Festival of Writing 2018



Thanks so much to all of our panelists, our keynote speaker Lucy V. Hay, and our fantastic and highly engaged audience for making the City Lit Festival of Writing 2018 such a resounding success! 

Check back soon for the first photos from the day!


10:30-11:00  KEYNOTE SPEECH: Diversity in 21st Century fiction: telling unheard stories
Speaker: Author Lucy V. Hay

11:00-11:45  Panel 1: How to get published in the 21st Century (with audience Q&A)
Chair: Salma Ibrahim, co-founder of Literary Natives
Speakers: Author and scriptwriter Lucy V Hay and literary agent Katy Loffman

12:00-12:30  Political satire in the 21st century
David Hutter reads from his satirical novella Fake News, introduced by City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson

12:30-13:15  Panel 2: Beyond fake news: journalism in the 21st Century
Chair: Helen Cox
Speakers: Author and journalist Pamela Hutchinson (Guardian, Radio 4, Sight and Sound) and CityAM journalist Rachel Cunliffe

13:15-14:15  Lunch

14:15-14:45  Publishing trends and opportunities in the 21st Century
Speaker: Lisa Goll from London Writers Cafe and Bloomsbury Publishing.

14:45-15:30  Panel 3: Women writing crime: a contemporary perspective (with audience Q&A)
Chair: Maria Thomas
Speakers: Natasha Bell and Caroline Green, crime novelists

15:30-15:45  Break

15:45-16:30  Panel 4 The future of form: contemporary debates in prose fiction (with audience Q&A)
Chair: Maria Thomas
Speakers: novelists and short story writers Luke Tredget, Olumide Popoola and Selma Dabbagh

16:30-17:30  Sexual politics and the self in the 21st Century
A poetry reading with Ella Frears.

The festival will close with a wine reception.


Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy's also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books' "Creative Essentials" range, as well as its follow-ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.


Natasha Bell grew up in Somerset and studied in York, Massachusetts and Chicago. Over-educated and entirely unemployable, she spent her twenties writing TV listings and working as a barista and a projectionist, before returning to study Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths. She now writes full-time from her home in south-east London and her debut novel, Exhibit Alexandra, is published by Penguin.

Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer of fiction. Her first novel, Out of It (Bloomsbury), set between Gaza, London and the Gulf, was a Guardian Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012. The Publications that have anthologised her short stories include Granta, the British Council, Wasafiri and Al Saqi. In 2014, her play The Brick was produced by BBC Radio 4 and nominated for an Imison Award. She has written for The Guardian, The London Review of Books, GQ and other publications and is currently working on her second novel and a film project.

Cass Green is the author of the best-selling psychological thriller The Woman Next Door, published by Harper Collins Killer Reads. Her first novel, Dark Ride, won the RONA Young Adult Book of the Year and the Waverton Good Read Award. Cracks and Hold Your Breath garnered rave reviews and were shortlisted for 11 awards between them. Hold Your Breath won the Oldham Book Award.

Ella Frears is a poet and visual artist who has had work published in Poetry London, The Rialto, POEM and the Moth among others. Ella was shortlisted for the Manchester Poetry Prize 2017. She is a trustee and editor for Magma Poetry, and was a Jerwood/Arvon Mentee 2016. Ella has completed residencies for Tate Britain, the National Trust, the New Forest and most recently Royal Holloway University where she was writing about the Cassini Space Mission. Her debut pamphlet Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity is published by Goldsmiths Press.  

Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance writer, critic and film historian, specialising in silent cinema and women’s film history. She contributes regularly to publications including Sight & Sound and the Guardian as well as appearing on Radio 4. She is the founder and editor of silent cinema website SilentLondon.co.uk and the author of the BFI Film Classic on G. W. Pabst’s Pandora's Box (1929).

David Hutter studied Creative Writing at Middlesex University in London and has worked as a writer and editor for various British and American publishers. His satirical novella Fake News was named as one of the 10 best books on the Donald Trump presidency by the Independent — the only satire on the list.

Lisa Goll has worked in publishing for over a decade and is now responsible for the Bloomsbury Institute, an events division of Bloomsbury Publishing in London. Beyond Bloomsbury, Lisa is the owner of the London Writers’ Café – the country’s biggest creative writing group – where she programmes an array of events for her community of 2,500+ writers to realise their writing and publishing ambitions. As chair of LWC since 2010, Lisa has hosted more than 250 events for fiction writers and is a qualified coach. When not working, Lisa can be found reading, tweeting (@LisasShare) and attending literary events across the city (and the occasional pub quiz!).

Katy Loffman started in publishing at André Deutsch, a literary hardback publisher in Bloomsbury. After more than a decade at Blackie Children's books, Penguin, and Faber and Faber, digital publishing seemed a logical next step. An MA in Digital Publishing from UCL followed, and Katy began a new career as a digital publishing consultant.  She now works at Paper Lion Ltd, a cross-media literary agency, with clients as diverse as John Wyndham, Saviour Pirotta and Auroch Digital.

Olumide Popoola is a Nigerian-German writer. Her publications include essays, poetry, the novella this is not about sadness, the play text Also by Mail, the short collection breach, which she co-authored with Annie Holmes, and the critically acclaimed novel When We Speak of Nothing. Olumide has a PhD in Creative Writing and has lectured in creative writing at various universities.

Luke Tredget is a writer and aid worker, currently working for the Red Cross. His journalism has been published in the Guardian, and his debut novel, Kismet, will be published in 2018 by Faber and Faber (UK) and Little, Brown (US).

Learn more

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