Deptford Literature Festival takes place on Saturday 18 March 2023 and celebrates the creativity and diversity of Deptford and Lewisham through words, stories and performance. Tickets are now available to book, and we can’t wait to see you there. All events except Caleb Femi x SLOGhouse are free to attend, with free tickets to this available to Lewisham residents.
You can read the whole programme here or book tickets at the links below.
Access is at the heart of this Festival. All events are BSL interpreted and a Festival access policy embedded across all the events, and clear access notices given for each event.
There are also a number of ways you can get involved from home, including tuning in to one of the seven livestreamed events, plus there will be a number of writing activities available to take part in using guides produced by Festival writers in writing and video.
The Festival marketplace will host bookshops including The Word and Round Table Books, and local publishers including Fitzcarraldo Editions and Arachne Press. You can buy books by Festival authors and get them signed, or try some new recommended authors! You can also pay it forward by offering to buy a book for people who can’t afford one.
Many of the Festival events are themed around nature, climate and food. We’ll be welcoming local community organisations the Festival marketplace for you to meet on the day. We’ll be holding a foodbank collection point too.
Round Table Books have programmed a day of free writing and reading activities for children and young people.
Deptford Literature Festival Programme 2023 – Book tickets!
Festival in the Park – Creating with Deptford Nature hosted by Laura & LiLi
Time: 10am-4.30pm / Location: Brookmill Park / Price: FREE / Access: BSL, accessible toilet, paths are tarmac, bench seating available
Join Laura Barker and LiLi K. Bright for a day of creativity and writing workshops inspired by and exploring nature, climate and science in Brookmill Park. Open to all ages (children under 16 to be accompanied by an adult). The workshops will be taking place outdoors, so please dress for the weather!
Festival in the Park workshops:
10am – 12pm Climate Imaginarium Explore climate science and solutions through interactive games using writing and imagination to explore cause and effect, creating new science fiction.
1pm – 3pm Divination and Dreams Are you dreaming now? An interactive writing workshop working with found materials from nature and collective consciousness.
3.30pm – 4.30pm Birds + Words: Spells or Science? Craft a spell inspired by Brookmill Park birds and their scientific names. In this relaxed, outdoor workshop, we’ll create collective names for birds and write bird conjurings inspired by the local birdlife. Guided by creative prompts and writing activities, you’ll write stories, poetry and prose, and explore the enchanting nature of Brookmill Park.
Supported by the Friends of Brookmill Park.
Black History Walking Tour of Deptford by Jody Burton
Time: anytime / Location: Start at Deptford Lounge, finish at Blue Print for All (formerly the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust) 9 Brookmill Rd, London SE8 4HU. / 5 miles / Price: FREE / Access: transcription
Explore the long history of Black presence in the Deptford area, connecting the locality, the fundamental role Deptford played in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the challenging history of race and resistance. The self-guided walk will highlight key locations and figures including: St Nicholas Church, Master Shipwrights House and Deptford Docks, Stephen Lawrence and Olaudah Equiano.
Written by Lewisham resident Jody Burton, co-author of Black London: History, Art and Culture in Over 120 Places.
Maps and transcripts will also be available at the Festival Hub in Deptford Lounge. Sign up to be emailed a a link to the audio guide, map and audio transcript. Book now: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-history-walking-tour-of-deptford-tickets-522939485077
All You Can Do Is Hum by Joshua Idehen
Time: 10.15am-11am / Location: Main Hall, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
All You Can Do Is Hum is a dynamic spoken word/ music performance by Joshua Idehen. Exploring his own experiences of isolation and a sense of not belonging, the show invites audiences to come together to ‘spin grief into joy’ through the power of words and music. Inspired by Nigerian churches, Idehen’s charismatic ‘sermon leader’ will transform strangers into a united ‘congregation’, lifting his audience up through the creative magic of poetry and energetic beats. Produced by Speaking Volumes. Funded by Arts Council England. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/joshua-idehen-all-you-can-do-is-hum-tickets-520370240397
Identities and Nature Workshop with Oakley Flanagan and Courtney Conrad
Time: 10am-11am / Location: Room 3, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Join a co-facilitated workshop on nature poetry, sexuality and race with Oakley Flanagan and Courtney Conrad. These writing exercises will generate new nature poems. Participants who attend this workshop will have the opportunity to read the poems they’ve created to a live audience. Book below.
