Literary Events

Brighton City Reads Debut Novelists Night

Waterstones Brighton, 71-74 North Street, Brighton

Tuesday May 1, 7.30pm

Tickets £3

During this event, there are three women writers with three debut novels. Allie Rogers’ widely praised debut, Little Goldtells the story of a boyish girl on the brink of adolescence, who is struggling with the reality of her broken family and a home descending into chaos. Polly Clark’s memorable debut Larchfield is a beautiful novel about a woman’s struggle with isolation and sanity interwoven with a narrative about the poet W H Auden. They will be talking to Sharon Duggal, whose debut The Handsworth Times was the City Reads book for 2017, discussing the process of writing, finding the right agent and getting published. 

Phone 01273 206017 or visit

From Boudica to Beyonce – Classic Women with Mary Beard & Natalie Haynes

Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton

Friday May 4, 7.30pm

Tickets £16.90-£22.40

In conversation with writer Damian Barr are historian Mary Beard (pictured), Professor of Classics at Cambridge, and the author of Women & Power: A Manifesto, and Natalie Haynes, who hosts Stand Up For The Classics on BBC Radio 4. They discuss who the most powerful women in history are and how their stories empower us today. From Medusa and other mythical female monsters to warrior queens and kick-ass divas, they celebrate women and power.

Phone 0844 871 7650 or visit

Jake Shears In Conversation

The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove

Friday May 4, 7.30pm

Tickets £10/£26 includes admission and a copy of Boys Keep Swinging

Jake Shears is the lead singer of multiplatinum-selling glam rock band Scissor Sisters and one of the world’s most famous LGBTQ icons. At this special event, he will discuss his beautifully wide-eyed and determined coming-of-age new memoir Boys Keep Swinging with award-winning journalist and author Matthew Todd.  Before becoming lead singer with the Scissor Sisters, Jake Shears was Jason Sellards, just a kid with an unfathomable imagination and a love of He-Man dolls. Splitting life between Arizona and the Pacific West Coast, his childhood was marked by school bullies and the terror of the rise and misunderstanding surrounding the AIDS virus. With changes in age and geography, Jake gradually found a sense of belonging – first in Seattle, then in the street life and lights of New York City in the late 90s where, with friends and musicians also thirsting for freedom and the stage, he would form Scissor Sisters and go on to sell out venues worldwide. He says, The purpose of my life is to entertain. It’s a constant feedback loop.” Picture of Jake Shears: Ivan Bideac.

Phone 01273 201801 or visit

Brighton Festival 2018

Various venues, Brighton and Hove

Saturday Sunday May 5-27

Brighton-based visual artist David Shrigley (pictured) is the guest director at this year’s Brighton Festival, following in the footsteps of arts luminaries including Kate Tempest, Laurie Anderson, Ali Smith, Hofesh Shecter and Michael Rosen. His offbeat take is reflected in an eclectic programme spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate, from Brighton Festival commission Problem in Brighton, a brand new alt rock/pop pantomime, written and directed by David Shrigley himself to a live durational reading of Camus’s seminal The Myth of Sisyphus, and performances from genderqueer rock‘n’roll hero Ezra Furman and cult-favourite Amanda Palmer. Alongside Life Model II, a follow-up to the artist’s Turner Prize-nominated installation of the same name, which invites visitors to take part in a life drawing class with a sculpture of a nine-foot-tall woman as the ‘model’, there is an illustrated talk billed as ‘containing numerous rambling anecdotes… not in the slightest bit boring’, and a screening of a documentary about his work. Other events close to the artist’s heart include an exclusive collaboration between orchestral collective Stargaze and one of his favourite bands, Deerhoof; an exhibition by San-Francisco-based artist and trucker Brett Goodroad (picture below); and a double bill from his friend Malcolm Middleton, one half of Arab Strap, and Scottish musician Iain Shaw, whose quirky folk song-smithery has turned Shrigley’s poems into incisive songs on albums like Awesome and Listening to Slayer. Picture of David Shrigley: Victor Frankowski. Picture below: John Janca.

