SO after months of planning, the weekend of the festival is here (in a few days). Here's the FULL line-up and a piece about each event. Every event is FREE except our headliners on Friday and Saturday. The shop is all seated and so it'll be first come first served for seats. We also have a bar with hot and cold drinks, beer and wine plus CAKE! Tickets for headliners can be bought HERE
Friday: Doors open at 7pm 8.00pm - Tom Cox talk and signing (Tickets £7) Saturday: Doors open at 10am 10.30am - Cat Weatherill Wild Magic Storytime 12.00pm - Local panal with Kerry Hadley-Pryce, Elizabeth Earle & David Court 1.00pm - Kate Riordan talk and signing 2.00pm - Ann Morgan talk and signing 4.00pm - Rowan Coleman talk and signing 5.00pm - Miranda Dickinson talk and signing. 6.30pm Close for change around. 7.30pm doors open 8.00pm - 10pm The Bookshop Band (Tickets £10) Close LATE! Sunday Doors open at 10.00am 10.15am - Sheroes of History storytime 11.00am - Dom Russell:Martian, Morlocks and Selenites Oh My!” A rampage through Victorian Science Fiction! 12.00pm - John Burton: George Eliot and her Coventry Years 12.50pm - Trevor Harkin Historical Coventry talk and signing 2.00pm - Margaret Egrot "Not Tiggerty Boo Tonight" reading 2.45pm - YA Historical fantasy panal with Lauren James and Rhian Ivory with signing 4.00pm - Mee Club with Cat Weatherill 4.30pm - Fire & Dust open mic poetry with guest Roy McFarlane 6pm - CLOSE
(Friday 7pm, £7) Tickets from HERE
Since quitting his job as The Guardian's Rock Critic in 2000, Tom Cox has written eight books, including the Sunday Times top ten bestseller The Good, The Bad And The Furry, and the recent follow-up Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind. His account of his year as Britain's most inept golf professional, Bring Me The Head Of Sergio Garcia, was longlisted for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award in 2007. Tom gave up journalism in summer 2015 and now writes fiction and pieces about nature, folklore and the British countryside to thousands of subscribers on his website, www.tom-cox.com. He hosts a monthly radio show on the experimental rural radio station Soundart not far from where he lives, in rural Devon. Tom will be telling stories about badgers, Dartmoor, cats, bats, beavers and his loud eccentric dad from his books, including the forthcoming one, 21st Century Yokel.
Come on down for our storytime!
Cat Weatherill - Wild Magic Storytime!
(Saturday, 10.30am, free)
Cat is a storyteller and author. She was born in Liverpool. Now she lives in Catshill, near Birmingham. She is Cat of Catshill!
She studied Drama at university and then became an actress, appearing on tv in programmes like Chucklevision and Casualty. Then she spent a few years as a professional singer. In 1999, she discovered storytelling and now she travels all over the world, telling tales for adults as well as children. She has performed in Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Russia and across Europe. Cat’s first novel was Barkbelly. This was followed by Snowbone and then Wild Magic. She also has a book for younger readers, called Jaco the Leek, and a beautiful picture book called By Lantern Light which has a lantern that actually lights up! Cat’s books have been translated into ten languages, and Wild Magic is also a BBC audiobook, read by Cat herself. Her latest book is The Hairy Marys.
Meet three up and coming local authors. Ask them questions, get to know their stories.
(Saturday, 12pm, free)
David Court was born and resides in Coventry, UK with his patient wife and his three less patient cats. A few years back David achieved minor internet notoriety under the pseudonym FoldsFive for his animated GIFs telling the entirety of the Star Wars Trilogy, a fact that he's still jolly well proud of and insists on telling anyone at any opportunity. When not reading, blogging angrily on www.foldsfive.co.uk, drinking real ale, writing software for a living or practicing his poorly developed telekinetic skills, he can be found writing fiction. His short stories "A Shadow Cast by the World" and "Undercurrent" were published in the horror anthologies "Fear's Accomplice" and "Terror at the beach" in 2014. His first collection of short stories - "The Shadow Cast by the World" was published in 2013 with "Forever and Ever, Armageddon" released a year later
(Saturday, 12pm, free)
Elizabeth became first published with Tartarus, a dark fantasy focusing on Diane Stillman's journey of revenge in 2012. It was her first taste of the publishing world and it became addictive.
