Stormzy’s award-winning publishing imprint #Merky Books announces its literature festival, taking place on 22–23 April 2023. Sponsored by Netflix, the two-day event aims to demystify creative industries and inspire a new generation of creatives. The free festival will showcase established authors alongside new voices and include a range of talks, workshops and live performances. It will cover not only literature, but writing and storytelling across film and TV, music and photography.
The headline event on Saturday 22 April is a panel discussion with Wretch 32 and John Agard, followed by an opening party hosted by Sounds by No Signal. Malorie Blackman – former Children’s Laureate and author of the award-winning Noughts and Crosses series – will be interviewed by Vick Hope on Sunday 23 April.
Details of the festival line-up were released today on Roundhouse’s website and include a spoken-word performance with Sophia Thakur, Monika Radojevic, Caleb Femi and Yomi Sode; a creative funding session with finance expert Bola Sol; a panel discussion exploring the theme of girlhood with bestselling author Candice Brathwaite and playwright and screenwriter Theresa Ikoko; and a conversation on mental health and resilience hosted by BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Richie Brave.
Guests will be able to attend workshops, masterclasses and screenings taking place throughout the weekend, as well as career drop-in clinics held by Penguin Random House, #Merky Books, Netflix and expert industry organisations such as MYM: Million Youth Media. Lit in Colour – Penguin Random House’s programme dedicated to diversifying the school curriculum – will run a stand, while Run The Check will hold ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions each day. Panels of experts will unpack a range of roles within the creative industry, giving tangible advice and insights into how to get in, the skills needed and how to thrive.
Independent bookseller Round Table Books will run a bookshop throughout the weekend.
Lemara Lindsay-Prince, Senior Commissioning Editor for #Merky Books, says: ‘At #Merky Books, we are committed to breaking down barriers in the publishing industry and investing in the voices of today and tomorrow. We are incredibly excited to host our first ever literary festival in partnership with Netflix and proud to put on an event that speaks directly to our core values – going even further to demystify the creative industries, empower a new generation of talent and offer an insight into the range of careers in the arts.’
Anne Mensah, VP UK Content says: ‘At Netflix, we believe that creativity and the UK Creative Industries must be for all. Without everyone’s voices represented in the arts, we are so much lesser than we should be. Events like the #Merky Books Literature Festival open up our industry to young people and show the range of real and accessible careers available to them. We are thrilled to be supporting our friends at #Merky to make this happen.’
Stormzy says: ‘I’m so proud that we’re able to offer a free festival to inspire young creatives. This is going to be our biggest event yet for #Merky Books.’
Headline act, Wretch 32 says: ‘I’m excited to join such an inspirational line-up from #Merky Books and Netflix. It’s so important to encourage and support young people across the full range of creative industries.’
The festival is free to attend. Event passes will be available from Roundhouse’s website, with further sign-ups for workshops and masterclasses at the venue on the day.