Balham Literary Festival: Popular event set to be better than ever

The founder of Balham Literary Festival hopes the event can inspire, surprise and entertain its audience as it returns for another year.

Now in its third year and with the theme of ‘Summer Loving’, the festival, running from June 4-11, is set to better than than ever as an impressive and eclectic mix of authors, such as food writer Melissa Hemsley and philosopher Professor A. C. Grayling, take to the stage.

All tastes have been considered and whether you’re a foodie or a politics junkie, there’s an event for you, or you can even take the chance to explore something novel, such as an adventure writing workshop.

Speaking about how the roster of writers is put together Susie Nicklin, the festival’s organiser, said: “We try to think about the audience, what they might enjoy, and we also like to surprise them and bring them writers they might not have heard of.”

Other speakers this year include journalist and bestselling author Tim Marshall, whom Susie believes to be one of the greatest speakers today on current affairs, as well as author of the English Patient Michael Ondaatje.

On the theme of ‘Summer Loving’ she said: “We love Balham and it’s an absolutely buzzing and vibrant environment when the sun comes out.”

Everybody takes to the streets so we wanted to capture some of that sunshine feeling.”

On her love of books and her beginnings in the literary industry, Susie said: “Like most other people in the profession it was from about the age 2, all I did was read and saw the world through the lens of books and I’ve studied books ever since.

“I’ve worked across the range of the industry both in the private sector, the public sector and in the charity sector so it’s a world I know very well.”

Speak to Susie and her love of books is contagious and though, as she puts it, books are ‘a crucial way to explain ourselves to ourselves’, it’s clear that for Susie there’s nothing quite like sharing passions and ideas to really bring literature to life.

Speaking about literary festivals, she said: “They make you get outside and actually into a real 3-D, live place which is great, and mix with people you don’t know.

“It gives you an opportunity to ask questions and have a discussion and a debate in a very non-confrontational arena with people who are interested in the subject.”

Susie is really looking forward to ‘Summer Fling’, held on 9 June, an event hosted by stand-up comedian Rosie Wilby and bestselling author Holly Bourne, about the trials and tribulations of modern romance.

What: Balham Literary Festival
Where: Venues across Balham
When: Main weekend — June 8-11
How: Short walk from Balham train and underground station
Tickets: https://balhamliteraryfestival.co.uk/events/ 

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