Book to the Future 2016: Festival featuring top literary talent returns

UK All-Star Poetry Slam champion Ben Norris

More than a thousand alumni, students, members of staff and the community enjoyed a range of free workshops, talks, and performances at the 2016 Book to the Future festival in October.

The University’s third annual festival of the written and spoken word featured some of the region’s leading literary lights and showcased alumni, student and academic talent.

Exclusive events included Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, and alumna, Clare Morrall, explaining why Birmingham plays a key role in her work, as well as University alumnus and creator of the award-winning BBC drama Line of Duty, Jed Mercurio.

With a varied career since graduating in Medicine, from hospital physician to trainee Royal Air Force pilot, Jed discussed how these experiences have helped to shape his work as a producer, director, novelist, and one of Britain’s leading television writers, having also created critically acclaimed series Bodies and Cardiac Arrest.

Redbrick, the University’s student newspaper, called the event a “thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable talk from one of the University of Birmingham’s most impressive past students.”

The festival also featured various poetry performances and workshops including how to publish and promote your own work, as well as how to push through the dreaded writer’s block.

UK All-Star Poetry Slam champion Ben Norris returned to campus to perform his frank but hilarious poems about the Midlands, generational bigotry, falling in and out of love, and being a millennial. Many of these poems related to Ben’s time as a student, and graduate, of University of Birmingham.

We were also proud to debut new play Holding Baby exclusively for festival attendees. Written by alumna and former Birmingham poet laureate Jan Watts, the play was described by one critic as “a fine piece of writing on a largely untouched subject, with contemporary relevance, which illuminates, entertains and engages in equal measure.”

Book to the Future 2017 will take place in October 2017: for more information, contact Charlotte Heap, College Alumni Relations Manager ( / 0121 414 9161)