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The University of Birmingham’s annual festival of the written and spoken word returns next week with a range of free workshops, talks, and performances by some of the region’s leading literary lights.

Taking place from Thursday 13 - Saturday 15 October, the 2016 ‘Book to the Future’ festival features events from renowned author, broadcaster and anatomist Professor Alice Roberts, as well as University alumnus and creator of the award-winning BBC drama Line of Duty, Jed Mercurio.

Professor Alice Roberts is the author of seven popular science and archaeology books, as well as being a Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She has also presented several landmark BBC series including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, Ice Age Giants and The Celts. As part of the Book to the Future Festival, she celebrates the opening of the new University library and Inspiring Knowledge exhibition with a talk on Vesalius’ influential work On the Fabric of the Human Body.


Jed Mercurio is a University alumnus and creator of the award-winning BBC drama Line of Duty and critically acclaimed series Bodies and Cardiac Arrest. Jed has had an incredibly varied career since graduating in Medicine from the University of Birmingham, from practice as a hospital physician to training as a Royal Air Force pilot. In his exclusive talk for the Book to the Future Festival, he will discuss how these experiences have helped to shape his work as a producer, director, novelist, and one of Britain’s leading television writers.

Other Festival highlights include:

  • Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, and alumna, Clare Morrall explains why Birmingham plays a key role in her work
  • Birmingham academics reprise successful talks from this year’s Hay Festival on themes from Shakespeare to the Haitian Cholera crisis
  • Jan Watts, alumna and former Birmingham poet laureate, debuts her new play Holding Baby exclusively for festival attendees
  • Local authors share their tips on how to publish and promote your own work, as well as how to push through the dreaded writer’s block

Full listings of all Book to the Future 2016 events can be found on the festival website at

All events are free to attend, but booking is essential. To book a place at any of these events, visit the website or email Bryoney Johnson on

For more information, contact Deborah Walker at the University of Birmingham Press Office, on +44 (0)121 414 6681. Out of hours please call +44 (0) 7789 921165 or email

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.