Phone 01273 709709, email or visit

Read our feature on the Brighton Festival.

Charleston Festival

Charleston, Firle

Friday-Monday May 18-28

Described as “the home of lively conversation and a search for truth in the spirit of the Bloomsbury Group”, the Charleston Festival this year boasts David Attenborough (pictured above) as its star speaker. Announced as the winner of the annual Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize, he will deliver the annual lecture on the divisive question of whether some animals can justifiably be described as artists. Among other speakers and writers are last year’s Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, the author Jeanette Winterson, Hollywood actress Gemma Arterton (pictured below), broadcaster David Dimbleby, author Robert Harris, the biographer Claire Tomalin, author Ali Smith, broadcasters Evan Davis, the Newsnight presenter, and Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, who gives an insider’s account of Donald Trump’s presidency, Fat is a Feminist Issue author Susie Orbach, authors Aida Edemariam, Kevin Powers, Kamila Shamsie, Neel Mukherjee and Alexander McCall Smith, poet Simon Armitage, comedian, actor and writer Robert Webb and author Alan Hollinghurst.

Read our feature on the Charleston Festival.

Phone 01323 811626 or visit

Brett Anderson: Coal Black Mornings

Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton

Sunday May 20, 7.30pm

Tickets £11.90

Brett Anderson, the lead singer of pop group Suede, helped shaped British culture in the 1990s but his upbringing in 1970s Haywards Heath couldn’t have been more different. In his memoir Coal Black Mornings, he describes his poverty-stricken childhood and his relationship with his artistic mother and eccentric taxi driver father.

Phone 0844 871 7650 or visit

Steyning Festival

Various venues in Steyning, Bramber, Beeding, Ashurst, Washington and Ashington

Saturday-Saturday May 26-June 9

Local, national and international talent is showcased during a fortnight of diverse programmed events, an artistic festival run by the community with the community and for the community. The programme covers theatre, music, visual arts including an art trail, walks and tours, literature, talks and community events.

Phone 01903 812062 or visit

Wild Writing with Xaverine Bates

Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down

Wednesday May 30, 10.30am-12.30pm

£10. Booking essential

Xaverine Bates, a writer and artist from Hastings, leads this creative writing workshop inspired by the woods, aimed at for graduates of the Wilderness Wood’s roots and wings programme and other young women members of the wood (age 12 plus). Participants should bring a journal and will be led through the woods to draw and write poems and prose inspired by the woods and everything that grows within them. This is a chance to find your voice, to share or simply just to write for yourself.

Phone 01825 830509 or visit

Nature & Nurture – Writing for Wellbeing with Ann O’Keife

Sussex Prairie Garden, Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, near Henfield

Friday August 3, 10am-2pm


Ann O’Keife, a creative writing tutor, person-centred therapist and laughter teacher based in West Sussex, leads this inspirational Writing for Wellbeing workshop. Enjoy easy and fun writing exercises to stimulate your imagination and encourage flow writing. The workshop is suitable for all levels. Bring a pen, notebook and packed lunch.

Phone 01273 495902 or visit

Bernstein in Chichester Exhibition


West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester

Monday-Monday August 13-24, Tuesday-Friday 9.15am-4.45pm and Saturdays 9.15am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm


As part of the Bernstein In Chichester Festival marking the centenary of the birth of the West Side Story composer Leonard Bernstein, this is an exhibition of a series of compelling documents from the archives at West Sussex Record Office recording his time in Chichester and the first performance of his composition the Chichester Psalms at Chichester Cathedral in 1965. The exhibition includes the cathedral archives and the papers of Dean Walter Hussey, who commissioned the original work. It will transfer to Chichester Cathedral North Transept in October. Pictures: West Sussex Record Office/Dean Hussey Archive.

Read our feature on the Bernstein In Chichester Festival.

Phone 01243 753602 or visit

Literary Events Calendar

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