Times of the Tat Man - Arena Theatre - January 28


Performed by Wolverhampton born actor and musician Tony Barrett and directed by Regional Voice Theatre Company's artistic director Glen Buglass - come and enjoy The Life and Times of the Tat Man.

The play is set in his home in the scrapyard where he weaves his tales, transporting the audience out of the theatre to places in his mind by means of tales and song.

Tickets cost £12, £10 concessions.


Niall Griffiths - Central Library - January 27

5.30pm - 6.30pm

Author Niall Griffiths is set to read excerpts from Broken Ghost, his next novel, publicly for the first time.

Broken Ghost was written during his professorship and features a central scene set in Wolverhampton.

Griffiths is the author of seven novels, three works of non-fiction, a collection of poetry and many non-fiction articles, short stories and radio plays.

Free entry.

Enoch Powell Rivers of Blood Speech: 50 Years On - MC001 Building, University of Wolverhampton - January 27

Enoch Powell

2.30pm - 3.30pm

50 years on from the controversial speech being delivered to a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham on April 20 1968, Express & Star welcome a panel to discuss its impact and legacy.

Panel includes MP Eleanor Smith, Nigel Hastilow, Dr Shirin Hirsch, Nicholas Jones, MEP Bill Etheridge.

Please note, panel is subject to change.

Free entry.

Will Self in Conversation with Sebastian Groes - Art Gallery - January 28

5.30pm - 6.30pm

Wolverhampton Literature Festival has invited writer Will Self to visit the Black Country.

Self will be in conversation with Sebastian Groes to explore the writer’s fiction. They will explore some of the thematic strands that run throughout Self’s work, and focus on the modernist trilogy, Umbrella, Shark and Phone.

Tickets cost £7 including a glass of wine.

Peter Rhodes: Hacking It, Reflections on 30 years with the Express & Star - January 28

11am - 12pm

Express & Star columnist and blogger Peter Rhodes will discuss how Britain's biggest regional newspaper covered some of the world's top stories.

Rhodes will describe how he reported a changing world - and learned how to round up baby penguins in the process.

Free entry.

Poetry reading

Bones Presents A Lil Something Different - Art Gallery - January 26

6.30pm - 9pm

Bones are returning to Wolverhampton with something a lil different.

The show will feature rappers and comedians Soloman, Christian Deveaux, Xman, Krystatic, Elefterries, Luke, Steve Harrison, Emma Pursehouse, Dave Pitt, Bones – Poet, Adante, Carole Yvonne, Rhea and Tashe, Trademark & Hannah – Poet.

Line up is subject to change.

Free entry.

Afternoon Tea with Bert Flitcroft and Marion Cockin - Art Gallery - January 26

Bert Flitcroft

6.30pm - 9pm

Come along and enjoy a cuppa and a cake, comic poetry and good humour with Bert Flitcroft and Marion Cockin.

Bert Flitcroft was Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2015-17 during which time he curated The Staffordshire Poetry Collection, which is now available on-line.

He is an experienced and accomplished poet who for some time has been quietly and unassumingly spreading the poetry word.

Marion Cockin has been published widely in magazines and anthologies.

Although she writes often on historical or mythological subjects, her first collection is closer to home. The Nailmakersʼ Daughters, published by Offaʼs Press written with Emma Purshouse and Iris Rhodes is a celebration of life in the Black Country past and present.

Tickets cost £4.

Tony Walsh: An Evening with Longfella - January 28

7pm - 9pm

Join Tony Walsh for an evening of Longella - his new progessional name.

Longfella has performed poetry everywhere from The British Library to Glastonbury Festival - and has been published on both sides of the Atlantic as well as displayed alongside as LS Lowry image.

Now a full-time freelance artist based in Manchester, Tony has been working to engage and empower some of the Uk’s most deprived communities.

Tickets cost £10.

Poets Against Racism - Slade Rooms - January 28

12pm and 2pm

Poets against Racism are a collective of performing poets from diverse backgrounds and community, who highlight the concern about the rise in racism and the increase in hate crime.

PAR welcome poets, spoken word and rappers to perform under one banner to show the range of ages and styles of poetry and to bring poetry to a wider audience.

They have developed workshops for young people and children to help explore poetry writing, performing.

PAR support a number of national campaigns involved in helping refugees, migrants and victims of racism and Islamophobic violence.

The event will comprise of a poetry workshop preceding a live event which will allow students (and non-students) the chance to perform alongside established poets.

Voluntary donation advised to be donated to Care 4 Calais.

Rebecca Sayce

By Rebecca Sayce

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me:


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