Identities and Nature Reading with Oakley Flanagan, Courtney Conrad and Cecilia Knapp
Time: 11.30am-12.30pm / Location: The Studio, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Oakley Flanagan will be reading from G&T, forthcoming with Out-Spoken Press. Courtney Conrad (Eric Gregory Winner) will read work inspired by themes of food, Caribbean migration and nature. Cecilia Knapp will be reading from Peach Pig. They will be joined by workshop participants sharing new work created earlier in the day. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/identities-and-nature-with-oakley-flanagan-and-courtney-conrad-tickets-523578466287
Writing about Labour Rights with Poetry London
Time: 10am-11.30am / Location: Room 2, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
How do we craft class-aware poems that fit into the notion of a social poetics? This workshop will explore how the labour movement has been written about by workers themselves, taking a specific look at the poetry written in the wake of the Bisbee Deportation of 1917, when 1,200 striking miners and their families were banished from a copper town in the southern mountains of Arizona. Led by Declan Ryan for Poetry London. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/writing-about-labour-rights-tickets-516771636877
Creative Writing & Mindfulness for families with Laurie Bolger
Time: 11am-1pm / For: children (aged 4 to 14) and families / Location: Foyer, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Are you a young aspiring writer or a creative family based in Lewisham? Join Lewisham poet Laurie Bolger for some mindful scribbling in celebration of kindness to ourselves. Laurie will guide you through playful creative exercises to boost your wellbeing and celebrate the things around us. You are welcome to join this relaxed session to write, create, express yourself and share your thoughts on writing and creativity. Drop in for any part of the session or stay for the whole duration. Together you’ll do some fun creative activities to get your words flowing, express what’s important to you and imagine a more creative future for Lewisham – and you. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/creative-writing-mindfulness-for-families-with-laurie-bolger-tickets-523546871787
Imagining Fantasy Worlds: Judith Bryan interviews Leone Ross about world building
Time: 11.30am-12.30pm / Location: in-person: Main Hall, Deptford Lounge; online: livestreamed / Price: FREE / Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Local author Leone Ross has been writing the fantastical – erotic horror, magic realism, Caribbean-flavoured fantasy – for decades and is best known for her critically acclaimed novel This One Sky Day/Popisho (Faber, 2021) and collection of weird and wonderful short stories in Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press, 2019). She is the editor of Glimpse, the first-ever collection of Black British speculative fiction (Peepal Tree Press, 2022). Now Ross sits down with close friend, playwright and novelist Judith Bryan to discuss the technical and emotional process of creating new worlds and strange people. The interview will cover the highs and lows of story-making, include short readings – and give you the chance to ask any questions you would like to both writers. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/imagining-fantasy-worlds-bodies-judith-bryan-interviews-leone-ross-tickets-523463392097
Experiments with Form workshop with Natasha Brown
Time: 12.30 – 2.00pm / Location: Room 2, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Natasha Brown, author of Assembly, shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Orwell Prize for Fiction, leads a participatory workshop exploring form. Participants will be able to explore how experiments with language and structure can bring another dimension to their writing. Drawing on form-defying work from authors such as Meena Kandasamy, Lydia Davis, Claudia Rankine and others, participants will examine different approaches with plenty of opportunities for hands-on literary experiments. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/experiments-with-form-with-natasha-brown-tickets-523518958297
Disability Poetics with Daniel Sluman and Khairani Barokka
