John Cooper Clarke, Ann Widdecombe, Kim Woodburn and more: Line-up announced for Wolverhampton Literature Festival

By Annabal Bagdi | Wolverhampton | Wolverhampton entertainment | Published:

John Cooper Clarke, Ann Widdecombe, Tracey Thorn and Kim Woodburn are among the famous faces heading to Wolverhampton Literature Festival next year.

John Cooper Clark

More than 100 events have been crammed into next year's programme which will take place from February 1 to 3.

John Cooper Clarke, described as a movie star and rock star as well as the original people's poet, shot to fame in the 1970s and is still a regular on TV today.

His latest touring show, based on his new poetry book The Luckiest Guy Alive, is a mix of classic verse, new material, ponderings on modern life, gags, riffs and chat, and offers visitors the chance to witness a living legend.

He will appear at Bilston Town Hall on February 19 and tickets are £25, £20 or £17 for concessions.

Ann Widdecombe will appear at the Art Gallery on the afternoon of February 2.

Once an outspoken politician, she has since been a regular and controversial TV figure. She will lift the lid on life in Westminster and share behind-the-scenes gossip from shows she has appeared in including Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and Celebrity Big Brother. Tickets are £22.

Anne Widdecombe

Former Everything But The Girl singer Tracey Thorn is also at teh Art Gallery on February 3, taking about Another Planet, her memoir about suburban childhood. Tickets for that are £12.


And How Clean is Your House star Kim Woodburn will be holding a Q&A session on February 2 at the Art Gallery.

Other events include an event hosted by former Home Secretary Alan Johnson; retired murder squad detective Trevor Marriot will lift the lid on ‘The Real Truth of Jack The Ripper’, focusing on Bilston-born victim Catherine Eddowes and author Joanna Toye will also join the festivities, discussing how Wolverhampton's Beatties store inspired her debut novel ‘A Store At War’.

BBC music guru Steve Lamacq will also be sharing tales of 90s indie music

Wolves' Premier League promotion will be celebrated, with Express & Star duo Tim Spiers and Nathan Judah reliving their memories of the season.


Express & Star veteran columnist Peter Rhodes will also take his place at the gallery, reminiscing about a career which has taken him across the globe.

There will be a host of writing workshops to get involved with, including blogging and research workshops by Dr Who writer William Gallagher.

Stand-up comedian Richard Herring will bring his Leicester Square Theatre Podcast to Bilston Town Hall, along with a surprise guest.

Kim Woodburn and Aggie McKenzie

The Punjabi Women’s Writing Group featuring Kuli Kohli will share poems about family life, while Chai and Chat will see stories shared over a cuppa.

Indian dance in the Black Country will also be celebrated by Jai Jashn Dance, with other events featuring comedian Stewart Lee, novelist Miranda Dickinson, Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane and Somerset Maughan Award winner Liz Berry.

Punters at The Lych Gate Tavern will enjoy a selection of free fringe shows, while youngsters can delve into storytelling events at Bantock House.

Tracey Thorn, one half of duo Everything But The Girl, will preview her new biography, ‘Another Planet, while .

Paul ‘Bigun’ Ashbee, the man who helped put Oasis together, will also reveal secrets from the band's early days and their rise to fame.

Classic literary films will hit the big screen at The Arena Theatre and Light House, while festival-goers will also see a return of the Poetry Slam and open-mic events.

Alan Johnson MP

Councillor John Reynolds,Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for city economy, said: "The popular Literature Festival is now entering its third year and thanks to funding from Arts Council we hope that it will now become a regular feature on the city’s calendar.

“Whether you want to listen and learn from writers, or hone your own literary skills, there really is something for everyone.”

For the full line-up, go to

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi

Senior reporter based at head office in Wolverhampton. Get in touch on 01902 319 229 or at


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