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Peckham Literary Festival

Peckham Literary Festival 2010

17 - 26 November

Authors, Poets, Songsters and Performers. Ten days of Free Events showcasing the pick of Peckham's literary talents brought to you by ...

131 Bellenden Road, SE15 and

 Persepolis, 28-30 Peckham High Street, SE15  


Events take place (mostly) at one or other of these destinations. Use the "Book Now" facility to confirm your attendance - submit your name/s please. Spaces at some events may be limited.


  • Tom Phillips - A HUMUMENT - Fine Art iPad app LAUNCH

    To coincide with the start of the Festival artist Tom Philips will release an iPad app of his 1973 classic artist's book A Humument. In 1966 the artist set himself a task: to find a second-hand book for threepence and alter every page by painting, collage and cut-up techniques to create an entirely new version. In a junk shop on Peckham Rye he found an 1892 Victorian obscurity titled A Human Document by WH Mallock  - thus to the altered book A Humument, now one of the best known and loved of all 20th century artist's books and regarded as a seminal classic of postmodern art.  

    In typically amusing Tom Philips fashion the app includes an entirely novel interactive feature, The Oracle. Chance pairs of pages are generated and, like the I Ching, act as a guide and cryptic commentary on life in words and pictures.

    The Humument App has been developed by Tom Phillips with the technical assistance of John Bowring. It features 367 high definition pages, 39 completely new and unpublished pages, ability to email or post to Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter, and enables the user to zoom in and view details at enhanced resolution. View some pages at http://tomphillipshumument.tumblr.com/

    App for iPad Release 15 November 2010 £4.99

  • Travis Elborough's Seaside

    Wednesday 17th November - 19:30PM - Review Bookshop

    Join Travis Elborough on an exploration of our love for the seaside. From Blackpool, Jane Austen's satire and Brighton Rock's razor gangs, mods and Agatha Christie, Billy Butlin and Basil Fawlty, discover that English attitudes to just about everything - class, humour, modernism and identity - were forged by our relationship with the seaside.

    Travis is the author of critically acclaimed histories of the Routemaster bus and LP record. The latter formed the basis of the BBC Radio 2 documentary Long Players. Born in Worthing on the Sussex coast, his most recent book, Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, was published to rapturous reviews with Kathryn Hughes in the Mail on Sunday  hailing it as "a brilliant book" and Frances Wilson in the Sunday Times as "an ideal read for the English beach".

    A frequent contributor to The Guardian, he has also written for The Times, Sunday Times, The Observer, New Statesman, BBC History and TATE ETC., and regularly appears on BBC Radio 4 and Five Live.  (Author photo by David X Green)

  • Coconut Unlimited

    Thursday 18th November - 19:00PM - Persepolis

    Rap poet and author Nikesh Shukla will be reading from his debut novel, Coconut Unlimited. We hope he will also grace us with a performance of some of his BANG BANG BOOM-BAP BOOM BOOM-BAP rap!

    The book follows the ups and downs of an Asian teenage trio of rap-wannabes at a (mainly white - and rich) private school in West London in the 1990s. They form a band and "ironically" call it Coconut Unlimited after being called coconuts (brown on the outside, white on the inside). Squirm at the rap-battle with arch rival Mark Herman - aka Verbal Sharkey. Very, very funny. John Lucas at GQ.com says "a warm, funny work of great comic brio... an entertaining portrayal of late-adolescent angst and musical ineptitude". 



    See here for more... http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/845086-nikesh-shukla-breaking-out-of-the-pigeonhole and here too... http://nikeshshukla.wordpress.com/

    oops! nearly forgot - Coconut Unlimited, published by Quartet Books, £10 pb. Available at all good local bookstores and Persian corner shops.

  • Neither Am I

    Thursday 18th November - 20:00PM - Review Bookshop

    The greasepaint-drenched, four-humped, lame literary pantomime horse Neither Am I lumbers back into the dazzling limelight of the PLF with a mystery cast of anonymous verb-spouters to speak words directly into your lugholes.

