Literary had the best weekend*

This weekend I have been inspired.

Inspired to write, inspired to be a feminist, inspired to think about concepts I’ve only given a passing thought until now, inspired to learn, inspired by lots of intelligent and complicated women. 

As I write, I’m also feeling so fortunate that I’ve had these opportunities. 

On Friday (that feels so very long ago now), I attended ‘How to be a Feminist‘ a panel discussion on the opening day of Bradford Literature Festival 2016. There was debate en route because the panel would feature a man- more on this some other time but it is my firm opinion that a man can (and should) be a Feminist. 

The panel comprised of Mona Eltahawy, Lennie Goodings and Sunny Hundall and the discussion was eye opening. I don’t want to give too much away because I’m planning another post about what My Feminism means (it won’t be everyones cup of tea, sorry!) It’ll be a longer post and more like an essay so dont be alarmed when it rears it’s head. I came away from the panel with a lot of books on my to read list (in fact, my to read list is getting silly at the moment, I need a sabbatical from work to sqeeze everything in, particularly as I’m an incredibly slow reader!)

I returned to the Literature Festival on Sunday and saw Mona on another panel about the fashion and politics of the Hijab. It’s a topical subject and the content, discussed by muslim women with and without hijabs. Joining Mona were the face of the H&M campaign, a Guardian journalist and the writer of a book tipped as the muslim ‘Bridget Jones’. It was interesting and the panel didn’t always agree which very much reflects the position in society. Afterward we saw Anita Anand discussing Sophia (pronounced Soph-eye-a) Duleep Singh, the subject of her new book. Sophia, born into money and royalty became a Suffragette and fought the feminist cause with white, working class comrades but has been forgotten in retelling of the movement. We briefly met Anita Anand afterwards when she signed books (yes, another on my list to read).

Sandwiched between 2 days at the Literature Festival I attended a mammoth writing course in Manchester run by Write Like a Grrrl who champion women writers. I came away with lots of new fiction writing skills I plan to hone and some new literary pals; bloggers, writers, women who love to write as much as I do- we’re planning to keep in touch and hopefully critique each others’ work.

This fire in the belly feeling might not last forever, so I’m off to bottle it (read: scribble in an actual notepad with an actual pen). Maybe I’ll speak at Bradford’s Literature Festival one year…

How was your weekend? 

*Excuse the pun


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