The healing power of words will be highlighted at Jersey’s autumn book festival.
The third Jersey Festival of Words, which runs from 27 September to 1 October, will support a number of Island charities with events that use literature to raise awareness of the challenges faced by some members of the community. And more visiting writers have been added to the big names from the world of books already announced.
Ayisha Malik will be on stage to discuss The Other Side of Happiness, her second novel based on the experience of life and love as a young Muslim woman.
Other additions to the programme include neuroscientist Dean Burnett, author of The Idiot Brain, a fascinating exploration of what our incredible but fallible minds are really up to on our behalf, and Cathy Rentzenbrink, whose new book, A Manual for Heartache, is a follow-up to her acclaimed memoir The Last Act of Love about her brother’s accident and death. Cathy Rentzenbrink, who also featured in last year’s Jersey Festival of Words, will talk about moving on from grief at a special event held at Jersey Hospice.
Another best-selling memoirist and ELLE UK columnist, Rhyannon Styles will also be at the festival to talk about her account of transgender life, The New Girl.
Mental health will be in the spotlight at campaigner Rachel Kelly’s event, Walking on Sunshine, which prescribes poetry as therapy and food to enhance mood, the subject of her latest book, The Happy Kitchen. This event is kindly sponsored by Le Gallais and a portion of the ticket sales will be donated to MIND.
With part of the proceeds going to Autism Jersey, Scope Jersey and Eyecan (formerly Jersey Blind Society), the festival programme will also include a panel discussion on communication without the usual senses, entitled A Life Less Ordinary. Writers taking part will be Jem Lester, whose book Shtum concerns a father’s experience in coping with a severely autistic boy who does not speak, Penny Joelson, whose novel I Have No Secrets features a teenage detective with cerebral palsy and Vanessa Potter, whose experience of blindness is recounted in Patient H69.
Football, whisky and rock music are also among the non-fiction subjects lined up for the Jersey Festival of Words and announced today. The interplay between amateur football and male friendship is explored in Above Head Height by Loaded magazine’s founding editor James Brown and drinks expert Ian Buxton, author of 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die, will be raising a glass at a special reading-and-tasting event, kindly sponsored by Le Gallais.
Jeremy Corbyn’s rapturous reception at Glastonbury illustrated the power of the relationship between politics and music, the subject of Sound System by former Faithless guitarist Dave Randall.
And the equally topical subject of fake news will be discussed by a panel including Miranda Doyle, whose The Book of Untruths is the story of how a series of lies affects a family, Felicia Yap, author of Yesterday, an acclaimed novel on the nature of memory and Jersey Evening Post picture editor Peter Mourant.
The Jersey Festival of Words takes place from Wednesday 27 September to Sunday 1 October at venues including Jersey Opera House, Jersey Arts Centre, Jersey Library, the Maritime Museum, Chordz Coffee Shop and St James Wine Bar.
Top writers already announced include scientist and philosopher Richard Dawkins, healthy eating advocate Ella Mills, newly appointed Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, radio stars Dame Jenni Murray and Greg James, Clare Balding, Daisy ‘How to Be a Grown-Up’ Buchanan and novelists Alexander McCall Smith, John Boyne and Stef Penney.
Festival chairman Jennifer Bridge said ‘as well as a fantastic line-up of storytellers in all genres and for all ages, this year’s event has a particularly strong non-fiction element, ranging across many topical social issues. We believe that books have a major part to play in promoting understanding and building better communities. These festival events will stimulate a continuing discussion that is fascinating and entertaining as well as important.’