The University of Birmingham will host a festival first with ‘Book to the Future’, a celebration of the written and spoken word, this week. Uncovering a wealth of literary gold from across the campus and beyond, the diverse programme of more than 50 events packed into six days will  run from 24-29 October 2013 to comprise exclusive exhibitions, readings, performances, panel debates, and lectures, as well as the nation’s first inter-university poetry slam competition, UniSlam, and even a huge world record attempt!

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Law and the Alumni Impact Fund, and supported by student societies including, BEDsoc, Writers' Bloc, and the Shakespeare society Foolish Wits, the Book to the Future festival will feature our academic, student and local talent as well as well-known alumni authors, poets, playwrights, journalists and scriptwriters. 

Highlights include:

Weird and wonderful storytelling with Sir Tony Robinson – Friday 25 October, 1.30pm

Sir Tony Robinson will visit the University as part of his book tour for new children’s publication, the Weird World of Wonders: Inventions. Local children are invited to listen to this unique, funny and educational story-telling hosted in the Bramall Music Building. The actor, comedian, amateur historian, TV presenter, and political activist is best known for playing Baldrick in the BBC television series Blackadder and for hosting Channel 4 programmes such as Time Team but on this occasion, guests will see a very different side to him!

World record attempt - Sunday 27 October, 12pm

The University’s Great Hall will witness a spectacular showdown as bookworms aim to beat a World record for the most people walking five metres with a book on their head. Nearly 1,000 people will need to squeeze into the hall with their novels to reach this epic feat (record currently stands at 939)! 

Jamie McKendrick to open 'Creative Minds at Birmingham' – Thursday 24 October, 5.15pm

Jamie McKendrick, widely published author of numerous poetry collections and former New Generations Poet of the Poetry Society, will launch the first of the School of English Drama and American and Canadian Studies (EDACS) Writers and Artists Distinguished Speaker Series on 24 October.  McKendrick will read and discuss his work for guests at the Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building.

Martyn Waites: The birth of Tania Carver and other pseudonyms – Sunday 27 October, 6pm

Martyn Waites, creator of the Joe Donovan crime series and critically acclaimed author of ten bestselling novels, will talk about his crime-writing alter ego Tania Carver.

Talks from Birmingham writers 

Professor Lisa Downing – Tuesday 29 October, 6pm

Professorof French Discourses of Sexuality in the College of Arts and Law, Lisa Downing will talk about her latest title, The Subject of Murder. This text examines real-life murder cases and representations made of them from the 1830s in France, to 20th and 21st-century US and UK cases and offers a new interpretation of the way in which our society understands the figure of ‘the murderer’. 

Dr Richard House - Friday 25 October, 7.30pm

English Lecturer, Richard House, whose novel The Kills was  longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and the Green Carnation prize, will talk to guests about the 1000-page, digitally enhanced crime thriller.

Please register online to attend

The full programme is available to download from the Book to the Future website

For media enquiries please contact Samantha Williams, University of Birmingham Press Office, +44 (0)121 414 6029