Win! Weekend Ticket to Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

8th Feb 2013

Bristol Women's Literature Festival

How exciting is this?! The first ever Bristol Women’s Literature Festival is taking place in March, and we’ve got a weekend ticket to give away!

Founded by feminist author and activist Sian Norris and chaired by none other that broadcaster, writer and journalist Bidisha (who we obviously loved long before she said we should have our own touring roadshow, magazine and TV network, but are even more indebted to now), the festival is set to take place the weekend of 16th-17th March, at The Watershed in Bristol.

Remember when we did some digging into the gender inequality of arts and literature festivals around the UK? We found that – surprise, surprise – women writers and performers were getting nowhere near equal representation at the vast majority of these events. Turns out, Sian Norris had observed the same trend, a key factor in her decision to establish the festival. She says:

“I decided it wasn’t enough to be frustrated at the continued marginalisation of women writers in our cultural scene. I needed to do something about it. The response I have had has been phenomenal. Everyone wants to be part of this festival. This is a real and vital opportunity to talk about women’s writing and women’s role in shaping and influencing our culture – both historically and in the present.”

So, for two fabulous days, there will be talks, readings and other events, bringing together the best women authors, screenwriters, academics and feminist commentators for a weekend of thought-provoking discussion, debate and activity.

And with a line-up including the likes of Orange Prize winner Helen Dunmore, award-winning author Stella Duffy, first time novelists Selma Dabbagh (who got a rave review from us for her début release Out of It) and Beatrice Hitchman (author of the hotly-anticipated Petite Mort – review coming to For Books’ Sake soon), and many more, we already can’t wait.

Want to come too? We’ve got one weekend ticket to give away, which will get you into all the events on the two-day programme (transport and accommodation not included). To be in with a chance to win, all you need to do is comment on this post, telling us which women author (past or present, alive or dead) you’d most love the chance to see live.

You’ve got until midnight on Friday 22nd February 2013 to get your entries in, and we’ll be in touch with the winner the following Monday. For more information about the festival, head on over to the website, where you can find the full programme, latest news, and details of how you can support the event. 

Jane Bradley


  • Cathy Beveridge says:

    Emma Forrest!

  • Becky Shepherd says:

    Mary Shelley, without a doubt.

  • Dan Holloway says:

    This is fabulous and I’d love to win a ticket but will sadly be busy organising Not the Oxford Literary Festival that weekend. I got to see my number one choice, Patti Smith, two years ago when she was on the Just Kids book tour and it was absolutely amazing. Second choice would have to be Sappho so I can finally have all the gaps in the beautiful surviving fragments of her poetry filled in.
    This looks like a wonderful event. Can I point out that we have 4 nights of fabulousness at Not the Oxford Literary Festival, 2 of which have co-headlines one male, one female, one of which is the amazing Kate Walton’s one woman show I am Blackbird, and the other of which is a poetry evening headlined by the amazing Adelle Stripe sonot all festivals perpetuate the bias

  • Emily Bronte! With Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter as my contingencies if she’s double-booked.

  • Jenni Bergman says:

    I’ve always admired women science fiction and fantasy writer who break new ground, so an imaginary panel consisting of Mary Shelley, Hope Mirrlees, Ursula LeGuin, Margaret Atwood, and Susanna Clarke would be ideal.

  • Marguerite Duras. But I’ll settle for Toni Morrison if you can only offer me a live one.

  • Jackie Downs says:

    It’s predictable I know, but Sylvia Plath: I’d like to have got the chance to see her filtered through herself rather than the prism of Ted Hughes or the countless others who write about her still.

  • I would say Germaine Greer, because she’s witty and intelligent, and I’d be interested to hear how her ideas evolved into her writing from her youth onwards, and what experiences influenced them. It would have to be a very long talk! 🙂

  • Hannah says:

    How about a Q and A session with Virginia Woolf?

  • Viv Kennedy says:

    The woman writer I would most like to see is Victoria Hislop, her books seem incredibly well researched and are so descriptive that they bring history alive. The Island made me want to visit the island of Spinalonga off the coast of Crete and when I got there I was delighted to find it exactly as I’d imagined it to be.

  • Natasha says:

    Diana Wynne-Jones, Anne McCaffrey, Joan Aiken, Paula Danizger. Laurell K. Hamilton. Women that challenged ideas that only could write certain forms as well as creating beautiful words that transformed the way I looked at the world.

  • Natasha says:

    ARGH! Terrible typos. I’m so sorry. Let me correct:
    1. ‘Women that challenged the idea that only men were able to write in certain genres.
    2. ‘…creating beautiful worlds that transformed the way I looked at myself and the world around me’

    To this end I’d like to add Sheri S. Tepper. Her feminist and ecological views shaped the way I see the world and her books are to this day, amongst the best I’ve ever read, and re-read.

  • Pam King says:

    I would love to meet Vera Brittain and hear about her experiences getting into university when it wasn’t something that women ‘did’. Also her experiences during the First World War and working as a VAD – as a nurse for me to hear about what it was like to be a pioneer for women’s role in the world would be enlightening.

  • Laura Evans says:

    Vita Sackville-West. Fascinated by her and her work!

  • Justine says:

    For me, it’s got to be Iris Murdoch. Or maybe George Eliot. Or many Hilary Mantel. Then again, Dorothy Parker would be wonderful, or maybe Djuna Barnes could spice up proceedings, along with Angela Carter. And Margaret Atwood! I’d love to meet Margaret Atwood…

    Too many to choose, and I’m thinking of more!

  • Tina says:

    Rebecca West, who inspired me with the words, “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

    • Tina says:

      Just realised I left off “…or a prostitute” from the end of that West quote!

  • judith barrow says:

    Without a doubt it would have been Jane Austin, if only just to be a fly on the wall and see the way she wrote. But to be sensible and in complete contrast it has to be Sarah Waters . Her work blows me away; I am always in awe of her talent.

  • Francoise Sagan. I reckon she would be very amusing in a dark, glamorous way.

  • Hannah Goddard says:

    Angela Carter! Her command of language and approach to the world is fantastic and inspiring and has been transformative for me. A wonderful woman and writer!

  • Lorrie Moore, so I could knock her sick with unrelenting sycophancy, with Gwendoline Riley a close second, as her readings seem consistently charged, passionate and exhilarating. Erica Jong, Amy Bloom and Alice Munro would be most appreciated, too!

  • Sapphire Mason-Brown says:

    Audre Lorde

  • Leasbreda says:

    Tricia Sullivan and Melissa Scott – two imaginative SF writers.

  • Jane Bradley says:

    Thanks for commenting, everyone! We’ll be in touch with the winner by the end of the day. For everyone else, there’s still time to get your tickets via the website:

  • Emma Hogan says:

    Nancy Mitford. Hopefully she’d bring along her sisters!