Emma Bridgewater’s ‘festival in a factory’ returns to Stoke-on-Trent

A true celebration of outstanding writing and brilliant books, the UK’s only “festival in a factory” the Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival, returns to the creative surroundings of the Emma Bridgewater Factory from 8 – 10 June 2017 welcoming the very best writers, novelists and dramatists to the factory that makes her hand made, hand decorated designs to inspire and foster a love of books and reading.

The Festival opens on Thursday 8 June with a stirring call to regenerate from the dauntless creator of the Eden Project and discoverer of the Lost Gardens of Heligan; TIM SMIT. Tim visits Stoke – where china clay dug from the ground around St Austell is used in making many of the ceramics The Potteries is famed for – to talk about gambling against long odds and bringing new jobs and optimism to Cornwall.

Former Chancellor and the undoubted star of the recent series of Strictly Come Dancing, ED BALLS, will discuss his life in politics and a future beyond Westminster with the forensic former newspaper editor ANNE ROBINSON famed for her acerbic wit. Celebrated dramatist DEBBIE HORSFIELD joins us to discuss how her winning adaptation of POLDARK for the BBC has
captured the imagination of a whole new generation of fans.

ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG, erudite star of TV drama, top comedian and host of cult tv quiz Pointless, will also be in conversation at the Festival and polymath and heritage champion LOYD GROSSMAN discusses the value of heritage in a ‘post-truth world’. Photographer and author CHRISTOPHER SIMON SYKES will share his experiences as  tour photographer with The Rolling Stones in 1975 and his work capturing the exquisite interiors of great country houses.

The formidable and engaging journalist, author and Channel Four News political correspondent MICHAEL CRICK will talk about the monumental political changes seen in recent times, as well as the recent Stoke Central by-election he followed so closely.

Other highlights of the three-day programme include respected journalist CLOVER STROUD – Emma Bridgewater’s younger sister –  who will share stories from her lyrical, poignant and shocking memoir, broadcaster and national treasure CHARLOTTE GREEN (the voice of BBC Radio 4 for so many years), food scholar BEE WILSON discussing the psychology of how we eat in conversation with Emma and JULIAN GLOVER on the impact and legacy of Britain’s greatest engineer Thomas Telford.

The Festival also pays homage to Stoke’s most famous literary son, ARNOLD BENNETT, marking of the 150th anniversary of his birth as well as celebrating literary greats including Shakespeare with world renowned scholar JONATHAN BATE, plus Jane Austen with acclaimed biographer PAULA BYRNE.

Other highlights of the three-day programme include examining the legacy and impact of our green belts with JOHN GRINDRODmaverick and visionary landscape designers ISABEL and JULIAN BANNERMAN in conversation with Emma about romantic and evocative gardensplus explorations of Staffordshire poetry, children’s fun with an interactive event with the team from HORRID HENRY TV, live performance inspired by the JUST SO stories and the chance to meet author of a new children’s adventure series, SUSAN MOORE plus a creative magazine making workshop for 8-12 year olds.

“The Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival again promises to be an eclectic and inspiring celebration of outstanding writing and brilliant books with some of the very best authors, commentators and thinkers over three packed days in a city rediscovering its cultural roots,” explains Festival trustee Emma Bridgewater. “Now in our fourth year it is wonderful to see the tremendous enthusiasm for our ‘festival in a factory’ that’s so busy with book lovers of all ages. I am so very proud of how it is helping to shine a light on just how much we have happening in this great city.”

Tickets for all events are priced at £6 and available on the website here or from our Box Office partner the New Vic Theatre on tel: 01782 381381 or in person at the theatre.