Shakespeare, the Moz Army and Alice at 150: What to expect at Kilburn Literary Festival

Alice In Wonderland. Picture: Disney

Alice In Wonderland. Picture: Disney - Credit: Archant

Alex Bellotti looks at what the week-long celebration of books and culture has in store.

As the days get darker and the nights get colder, it’s up to north London’s plethora of literary festivals to light up these autumn months. Alongside the Ham&High’s own event happening at South Hampstead High School in early November, last week saw the burgeoning Archway With Words festival come to Highgate, and this week Kilburn is joining the act.

The Kilburn Literary festival takes place across a host of venues – The Tricycle Theatre, The Good Ship, Kilburn Library Centre, The North London Tavern and The Sherriff Centre – from Wednesday until November 4. The week-long event features workshops, author talks, writing competitions, quizzes and more, with subjects ranging from Shakespeare to The Smiths to Alice in Wonderland.

The festival kicks off on Wednesday with the Flash Fiction competition, which will see 10 shortlisted stories brought to life through readings by professional actors, with a £100 prize awaiting the winner.

The following day, ticketholders can try their own hand at fiction at Kick Start Your Own Creative Writing, hosted by award-winning writer and editor, Allen Ashley. In the evening, prepare for a night of crime as writers John Gordon Sinclair, Rod Reynolds and Sarah Ward discuss the ever-popular genre with Telegraph arts journalist Jake Kerridge.

On October 30, Julie Hamill will be talking to ex-Smiths band members and celebrity fans about their love of all things Morrissey. Later in the day will see Alex Hourston, Laura Barnett and Richard Philipps explain the process of releasing a novel, from idea to publication.

Saturday October 31 welcomes a Festival of Books to the Sherriff Centre. Oliver Harris will read from his latest book, Deep Shelter – which features ‘London’s coolest cop’, Detective Nick Belsey of Hampstead CID – while Lisa Eveleigh will talk about how she went about researching her critically-acclaimed biography Beauty and Chivalry: The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball. Elsewhere, there will be talks with quiz show question-setter Stewart McCartney, author Glenys Newton and children’s writer Lou Kuenzler, with other events including Karen Georghiou talking about her Alice in Wonderland-inspired book, Alice Took A Detour (with a themed-fancy dress competition also available for children), expert advice for dyslexic readers, a speed-pitching session and a creative writing corner.

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The main festival continues on November 1, when Adrian Greenwood reflects on the military career of Victorian general Sir Colin Campbell. Alice In Wonderland pops up again the next day, as Helen Lederer celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s iconic novel with Toni Green. On November 2, there will also be a drop in poetry event where aspiring local wordsmiths can read aloud from their work or share their favourite pieces by their best-loved poets.

Finishing off the week-long event on November 4, Stewart McCartney returns to test your literary knowledge at the Kilburn Literary Festival Pub Quiz. Think you know your Shakespeare from your P D James? McCartney – setter of quizzes and game shows including The Weakest Link, The Krypton Factor, The Unbelievable Truth and The Chase – asks the questions and shares his secrets in his fascinating book, Popular Errors Explained.

For more information and tickets, visit

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