Not the Oxford Literary Festival

(We have a Facebook page – do come and “like” us and say hi)

We are honoured to welcome to Oxford the co-founder of Brutalism, author of two of the finest poetry collections of recent years, Adelle Stripe. Adelle’s 3rd collection, Dark Corners of the Land, is published by eight cuts gallery favourites Blackheath Books this week, and we will be talking to Adelle about it here as soon as our copy pops through the door.

We may announce a couple more poets, but we have found the perfect poetic partners for Adelle’s voice in Claire TrevienAnna Percy, and Anna Hobson, making Dark Lands and Cigarettes the must see event of 2013.

Last year was the biggest and best Not the OxLit yet. And it climaxed with us PAINTING OXFORD WITH POETRY.

We aim to make 2013 the very best year yet. Events are already taking shape. If there are people or things you would like to see then let us know. Our timetable may get bigger, but our ethos will never change. We are here to promote the opposite of what the Oxford Literary Festival promotes (though they too have a very valuable place) – local talent, and voices from across the globe that get overlooked by the festival scene, and all at non-ridiculous prices.

Past festivals

For a list of 2012 performers, click here.

(image: Sessha Batto)

(ooh, look, The Oxford Mail wrote about us. And totally mangled Tania’s name and gender. Yay for professional editorial standards! Ooh, Pop Cult Mag also wrote about us. And didn’t mangle anything!)

Two years ago, a few of us at Year Zero wanted to put on a gig at Oxford’s (and the UK’s) best bookstore, The Albion Beatnik. We were at the same time rather frustrated by the high admission prices at The Oxford Literary Festival, as well as the lack of representation of the incredible underground and spoken word scene Oxford has. So we decided to put on our own show. The first Not the Oxford Literary Festival,  held the week of the festival on March 24 2010, lasted about an hour.

Penny Goring and Lucy Ayrton, two of the stars of the 2011 Not The Oxford Literary Festival

But it was a fun, fabulous hour. And it went down in history as the reason I wear a red glove every time I gig. A Year Zero fan had come over form Germany for the main festival but wanted to see us as well. But he didn’t know where the Albion Beatnik was. He spied my glove through the window, came in, and since then the red glove has been my lucky charm.

Last year we decided to do it again and we had an even more fabulous, diverse line-up including slam poetry and electronica.

And people started asking about 2012. So 2012’s Not the Oxford Literary Festival is spreading. This time there will be two days, March 28th and 30th, both based at the fabulous Albion Beatnik, and promising some of the very best, diversest literary fabulousness, just like you’d expect from eight cuts gallery. Watch this space – and if you’re interested in reading something leave a comment!!

2012 Schedule 

Wednesday 28 March – Poets vs Proseurs (7pm)

entry £2 all proceeds support The Albion Beatnik boostore

Dan Holloway will be your MC for the night

some of the best writers of poetry and prose duel it out for your delight as we demonstrate both formats are perfect for live performance. Featuring :


Joe A Briggs, Oxford’s voice of punk

Amy Riley, host of Brighton Fringe’s award-winning show Grit Lit

Dan Holloway, 2010 Literary Death Match winner

Sarah-Clare Conlon, editor of Quickies

David Gaffney, author of The Half-Life of Songs


Fay Roberts, host of Poetry Kapow, Allographic & Hammer and Tongue Cambridge

Emily Harrison, winner of the 2010 Tower Poetry Prize

Lucy Ayrton, co-host of Hammer and Tongue Oxford

Tina Sederholm, co-host of Hammer and Tongue Oxford

Anna Percy from Stirred

Sian Rathore, editor at Metazen

Anna Hobson, author of Tales of Unrequited Love

Paul Askew, editor of Ferment Zine

James Purcell Webster, performance editor at Sabotage Reviews

Hannah Elwick


Penny Goring, author of The Zoom Zoom

Tania Hershman, award-winning author of The White Road and Other Stories

Catherine McAleese, from Pow-Wow collective

and open mic

Friday 30 March – all nighter (7pm till dawn)


