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Ninth chapter for “coolest literary festival”

Book lovers, history buffs, foodies and families are in for a treat this week as Stoke Newington Literary Festival prepares to enthral.

The event, dubbed “the coolest literary festival of the summer” by Authonomy, is in its ninth year and the line-up won’t disappoint.

Novelist Ali Smith will be taking a look at London’s fractured communities on the opening night and delving into issues like Brexit, gentrification and immigration, with performances by refugee writing group Akwaaba.

Chelsea Clinton will be at Stoke Newington Town Hall presenting her new book: She Persisted Around the World – 13 Women who Changed History.

Other headline acts include Adam Kay, the bestselling author of This is Going to Hurt: The Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor and comic writer John O’Farrell will be exploring the pains of a bewildered Labour activist.

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Poet Jan Nobles will be reading Reynard, the story of an urban fox. He said festivals like Stoke Newington: “preserve the vibrancy of the place that high rents and developers are effectively killing off. In the past the East End had an edge that appealed to artists and writers.

“The festival isn’t beholden to the publishing industry or any major franchise so it provides the perfect platform where emerging writers can appear alongside more established voices.”

Popular local history enthusiast Amir Dotan ( will reveal shopkeeper Alexander Gutteridge’s photos from the 1930s of the elegant Church Row (now the site of the Town Hall), which was once home to slum dwellings.

The non-profit Festival, which runs from June 1-3 at various local venues, provides huge support for adult and child literacy projects in Hackney.

Festival Director Liz Vater said: “Stoke Newington’s history is littered with people who’ve helped change the world with new, radical ideas, and this year’s programme continues our theme of provocative, thought-provoking ideas brought to life.”

The menu offers plenty for children as well as walking tours, a late-night ghostly event in the chapel in Abney Park Cemetery and appearances by notable food writers.

For the full list of events visit:

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