I’m very pleased and proud to have been asked to curate the book events for this year’s SICK! Festival.

SICK! is a multi-artform festival dedicated to revealing and debating our most urgent physical, mental and social challenges.

This year it is running simultaneously in Brighton and Manchester, and each weekend there will be a themed book event in each city.

If you are nearby, please do come along – we’ve booked some fantastic writers – from novelists to memoirists, academics, graphic novelists and professional practitioners.

The discussions are bound to be wide-ranging and provocative.

The Schedule is:

Weekend 1: SEX and SEXUALITY:

In front of the Children

Does the easy online accessibility of pornography pose a threat to young people? Does it stand in the way of developing a healthy attitude to love and sex, or does it provide useful information for beginners? These panels bring together writers with wide-ranging interests in sex and sexuality for a full and frank discussion.

Saturday  7 March, Brighton:

Dialogue expert Karl James interviews Cliterati founder Emily Dubberley, graphic novelist Gareth Brookes and founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Porn Studies, Feona Attwood.
Full details

Sunday 8 March, Manchester.

Founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon Polari, Paul Burston interviews prize-winning novelist Jonathan Kemp, Emma Jane Unsworth, author of the highly acclaimed novel Animals, and founding co-editor of the Routledge journal Porn Studies, Clarissa Smith.
Full details

Weekend 2: ABUSE

Baring the Scars

Books about painful lives sell. What is it that makes us so hungry to read these stories? And what compels authors to write them? These panels include writers who have survived abuse, novelists for whom abuse surfaces as a theme, and clinicians and academics who deal with it  both in writing and their daily practice.

Saturday 14 March, Brighton

Dialogue expert Karl James interviews memoirist, journalist, broadcaster and salonist Damian Barr, graphic novelist Katie Green and professor, writer, broadcaster and  Clinical Psychologist Tanya Byron.
Full details

Sunday 15 March, Manchester

Novelist, broadcaster and journalist Laura Lockington interviews psychotherapist, broadcaster and Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman, award-winning crime novelist Elizabeth Haynes, Journalist and Jimmy Savile biographer Dan Davies and graphic novelist Una.
Full details

Weekend 3: SUICIDE

Is it Catching?

In 1974 the sociologist David Phillips coined the term The Werther Effect, after the hero of a novel by Goethe supposedly inspired copycat suicides. Can talking about suicide really result in contagion? These panels bring together academics, writers who work with people suffering from depression, novelists who deal with the subject, and those who write about the subject from the point of view of the depressed.

Saturday 21 March, Brighton

I interview novelist, playwright and academic Hannah Vincent, reader in Narrative Mental Health at the University of Brighton, Alec Grant, and novelist and author of  How to Stay Alive, an account of his experience of depression, Matt Haig.
Full details

Sunday 22 March, Manchester

I interview graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham, GP and graphic novelist Ian Williams and former psychiatric nurse and novelist Mark A Radcliffe.
Full details

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