Time: 1pm-2pm / Location: in-person: Studio, Deptford Lounge; online: livestreamed / Price: FREE / Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Disability poetry is an important area of literature. However, there has been a real lack of discussion about the poetics of disability, and the concepts and experiences that disabled writers share. This event will be a conversation between Daniel Sluman whose collection single window (Nine Arches Press, 2021) was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and Khairani Barokka whose collection Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches Press, 2021) was shortlisted for the Barbellion Prize, about the barriers faced in reaching publication as well as the ideas and experiences that inform their work and make their own ‘disability poetics’ unique, alongside a reading from their work. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/disability-poetics-tickets-520389177037
How Memory Survives: The Drum
Time: 1.15pm-3pm / Location: Irie Dance Theatre, Moonshot Centre / Price: Free / Access: BSL
How Memory Survives: The Drum is a performance-based workshop exploring African and African-Caribbean literature through the drum. The workshop will focus on the materials used to make the drum, and how drumming has been used as a tool to gather community, sound resistance, and preserve cultural memory. In the workshop, participants will also be prompted to reflect on how drum rhythms connect the African continent with the Caribbean and Britain. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-memory-survives-the-drum-tickets-523527654307
On Nature and the Natural: a reading by Jamie Hale
Time: 2.30pm-3pm / Location: in-person: the Studio, Deptford Lounge; online: livestreamed / Price: Free / Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Where does the othered body belong in the natural world? This poetry reading from former Jerwood Poetry Fellow, Jamie Hale, explores the queer, trans, and crip body, siting it within nature, and nature within it. They will be reading from their acclaimed pamphlet, Shield, as well as sharing new work, trying to unpick what it means to truly be a part of nature – especially when you’re told bodies like yours never will. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/on-nature-and-the-natural-tickets-523540442557
Writing Lewisham: A Creative Conversation with Carinya Sharples
Time: 2pm-4pm / Location: Room 1, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Are you a writer or aspiring writer based in Lewisham? Join Carinya Sharples for a relaxed session to share your thoughts on writing and creativity in Lewisham, get to know other writers in your area, and most importantly, write! Whether you write regularly or have never written creatively before, you are very welcome. We will be doing a few creative-writing activities to get the words flowing and exploring ideas for creativity in the borough. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/writing-lewisham-a-creative-conversation-tickets-520358936587
Fitzcarraldo Editions present Short Stories with Vanessa Onwuemezi, Anna Wood and Sharlene Teo
Time: 2.30pm-3.30pm / Location: in-person: Main Hall, Deptford Lounge; online: livestreamed / Price: FREE / Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Fitzcarraldo Editions are internationally renowned and Prize-winning publishers based in Deptford. They present two exciting UK based short story writers – Vanessa Onwuemezi and Anna Wood in conversation with the author Sharlene Teo. Enjoy and participate in a conversation with the authors about the power, possibilities, and limitations of the short story. The three writers will discuss shared themes in their work as well as craft and the short story form. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/fitzcarraldo-editions-present-short-stories-tickets-520330752287
Entelechy Arts present Ambient Jam Collective
Time: 2pm-3.30pm / Location: The Albany Theatre / Price: FREE / Access: BSL, relaxed
Ambient Jam Collective invites you to an immersive, inclusive, sensory ‘happening’ where gesture and sound become poetry and non-verbal stories emerge. Expect the unexpected with an immersive multi-sensory happening by a vibrant community of differently abled people and artists. Ambient Jam improvisations are playful, mindful, surreal, and sometimes wondrously messy; conjuring sensory ways of being that benefit us all. Enjoy an unfolding, evolving landscape where you can hang out and just be, or join in and improvise with us, or a bit of both.
Ambient Jam Collective has grown from a 32-year collaboration of weekly improvisation between people with profound, complex and learning disabilities (PMLD) and dance/music/sculpture artists.
Deeply rooted in South-East London, but owned by everyone. It is an improvisation to de-institutionalise ourselves.
