Annual Writeidea Festival celebrates the pleasure of reading

The Writeidea 2019
Tower Hamlets Council’s annual Writeidea Festival, in its eleventh year, will take place on 15 – 17 November at Idea Store Whitechapel.

With over 40 free events on offer ranging from author talks, live music, and dance, there is something for everyone.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are delighted to once again host a varied programme of literary events with a combination of well known names, local, national and emerging writers and artists bringing their own perspective of fiction and non- fiction writing to the festival.”

The festival starts on Friday 15 November, 7pm with author Colin Grant who will read from his book ‘Homecoming’. This draws on over 100 first-hand interviews, archival recordings and memoirs of women and men who came to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and the early 1960s.

On Saturday 16 November at 1pm Ayisha Malik talks about her new book ‘Sofia Khan is not Obliged’ – a romantic comedy that is billed as the Muslim Bridget Jones.  

Historian David Rosenberg will lead a walk and talk event ‘Radicals and Rebels in the Brick Lane Area 1880s - 1970s’ from 11am – 1pm. Brick Lane is famous for its curries and bagels and street market but also has a rich history of social and political struggle. The walk will give participants an insight into the individuals and groups that played their part in this history.

Two more Tower Hamlets landmarks feature at Writeidea. On Saturday author Chirstopher Skaife will talk about his experiences as a ravenmaster at the Tower of London and on Sunday David Laird, an expert on Tower bridge, will share stories behind the engineering, the people, the architecture and the city that created this iconic structure.

At 2.30pm, Kia Abdullah, author and travel writer from Tower Hamlets, will talk through her new novel, ‘Take It Back’ – a gripping courtroom drama exposing divisions in society.

At 4pm, Kate Thompson and Melanie McGrath will be talking about all things East End. They will discuss their respective books ‘Secrets of the Homefront Girls’ and ‘Pie & Mash down the Roman Road’ while discussing their love of social history. 

Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit, added: “With a range of speakers, topics, genres and events over the weekend, we are pleased to host a festival that includes something for everyone. I encourage residents and visitors to flick through the programme and book in advance to avoid disappointment.”

The English National Ballet has moved to Tower Hamlets. To celebrate this, the ENBEldersCo will be performing at Writeidea on Sunday 17 November at 1pm and demonstrating how ballet and contemporary dance can be for everyone.

Prize-winning novelist Kerry Hudson will be introducing her memoir Lowborn – BBC book of the week and “one of the most important books of the year” (The Guardian). Best-selling author of Apple Tree Yard, Louise Doughty will be talking about her latest novel Platform Seven and Jill Dawson will be talking about her thought provoking novel, The Language of Birds, inspired by the sensational Lord Lucan case.

The weekend will finish with a performance of folk music from Klezmer Klub at 7pm.  A Klezmer Klub gig typically sees the audience joining in with both singing and dancing, the traditional dance steps being taught by Vivi Lachs in a simple, direct fashion that gets everyone involved.

Throughout the festival there will be books available to buy and opportunities to get them signed by authors.

For further information and to book visit

Posted on Thursday 7th November 2019