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Larmer Tree Festival 2019


We return to Larmer Tree Festival this year! We are thrilled to be part of a truly incredible line-up.

Sara Veal will be chairing three talks:

Mahsuda Snaith writes stories that give a voice to the marginalised, with great wit, humour and humanity. Her debut ‘The Things We Thought We Know’, is ‘a vibrant portrayal of estate life in the late nineties and an affecting story of friendship’ (The Independent) while her second novel is an inspiring portrait of a young homeless woman. Sara Veal talks to Mahsuda about how her experiences have influenced and informed her short stories and novels, her journey to publication and her writing process, with practical tips and insights for those interested in discovering their voice or developing their writing.

What defines a classic piece of literature? What makes the written word stand the test of time? Can you be considered well-read if you’ve never conquered Moby Dick or survived War and Peace? Did studying books at school make you love or hate them? Have you ever pretended to read something you haven’t? Whether you prefer Henry James to EL James or Harry Potter to Hemingway, join podcaster and poet Leena Norms, sports journalist Jordan Jarrett-Bryan and author Cathy Rentzenbrink for a spirited debate dissecting classics, modern must-reads and literary adventures. Chaired by Sara Veal.

Cathy Rentzenbrink’s lifelong love of reading has taken her on a journey from bookseller and literacy activist to Sunday Times bestselling author. Her debut, The Last Act of Love, is a heartrending, powerful and exquisite memoir of family tragedy, while her follow-up, A Manual for Heartache, offers advice on how to deal with life’s bumps and shocks and sadnesses. Sara Veal talks to Cathy about her life in books on both sides of the page, her most recent work in Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers and her upcoming memoir: Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books, which will be published in January 2020.

Leena Norms is a podcaster, poet, presenter and book activist. She has had 4 million+ views to date on her YouTube channel and co-founded the chart-topping podcast “Banging Book Club”. She has been recognised as one of Youtube’s Creators for Change, was a Booksellers Rising Star in 2016 and won the London Bookfair’s Trailblazer Award in 2019. She has worked for Icon Books, Penguin Random House, Telegraph Books and Pan Macmillan. Her chart-topping podcast “I’m Not Being Funny But-” aims to explore and attempt to answer questions that people “pretend to know the answers to or didn’t think to ask”, and covers a range of topics relating to social change and activism.

Mahsuda Snaith is an award-winning writer of novels and short stories. She lives in Leicester. She won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2014 and Bristol Short Story Prize 2014, and was a finalist in the Mslexia Novel Writing Competition 2013.  Her debut novel ‘The Things We Thought We Knew’ was published in 2017 and her second novel ‘How to Find Home’ was published in May. She was named an ‘Observer New Face of Fiction 2017’. Mahsuda has led creative writing workshops in universities, hospitals, schools and in a homeless hostel. She is a mentor for the Middle Way Mentoring Project for BAME writers in the Midlands.

Cathy Rentzenbrink is the author of The Last Act of Love and A Manual for Heartache. She was born in Cornwall and grew up in Yorkshire. Cathy regularly chairs literary events, judges prizes, interviews authors, reviews books and runs writing workshops, and thinks that most lives would be enriched by more reading and writing. She won the Snaith and District Ladies’ Darts Championship when she was seventeen but is now sadly out of practice. She recently contributed to Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers, edited by Kit de Waal, which brings together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of debut writers from all over the UK. Her next book Dear Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books will be published in January 2020.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan is a multi-talented journalist and former sportsman. He is currently a sports reporter for Channel 4 News and host of YouTube show It’s All Blakademik. He has written for Dazed & Confused, Sunday Times, Time Out, The Independent and The Guardian, and was a youth consultant for script writers at the BBC. Jordan is a two-time European champion with the GB Junior wheelchair basketball team which he captained in 2004, and was a commentator for the games in the 2012 Summer Paralympics on Channel 4. Jordan is proud to be an ambassador for the charity Whizz Kidz, where he works with disabled children, offering advice and guidance to help them reach their potential.

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