Brighton Festival 2016Counting down to our 50th
Festival this May

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Titles announced for City Reads and Young City Reads 2017

The debut novel by Sharon Duggal The Handsworth Times has been chosen for City Reads while A.F. Harrold’s Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) has been picked for Young City Reads as part of Brighton Festival 2017.

City Reads and Young City Reads are city-wide ‘big reads’ delivered by award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC, designed to spread a love of books and ideas to the widest possible audience throughout Brighton & Hove. This year they launch on 2 March (World Book Day) and run until May with a series of events themed around the books to encourage people across the city to get reading and start talking.

Brighton-based British Asian writer Sharon Duggal’s novel, published by Bluemoose Books, is set in 1981 where factories are closing, unemployment is high, the NF are marching and the neglected inner cities are ablaze as riots breakout across Thatcher's fractured Britain. The Agarwal family are facing their own personal tragedy, but their pain is eased through humour, friendship and community.

Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director of City Reads says: ‘Sharon Duggal’s outstanding debut was the unanimous favourite of our reading panel for this year’s City Reads. 2016 saw Britain polarised following the Brexit referendum, leading to some bitter arguments and disputes within communities. Sharon’s book couldn’t have been published at a more relevant time. It has heart, humour and courage - I hope you love it as much as we do at City Reads.’ 

The title chosen for Young City Reads, the ‘big read’ aimed at children, Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library), is the story of a boy, a book, some very bad people, some very brave deeds, and the importance of rubber teeth for lions.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: ‘We are delighted that City Reads and Young City Reads are part of Brighton Festival again this year - building on our strong relationship with Collected Works through other partnership projects such as Young City Reads and Adopt an Author. The importance of empathy and community is central to our Guest Director Kate Tempest’s vision for the Festival as a whole, making Sharon Duggal’s powerful debut particularly fitting as a choice for City Reads. And with this year’s Guest Director our youngest in the role to date we are particularly pleased to be providing an opportunity to encourage young booklovers to come together to discuss and share their love of reading – and hopefully nurturing a new generation of artists and art lovers for the future.’

Highlights of City Reads include a Literary Salon at the Regency Townhouse (Wed 29 March), a riotous celebration of the music made during era of The Handsworth Times via a Stick It On Party at The Latest Music Bar (Fri 28 April), perennial favourite The City Reads Book Quiz returns on Wed 22 March, and Sharon Duggal is in conversation at Brighton Festival on 14 May. Young City Reads launches at Jubilee Library on 2 March, with a special Brighton Festival event on 23 May featuring the author and illustrator (Sarah Horne).

Primary school teachers and classes are being invited to register online (for free) at and agree to read Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) together in class between 2 March – 23 May 2017. Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Fizzlebert Stump quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete.

Paul McVeigh's The Good Son was chosen for City Reads 2016 while Hamish and the WorldStoppers by Danny Wallace was the title for Young City Reads 2016.

For more information visit

Peacock Poetry Prize 2017: ‘Everyday Epic’

In Partnership with BHASVIC (Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College) and BHee (the Brighton and Hove environmental education project).

In celebration of the work of our Guest Director Kate Tempest, we invite young people age 8 – 19 to submit poems on the theme of ‘Everyday Epic’.

From a pebbled beach to a stranger’s smile, from a sporting milestone to a quiet read, Brighton Festival invites you to reflect on the small observations and achievements of our daily lives which we piece together in order to celebrate and share our common humanity.

Each budding writer may submit up to three poems with a maximum length of 20 lines per poem. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Monday 3 April 2017.

Finalists and their friends and relatives will be invited to a reception in Brighton Dome on Thursday 25th May at 5pm when the winners of each age category and the BHee prize will be announced. This year the Brighton and Hove environmental education project (BHee) will be giving a special prize to a school pupil whose poem celebrates our interaction with the natural world.

Entries must include: Name, Email Address, Age, Date of Birth, Poem and Title (no longer than 20 lines). 

If you would like your poem(s) to be considered for the BHee prize, please include the name of your school on your entry. This prize is open to all pupils attending primary and secondary schools in Brighton and Hove.

Prize Category Age Groups:
8 - 10
11 - 13
14 - 16
17 - 19

Deadline: Mon 3 Apr, 5pm

Entries must be emailed, together with full name, age and date of birth to or posted to:
Peacock Poetry Prize, Brighton Festival, 12a Pavilion Buildings, Castle Square, Brighton BN1 1EE

The Peacock Poetry Prize is an annual competition to encourage young writers to explore the written word from a creative point of view. The aim is to get young people writing right across Sussex and encourage them to engage with the Festival’s theme. The competition is open to residents of Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex aged 8 - 19.

Perform as part of Brighton Festival 2017

We’re looking for 100-125 singers to perform as part of a special inter-choral choir for a large-scale, cross-art outdoor performance, featuring song, dance and physical theatre, as part of Brighton Festival 2017.

Come and lend your voice to a cutting-edge performance installation, celebrating myth, ritual and journeying. The choral music is devised specifically for singers and choirs by composer/arranger, Sam Glazer, and draws inspiration from Faure, Rilke and Ovid as well as beautiful new music specially written for the project.

Singers from all walks of life and levels of musical experience are invited to take part in this event. You can either take part independently, as part of a small group or bring your whole choir along! The music will be learned independently over 5 months (from January - May) and supported by regular rehearsals. We ask you to be available for the majority of the rehearsals and all of the performance dates - please see list below.

All participating singers will have access to rehearsal materials, which contains the score and audio files to support your learning. You do not need to be able to sight-sing or read music to take part, as all the music will be taught aurally at the rehearsals. You do need access to a computer and the internet. The rehearsals will be led by Kirsty Martin, who is Musical Director of Brighton’s Hullabaloo Quire.

The event is completely free to participate in, but we ask you to commit to the project and be available for the majority of the rehearsals and all of the performance dates - please see list below. Venues and times TBC.

Rehearsal Dates: (must be available for the majority of rehearsals)
Tuesday 10 Jan: Introduction session in the evening - come and sample the songs and last chance for people to sign up (final deadline for signing up will be Mon 16 Jan)
Wednesday 1 February, evening
Saturday 25 February, half day
Tuesday 14 March, evening
Tuesday 28 March, evening
Saturday 22 April, half day
Wednesday 10 May, evening
Tuesday 23 May, evening
Wednesday 24 May, evening (final rehearsal)

Performances: (must be available for all performances)
Thursday 25 May, evening
Friday 26 May, evening
Saturday 27 May, evening
Sunday 28 May, evening

For choirs and choir leaders who are interested in taking part please email:

For individuals, please fill out this form to express your interest by Thu 6 Jan:

If you are interested in taking part, please come to the Introductory Workshop on Tue 10 Jan, 6.45pm - 9.15pm at The Friends' Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton.