ArtfulScribe’s LIT FEST 2024

  • MAST Mayflower Studios
  • March 8 - 10
  • 18:30 - 18:00
Event Website


LIT FEST 2024 brings literature from around the country to Southampton. This three day festival is produced by ArtfulScribe and delivered in partnership with University of Southampton and with funding from Arts Council England.

Featuring a diverse, community-focused programme of showcases, workshops, open-mics and free events, LIT FEST 2024 takes place at MAST Mayflower Studios on 8th-10th March and supports established poets and new voices, alongside the festival’s theme: International Women.

To get LIT FEST 2024 underway we’re delighted to present a keynote address from University of Southampton’s English Department, centered on The Female Gaze. This presentation will explore three perspectives discussing female experience. From the intimate sensory and distinctly feminist gaze to the way queerness rescues sad heterosexual heroines, this discussion considers the intricacies of women in modern society.

Headlining this year’s festival is 2022 Saboteur Spoken Word Artist of the Year, and T.S.Eliot Prize-winner, Joelle Taylor. Joelle hosts and features in Friday evening’s poetry showcase with some of the UK’s best female writers: Edinburgh Makar, Hannah Lavery; Forward Prize-nominated Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa; and TS Eliot Prize nominee Fran Lock.

Seren, Wales’ leading independent literary publisher and VERVE Poetry Press, a Birmingham- based poetry indie, will present innovative poets and poetry at the Small Press Showcase on Saturday 9th March. These readings feature Rachael Clyne, Vanessa Lampert, Taz Rahman and Elizabeth Parker from Seren, and Jemima Hughes, Tim Tim Cheng, Erica Gillingham and Ellora Sutton from VERVE Poetry Press.

Writers looking to perfect their craft can enjoy journeys of discovery about writing and what it takes to get published. On Saturday 9th March Joelle Taylor leads Writing the Female Experience: a poetry workshop for women who want to write themselves; Elizabeth Parker leads Write Your River, connecting fluidity in both writing and emotion; Stuart Bartholomew from VERVE Poetry Press leads Tips and Tricks for Getting Published: the Do’s and Don’t for getting your work published.

Community, diversity and inclusivity take centre stage on Sunday with a double serving of Modern Poetry in Translation, an independent literary magazine, giving voice to the silenced, exiled and excluded. Joining MPT’s afternoon showcase are writers and translators Harriet Truscott and Adham Smart. Coming all the way from Spain, Harriet Truscott will also be running a free workshop on Sunday morning, for those looking to energise their poetry writing through creative translation.

Sunday’s Community Showcase marks the end of LIT FEST 2024 by gathering writers from across Southampton, for an intergenerational celebration of work produced by ArtfulScribe’s regular writing groups: Writing for Wellbeing, SO: Write Women, Mayflower Junior and Young Writers, Mayflower Creative Writers, and Writing for Page and Stage.

Matthew West, ArtfulScribe Director said, “As an organisation ArtfulScribe prides itself on championing diversity and inclusivity. It’s a great pleasure to host this fantastic line-up of nationally and internationally celebrated writers alongside local people at different stages of their writing journey . Whoever you are as a writer, ArtfulScribe has a place for you.”

Toby Litt, Head of Creative Writing at University of Southampton, says: “LIT FEST is a great chance for readers and writers to connect, both formally and informally. Those aren’t two different tribes: all writers are enthusiastic readers, and passionate readers become writers almost as a matter of course. In times like these, it’s strong, supportive communities that keep us going. I’m really looking forward to attending and participating in this year’s exciting programme.”

About ArtfulScribe:
ArtfulScribe is a development agency supporting writers in Hampshire, Dorset, and a wider Solent region. Recognising the power of literature to make meaningful change in people’s lives and give voice to those who are under-represented or rarely heard, ArtfulScribe paves the way for people to enrich themselves through written and spoken word and provides a platform for them to do so.

About Arts Council England:
Arts Council England (ACE) is the national development agency for creativity and culture.
Their strategic vision Let’s Create makes clear that by 2030 ACE want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. ACE invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.