    Following their exemption from arts and culture cuts due to a loophole in the regulatory mechanism, Neither Am I will be celebrating a subsequent funding windfall from unclaimed Arts Council assets by drafting a stellar line-up of minor novelists and major arseholes, regaling a frankly drunk audience with tales of Booker glory, unconscious lust, fake murderers, fear of people, and, of course, sausages.

    Featuring very special guest appearances from Howard Jacobson, Howard Jacobson, Howard Jcobson, Howard Jacobson, Howard Jacobson and Howard Jacobson. Arrive early for a complimentary glass of wine to soothe the pain. Find out more...http://neitherami.com/

  • Scheherezade Evening

    Friday 19th November - 19:15PM - Persepolis

    Stretching the literary term somewhat, but after hours of vague planning over the counter, Persepolis is to host its first ever Scheherezade evening, with music and belly dancing loosely strung together by tales from the 1001 Nights. We're not quite sure what to expect, or how it will go. We do know it will be fun.

    Dancing will be by Polly Hallam: http://londonist.com/2009/10/alternative_fitness_10_interview_wi.php and her friend Laura: http://www.exclusivelythemed.co.uk/  Music will be by whoever happens to drop by...

  • Tibor's Favourites

    Saturday 20th November - 19:30PM - Review Bookshop

    Come and spend and evening with Tibor Fischer, author of cult novels Under The Frog and The Thought Gang, and the short story collection Don't Read This Book if You're Stupid. Tibor will read some of his favourite passages from his work.

    Acting as Tibor's sidekick, first-time novelist and very likely Tibor's biggest fan, Grant Gillespie, will be making an appearance.

    This is a welcome return to the Festival by Tibor who read from his new novel Good to Be God in our 2008 line-up. Under The Frog, his first novel, was shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize. Of Good to Be God, the Catholic Herald said it "is funny and true and (not merely because it's set in Miami) Fischer's sunniest novel to date" and The Times, "Fischer at his sharpest - a widely original feelbad philosophical hayride".

  • Poetry Soapbox

    Monday 22nd November - 19:30PM - Review Bookshop

    Gather your finest rhymes and best mates and take a turn on our poets plinth. Recite your own or someone else's, old favourites or new rages, jab your screen or turn the pages!

    WIN A modest PRIZE for the best Peckham themed HAIKU - entries to peckhamlitfest@live.co.uk The best/worst/funniest entries will be read out on the night by some of our esteemed local poets. Co-compered by Helen Adie and Kate Miller (co-hosts of the poetry "do" at the recent Dulwich Festival).

    NOT AT EITHER OF THE MAIN VENUES BUT AT THE LOVELY MONTPELIER PUB, 43 CHOUMERT ROAD, SE15, just along from the bookshop. If you're planning to attend - as participant or partaudience - then use the "Book Now" email link to Review.

    All welcome, all ages (but do remember it's in a pub!)

    The HAIKU competition was judged by literary agent Nicola Barr from the Susijn Agency, writer Laura Dockrill, Sally from Persepolis and me (Roz at review). We didn't agree entirely so JOINT First prize goes to Sue Amos and Gillie Robic and Second Prize goes to Julia Honess (we couldn't decide between her two entries). Sorry about the presentation - lines separated by a '/' - its my technical website incompetence!

    steam frothed air belches / sending salty smells outward / chicken bone crunches Sue Amos
    ..we love it here...yes! / We love Peckham...yes, Peckham! / That's why we live here. Gillie Robic
    Dear Friends of Fabric / Would you be able to get / this curry stain out? Julia Honess
    I send my daughter / to Chaz's for a haircut / it's only eight pounds. Julia Honess

    and honourable mentions to

    Cement field yields fruit / Asphalt sea alive with fish / Dinner grown from stone Catherine Mann
    Weave hair in the road / Pigeons, cats in the car park / Still, Choumert is home Nicole King
    November palm trees. / Leaves shiver in London rain. / Red bus glides, a fish. Imogen Forster
  • Tall Tales

    Tuesday 23rd November - 19:30PM - Persepolis

    An evening of possibly-slightly-less-than-true tales from a line-up of London writers. We are promised laughter, puzzlement, random songs and above all diversion. Organised by Robbie Hudson whose first novel The Kilburn Social Club was published last year and whose musical Damsel in Distress, written with Jeremy Sams and based on a Wodehouse novel and Gershwin songs, is due to be produced in Chichester early next year.  He runs a monthly(ish) evening of sketches, songs and stories in Kilburn. 

