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Iconic city venues set to welcome spoken word fans for festival

Some iconic city centre venues are set to hear words, rhymes and laughter as part of a popular festival.

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Fans of literature and spoken word will be heading to venues such as Wolverhampton Art Gallery for the festival

The Wolverhampton Literature Festival is set to bring people from across the city and surrounding area into the city to hear readings of books, chats from authors and celebrities, adventures with characters and a lot more besides.

The festival will see comedians such as Lou Sanders, Josie Long and Robin Ince performing alongside authors such as Sathnam Sanghera, Raphael Rowe and Susan Vickers, presenter Louise Minchin and singer Pauline Black.

It will take place at venues across Wolverhampton, with some well-known and historic venues hosting big names and events, while some venues on the outskirts of the city will also feature events.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery will host the majority of the events.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery will the epicentre for the festival, with the majority of events taking place there over the main festival weekend from February 2 to February 4, as well as some preview events beforehand.

The gallery on Lichfield Street has been the main setting for the festival over the last few years, with performances in the Georgian Gallery and opportunities to meet the performers and get copies of their books signed afterwards.

Events taking place at the Art Gallery are:

What Music Inspires..’, a creative workshop through sound - Drop in between 10.30am - 4.30pm for a series of sessions throughout the day where different musicians will join in playing improvisation over an underlying instrumental piece created by NEONE The Wonderer. Saturday, January 27. Free

SUIT Display - Wolverhampton's Service User Involvement Team (SUIT) provide wraparound support to vulnerable adults in treatment for substance use. They will be exhibiting and offering creative outreach. Monday, January 29. Drop-in

What makes you happy - This talk and presentation are an end-of-exhibition celebration of the creative work that has been produced by local people visiting the What makes you happy events and exhibition at the Mander’s Community Hub. Friday, February 2 at 3.30pm. Free

University of Wolverhampton, Creative and Professional Writing Student Showcase - In this series of performances, students, and graduates from the Creative and Professional Writing degrees at the University of Wolverhampton will read from their own work. Friday, February 2 at 10.30am. Free

Fred Karno - The Legend Behind the Laughter - David Crump’s new book sheds fresh light on the early careers of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel; their rivalry, and the man to whom they owed their success. Friday, February 2 at 12.30pm. Free

Meet the Publisher Panel - Join for a candid discussion on the current challenges faced by both writers and publishers. Here's a chance to glean invaluable insights into the intricacies of getting a book published. Friday, February 2 at 2pm. Free

From Film to Book and Back Again: How Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Came - In this extensively illustrated talk, Phil Nichols charts the complex evolution of a film script into a perennial best-selling novel, and Bradbury's later multiple attempts to adapt the novel back into a film. Friday, February 2 at 5pm. £3

Tales of The Windrush Children - An hour of the Tales of the Windrush Children, delivered through book readings, song, and dance. Friday, February 2 at 5.30pm. Pay what you feel

Notorious - In Conversation with Raphael Rowe - join a captivating evening delving into the extraordinary life of Raphael Rowe, the celebrated investigative reporter and host of Netflix's Inside the World's Toughest Prisons. Friday, February 2 at 7.30pm. £12 plus booking fee

The Secrets of Debut Novelists - Ania Bas, Ella King and Alice McIlroy will share their very different roads to publication, while covering the three stages of the publication process: preparing manuscripts for submission, finding an agent, and working with publishers. Saturday, February 3 at 10am. £8

Becoming the Art of Words - Celebrate the power of words and join a special event to witness a showcase of extraordinary talent from across the city. Saturday, February 3 at 11am. Free

South Asian Women Machinists' Anthology Launch - This anthology offers a captivating glimpse into the past, tracing the journeys of these women, from the heartlands of India and Pakistan to their eventual homes in England. Saturday, February 3 at 11am. Pay what you feel

Fearless - In conversation with Louise Minchin - Join Louise as she takes the stage to recount the compelling stories of these women who are tearing down barriers, setting new records, and defying stereotypes. Saturday, February 3 at 12pm. £12.50 plus booking fee

Drag Queen Story Hour UK - Come be a part of Drag Queen Story Hour UK and see interactive children's shows featuring Aida H Dee. Saturday, February 3 at 1pm. Free

Journeys past the Five Rivers - This event will be a self-facilitated dialogue between Rupinder, Supriya and Nikita. Looking past the stereotypical image of Panjab and what it means to be Panjabi women today. Saturday, February 3 at 2pm. £8 plus booking fee

