Birmingham Literature Festival 2021

By The Bookshop on the Green

By The Bookshop on the Green

We are proud to have such a fantastic literary community in Birmingham and the Black Country and some of the best bookish conversations are to be found at Birmingham Literature Festival.  This year they've gone digital, with monthly blogs and online events with some really impressive and thought-provoking writers.  


Shantel Edwards - director of the Birmingham Literature Festival and Creative Producer at Writing West Midlands - has shared with us the Birmingham Literature Festival book list for 2021.


"Last year we really missed being able to connect writers and readers in person, as we do every October, and we started thinking about how we could connect with our audience more.  With that in mind, since April 2021, we have been hosting monthly online events bringing writers and readers together to discuss the books we have loved this year. 

"For our monthly blog series, we’re asking writers with a connection to the Midlands to reflect on each month of 2021, both for them personally and more broadly as we adapt to the second year of life amid a pandemic. "


Find Birmingham Literature Festival events and podcasts here.

Open Water

Caleb Azumah Nelson

£12.99 £12.08

I read Caleb’s debut novel in one sitting, totally absorbed in the characters and invested in their love story. The story is both tender and heart-breaking, examining music, art, first love and the vulnerability of black men in contemporary British society. The novel’s use of music immediately made me listen to the accompanying playlist on Spotify and added to the emotional tenderness and intimacy of the novel. This event will take place on Thursday 24th June and tickets can be booked here:


Emma Purshouse

£14.00 £13.02

It is always a treat to read a book filled with Midlands humour and dialect, so it was a real pleasure to host a conversation with Lisa and Emma about their books which are packed full of humour and Black Country/Stoke dialect and offer such rich, lovable characters, the likes of which you don’t often see in books. It was such a wonderful conversation about writing working class characters and local dialects and the need to keep pushing to diversify the publishing industry. The conversation was hosted by Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon, The Trick to Time, Supporting Cast, Common People).


Lisa Blower

£12.99 £12.08

My Name Is Leon

Kit de Waal

£8.99 £8.36

The Trick to Time

Kit de Waal

£8.99 £8.36

Supporting Cast

Kit de Waal

£8.99 £8.36

Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

Sathnam Sanghera

£18.98 £17.65

In the wake of last year and the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, there have been more and more calls to re-think our understanding of Empire and Sathnam’s book is such a detailed, accessible and interesting read about the ways in which Empire is implicated in the fabric of British society. Sathnam was in conversation with Sara Wajid, Co-CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust.

Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths

Maisie Chan

£6.99 £6.50

Maisie Chan's new book is published on June 10th and you can listen to her May podcast here:

Rhythm Chant

Sue Brown

£9.99 £9.29

Performance poet and wordsmith, Sue Brown's April podcast can be heard here:

Go the Way Your Blood Beats: On Truth and Desire

Michael Amherst

£8.99 £8.36

Michael Amherst is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. You can hear his March podcast here:


Abda Khan


Abda Khan is an award winning lawyer turned author. Her first novel 'Stained' was praised as the 'contemporary Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Booklist (USA). Her February podcast is here:


Abda Khan

£9.99 £9.29

Abdha's latest novel 'Razia', published in July 2019, is a gripping novel about a lawyer's fight for justice for a modern day slave. Abda was Highly Commended in the Nat West Asian Women of Achievement Awards, 2017, and most recently named British Muslim Woman of the Year at the British Muslim Awards 2019.

Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles

£22.99 £21.38

Thomas Glave's January podcast for Birmingham Literature Festival is here:

The Torturer's Wife

Thomas Glave

£11.99 £11.15

Whose Song?: And Other Stories

Thomas Glave


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