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Monday 09 March 2020

Legacy Of Virginia Woolf Lives On As Charleston Festival Bring A Literary Giant & World's Most Famous Feminist To Sussex

Now in its thirty-first year, the Charleston Festival, based in Firle, near Lewes, is one of the oldest and most prestigious literary festivals in the world. 

Credit Ai Weiwei Studio

Staged across ten days each May, the Festival celebrates the creative and intellectual curiosity, radicalism and openness of Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf and the artists, writers and thinkers of the Bloomsbury group who all gathered at Charleston and dared to imagine society differently.

Early highlights of this year's Festival (15th – 25th May 2020) include literary giant Salman Rushdie, Booker Prize-winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo and the 'world's most famous feminist' Gloria Steinem. 

Master storyteller Salman Rushdie returns to Charleston Festival for the first time in more than a decade to discuss his life and work. 

Just as Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirise the culture of his time, Rushdie's latest novel, Quichotte, takes the reader on a wild ride through a country on the verge of moral and spiritual collapse told with the kind of storytelling magic that is the hallmark of his work. 


Activist, academic and award-winning writer Bernardine Evaristo explores both heritage and modern life in her considerable body of work, shedding new light on what it means to be British. 

Evaristo has described her 2019 Booker Prize-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, as 'fusion fiction', and her writing spans an enormous range of genres, from novels to poetry, verse fiction, short fiction, essays and literary criticism to radio and theatre drama. 

Since her early days as a journalist and feminist activist in the late 1960s, Gloria Steinem's words heave helped generations to empower themselves and work together. 

Now, in a rare visit to the UK, the feminist icon comes to Charleston Festival for the first time to speak about her latest book, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!: Thoughts on Life, Love and Rebellion.

Susannah Stevenson, Artistic Director: Charleston Festival, Small Wonder and Literary Programmes, The Charleston Trust, said: 

"The creativity, impact and innovation of Salman Rushdie, Bernardine Evaristo and Gloria Steinem's work rings true with the spirit of the Bloomsbury group, and highlights the importance of challenging the status quo in valuable spaces for discussion like Charleston"

Tickets are on general sale now. CLICK HERE for more info.

by: Mike Cobley




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Creature Creature can, via the imminent release of their first collection of self-penned tracks, Two Finger Tantrum, be labelled the new flag bearers of rock. The Brighton-based five piece have furrowed a new burrow at the summit of an age old genre. With this debut album they will be looking over their shoulders at the also-rans for many years to come.


Migrate Art, the art organisation fundraising to support displaced and homeless people, has partnered with ten major contemporary artists and illustrators to create limited editions of re-usable, reversible face masks.

Romesh Ranganathan is Straight Outta Crawley, in West Sussex, and on his last nationwide tour, Irrational, he was pondering whether he has an irrational viewpoint on the world or whether that can be attributed to absolutely everyone else.

Returning after four years away, Aidan Knight's penchant for astute observations and personal reflections remains a compelling component of his songwriting.


Young people across the UK will have the chance to find out what it's like to be a record label boss, a film director or a theatre producer through a new podcast series from Lookout that brings together industry professionals from stage, screen and music to share their invaluable insights and experience on how to get into the creative industries.
Credit J. Taylor

Extinction Rebellion Brighton held a socially distanced protest on Hove seafront calling for a bigger public say in how society rebuilds following the coronavirus crisis.
Credit Andrew Gambling

The South Downs National Park photo competition is now open, with a first prize of £250 on offer to the amateur or professional photographer who best captures this year's theme of 'My tranquil haven'.

"In rock music, it's really easy to talk about partying and shagging girls and all that kind of stuff," says Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin. "But for us, what we were singing about had to be deeper, it had to mean something. We had to talk about our experiences and what we were going through."

Throughout COVID-19 isolation, everyone has become aware of the supportive and stimulating power of music. Although many people want to learn, they have no access to musical instruments or tuition - especially with schools and shops currently closed. 
Credit: Andy Sturmey

Barely a year since their debut album Dogrel, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. are set to return with A Hero's Death.

The Rec Rooms is an independent music and comedy venue in Horsham, West Sussex, which was opened by three locals just over eighteen months ago. 

This Saturday, 30th May, Together Co, the Brighton & Hove based charity that exists to end loneliness, is hosting a virtual music festival that will see more than twenty bands perform for free to raise money to help the most vulnerable and isolated.  

Following Brighton Festival's digital programme during lockdown, poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE has confirmed he will return as guest director in 2021. 

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