    Tonight we tempt him South, to Peckham. "Who is this guy?" See here... http://robbiehudson.com/index.html and some independent commentary here... http://sowhodoesthat.blogspot.com/2010/05/tall-tales.html

    And a review here...http://londonist.com/2010/11/spoken-word-review-tall-tales-peckham-literary-festival.php

  • The Firestation Book Swap Comes to Peckham

    Thursday 25th November - 19:30PM - Persepolis

    A literary event with a difference. Publisher Scott Pack hosts an evening of conversation and banter with guest authors DJ Connell and Cathy Rogers. They will talk a little about their books, drink some tea and eat some cake. During  the night they will dip into a question jar filled by the audience beforehand. They can ask anything they want as long as it isn't about books. Or writing. Don't expect the polite, reserved atmosphere you would normally find at a literary gathering - the Book Swap is irreverent, entertaining, and a bit chaotic. You won't hear boring speeches, the same old questions or authors reading from their latest book - but you could witness almost anything else.

    Audience members are required to bring an unwanted book along with them which they will have an opportunity to swap for a different one on the night. No one leaves empty handed. They can also bring cake. Scott loves cake. Especially homemade cake.

    DJ Connell is the author of Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar, a laugh-out-loud debut novel set in Tasmania. A sort of "Crocodile Dundee crashes Muriel's Wedding and runs off into the desert with Priscilla". Cathy Rogers quit her job in television to set up an olive farm in Italy with her husband. All did not go according to plan and her book about their adventures, The Dolce Vita Diaries, is a rare honest account of what it is like to live the dream. Scott Pack is publisher at The Friday Project, an imprint of Harper Collins, and together with Marie Philips, author of Gods Behaving Badly, invented the Book Swap.

    "Certainly a literary event with a difference...I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Book Swap evening doesn't become the popular way to mix books, writers and the reading public." Robert McCrum, Guardian

    "this is exactly the kind of book-linked, local event that publishers should be really encouraging, a sort of odd cross between a public reading and a book group," Emma Townshend, Independent 

    Don't forget to bring a book!

  • Rama and Sita - Path of Flames

    Friday 26th November - 19:15PM - Persepolis

    Storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton and artist Sophie Herxheimer celebrate the launch of their new book Rama and Sita. Sally will read from the book and talk about the tales therein, and then there will be an opportunity to talk to the girls and buy signed copies. The perfect gift for awkward small people this Christmas.

    Sally and Sophie bring to life an ancient Hindu epic, telling the story of Rama's search for Princess Sita who has been stolen by the Demon King. How Rama is helped by the magic monkey, Hanuman, who flies over the sea, sets fire to the Demon Kingdom and carries a mountain on the palm of his hand. The story ends with people putting out lamps to light Rama and Sita's pathway home. This moment is at the heart of the Hindu festival Divali.

    Published 16th October 2010 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

  • East Dulwich Writers Group

    Friday 26th November - 19:15PM - Review Bookshop

    Writers from EDWG - East Dulwich Writers group - will read short extracts from the second anthology of the group, Hoovering the Roof 2, to be published next month. The first Hoovering the Roof was runner up in the Best Anthology category at the National Association of Writers' Groups Writing Awards in 2010.

    Funny, profound, and provocative, the readings will amuse and engage and move you. In addition one of the group will give a brief (very brief!) description about how the anthologies got published.

    According to Steve Redwood, author of Fisher of Devils, Who Needs Cleopatra? and Broken Symmetries, "Hoovering the Roof 2 is a wonderful collection of stories and poems that succeeds in bestowing a freshness, a warmth, and often a sense of wonder, on aspects of everyday life".

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