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Staff and students show a way with words at Midlands literature festival


University of Wolverhampton Creative and Professional Writing degree staff and students are all set to take the virtual stage at an online book and literature festival showcasing Midlands-based writers. 

The Middleway Words Festival, which is taking place online from Sunday 5 September to Saturday 11 September 2021, is aimed at promoting authors, writers, and books in the region and will include interviews with authors, publishers and book shops. 

University School of Humanities lecturer and local writer, Dr Rob Francis, will join the opening panel discussion on 5 September – From Idea to Book – with three other writers. Rob is taking part in another discussion on 8 September with University Course Leader, Dr Lisa Blower. They’ll be celebrating the recent success of Lisa’s novel, Pondweed and Rob’s latest book, The Wrenna. 

He said: “I’m really looking forward to showing off what Wolves has to offer in terms of literature and local writing as well as taking the opportunity to shout about Black Country landscape and culture. 

“The aim of the festival is to inspire a new generation of writers to express their creativity and so there will be plenty of practical guidance. As well as talks from experienced authors on how to write for adults and children and how to compose great short stories, there will be sessions from a publisher, a typesetter, a bookshop and a library about their roles in the process of taking a work from an idea to the bookshelf.” 

Three of this year’s Class of 2021 graduates will also be showcasing their skills at the Student Showcase on 7 September. Megan-Jade Lyden-Burke, Weronika Wolska and Natalie Astle will read selections of work produced during their studies. They’ll also be joined by University graduate, Shaun Hand, author of the novel, The Sadness of King George and poetry collection, The New Brutalism. 

Natalie said: “This festival offers us a brilliant opportunity to share our craft with a wider audience.” 

Weronika said: “It’s a chance for us to get our work out there and learn from experienced writers and publishers.” 

During the festival there will be opportunities for readers to find and talk to their new favourite authors in a series of tete-a-tete conversations and to listen in as experts involved in all aspects of the book trade pass on their knowledge. 

Award-winning Midlands author, and honorary graduate of the University, Kit de Waal, will open the festival. Kit, whose debut novel, My Name is Leon, is currently being adapted for a BBC TV drama with the backing of Sir Lenny Henry and will take part in an exclusive interview. 

The events are free to access online by registering through Eventbrite. 

Ignaty Dyakov-Richmond, a Co-Chair of the Society of Authors Warwickshire and co-founder of the Festival, said: “We have put together a programme of events offering something for everybody who loves books and wants to share their enthusiasm with a new group of like-minded people. 

“Authors and readers from a wide area covering the whole of the Midlands will be taking part. We hope the Festival will give a new wave of writers the confidence and knowledge to find their voice but, most of all, we want the week to be a celebration. 

“There have been festivals in the north and the south for a long time and we felt the many great writers in the Midlands deserved a showcase too.  

“The idea for the Middleway Words Festival has really caught the imagination of people in the region who love books and we hope this first one will be only the beginning.” 

For more information email: or check them out on Facebook and Twitter. 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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