Bradford literature festival announces full 2022 programme

Saturday 07th May 2022 03:25 EDT

The North of England’s leading literature festival – Bradford Literature Festival (BLF) – today announces the full 2022 programme for its eighth annual live in-person festival featuring over 500 events for adults and children across 10 remarkable days between 24 June and 3 July 2022. 

The festival, a highlight of the UK cultural calendar, includes speakers from across the worlds of literature, politics, history and the arts, including Robert Peston, Delia Smith, Alastair Campbell, Ben Okri, John Barnes, Karen Armstrong, Sheikh Yahya Rhodus and Ed Balls.

Popular mainstays of the festival return including Poetry with a Punch, Lyrical Mehfil, the ever-popular Brontë Day, a heritage tour, and a new David Hockney Day. Sitting alongside will be panel discussions talks and workshops on subjects ranging from the 75th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl and the Partition of India, from the Platinum Jubilee to 100 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun. There will also be a diverse offering of music, theatre and performance ranging from Sufi music to conversations on the work of Paul Weller. A new theme for the festival this year is ‘In Memory of Andalusia’, which focuses on the cultural dialogue between Jewish and Muslim scholars in the “golden age”.


In a series of events on the 75th anniversary of the Partition of India, award-winning historian William Dalrymple joins the festival to share the remarkable story behind his new book chronicling the rise and fall of the East India Company. 


Saeed Khan will be introducing the context to Partition, while Owen Bennett-Jones will reflect on the two dynasties that shaped the outcome. In an event based on her BBC R4 series 'Untold Lives', journalist Kavita Puri will share stories of families in Britain whose lives had been impacted by the events of 1947. A panel of experts will shine a spotlight on the friendship between the Indian Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the Bradford-born painter Sir William Rothenstein, while Lyn Innes reveals the fascinating tale of the last prince of Bengal, and Satvinder Juss and Chris Moffatt reflect on the life of Bhagat Singh, the revolutionary of the Indian Independence Movement.



Bradford Literature Festival’s flagship Evening of Comedy returns featuring side-splitting sets by Sindhu Vee and Sukh Ojla and MC’d by Tez Ilyas, and Emma Smith dissects our magical relationship with books in her new book, Portable Magic. Founding editor of WritersMosaic, Gabriel Gbadamosi will chair a panel featuring Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Amal Said and Olumide Popoola on the current shape of mass migration in the wake of a century defined by war and decolonisation.



Sandra Igwe, Eliane Glaser and Pragya Agarwal will explore how and why society continues to define women by their reproductive choices.


Poorna Bell (In Case of Emergency) and Zeba Talkhani (My Past is a Foreign Country) will talk about acts of resistance and navigating the patriarchy. Jaspreet Kaur (Brown Girl Like Me) and Anchal Seda (What Would the Aunties Say?) share their experiences of growing up as young Asian women in the UK, modern feminism and cultural expectations.


Ancestry expert Gavin Rand, Amandeep Madra (UK Punjab Heritage Association) and Irfan Malik will be uncovering the stories of the Punjabi soldiers who fought in the First World War.


Kasim Ali (Good Intentions) and Huma Qureshi (Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love) will look at the complexity of modern relationships. Hebden Bridge-based publisher Bluemoose Books will be launching their new title I Am Not Your Eve by Devika Ponnambalam. The author and filmmaker spent ten years researching the troubled story behind post-impressionist Paul Gauguin's child-bride muse, Teha'amana. 


AA Dhand will also be hosting a workshop dedicated to aspiring crime writers who are looking to fine-tune their craft. Acclaimed crime-fiction writers including Louise Hare and Vaseem Khan will discuss their work and fascination with a literary world where history and mystery intersect.

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