It was a competition the following year in 2013 that birthed The Girl With Nine Lives, and suddenly, Ellena and Ben's characters came blazing onto the pages.
Since then another two books have been published in the series of The Adventures of Benedict and Blackwell; The Girl Who Bit Back and The Girl With Ten Claws
Elizabeth has also just released her first children's book, Captain Claw Paw, the first in a line of picture books about a vain pirate cat who loves to go on seafaring adventures!
50% will be going towards Charlie's Beach Hut. www.charliecodling.co.uk
Elizabeth is expected to release a new series very soon
(Saturday, 12pm, free)
Kerry Hadley-Pryce was born in Wordsley, in the heart of the Black Country. She likes coffee, real ale, running, canals and Hammer Horror. After dabbling in self-publishing, she completed an MA in Creative Writing in 2014 at Manchester Metropolitan University, for which she gained a Distinction, and during which she self-published an anthology of short fictions and wrote her novel, ‘The Black Country’. She was awarded The Michael Schmidt Prize 2013-2014 for outstanding achievement in her MA and she is currently working on her next novel, ‘Broken Dolls’ also set in her hometown
Meet Kate Riordan, author of The Girl in the Photograph and The Shadow Hour
(Saturday, 1pm, free)
Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist who was born in London and grew up in Warwickshire. She spent her first years in journalism as a staffer, first at The Guardian as an editorial assistant and later at Time Out London, where she went on to become deputy editor for the lifestyle section, covering everything from travel to property to beauty. After seven fantastic years of weird and wonderful assignments, she decided to go freelance in order to concentrate on writing fiction, which had for a long time been an ambition (not least when she was interviewing authors for Time Out).
After moving to Cheltenham in the Cotswolds, she wrote Birdcage Walk, which was published by Diversion as an ebook in 2012. Her second novel sold to Penguin in the UK and HarperCollins in the US and Canada, and was published in early 2015 – as The Girl in the Photograph andFiercombe Manor respectively. A German edition will follow in the autumn of 2015. She is now hard at work on her next novel, a dual narrative story full of secrets and intrigue and moving between the years 1877, 1910 and 1922.
Kate lives in the Gloucestershire countryside with her husband and their dog Morris
Meet Ann Morgan, author of Beside Myself and Reading The World.
(Saturday, 2pm, free)
Ann Morgan is a freelance writer and editor. Her book Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, inspired by her year-long journey through a book from every country, was published in the UK by Harvill Secker on February 5, 2015 and as The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe in the US by Liveright/Norton in May 2015.
Her next book is a novel, a literary psychological drama called Beside Myself. It was published worldwide in English by Bloomsbury in January 2016. It will be published in simplified Chinese by United Creadion, in Thai by Amarin, in French by Presses de la Cité, in Italian by Piemme, in Spanish by Círculo de Lectores and in Japanese by Hayakawa Publishing, Inc.
Meet Rowan Coleman, Sunday Times Best Selling author of We Are All Made Of Stars and The Memory Book amongst others.
(Saturday, 4pm, free)
Rowan Coleman lives with her husband, and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in the opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.
Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public. Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel, which was chosen as a Richard and Judy bookclub selection in 2014. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity.
Meet Miranda Dickinson, Sunday Times Best Selling author of I'll Take New York and A Parcel For Anne Browne amongst others
(Saturday, 5pm, free)
Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. From an early age she dreamed of writing a book that would make the heady heights of Kingswinford Library and today she is a bestselling author. She began to write in earnest when a friend gave her The World's Slowest PC, and has subsequently written the bestselling novels Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take A Look At Me Now, I'll Take New York and A Parcel for Anna Browne. Miranda lives with her husband Bob and daughter Flo in Dudley
Come and listen to the majestic music and stories of The Bookshop Band
(Saturday, 8pm, £10) Tickets from HERE
It all began in late 2010 as a collaboration between three songwriters (including their original third member,
Poppy Pitt) with their local independent bookshop - Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (Independent
Bookshop of the Year 2008 / 2011), in Bath, to inject some music into the shop’s author events. The band
would read the book of the visiting author, write a song inspired by their response to that book and then play
it back to the author and audience at the very intimate author events upstairs in the shop. After one year The
Bookshop Band had written and recorded four albums of book-inspired material, on books curated by Mr
B’s. As word spread they began to be asked to play in other bookshops too.
