Once again a collection of writers join the walkways of UEA for a celebration of the nation’s great literary prowess. Last semester saw the likes of Stephen Fry and UEA’s very own creative writing graduate Ian McEwan sit before eager ears and tell of the various inspirations and creative developments of their often very turbulent careers.
This semester will see Helen MacDonald open the festival, who received the 2014 Costa Book Award for her highly acclaimed tale H is for Hawk. The story itself tells of a very personal and intimate relationship which develops between MacDonald and a furious goshawk, Mabel, who she takes on the challenge of training following the death of her father. Despite being categorised as nonfiction, MacDonald’s prose is stunning; on first encountering the cold gaze of Mabel, she describes her as “a conjuring trick. A reptile. A fallen angel. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water.”
It is with this opening that it seems appropriate that this spring’s Literary Festival has been dubbed a narrative on ‘life lived and life mourned, it’s about nature at its most vital.’ The writers who will walk us through this theme have a talent for developing intense feeling from the words they weave into sharp and essential prose.
Other writers who will be taking to the podium of lecture theatre one will be Ali Smith, author of How to be Both, travel writer Robert MacFarlane and David Nicholls, whose One Day was made into a major motion picture in 2011.
Amongst the lesser known writers who will be joining the festival is Rachel Cusk, who has been described as an ‘uncompromising’ writer who shows an incredible frankness in her meditations on the doomed nature of relationships, due to the inevitable inability to truly communicate in the midst of life’s complexities.
With this in mind, this spring promises a treat for those hoping to delve into the various minds of some of today’s most talented and pertinent writers.
The Spring Festival will run from Wednesday 25th February to 29th April 2015.