Hillingdon Literary Festival 2017

Now in its 3rd year, the Hillingdon Literary Festival returns to Brunel University London for a lively and entirely FREE weekend of literary performances, readings, debates, and signings from bestselling and globally renowned authors.

Featuring Jonathan Coe, Tessa Hadley, Olumide Popoola, Will Self and Benjamin Zephaniah, plus many more, the weekend of Friday 6th to Sunday 8th October promises to be a dazzling display of talent and inspiration. The £250 winner of our annual local creative writing competition will also be announced for the Ordinary People – Exceptional Lives anthology, featuring Hillingdon based authors. A free copy is available at the Festival! So do join us – everyone is very welcome!



Friday 6th October

17:00 Drinks Reception
Join us for the official launch reception of the Hillingdon Literary Festival 2017

18:00 Bullshit Brexit: Truth and Lies
A panel of experts discuss the political sway of bullshit – from all sides – in the narratives of the EU Referendum and its aftermath. As the philosopher Harry Frankfurt noted: “Bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are” (2005).

Featuring Justin Fisher, Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Alexandra Xanthaki, William Watkin, and chaired by Akram Khan this debate will be a rousing realisation of ways we can safeguard human rights, ward against fake news and resist the bullshit!


Saturday 7th October

12:00 Life Writing and Special Collections
Explore Life Writing with autobiographies from Brunel’s Special Collections, led by Emma Filtness and Katie Flanagan.

13:00 Flash Fiction – with Emma Filtness
Learn the art of brevity and write a complete story in 500 words or less. This’ll be fab. Need we say more?

14:00 Where the Ordinary become Extraordinary – with Tessa Hadley and Olumide Popoola
Join Tessa Hadley and Olumide Popoola in conversation about their writing of the moments in which the seemingly ordinary become extraordinary. Discussing broad issues at the individual level; crucial moments of transition; small acts that have enormous consequences; and the power of empathy, their work resonates with vibrant humanity.

15:00 The Power of Political Satire – With Jonathan Coe and Sharon Lockyer
Celebrated satirical novelist Jonathan Coe (author of eleven novels, including The Rotters’ Club, What A Carve Up! and Number 11) and Sharon Lockyer (Director of Brunel’s Centre for Comedy Studies) discuss the potent power of political comedy as a critique of establishment, and its increasingly weaponized form taken up by politicians themselves.

17.00 Will Self – Phone
Join Will Self for a foray in to his new novel, Phone. Uniting our most urgent contemporary concerns: from the ubiquitous mobile phone to a family in chaos; from the horror of modern war, to the end of privacy, Phone is Will Self’s most important and compelling novel to date.


Sunday 8th October

13:00 How (and how not) to Self-Publish a Novel – with F.D. Lee
Self-publishing is fast becoming one of the go-to mediums for authors to distribute their work, and accounts for approximately half of all Amazon sales in the UK and USA. However, as with any new endeavor, there are a number of pitfalls which many new writers stumble into. In this workshop, Faith will cover various aspects of self-publishing and talk with you about her own experiences, both positive and negative. This will be a practical, relaxed workshop with hints and how-tos, in which you are very welcome to ask questions.

14:00 The Mysteries of Literary Landscapes – with Emma Henderson and Elizabeth Kostova
Vividly evoking dramatic landscapes and intrepid journeys in to rich cultural settings, join Emma Henderson and Elizabeth Kostova on their travels for a session that explores the experience of literary landscapes and their love of land away from home.

15:00 The Shape of the Arts to Come – with Cyrus Bozorgmehr and Matt Thorne
Join Matt Thorne (Author, Screenwriter, Biographer) as he presents his new multimedia project, HIGH, in conversation with Cyrus Bozorgmehr, the Senior Advisor for the Wu Tang Clan’s album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin – an album with only one copy – for a session that asks questions about our relationship with art, music, literature, technology, and ultimately ourselves.

16:00 Ordinary People : Exceptional Lives – Hosted by Benjamin Zephaniah
Benjamin Zephaniah, judge of this year’s creative writing competition, hosts a selection of standout submissions from this year’s anthology. Hear work by some of the best new talent in the Borough, and discover the winner of the grand prize!


17:15 Contactless
Contactless is the new comedy drama that explores life underground, inspired by true stories from the origins of ‘Mind The Gap’ to the etiquette of the priority seat. We all have somewhere to go, we all have to avoid eye contact



HiLF is only possible with support from our generous sponsors


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