The next three years saw the band touring all over the UK, Ireland and Europe, playing both literary and
music festivals along side bookshops, libraries and schools and appearing regularly on radio and television,
all the while returning to Mr B’s to write new songs. With the rate of writing still high but the band in high
demand to perform the start of 2015 revealed a backlog of 100 new songs still to be recorded. Also at this
time Poppy decided to leave the band, as she headed off to start a new career in teaching.
With change came the opportunity to take stock, and with huge support from fans and authors who wanted
to see these songs recorded, Ben and Beth have spent much of 2015 recording them all. Poppy recorded all
her parts, and many authors came forward with offers to play an instrument, read
a section of their story or even help with artwork for the new albums.
So in 2016 The Bookshop Band be releasing a staggering 10 brand new albums, in addition to officially
releasing their first 4 albums, which have until now only been available to buy at concerts. Over one album
a month! This means that the 6th year of The Bookshop Band is building it’s own momentum with a rapidly
growing schedule of concerts being booked all over the UK and beyond. And the band will of course be
returning to their spiritual home, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, to write new songs inspired by new
Get to know forgotten women of history with Naomi and Sheroes of History, suitable for all the family!
(Sunday, 10.15am, free)
History has overwhelmingly been written by men, about men. There are a handful of amazing women from history we have heard of, but there are so many more whose inspiring stories have gone untold. I believe that young girls (and boys!) need more female role models to look up to: Sheroes who will show them that they can be whatever they want to be; that they can change the world; that their actions can make a difference and that girls can be superheroes too.
Sheroes of History aims to be inspiring, informative and inclusive, celebrating remarkable women from all walks of life.
Find out about Victorian Science-Fiction with Dom Russell.
(Sunday, 11am, free)
Martian, Morlocks and Selenites Oh My! A rampage through Victorian Science Fiction
Dominic Russell is a historian who works in schools providing workshops on a variety of historical topics. He is a regular contributor to the Percha Kulcha network, loves giving talks and previously worked as a guide at the Lunt Roman Fort. He lives in Coventry with his cats, wife and little boy. Science fiction has never been more popular but many of the ideas that are so common find their origins in Victorian thought. The Victorians had a dynamic and fascinating intellectual life. The richness of this intellectual life was a vast outpouring of ideas. The Scientific Romance captures the outpouring of ideas. Ideas such as phrenology have failed the test of time, others equally flawed took on a life of their own and inspired movements and brands, such as Bovril, that are familiar to us today. Some ideas may be familiar but many of the personalities of the protagonists are unfamiliar. No modern hero would look at a lost world of dinosaurs and consider the possibilities of drilling for oil or discover a new species of whale only a few inches long, and then eat it. This talk will be a fun filled romp through the literature highlighting both values and ideas that you will find familiar and strange and you will never look at a brass machine for reanimating the dead in the same way again. Or a rampaging dinosaur, or a eugenically modified society, or a mysterious island, or a strange power source of clean and reliable energy…
Learn about George Eliot's life in Coventry with John Burton
(Sunday, 12pm, free)
John Burton is chairman of The George Eliot Fellowship and will be discussing Mary Ann Evans life in Coventry. Mary Ann and her father moved to Bird Grove in Foleshill, Coventry where she was quickly introduced to the intellectual circles of Coventry society.
Coventry historian Trevor Harkin brings the city to life with his World War talks.
(Sunday, 12.50pm, free)
Having completed research into his own family history, Trevor discovered that three of his Granny's Uncles had died during The Great War and set about researching these men. When this project had finished, during a chance walk around Coventry's War Memorial Park he noted the name of one of those dedicated with a plaque underneath the trees around the park. Trevor researched him in the Archives and then began researching the remaining plaques and set up a web page to appeal for information. The only way to keep up with all the information was to collate it for a book about the War Memorial Park, although on the way, Bablake School and The Great War popped out with help from the school archivist, Terry Patchett. Research inspired him along with the reaction from the relatives of the Fallen, and with the assistance of Coventry Archives he completed more projects
Watch a debut reading from Criterion Theatre members of true-story 'Not Tiggerty Boo Tonight' by local author Margaret Egrot.
