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Stratford Literary Festival's sister act

Clockwise from top left: Harriet Harman , Imogen Hermes Gower, Harriet Walter, and Jane Garvey.
Clockwise from top left: Harriet Harman , Imogen Hermes Gower, Harriet Walter, and Jane Garvey.

TO mark 100 years of the beginning of suffrage for women, and to celebrate the #MeToo campaign, a central theme of this year’s Stratford Literary Festival is Strong Women.

The eight-day programme, which runs from 22nd to 29th April, will feature a series of events exploring women’s issues.

This includes Dame Harriet Walter sharing her experiences of playing Shakespeare’s characters (both male and female) in her book Brutus and Other Heroines, and the biographers Paula Byrne, Lyndall Gordon and Fiona Sampson will be asking whether it was authors such as Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, who invented the novel as we know it.

Tara Westover and Aida Edemariam discuss determination and stoicism in their respective books, Educated and The Wife’s Tale, both highly acclaimed by critics. The festival also features some exciting emerging voices in fiction, including Imogen Hermes Gower, whose book The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is causing such excitement amongst readers.

The festival, which celebrates 11 years in 2018, will also be exploring the challenges facing women in Parliament, equal pay and the glass ceiling with MPs Harriet Harman and Jess Philips, who will be interviewed by Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey.

Then the acclaimed poet, Jacqueline Saphra, will be sharing poems from an anthology called #MeToo with journalist and sexual harassment whistle-blower Jane Merrick.

“In the last 12 months we have witnessed some significant progress in highlighting inequalities between the sexes and some very disturbing revelations about sexual harassment,” says festival director Annie Ashworth.

“These issues have been addressed in recent memoirs and novels written by women, and we are really pleased to be able to give oxygen to those issues this year.”

The 2018 Stratford Literary Festival takes place between 22nd and 29th April at Stratford ArtsHouse.

Tickets are on sale now at the box office 01789 207100, or online at www.stratfordartshouse.co.uk

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