Drop in for any part of the event or stay for the whole duration. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/entelechy-arts-present-ambient-jam-collective-tickets-520377261397
The Girl, The Star and The End of All Things – Storytelling with Niall Moorjani
Time: 3pm-4pm / Location: Isla Ray Café / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
“The pale man has stolen the moon. Devastated by the loss of her love, the sun has stopped shining. The world has turned grey with rain, flooding the land, and with no sunlight the plants may cease to grow. All seems lost, but for one girl and a star who want to help. Together they travel the world looking for answers in the shape of giants, witches and dragons to save the dying world…”
Award-winning local storyteller Niall Moorjani gives a one-off performance of their much-loved storytelling show for adults, with live music from Tom Birch. Come for the queer and BPOC fantasy, stay for the hopeful messaging about saving the world from the end of all things. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-girl-the-star-the-end-of-all-things-storytelling-with-niall-moorjani-tickets-523614744797
I know a spot: Food and Place with Tice Cin
Time: 3.30pm-5pm / Location: Room 2, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
We often associate the places we know deeply with the foods that bring it to life. What does it mean to archive foods that make a place through writing? Interdisciplinary artist Tice Cin will lead us through writing exercises inspired by Food TikTok, our local surroundings and writing from the likes of poet Romalyn Ante, novelist Caleb Azumah Nelson and food writer Rebecca May Johnson. Through this you will see that detailed sensory writing can activate the heartiest of writing. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/i-know-a-spot-food-and-place-with-tice-cin-tickets-520343781257
Disabled Poets Prize 2023 Awards Announcement
Time: 3.30 – 4.30pm / Location: online event with screening in Main Hall, Deptford Lounge / Price: FREE /Access: BSL, live captioned
Join us for the announcement of the national Prize for deaf and disabled poets prize-winners and highly commended poets in the inaugural Disabled Poets Prize. With a range of voices, styles, and approaches, celebrate the talents and successes of writers from deaf and disabled communities. Founded by Jamie Hale, the Disabled Poets Prize aims to find the best work created by UK based deaf and disabled poets and offers significant professional development opportunities for the winning writers, including a publication deal with Verve Poetry Press and development prizes from Spread the Word, CRIPtic Arts, The Literary Consultancy and Arvon Foundation.
The Prizes for best single poem and best unpublished pamphlet will be announced by Jamie, and the prize-winners from across the UK will read from their work. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/disabled-poets-prize-2023-awards-tickets-522951571227
Crime Writers of South London in Conversation
Time: 4pm-5pm / Location: in-person: Main Hall, Deptford Lounge: online: livestreamed / Price: FREE / Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Join bestselling and award-winning local crime authors: Nadine Matheson whose debut, The Jigsaw Man (HarperCollins, 2021), has been translated into 15 languages and second novel, The Binding Room, featuring DI Henley and the Serial Crimes Unit was published in July 2022; Adam Simcox whose supernatural crime thriller The Generation Killer (Gollancz, 2022) is part of his debut series, The Dying Squad and Lara Thompson whose debut novel, One Night, New York (Virago, 2021) was shortlisted for The Guardian’s 2022 CrimeFest and Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Awards as they discuss their work, the influence of local places in their writing, their different paths into publishing and building a career as a commercial fiction writer. There will be opportunity to ask questions to all the writers. Hosted by Bobby Nayyar. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/crime-writers-of-south-london-in-conversation-tickets-523597703827
Matchstick Theatre Company presents Hits and Pieces
Time: 3.30 – 5.00pm / Location: Matchstick Pie House / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Deptford-based Matchstick Theatre Company supports new writing and champions original theatre. This January, Matchstick Theatre Company launched Hits and Pieces – a night of original short plays all inspired by a popular song. This special Deptford Literature Festival event will feature 4 short pieces by local writers all inspired by a song, chosen via an online poll, that references one of Deptford Literature Festival’s themes for 2023: climate, nature or food. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/matchstick-theatre-company-presents-hits-and-pieces-tickets-523594534347
Queer Poetry at Triangle
Time: 7pm-9.30pm / Location: Triangle LGBTQ+ Cultural Centre / Price: FREE / Access: BSL
Celebrate LGBTQ+ poetry at Triangle LGBTQ+ Cultural Centre with open mic slots, featured artists, and headline sets from Ollie O’Neill and Remi Graves. Bring your page/ concrete poetry to add to our gallery, put your name in the hat to share your words in the open mic, sell your zines and books in our pop-up bookshop and enjoy a drink or three in the cosy social club bar. Presented by Triangle LGBTQ+ Cultural Centre and SL Grange. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/queer-poetry-at-triangle-tickets-523619719677
Caleb Femi x SLOGhouse present Blindmouth
Time: 7.30pm-9.15pm / Location: in-person: The Albany theatre: online: livestreamed / Price: £10. Free tickets available for low income Lewisham residents – see webpage for details. Access: in-person: BSL; online: live captioned
Caleb Femi x SLOGhouse present an evening of film, poetry and music. Capturing the energy of a South London party/ club, this event will feature a new short, abstract film, exploring the theme of community, accompanied by performances from SLOGhouse poets and DJs including James Massiah, Latekid & fwrdmtn, Danielle Wilde and Dillon Kalyabe. The film, performances and DJ will draw on the new direction of Caleb’s work, building on the themes of his prize-winning collection POOR and dealing with community, designed spaces, archiving and joy.