(Sunday, 2pm, free)
A 20 minute drama loosely based on the memories of a lady who was a teenager growing up in a house not far off Far Gosford Street. On the night of the Coventry blitz (14th November 1940) she went on a date to the cinema opposite the pub on Far Gosford Street. Both were bombed along with most of the city. Tiggedy Boo and the other song referred to - There'll Come Another Day, were popular songs of the time.
'And Alex Still has Acne' is Margaret's first published novel, but she has had several short stories published, and a growing number of plays performed by amateur groups. When not writing Margaret enjoys reading and going to the theatre.
Meet Lauren James author of The Next Together and Rhian Ivory author of The Boy Who Drew The Future, who will be talking about historical fiction and the YA genre.
(Sunday, 2.45pm, free)
Lauren James was born in 1992 and is a UK based Young Adult author of The Next Together , The Last Beginning (October 2016) and e-Novella Another Together.
She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.
The Next Together series was published in September 2015 by Walker Books in the UK and Australia. Rights have sold in over five territories worldwide. The book was described by The Bookseller as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’. It was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, a prize given to recognise an outstanding novel by a first time writer.
Rhian was born in Swansea but moved to the Brecon Beacons where she went to school until 11. She then moved all the way across the border to Hereford. She returned to Wales to study English Literature at Aberystwyth. She trained as a Drama and English teacher and wrote her first novel during her first few years in teaching.
She got her first publishing deal aged 26 and went on to write three more novels for Bloomsbury. She took a break to have three children and during this time taught Creative Writing and also a Children’s Literature course for the Open University.
The Boy who drew the Future is her fifth novel and she’s recently finished writing her sixth
Listen to some local true stories with Cat Weatherill and The Mee Club
(Sunday, 4pm, free)
Celebrate life as a Grown Up with three true stories, zingy as lemon tart, told in just seven minutes. New monthly story club coming to to The Big Comfy Bookshop soon on the last Friday of the month as Between You And Me! www.themeeclub.com
Relax and listen to poets from the local scene including open mic spaces, headlined by Roy McFarlane
(Sunday, 4.30pm, free)
Our poetry nights run on the 1st Thursday of the month. The brilliant Raef, Matt and Adam run the nights and will be running this one off special for the festival.
Roy was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage, a former Birmingham Poet Laureate he has spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton.
His work has been highly commended by the Forward Prize, published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2017, and other anthologies including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe 2012) and Celebrate Wha? (Smokestack 2011). His writing has also appeared in magazines, Under the Radar, The Reader, The Cannon’s Mouth and The Undertow Review.
His debut collection, Beginning with your last breath (Nine Arches Press), is a powerful exploration of love, loss and identity, taking in the Black Country, Norman Tebbitt and Marvin Gaye along the way
The Story Cubes!
Are you a writer? Fancy joining in our little writing game? On Saturday 10th September at 10am (ish!) we'll be rolling our Story Cubes and stream it on Facebook! These are 9 dice all with different pictures and symbols on. Once 9 dice are rolled you'll have a week to write a story based on the pictures and symbols! We'll even publish every story on our website! Write as much or little as you like. Have fun!
As this is our first festival we ask that you treat us nicely, buy lots of books and cake, and no heckling. Events are subject to change which basically means they may over-run slightly, or maybe a train is delayed and an author can't show, but please, let that not happen.
Together with Abigail, I've loved putting this together with no budget except a credit card (oops) and lots of passion. If it's a success it'll be nice to do it again. Maybe with sponsors yeah?
Sadly I can no longer even attend my own festival on Sunday but we have lovely staff in Abigail and Alison. Please share the news (as we can't afford to pay for advert) and, well, enjoy!
Be sure to use #BigComfyLitFest hashtag!
PS We have wheelchair access but as it'll be busy (fingers crossed) we're very sorry if it's a bit of a squeeze. Just let us know and we'll do our best to help out where we can.