Ameles: Currents of Unmindfulness - In this event, Francis will explore the literary and cultural shifts in horror and weird fiction, and the creative drives that have inspired his work. Saturday, February 3 at 3pm. Free

Pravās: Ethnic Migration & The Black Country - Join Jaivant Patel Company for the documentary screening of Pravās, ahead of it featuring as part of an exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, curated by Jaivant Patel. Saturday, February 3 at 4pm. Pay what you feel

What happens if you die without family or money? The little-known world of council funerals - Evie King is the author of Ashes to Admin: Tales from the Caseload of a Council Funeral Officer, a memoir about her job arranging funerals for those without family or funds, a little-known role that she wanted to make the world more aware of. Saturday, February 3 at 5pm. Free

How dramatic can things get! - Jefny Ashcroft, an experienced local playwright, will be asking people to share their ideas for shows. Saturday, February 3 at 5pm. Free

Ben Aitken - Ben Aitken was born under Thatcher, grew to 6ft then stopped, and is an Aquarius. He is the author of five books. Saturday, February 3 at 6pm. Free

Writing under Fire - Join an Anglo-Ukrainian all-star cast for the presentation of Writing under Fire, a collection of prose and poetry that reflects on Russia’s war against Ukraine. Saturday, February 3 at 6.30pm. Pay what you feel

Stars of Slam - Five poetry slam champs are given the opportunity to showcase their work. Saturday, February 3 at 8pm. £5 plus booking fee

What’s That Lady Doing? In Conversation with Lou Sanders - In this "In Conversation" event, Lou Sanders will take us on a journey through the pages of her new book, exploring life's many twists and turns. Saturday, February 3 at 8.30pm. £12.50 plus booking fee

Eat Well With Arthritis - In Eat Well With Arthritis, Emily presents a collection of 85 brand-new recipes, complemented by expert advice from a leading occupational therapist on adapting cooking techniques to alleviate pain. Sunday, February 4 at 11am. £8 plus booking fee

Writers’ Hub - Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists present the Writers’ Hub. Drop-in to this event and hear readings from local writing groups. Sunday, February 4 at 11am. Free

Punjabi Women’s Writing Group Present Apni Prithvi Sadda Kal - The Punjabi Women’s Writing Group are back this year with a new anthology of poems, focused on the topics of recycling and climate change. Sunday, February 4 at 11.30am. £4 plus booking fee

Writing in Collaboration Workshop - Ros Woolner and Roger Noons will provide examples and answer questions, and there will be a chance for participants to share their collaborative poems at the end. Sunday, February 4 at 12pm. Pay as you feel

Reframing the Muse - Looking at iconic artworks from a different perspective, Ruth Millington will share the true stories, and real-life figures, behind the world's most famous masterpieces. Sunday, February 4 at 1pm. Pay what you feel

Island Fusion - Gracey Bee and Kenton Samuels perform their entertaining and thought-provoking poetry about the islands of Jamaica, Britain and Japan. Sunday, February 4 at 1.30pm. Pay as you feel

How to get yourself published workshop - Shaun Hand will provide an entry-level overview of publishing methods for aspiring writers of both fiction and non-fiction (including poetry and children’s). Sunday, February 4 at 2.30pm. Pay as you feel

Tam Joseph in conversation with Dr Anjalie Dalal-Clayton - Tam Joseph will discuss his 40+ years career with art historian Dr Anjalie Dalal-Clayton. The discussion will begin with a presentation by Dalal-Clayton about the different ways we can understand Joseph’s work in relation to art’s histories. Sunday, February 4 at 3pm. Free

Right in the Head? The importance of storytelling after brain trauma - Join Sebastian Groes, Kate Poll and poet and creative writing lecturer Dr Denise Saul (Oxford Brookes) in exploring the importance of creativity in recovery after brain trauma. Sunday, February 4 at 3.30pm. Free

Musical Metaphors - Experience an evening of classical music seamlessly intertwined with expressive spoken word, showcasing the talents of international pianist Mikael Petersson alongside Coventry's inaugural Poet Laureate. Sunday, February 4 at 5pm. £8 plus booking fee

Because I Don’t Know What You Mean And What You Don’t - Join award winning comedian and broadcaster, Josie Long as she discusses her frank, funny fiction debut collection with Book Shambles colleague Robin Ince. Sunday, February 4 at 7pm. £10 (save £3 if booked alongside Robin Ince)

Weapons of Empathy - Join Robin Ince as he takes audiences on a celebratory tour of the places books can take us, and of the ideas that can make wonder and widen the sky. Sunday, February 4 at 8.30pm. £10 (save £3 if booked alongside Josie Long)

Wolverhampton Central Library will be a hive of creativity and fun

Wolverhampton Central Library will feature talks and chances to meet authors, as well as have fun with some entertaining stories and characters.

