An Impossible Poison – join Bidisha at Spike Island

We are pleased to be hosting a very special event with Bidisha and Taban Othman at Spike Island on 17 May.

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Over the past few months, conversations have raged about Me Too, feminism, and women’s representation in film, literature and wider culture.
In her debut film, the writer, broadcaster and journalist Bidisha explores issues around gender, violence and control. Her work is beautiful, challenging and designed to provoke discussion.
This very special event brings Bidisha together with award-winning filmmaker Taban Othman, who now lives in Bristol having left Iraqi Kurdistan. The pair will be screening their films and then will join Sian Norris in conversation. Together they will discuss the inspirations and motivations behind their work, the challenges facing women of colour in the film industry, and how, post Me Too, we can encourage women’s stories to be told, heard and respected.



Bidisha is a journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster for BBC radio, BBC TV and SKY. She is a Trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation and writes regularly for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. Her fifth book is Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices(2015) and her debut short film is An Impossible Poison (2017).

Taban Yasin Othman

Taban Yasin Othman is an experimental film maker.

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Thank you!

Thank you so much for being part of the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival. It was such a brilliant brilliant weekend – two days of intelligent and thought provoking conversation, fun, wit, and a real celebration of women’s work, feminism, reading and writing.

Not even the snow could put us off – hurrah!

We’ll be updating the website soon with pics and audio recordings… so watch this space.


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Festival going ahead

Hi there

So we have decided to go ahead with the festival so please do brave the snow and come along to Watershed.

We may have to reduce or amend some of the line-ups so it might not be exactly as programmed but we are doing our very best in these surprising circumstances to keep calm and carry on…

See you later.

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Sunday weather update

We are keeping an eye on the weather for #BWLF – at the moment it looks like trains are still running to Bristol so events are all going ahead, we will update if anything changes…

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The Second Shelf joins BWLF

As well as buying brand new books from BWLF authors at the festival, you’ll also have the chance to discover and shop for rare and forgotten books by women, thanks to Second Shelf.

Writer and arts journalist A. N. Devers is launching The Second Shelf, an online bookstore focused on rare, antiquarian, modern first editions, and manuscripts by women writers later this year. She had the idea for The Second Shelf after realising that women writers’ legacies and acclaim for their work has suffered as a result of the rare book trade being traditionally a male field. The Second Shelf seeks to put excellent work by women in the hands of readers and collectors, to help unearth work that has been relegated and bring it the attention it deserves, and to encourage more women to collect books in order to help grow a market and balance the bookshelves. She will be joining the festival in Watershed’s Waterside 3 with a selection of rare and modern first edition books available for purchase.

Waterstones will also be at Waterside 3, selling the books by our speakers.

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Tickets for BWLF weekend programme now on sale!

Tickets for 2018’s Bristol Women’s Literature Festival are now on sale via Watershed Bristol’s website

Fans of contemporary, feminist, classic and YA writing can book tickets to see writers as diverse as Patrice Lawrence, Louise Doughty and Sheila Rowbotham as they discuss their own work, the place of women in publishing today, and the relationship writers have with their readers.

Over the weekend, attendees can rediscover their love of Frankenstein with Professor Marie Mulvey-Roberts. They can discuss the joy of talking about books with the Read Women project team. Together we’ll celebrate the single woman with Joanna Scutts, assess the legacy of #MeToo in the 100th year of UK women’s suffrage with Samira Ahmed, step back in time to 1920s Paris and much, much more…

Programme at a glance:

Friday 16 March: Bristol Women’s Literature Festival launch party

Featuring a screening of Greta Schiller’s Paris Was A Woman and readings of 1920s writers

Saturday 17 March:

Living alone and liking it with Joanna Scutts

100 years since suffrage with Samira Ahmed, Nimco Ali, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, Sheila Rowbotham and Professor Helen Taylor

Women Writing Today with Louise Doughty, Meena Kandasamy, Jenny Landreth and Bidisha

Sunday 18 March:

200 years of Frankenstein, with Professor Marie Mulvey-Roberts

Why we love talking books, with the Read Women Twitter team

Writing YA, with Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Patrice Lawrence and Eleanor Pender

Book now

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Guest post: #MeToo – women’s poetry anthology

This is a guest post in support of the #MeToo Women’s Poetry Anthology, edited by Deborah Alma:

A brand new collection of largely new work, from some of our finest poets: that rose up directly out of the collective rage from the #MeToo campaign on social media around the world at the end of 2017.

“This collection is quite the rollercoaster: it made me cry with sadness – and with joy. I salute the courage of the women who have shared the pain of sexual harassment in verse that is lyrical, poignant and powerful

– as will readers of this outstanding collection.”

Rachel Kelly

author of ‘Black Rainbow: How words can heal – my journey through depression’ and mental health campaigner.

“Listen hard- this is what you hear, and what must be said: the hard poetry of truth, exploding into the light, where it goddamn belongs. Read these poems and then decide in what order you want to 1) cry 2) march 3) scream with relief and recognition 4) grab a sword-pen and write your own.”

Amanda Palmer

Singer-songwriter, Musician, with the Dresden Dolls.

Enough tears. Enough silence. It was all of us but we

never knew. Sisters, take my hands, we can say it together:

me too

me too

me too.

Sarah Doyle

All profits will go to Women’s Aid UK

Cover image

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