Friday 10 April 2015

Catholic Literary Festival ...



19 - 20 JUNE 2015

Lady Antonia Fraser
David Lodge

Tickets are now on sale for The Tablet Literary Festival, which will take place in June to mark 175 years of the UK’s second-oldest weekly journal. Critically acclaimed novelists David Lodge and Andrew O'Hagan and award-winning historian Lady Antonia Fraser will be among the speakers debating faith, fiction and truth at the two-day event.

They will be joined at the iconic Library of Birmingham on 19th – 20th June 2015 by other high-profile speakers, Catholic and non-Catholic and from the literary, theological and historical worlds, who will explore the influence of the Catholic imagination on literature, the arts and their own writing. 

To book for the writers’ workshops visit:

The festival, sponsored by the Word Factory, Bloomsbury Publishing and the Bible Society, is a unique opportunity to discuss issues including embracing and escaping the Catholic voice, sin in literature and Irish history with some of Britain’s leading writers and thinkers. The event has been arranged by The Tablet as part of a wider religious, educational and cultural programme marking the journal’s 175th anniversary on 16th May 2015. 

The programme will include

Lady Antonia Fraser – historian, novelist, and author of the recent memoir My History: A Memoir of Growing Up 

David Lodge, Man Booker nominated author of books including Small World and Nice Work and the recent memoir Quite a Good Time to be Born 

Andrew O'Hagan, Granta listed author of fiction and non-fiction, including The Illuminations 

David Almond, Carnegie Medal winning children’s author of books including Skellig 

Alison MacLeod, short story writer and essayist. Her most recent novel is Unexploded 

Michael Symmons Roberts, poet and winner of the Costa Poetry Prize 

Steve Ely, Forward Prize shortlisted poet and biographer of Ted Hughes 

Michèle Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia 

Piers Paul Read, writer and historian, author of Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors 

Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History at Hertford College, and author of Vivid Faces 

Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge 

Catherine O'Flynn, Costa Book Award winning author of What Was Lost 

Maureen Freely, President of English PEN 

Paula Gooder, writer and Anglican theologian 

Carlene Bauer, American novelist 

Mark Lawson, the author and critic, will discuss the renaissance of Catholic imagery in contemporary film with Andrew O’Hagan and Catherine Wheatley. Further additions to the festival line-up will be revealed nearer the time. Speakers will be available for interview and journalists are invited to attend sessions. 

Brendan Walsh, Literary Editor of The Tablet, said: ‘The first issue of The Tablet, published on 16 May 1840, included reviews of books, theatre and opera, and a (not very good) poem. Besides news and analysis of what is happening in the Church and the world, coverage of the arts and culture has always been a part of the weekly diet. Good writing is as important to us as good ideas. We're delighted to host a literature festival in Birmingham as one of the events celebrating our 175th anniversary.’ 

Lady Antonia Fraser: ‘Catholicism has been an integral part of my life, from my conversion at the age of 14, followed by a convent education, onwards. And in so many of my works from 'Mary Queen of Scots', 'The Gunpowder Plot' and 'Marie Antoinette' to my most recent book, ’My History: a memoir of growing up', religion has been an essential ingredient. I am therefore delighted and honoured to be a speaker at The Tablet Literary Festival.’ 

David Lodge said: ‘The Tablet’s record of continuous publication for 175 years is remarkable and I am honoured to be invited to take part in the celebrations. I am no longer a practising member of the Catholic Church, but it shaped my character and writings from an early age and I continue to take a keen interest in its fortunes, to which there is no better guide than the modern Tablet. Its coverage of literature and the other arts has also been outstanding and the theme of the Festival is well-chosen.’

For further information on the events, to apply for tickets, or for any other queries, visit the dedicated site:

Follow the anniversary plans on Twitter: @the_Tablet and #Tablet175


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