Events taking place at the Central Library are:

National Theatre Screening: Othello - This acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s play about the destructive power of jealousy was nominated for Best Revival at the 2013 Olivier Awards. Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear jointly won the Evening Standard Best Actor Award for their performances in the iconic roles of Othello and Iago. Monday, January 29 at 6.30pm. Free to members

Grandiloquent: A Book for Word Nerds and Just a Simple Ghost Story - Hosted by local author Luke Waltho, this session will include readings of both books, an interactive activity celebrating weird, wonderful, and wacky words, a discussion on literature and book genres, and a brief Q&A session. Saturday, February 3 at 10.15am. Free

Rising To The Challenge - Jo Jackson will talk about the challenges and joys she has encountered in writing three novels and a novella since she retired. Saturday, February 3 at 10.30am. Free

Storytelling with Grandpa Sticks - Rhythm, actions, vocal sound effects and fun all combine to make for a rich session to enliven and stimulate language development. Saturday, February 3 at 11am (also at Wednesfield Library at 12.30pm). Free

A writer’s descent into crime - Tim Franks has an eclectic, not to say patchy, history of getting work in front of readers. Saturday, February 3 at 11.15am. Free

Storytelling, Drawing and Fun - Join Steve Smallman, award winning picture book author and illustrator, for a session of storytelling, drawing and fun in the library. Saturday, February 3 at 12pm. Free

How To Succeed in Failure While Trying Really, Really Hard - In this reading, Jonathan Collings will take people back to the 60s and 70s, long before the introduction of mobile phones and contactless debit cards. Saturday, February 3 at 12pm. Free

The Writing's Only Half Of It - Exploring Routes Into Publishing - Mark Woodward describes the tortuous route to the publication of his debut novel, a darkly comic mystery called The Liberation of Juno Jones, and reads from the opening chapter. Saturday February 3 at 12.45pm. Free

The Maharajas’ Express - Don't miss the fun in this breathtaking live interactive storytelling and musical adventure. Saturday, February 3 at 1.30pm (also at Whitmore Reans Library at 11.30am). Free

Love Susan - Love Susan is a story about an adoptee and how it feels to be given away as a baby and rescued into a family home. Susan Vickers will be giving readings from the book. Saturday, February 3 at 1.30pm. Free

Catherine Eddowes and the Birth of Ripper Culture - Join Dr Lucy Andrew as she explores the life of Catherine Eddowes, her connections to Wolverhampton and the West Midlands, and her role and representation in Ripper culture. Saturday, February 3 at 3pm. Free

The Arena Theatre will be a hub of laughter and music

The Arena Theatre on Wulfruna Street will bring together poets, musicians and film lovers for events designed to amplify and celebrate the voices of authors, poets, writers, storytellers, and publishers from across the UK.

Events taking place at the Arena Theatre are:

Into the Melting Pot - Women’s stories of integration, love, the rich cultural heritage of the Spanish peninsula and racial intolerance are played out to a soundtrack of plaintive Sephardic songs and lively medieval music performed live by The Telling, with full staging and stunning lighting. Friday, February 2 at 7.30pm. £12

Enter - Join for a captivating cross-continental journey as poets and artists unite in a creative exploration of the shared world. Saturday, February 3 at 11.30am. £8

Fringe Room for Wolves Lit Fest - Come and join Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists at the Arena for a diverse array of outstanding performances. Saturday, February 3 at 12.30pm. Pay what you feel

Manz Dem - Derrick Wallace will be discussing his book Manz Dem, a musical project carried out by 15 of the most important African/Caribbean/Caribbean Dual Heritage guitarists. Saturday, February 3 at 1pm. Pay what you feel

Tales Unfinished - Tales Unfinished return with a semi-improvised live storytelling experience using Green Ronin’s Fantasy AGE RPG system. Saturday, February 3 at 2.15pm. Pay what you feel

Dancing Barefoot - In Conversation Event with Glyn Brown - Glyn Brown is a freelance music journalist. Her recently published memoir, Dancing Barefoot: How to be Common, traces her journey from a childhood home devoid of books to a life interviewing music icons like Nick Cave. Saturday, February 3 at 3.15pm. Pay what you feel

