New festival of LGBTQ+ voices in literature in Brighton

The Coast Is Queer: John McCullough
The Coast Is Queer: John McCullough

The Coast Is Queer offers a new festival of LGBTQ+ voices in literature in Brighton, bringing together writers, performers, academics, activists and readers for a weekend of events, work-shops, panel discussions and performances to celebrate queer lives and writing.

Spokeswoman Anna Goodman said: “LGBTQ+ writers make a phenomenal contribution to literature and publishing and yet representation and opportunities are still scarce.

“The Coast Is Queer is set to bring a focus to LGBTQ+ lives and to celebrate high calibre fiction, journalism, research, activism, performance and thinking from and about the LGBTQ+ community. Brighton is an ideal location – a city widely known as a safe place for LGBTQ+ people and the cornerstone of much LGBTQ+ culture, politics and activism.

“Over a long weekend in mid-September the festival will present talks, workshops and performances, literary cabaret and a literary History Club. There will be opportunities to meet writers, participate in writing workshop activities and to buy and browse at the festival’s bookstall, run by Brighton and Hove’s largest independent bookshop, City Books.”

“All events will take place at The Spire, the Grade II listed community arts centre in East Bright-on. Many events will be free or low-cost and bursary places will be available to all ticketed events.”

Confirmed speakers include: Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing, Gimme Gimme Gimme), Juno Dawson (This Book Is Gay, Margot & Me), Patrick Gale (Take Nothing With You, Notes From An Exhibition), Eley Williams (Attrib. And Other Stories) , Niven Govinden (This Brutal House), Lesley Thomson (The Playground Murders, The Detective’s Daughter) Emma Frankland (None Of Us Is Yet A Robot), Owl & Fox Fisher (The Trans Teen Survival Guide), Seni Sen-eviratne (Unknown Soldier), Kate Davies (In At The Deep End), Dean Atta (Black Flamingo), C N Lester (Trans Like Me), Maria Jastrzębska (The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingenue), Sea Sharp (The Swagger of Dorothy Gale and Other Filthy Ways To Strut), Sharan Dhaliwal (Editor, Burnt Roti), Ella Otomewo and Tasha Suri (Empire of Sand).

The festival is a collaboration between New Writing South and the Marlborough Theatre, and is funded by Consortium: www.coastisqueer.com and www.newwritingsouth.com.

Programme takes place at The Spire, St Mark’s Chapel, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JN

Thursday, September 12

6.30-7.30pm Eley Williams in Conversation

Friday, September 13

4.30-6pm CN Lester: Trans Like Me – CN Lester interviewed by Juliet Jacques

6.30-8pm Dean Atta & Niven Govinden – Reading and Q&A

8.30-10pm Coast is Queer Literary Cabaret Featuring Dean Atta, Sea Sharp, Tim Redfern, (Tim-berlina) Maria Jastrzębska & Ella Otomewo, hosted by Kuchenga

Saturday, September 14

10 -10.45am Writers’ Beach Walk with Natasha Carthew The Beach, ending at The Spire for coffee and networking

10 -10.45am Writing Workshop with Queer Writing South

11-12.15pm Writers’ Social with guest speakers Lesley Thomson and Natasha Carthew

12.45pm – 2pm New Voices in LGBTQ+ Fiction Kate Davies, West Camel & Tasha Suri

4-5.30pm Jonathan Harvey In conversation Interviewed by David Sheppeard (Marlborough co-Artistic Director)

5.45-6.30pm Jar and Verse Cocktails and Poetry with Maria Jastrzębska & Seni Seneviratne

6.45 – 8pm Lovely Trans Literary Salon Juno Dawson and guests including Juno Roche

8.30 -10pm We Are Not Yet Robots Emma Frankland and guests

Sunday, September 15

10am -1.30pm Book Fair stalls

10 -10.45am Writing Workshop with Queer Writing South

10.45-11.15am Queer Café Open Mic Sharing opportunity for workshop participants and others

10.30 -11.45am Publishing & Platforms for LGBTQ+ Literature Featuring Sharon Dhaliwal (edi-tor, Burnt Roti) Ollie Charles (co-founder United Writing) & Dr Erica Gillingham (Books editor DIVA/Bookseller Gay’s The Word) SPIRE BAR

12 -1.15pm Fox & Owl: Trans Teen Survival Guide Fox and Owl SPIRE BAR

1.30-2.30pm ‘Queering the Classroom’ a roundtable on queer writing, (in)visibility and the cur-riculum SPIRE BAR

3-4.30pm LGBTQ+ History Club with Patrick Gale