Heads Up: London Word Festival

Wrestling with words: the literary festival goes East


What are we talking about?


The self-styled alternative literature and arts festival returns to London's East End for a month of unusual, wordy events. Libraries are a theme.

Elevator pitch

The literary festival gets an injection of geek chic.

The talent

There's plenty. Tim Etchells, founder of theatre company Forced Entertainment has developed a "self-generating" play, while Debbie Pearson – artistic director of Edinburgh's celebrated Forest Fringe – performs her play Like You Were Before. Comedian Robin Ince teams up with Stuart Evers to re-invigorate George Orwell's old "Books vs Cigarettes" debate. Singer-songwriter Emmy the Great and poet/musician Jack Underwood present a "light-hearted lament for the library". Christian Bök, best-selling experimental poet (not an oxymoron, or not in Canada anyway) is supported by Luke Kennard. And artist Paul Granjon, poet Ross Sutherland, and author Nikesh Shukla are part of Man/Machine, a whole evening of robot-themed lexical fun. Phew.

The early buzz

Website Londonist is a long-standing fan: "If we had to rank how much we love the London Word Festival, it would probably be up there with cake, the Shard and ring-tailed lemurs. This annual celebration of words and language always has fresh ideas, interesting venues and fantastic performers, and this year's line-up has us literally – literally – salivating."

Insider knowledge

While the loose library theme has been in the pipeline since last summer, the recent cuts and closure woes have found their way into some performances. Emmy the Great's show The Goodbye Library has taken material from the anti-closure movement and she's been touring libraries for research purposes.

It's great that...

There's no literary festival stuffiness here: the oddest event on the programme – Intergender Wrestling – will see a man (Simon Munnery) wrestling some women (Joanna Neary, Josie Long, and Isy Suttie among others). It's performance art, you know.

It's a shame that...

They might not actually do that much wrestling (the last attempt at staging it, at Tate Modern, had to be cancelled – they didn't have a sporting licence ....)

Hit potential

Despite an increasing enthusiasm for spoken-word events, the LWF is not overburdened with household names. Expect earnestly cool East End arty types though.

The details

Various venues around east London (londonwordfestival.com), 7 April to 5 May.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935