Poetry Competition Winner Showcase - Listen to some of the winning and shortlisted poems in the seventh Wolverhampton Literature Festival poetry competition. Saturday, February 4 at 4.30pm. Free

Voices Behind Closed Doors - Join Voices Behind Closed Doors for an evening of storytelling, spoken word, drama, and dance. Saturday, February 4 at 6pm. £8

Wolverhampton Film Festival - Hosted by co-directors Gurjant Singh and Arun Kapur, it will celebrate filmmaking by showcasing some previous award winners from earlier editions of Wolverhampton Film Festival. Sunday, February 4 at 6pm. Pay what you feel

Wolverhampton Literature Festival Poetry Slam - Watch 15 poets go head-to-head in a fast-paced live poetry competition. Friday, February 9 at 7.30pm. £12

Newhampton Arts Centre will feature a ska legend and stories of ghost hunts among its events

Just outside the city centre, the Newhampton Arts Centre will be the setting for a chat with Ska music royalty, as well as stories about ghost hunts and other performances.

Events taking place at the Newhampton Arts Centre are:

In Conversation with Pauline Black OBE - Pauline Black is one of very few women in the 2-Tone scene and she is often referred to as the Queen of Ska. Thursday, February 1 at 7.30pm. £15

Ghost Huns Podcast Live - Join comedians, basic huns and horror stans Hannah Byczkowski and Suzie Preece as they bring the world's creepiest ghost stories. Friday, February 2 at 7.30pm. £10

Central Youth Theatre Presents Three Sisters - Bringing Chekhov's classic characters to modern day for a new generation facing new challenges, the production hopes to be something truly memorable. Saturday, February 3 and Sunday, February 4 at 7.30pm. £10 or £8 concessions

The Halls Wolverhampton hosts two events inside its massive hall

The Halls Wolverhampton is the setting for a talk with an acclaimed radio presenter, as well as an evening of entertaining poetry.

Events taking place at the Halls Wolverhampton are:

James O’Brien in Conversation - One of the UK’s most popular talk radio hosts will discuss how a select few have conspired, sometimes by incompetence, sometimes by design, to bring Britain to its knees. Friday, February 2 at 6pm. £22.50

Edge Street Live & Crosstown Concerts present Brian Bilston & Henry Normal - Brian Bilston and Henry Normal appear together for the first time in a show which one critic has described as “two people reading some poems”. Friday, March 8 at 7.30pm. Standard Seats: £25.95, Premium Seats: £28.19

Other events will be take place at venues across the region, including a town art gallery and a town hall.

Bilston Town Hall will be the venue for Sathnam Sanghera

Bilston Town Hall will have this event:

Empireworld - An Evening with Sathnam Sanghera - An Evening with Sathnam Sanghera promises to be an event that will resonate in the hearts and minds of all attendees. Come and broaden perspective, gaining an honest insight into the effects of the British Empire on the world. Friday, January 26 at 7.30pm. £12 plus booking fee.

Penn Library will feature a session about crazy trips

Penn Library will have this event:

My extraordinary adventures – Craziest Train - This is a story & craft session for children age 4 +. Saturday, February 3 at 2.30pm. Free

Warstones Library will hear about what lurks beneath the water

Warstones and Bilston Library will have this event:

Professor Black - Professor Black, alias Wolf Blackbeard, looks at sea legends from all over the world with tales full of creatures and monsters that live in the sea and stories told of terrible things that lurk in the depths of the ocean. Saturday, February 3 at Warstones Library at 11am and Bilston Library at 1pm. Free

Bilston Library will host two events Photo: Google Street View

Bilston Library will also have this event:

Black Country Voices - Local poets Marion Cockin, Anne Babbs, Fraser Scott & Michael W. Thomas, all with strong ties to the Black Country, share their poetry about the Black Country. Saturday, February 3 at 1pm. Free

The New Art Gallery Walsall will feature an exhibition of poetry works

The New Art Gallery Walsall will have this event:

Art Meet Poetry - Walsall poets present their poems inspired by the artwork exhibited by the Walsall Society of Artists in their 73rd Annual Exhibition. Sunday, January 28 and Sunday, February 4 at 1pm. Free

Banktock House features a story of good over evil

Bantock House will have this event:

Wolves, Wonder and Wordsmiths - An inspirational story, brimming with beautiful imagery, survival against the odds, and the triumph of good over evil. Friday, February 2 at 5pm. £3 plus booking fee

To book tickets to any of the festival events, go to

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