for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


londonwordfestivalLaunched last night, the inaugural London Word Festival offers three weeks of evenings celebrating poetry, prose, music and comedy, with events devoted to lectures that are sung, the best in hip-hop poetry, “univocalism” (the art of writing poetry using only one vowel), comedian story-telling, and poetry and jazz mash-ups. With the recent success of spoken word events such as Book Slam, Fitzrovia Radio Hour and the B Club, Londoners are clearly enjoying a resurgence of live literary events- helped along by the addition of a healthy dose of alcohol. As testament to this, the 15 events during the festival are spread over eight East End clubs, bars and trendy venues including traditional Victorian music hall Hoxton Hall, über-trendy Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, and celeb hang-out the George Tavern.

According to the Times:

‘The venues suit the material. You won’t find superannuated politicians or puffed-up chefs here. Instead the festival celebrates “Generation Txt”: the twentysomething poets, novelists and playwrights who draw as much inspiration from the gritty realities and illicit joys of the modern city as Wordsworth did from daffodils or Herman Melville from whales. In one typical gathering, for instance, the 22-year-old Richard Milward will be reading from Apples, his brilliantly gross transposition of the Adam-and-Eve story to a Middlesbrough housing estate; while the young American author Joshua Ferris offers an extract from his savage satire of office life in Chicago, Then We Came to the End.

Two things appeal. The first is that this is a festival bold enough to place writers on the same bill as comedians, rappers and jazzers, and confident enough to expect those writers to be just as entertaining. And the second is that the very existence of a lit-fest run by and for people under 35 refutes the notion that the well-crafted written word is dead, or at least withering into terminal paralysis in a world dominated by blaring images and thudding rock beats.

What’s clear is that both fiction and poetry are undergoing a renaissance among the young. But it’s a renaissance rooted in clubs and the internet, rather than in staid publishing conglomerates. That’s great.’

London Word Festival

Filed under: arts & culture, creative ideas, worth seeing,

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