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Literary Festival springs into life

Tamara Drewe; The Overhaul; Bedsit Disco Queen; Drysalter; The Mara Crossing; The People's Act of Love; We Are Now Beginning our Descent; The Heart Broke In; Mrs Weber’s Omnibus; Tamara Drewe; Gemma Bovery; Accidents in the Home; The London Train; Clever Girl; The Testament of Mary; (pictured L-R: Tessa Hadley Lee Childs Ruth Padel Tracey Thorn (photo credit Edward Bishop))

Tue, 18 Dec 2012

Musician-turned-author Tracey Thorn and Charles Darwin's great-great-granddaughter poet Ruth Padel feature in the diverse line-up for the University of East Anglia's Spring Literary Festival.

The annual festival, which starts on February 6, is hosted by UEA's Centre for Creative and Performing Arts.

Other speakers during the series include poet Kathleen Jamie, whose most recent work has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize, and Posy Simmonds the illustrator and cartoonist whose Tamara Drewe comic strip became an international film sensation starring Bond girl Gemma Arterton.

The nine-strong line-up will read from and discuss their work at the university, which was this year awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for its world-renowned Creative Writing programme.

Festival organiser Prof Lavinia Greenlaw said: "This year we have a wonderfully varied line-up for the festival - three poets, a thriller writer, a cartoonist and a former pop star.

"We attract the best writers from all over the world and have the best audiences a writer could hope for."

The spring series launches on February 6 and runs until May 28. All events take place at 7pm in Lecture Theatre 1, at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Season tickets priced £49 (£42 students and concessions) and individual tickets priced £7 (no concessions), are available from the UEA Box Office on 01603 508050, or online at

For more information, visit

February 6 - Lee Child
Lee Child is one of the world's leading thriller writers. Acclaimed for reinvigorating the genre, he has written 17 books featuring Jack Reacher, a complex and compelling character who will be portrayed on film by Tom Cruise in December this year.

February 12 - Kathleen Jamie
Kathleen Jamie's new collection of poems, The Overhaul, extends her investigation of how we take shape within the world as well as within ourselves. She is also a remarkable essayist, writing about the natural world with more clarity than most.

February 19 - Tracey Thorn
Tracey Thorn bought a guitar at 16 and went on to form Everything But The Girl with Ben Watt. The band went from cult status to selling nine million records worldwide. Bedsit Disco Queen is Thorn's remarkable memoir of her life in music, from buying records to making them, from negotiating a career to bringing up a family.

March 5 - Michael Symmons Roberts
Michael Symmons Roberts's sixth collection of poems, Drysalter, takes its name from the ancient trade in powdered chemicals and cures. In 150 poems of 15 lines he takes us from financial markets to the desert to dark nights of the soul.

March 12 - Ruth Padel
Ruth Padel is an eminent poet who has written widely on evolution and, in her new book - The Mara Crossing - migration. It is a discussion of this fundamental aspect of life, which compels everything from the humpbacked whale to the human cell.

April 16 - James Meek
James Meek's prizewinning fiction includes The People's Act of Love and We Are Now Beginning our Descent. His new novel The Heart Broke In is a family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and Internet exposes.

April 23 - Posy Simmonds
Posy Simmonds is the creator of some of our best loved and most astutely observed comic strips and illustrated stories for both adults and children. Her original strip for the Guardian skewered 1980s middle-class life, and has been collected in the newly published Mrs Weber's Omnibus. Her other works include the equally brilliantly observed Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovery.

May 7 - Tessa Hadley
Tessa Hadley's novels include Accidents in the Home and The London Train, and the short-story collection Married Love. Her new novel, Clever Girl, traces a woman's life from childhood to middle age, capturing absolutely the way men and women think and feel and relate to one another.

May 28 - Colm Tóibín
A novelist renowned for his remarkable writing on family, Colm Tóibín has turned his attention to the biblical in The Testament of Mary, which tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened.

(pictured L-R: Tessa Hadley, Lee Childs, Ruth Padel, Tracey Thorn (photo credit Edward Bishop))