Booker Prize-winner to join Literary Leicester Festival

By Max Ashforth and Emily Herbert

Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James is the star of this year’s Literary Leicester Festival, which launches on Wednesday March 17.

The University of Leicester’s annual festival of literature, featuring free lectures, talks, readings and workshops for all ages, also involves a host of interesting and controversial writers.

Literary Leicester, one of the city’s most important annual literacy conferences, now in its tenth year, has put together a diverse group of award-winning and respected authors from various fields.

Festival director Harry Whitehead said: “Our focus has always been on inclusivity and diversity, particularly given the university’s place at the heart of one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Britain.

“I feel immensely proud that we can put the festival back at the heart of Leicester’s cultural life.”

The festival begins on Wednesday March 17 with Peter Kalu and Corinne Fowler, discussing how country homes, villages, fields, coastlines, moorlands and country graveyards are all linked to British colonialism.

Peter Kalu is a novelist who writes for the ‘Colonial Countryside’ project. Whilst Professor Corinne Fowler, was co-editor of a National Trust report on country houses’ and connections to colonialism.

The report coincided with the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, and received widespread media attention, including criticism from Conservative MPs.

This will be followed by a lecture from Booker Prize-winning Jamaican novelist Marlon James with Dr Michael Bucknor,  discussing education, race and popular culture, on Thursday March 18.

This will be followed by a lecture from Booker Prize-winning Jamaican   novelist Marlon James with Dr Michael Bucknor, discussing education, race   and popular culture, on Thursday March 18.

Mr James is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and teaches   creative writing at Macalester College, Minnesota.

His book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize   and was a finalist for the US National Book Critics Circle Award.

Friday March 19 will see Leicester graduate Jeffrey Boakye discuss his books Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Meaning of Grime and Black and Listed: Black British Culture Explored, with the School of Arts’ Dr Emma Parker.

BA English 2003 graduate from the University of Leicester, Jeffrey Boakye’s addition to the line-up underpins the focus on promoting diversity within the city.

Dr Whitehead added: “Jeffrey Boakye is one of our country’s most important commentators on race, education and culture.”

The free digital events will be held March 17, 18 and 19, paving the way for the festival’s full return as an in-person event in 2022.
For full details and joining instructions, visit the festival website at:


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