Whether your night is just beginning, or you are heading home from the mainstream festival in search of something more stimulating, drop in to our all night festival of wonders, a place where manifestos will be written, thoughts pulled to their breaking point, performances honed, old favourites murdered on the guitar, films screened, and research, er, researched. Highlights include:

Gin Soaked Sheets (all night)

join performer and poetry workshopper Lucy Ayrton as she carries out the world’s first scientific study on the effects of gin on creative output

Philistines! (7.15)

Philistine Press is the best thing to have happened in publishing in recent years, making exceptional  but awkward to place works of contemporary poetry and prose available in high quality pdf and all other eformats – for free. Their guiding light, Frank Burton,  and some of their leading authors are coming to blow us away with their words, and inspire us to go out and make great literature widely available. A must not just for literature lovers but for anyone who cares about the future of publishing. With:

Kenneth Pobo, Stephanie Newell, Frank Burton, Rob Sherman, Rich Britton, Clare Fisher

Publishing differently (from 8)

Philistine may be the most radical press on the block, but there are plenty of people taking matters into their own hands. Dennis Hamley, bestselling children’s/Young Adult author, reads his work and explains why after decades he has decided to self-publish his work digitally, and become part of the Authors Electric group of traditional-turned-self-published authors. Orna Ross talks about the new Alliance of Independent Authors. Michele and Andy Brenton talk about Endaxi, an independent publisher that specialises in high quality hard and paperbacks. And Kirsty Clark launches her book Going Back, published by digital upstarts Night Publishing.

The Music of Words (8.30 & 10.30)

We are delighted to bring you a selection of Oxford’s finest musician’s whose work attains glorious poetic heights.

Jessie Grace; Humphrey Astley; Susanna Starling; Sarah Forrest

Engage and Protest (9.30)

Including readings from Davy Mac, author of The Homeless Oratorio (and winner of the Hammer and Tongue February slam), Sarah Snell-Pym, and Dan Holloway performing Mentalist, his protest against Workfare and the NHS reforms which Sabotage review called “A poem everyone in this country should hear,” with films and poetry from the heart of the protest movement, this is a time and space to think about how we can use our words to engage with the hopes and injustices we all care about. Can art change the world? Maybe, maybe not – but it sure as anything won’t if we don’t try. Come and be inspired.

27 Responses to Not the Oxford Literary Festival

  1. Kirsty Clark says:

    Hi Dan
    Thanks for the mention of GOING BACK. I’m looking forward to the launch.
    Kirsty Clark

  2. danholloway says:

    Hi Kirsty,

    Me too – put the final pieces in the puzzle over lunch today and I’m sending teh festival press release off tomorrow! Look forward to meeting you

  3. Only just found out about this event from the Oxford Mail website. Intend to join you at the end of the month.

  4. David Glass says:

    Ooo, that all-nighter sounds like quite a caper! I hope to join you…

  5. Nikul Patel says:

    Fantastic line up; looking forward to Joe Briggs and Penny Goring especially. I should be there barring some sort of major catasrophe.

  6. Typo alert!!
    Under ‘Philistines!’ 2nd line, the word ‘awkward’. Slightly ironic considering the beginning of the article…

    Heck, who cares! Really looking forward to the all-nighter! Definitely going to be there! 🙂

    BTW, Dan – Interesting talk tonight at Brookes! 🙂

    • Dan Holloway says:

      ouch, the error is all mine and now corrected before the Pilistines notice! Had a fabulous time at SYP though as always came away thinking of the points I should have made – namely about e-publishers and independent stores both being at the heart of communities – but I’m writing an article for March 28th on the very similar topic of how webfiction and live events overlap with each other for 1889 laboratories ( so I’ll send the link to SYP (and mention tonight with links, of course).

      Be great to see you there either or both nights 🙂

      • Clairet says:

        While we’re being picky, below Poets vs Proseurs the Albion Beatnik is described as a boostore 🙂 I find that rather evocative! xx

  7. danholloway says:

    Then I won’t change it, Claire 🙂 Would love to have you read if you’re around 🙂

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  11. hey,

    would love to contribute, am professional writer and deviser for local content developers TGA, published poet and Aesthetica creative works competition winner.

    let me know your thoughts.

    kate charles x

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