SLOGhouse is an institution of creative play and expression, blending art forms, mediums and genres to respond to community discussions. Book tickets here: thealbany.org.uk/shows/blindmouth/
CHILDREN’S + FAMILY EVENTS
A day of special events for younger members of our community and their families. Four events are delivered in collaboration with Round Table Books. All children’s and family events are free to attend and take place at Deptford Lounge Children’s Library, 9 Giffin Street, London SE8 4RJ and are BSL interpreted. Parents, guardians or carers must stay with their children during these events. There will be fresh fruit and healthy snacks available for children attending the workshops.
I am Nefertiti! Sing-a-Long with Annemarie Anang
Time: 10am – 10.45am / Age recommendation: 3-7 years old / Access: BSL
Join Annemarie Anang for an empowering story-time with her debut children’s book I am Nefertiti! Sing-a-long with her ukulele and learn about some of the wonderful global instruments in the story. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/i-am-nefertiti-story-time-for-children-and-families-tickets-524475790207
Sunflower Sisters reading and workshop with Monika Singh Gangotra
Time: 11.30am – 12.15pm / Age recommendation: 5 – 8 years old / Access: BSL
Join Dr Monika Singh Gangotra for a reading and inspirational workshop. Inspired by joy and colourful celebrations, her book Sunflower Sisters is a journey of self-love and sisterhood, empowering women and girls everywhere. During this interactive session, children will have the chance to get creative and celebrate their identities and cultures. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/sunflower-sisters-reading-and-workshop-with-monika-singh-gangotra-tickets-524481587547
Joyful, Joyful story-making workshop with Dapo Adeola and Funmbi Omotayo
Time: 1 – 1.45pm / Age recommendation: 7 – 14 years old / Access: BSL
After an introduction to the book Joyful, Joyful, a gorgeous collection of stories and poems celebrating joy, showcasing 40 talented Black writers and artists from across the world, join illustrator, curator and collaborator Dapo Adeola and author Funmbi Omotayo for a story-making workshop. In this interactive session, children can celebrate the joy in their lives and identities and work together to create their very own story with support from Dapo and Funmbi. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/joyful-joyful-tickets-524483202377
Milk Honey Bees with Ebinehita Iyere
Time: 4pm-4.45pm / For: young Black women aged 14 and above / Access: BSL
Join Ebinehita Iyere alongside authors of Girlhood Unfiltered for an intimate creative workshop! Ebinehita is the founder of Milk Honey Bees – a creative and expressive safe space for young Black women and girls to put H.E.R (Healing, Empowerment and Resilience) first. It’s more than just an organisation: it’s a sisterhood, a family. Their essay collection Girlhood Unfiltered reflects on the multifaceted experience of Black girlhood. Ebinehita will be asking what H.E.R. means in an interactive talking workshop. Ask questions, share and hear stories, and be a part of this empowering collective. Book now: eventbrite.co.uk/e/milk-honey-bees-tickets-524487003747