Bradford Literature Festival

The inaugural Bradford Literature Festival takes place this May, and over ten days there is an absolute wealth of events – more than 150, in fact.

You can find out about all of them at the festival website, but I’d like to draw your attention to one or two, mainly because I’ll be hosting/chairing them:

Mark Stay, with David Barnett – Robot Overlords (Age 10+)
Saturday 16 May, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Waterstones Price: £6.00


You’ve seen the film, now read the fully authorised tie-in novel written by the scriptwriter and co-creator of the science-fiction movie, Mark Stay. The film follows a group of teenagers in the wake of Earth’s invasion by Robots, and their regime which confined the human survivors to their homes. No one knows why – or what they want. There is only one clear message: Robots never lie. Nor do they show mercy . . .

A perfect companion to the movie, the novel expands on the story with additional action, characters and a special peek behind-the-scenes.

Mark Stay will be in conversation with Bradford based steampunk author, David Barnett.

Mark Stay pic - Robot OverlordsBy night, Mark Stay is a film scriptwriter and novelist. By day, he is a Key Accounts Manager for a publishing company, where he performs astonishing sales feats every day.



Sophie Hannah, with David Barnett – The Monogram Murders
Sunday 17 May, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
City Hall, Price: £6.00


Agatha Christie’s crime novels have sold over 2 billion copies and her books are the standard by which all others are judged. The famous Belgian detective, star of movies and TV series Hercules Poirot, along with Miss Marple, is now better known than his creator.

Now internationally renowned poet and novelist Sophie Hannah brings Poirot back to life in The Monogram Murders with a classic tale. When, during a quiet dinner in a coffee house, Poirot is interrupted by a young woman who confides that she is about to be murdered, the detective is soon after plunged into a mystery only he can solve.

For the first time, 39 years since the publication of Agatha Christie’s final Poirot novel,Curtain, the guardians of her legacy have approved a brand new novel in the hands ofSophie Hannah, featuring Dame Agatha’s most beloved creation.

Sophie Hannah will be in conversation with Bradford author and journalist David Barnett.

Sophie Hannah pic

Sophie Hannah is an international bestselling writer of poetry, children’s books and psychological fiction, published in more than 20 countries and adapted for television.


Ben Aaronovitch, with David Barnett – Foxglove Summer
Sunday 17 May, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Waterstones, Price: £6.00


In the fifth of his bestselling cult supernatural crime series, Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant, the police constable and apprentice wizard, out of his London comfort zone to a small village in Herefordshire. When the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children, Peter finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods.

Ben Aaronovitch will be in conversation with Bradford author and journalist, David Barnett.

Ben Aaronovitch pic - Foxglove SummerBen Aaronovitch worked as a scriptwriter for Doctor Who and Casualty before writing his own series of books. With sales of over 500,000, every title in the PC Grant novel series, featuring a unique blend of police procedural, supernatural mayhem and London’s fascinating hidden history, has been a Sunday Times bestseller.

Photograph © Sabrina Aaronovitch

Justina Robson, with David Barnett – The Glorious Angels
Sunday 17 May, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
City Library, Price: £6.00


In the great tradition of Ursula K LeGuinn, Doris Lessing and Margaret Atwood, Justina Robson uses science-fiction to investigate society and sexual politics. Following her Quantum Gravity series, The Glorious Angels is set on a world where science and magic are hard to tell apart. Tralane Huntingore is the last in a line of magi. Her life is a peaceful idyll of learning until a stranger arrives with news of impending political turmoil and brings her greatest challenge. The Glorious Angels is Robson’s fictionalised response to the clamour for improved female representation in science fiction.

Justina Robson will be in conversation with Bradford based steampunk author, David Barnett.


Justina Robson pic - Glorious AngelsJustina Robson writes philosophical science fiction and is the acclaimed author of Natural History, Living Next Door to the God of Love and the Quantum Gravity Series.  Justina is originally from Leeds and occasionally teaches at the Arvon Foundation.


Martyn Amos, Claire Dean – Beta-Life: Stories from an A-Life Future – chaired by David Barnett
Sunday 24 May, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
University of Bradford, Richmond Building, Great Hall
Price: £6.00


Artificial Intelligence, the power of computers to take on human characteristics, has long fascinated filmmakers and writers alike. Two films this year put the debate to the fore –Chappie and Ex Machina.

Screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce features in this anthology which brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what artificial life will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from revolution-inciting computer games to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers.

Don’t underestimate how fast this is moving. In 1997, the US Government switched on the $55 million Red computer that took up enough space for a tennis court. In 2006, Sony launched the Play Station 3 with the same computing power.

Find out more from Martyn Amos and Claire Dean in what promises to be a mind-blowing discussion of a future barely glimpsed.


Beta Life pic - Martyn Amos 1Martyn Amos is Professor of Novel Computation at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the author of Genesis Machines: The New Science of Biocomputing. His research interests include complexity theory, artificial life, synthetic biology and natural computing. Martyn is co-editor of Beta-Life.



Beta Life pic - Claire DeanClaire Dean’s short stories have been widely published. Two chapbooks, Marionettes and Into the Penny Arcade are published by Nightjar Press, and Claire’s new fairy tales were published by Unsettling Wonder in 2014.



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