Monthly Archives: January 2015

New event added to festival programme: Poetry, Prose and Palestine with Annemarie Jacir and Selma Dabbagh

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce a new event has been added to the festival programme. It’s called

Poetry, Prose and Palestine with Annemarie Jacir and Selma Dabbagh

and it will take place at 6pm – 7.30pm on Saturday 14  March in Waterside 3

Selma Dabbagh is a London based British Palestinian writer of novels, short stories and plays. Her first novel, ‘Out of It,’ (Bloomsbury, 2011) is set between Gaza, London and the Gulf and has been voted Guardian Book of the Year. Selma also works as a lawyer. Annemarie Jacir is an award-winning director, poet and activist currently living between Palestine and Jordan. The work of Palestinian writers and poets has been a major influence on their lives. This evening, alongside their own works, Dabbagh and Jacir will read and discuss the poems other well-known Palestinian writers. Their presentations and discussion will explore how prose and poems challenge the dominant narratives on Palestine and the occupation, reaffirm Palestinian identity and maintain a constant struggle for equality and fairness, land, home and nationhood. They will explore why it is that people on a global level relate with the Palestinian cause in the way that they do and the role that the arts have in influencing activism and change. The event will be chaired by Alice Guthrie.

This event is organized in collaboration with the Bristol Palestinian Film Festival, as part of Conversations about Cinema: Impact of Conflict.

Tickets for this, and all festival events, will be on sale next week.


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New speaker added to festival line up – Nimko Ali!

Fantastic news! Activist and all round feminist superwoman Nimko Ali will be joining the line-up of the Women, Feminism and Journalism event at the festival this year. She will be speaking with Helen Lewis, Beatrix Campbell and Caroline Criado-Perez on the afternoon of Saturday 14 March.

Nimko set up the charity Daughters of Eve with Leyla Hussein. The organisation works to protect girls and young women who are at risk from female genital mutilation (FGM). By raising awareness about FGM and sign-posting support services they aim to help people who are affected by FGM and ultimately help bring an end to this practice.

Since setting up the charity, Nimko has become a leading voice in the fight against FGM and violence against women. She will be talking about her work as an activist and the relationship activism has with the media.

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New fringe event! The Salon/Open Mic

Hello and Happy New Year!

The festival is getting ever closer and we will be putting booking details online within the next week or so. But to whet your appetite for a weekend of literary inspiration, we are having a Salon and Open Mic night on Thursday 26 February.

A follow up to the fabulous success of November’s Salon event, you are invited to bring your own work or the work of your favourite woman writer to share with the group. So whether you are a writer yourself or want to share the work of a writer you love, this event is for you.

You can bring along short fiction, poems, song lyrics, monologues, a passage from a novel – whatever you choose.

So whether you’ve written a sonnet or want to share one, if you’re a songwriter or a prose lover, bring along your words or the words you love and let’s enjoy an inspiring evening of literary discovery!

When? Thursday 26 February

Where? Venue TBC

What time? 7pm

How much? Free, but donations to cover room hire are welcome.

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Paris was a Woman – back in print!

We’re delighted to hear that Andre Weiss’ book, Paris was a Woman, is back in print.

Our founder Sian used to pore over this book in her local library as a teenager, learning all about the lives of women writers and artists in 1920s Paris – from Gertrude Stein to Colette.

Sian will be introducing our screening of the film Paris was a Woman at the festival on Saturday 14 March. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Meanwhile, here’s some info about the book:

Originally published more than twenty years ago and winner of a Lambda Literary Award, Paris Was a Woman is a rare profile of the female literati in Paris at the turn of the century. Now with a new preface and illustrations, this “scrapbook” of their work—along with Andrea Weiss’ lively commentary—highlights the political, social, and artistic lives of the renowned lesbian and bisexual Modernists, including Colette, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Beach, and many more.

Painstakingly researched and profusely illustrated, it is an enlightening account of women who between wars found their identities and their voices in Paris. A wealth of photographs, paintings, drawings, and literary fragments combine with Weiss’ revealing text to give an unparalleled insight into this extraordinary network of women for who Paris was neither mistress nor muse, but a different kind of woman.


“Energetic, discerning feminist scholars continue to introduce us to women of consequence, beckoning them out of the shadows onto the center stage. Andrea Weiss, with the eye of a documentary filmmaker, trains her camera on 28 women of the Left Bank, her “dramatis personae.”

Washington Post Book World

 “[In] Andrea Weiss’ enjoyable book… the bohemian world of Paris during the 1920s is more interestingly and accurately conceived as a community of women…She draws on a wealth of research [and] has a professional eye for what a photographic portrait is.”

The Times Literary Supplement

 “The strength of this book lies in its upbeat exploration of the pairings, connections, and
enabling gestures that briefly made Paris not a mistress but a gifted woman.”

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

 “Andrea Weiss has told the fascinating, less well known story of the remarkable women artists and writers who made pre-war Paris the cultural capital of the world–riveting!”

—Edmund White, author of Genet: A Biography, finalist for The Pulitzer Prize

 Paris Was a Woman is a classic Modernist cultural biography of the places and people who made Paris the center of the avant-garde universe in the 1920s. People are still to be seen clutching their (our) old copies outside the addresses where Gertrude and Alice and Djuna and Natalie, their lovers and their characters, changed and charged the atmosphere with sex and sexual politics, love, heartbreak and radical creativity. The book has always graced my classroom. Now a new generation will enjoy the source text of the Modernist feminine/feminist.”

— Jane Marcus, author of Virginia Woolf and the Languages of Patriarchy and Art and Anger: Reading Like a Woman


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Caroline Criado-Perez added to Festival Line-Up!

Great news! Feminist campaigner, journalist, writer and all round awesome woman Caroline Criado-Perez is joining the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival line-up.

Caroline will be speaking at the Women, Feminism and Journalism event at 2.30pm on Saturday 14 March in Waterside 3, along with Helen Lewis and Beatrix Campbell – plus one more special guest who is about to confirm…

Caroline Criado-Perez is a freelance journalist and feminist campaigner. She is co-founder of The Women’s Room, an organisation and database that campaigns for more women experts in the media, and she led the campaign to keep women on banknotes. She has a degree in English from the University of Oxford, is completing an MSc in Gender at LSE. Her book, Do It Like A Woman…and change the world, will be published by Granta in May 2015. Caroline regularly appears as a commentator across all the major national broadcast TV channels and radio stations, and writes for the national media, most regularly for the New Statesman and the Guardian. Caroline was the recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award 2013.

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