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Wolverhampton Literature Festival set to return with a bang

Poets, comedians, artists and authors from across the world will be bringing their talents to a popular city literature festival.

Phil Wang will take a look at what it means to be mixed race at his event at Bilston Town Hall
Phil Wang will take a look at what it means to be mixed race at his event at Bilston Town Hall

The Wolverhampton Literature Festival will be returning to venues across the city for the sixth time, with a stellar line-up and a wide variety of shows announced to take place in February next year.

The festival took on a virtual format in 2021, providing events with the likes of Will Self, Rob Halford, Robin Ince and Sathnam Sanghera, but with fewer coronavirus restrictions, the festival organisers hope to open up next year for audiences to attend a range of events.

This year’s line-up includes Phil Wang, one of the UK’s most exciting stand-up comedians with a CV including BBC's Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You, QI, Would I Lie to You?, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Roast Battle and Taskmaster.

He will be looking at his life as a mixed race man, sharing British and Malaysian heritage and bringing his trademark cynicism and wit to topics ranging from family, food, and comedy to race, empire, and colonialism.

Other headliners at the festival will include Wolverhampton University alumni Abi Daré, who will talk about her New York Times bestselling novel "The Girl with the Louding Voice, the story of a Nigerian girl who longs for an education.

There will also be an appearance by acting deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Helena Lee, who will be talking about her upcoming publication of East Side Voices, exploring the experiences from the East and Southeast Asian diaspora living in Britain today.

University of Wolverhampton Alum and bestselling author Abi Daré will talk about her novel 'The Girl with the Louding Voice'
Helena Lee (pictured) will join Romalyn Ante, local poet and author, to discuss the upcoming publication of East Side Voices.

The festival will feature people like comedian Ian Moore and a series of Meet the Author events, where authors from across the country will talk about their books and their writing process.

Poetry will also be a part of the festival again with Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists presenting the fifth Wolverhampton Literature Festival Poetry Slam, while the Punjabi Women Writing Group will deliver an event looking at community cohesion.

Acclaimed Poet Liz Berry and rising star Romalyn Ante will also be performing poetry from their published anthologies at a joint event and the role of Wolverhampton Poet Laureate will pass over from Emma Purshouse to Kuli Kohli.

A range of workshops will also take place, from a Photo-Poetry Adventure with Liz Berry & Tom Hicks, to Flash Fiction writing with David Gaffney.

There is also a range of events for children from Storytelling with Amy Douglas to meeting the author Serena Patel writer of ‘Anisha, Accidental Detective: Showstopper’.

Wolverhampton Council deputy leader and cabinet member for city economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: "The festival is a huge success and a major part of our events programme in the city.

"In 2021 we reached an international audience and hope to reach them again with the exciting programme we have planned for 2022.

"The festival gives talented people from across Wolverhampton and the West Midlands a platform to showcase their talents, speak about things close to their heart, and break down some of the barriers we face in today’s world.

"I encourage as many people as possible to get involved, whether that be through reading, story writing, poetry or performance-based activities."

To find out more and to book tickets, go to wolvesliteraturefestival.co.uk.

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