As Heads Up Festival closes, my brain shifts gear. No, I’m not about to go on a bender. Nah, I’m looking ahead to Humber Mouth, Hull’s literature festival. Y’know, the one with the best name of all the literature festivals. The one that doesn’t resort to a programme full of authors and poets on endless lit-fest publicity tours. Thank an almighty deity that I don’t believe in that the Humber Mouth exists. And, thanks to the almighty bald bloke who looks like Buddha that is its director, and his colleagues at the city council, that I’m involved with it again this year.
While the entire programme looks like a large, salivary, literary meal upon which to feast, I’d have to single out the events that I’m about to read a load of books in advance of as my highlights. Because, after all, this is my blog and this is all a huge vanity project designed to make you all look at me, me, me. I jest, of course. I am just excited.
But excited why, Dave, you ask? I get to talk to Phil Redmond at the festival opener on November 3. Phil’s just had his first novel in a new crime series – Highbridge – published and he’ll be reading from that while I sit wondering how I’m going to ask him questions about Jackie and Zammo, Tucker and Trisha.
On November 8, my inner Captain James T Kirk will come out as I slip into warp drive and chat with Marcus Berkmann, whose Set Phasers To Stun is a one-stop shop for all things Star Trek related, and the publication of which celebrates the 50th anniversary of this iconic sci-fi series, still boldly going where no franchise has gone before thanks to the original film series, The Next Generation, spin-offs and the current reboot films.
The following night (November 9) it’s time to chat to Sylvia Patterson, author of the memoir I’m Not With The Band. If being involved with Humber Mouth is about racking up degrees of separation from pop and rock stars, by the end of this night I’ll be linked to Beyonce, Eminem, Prince (I’m already connected to Madonna, cos I once had a nice conversation with Bedtime Story video director Mark Romanek) and, ahem, Westlife. Somehow, Sylvia has got through three decades of encounters with the music industry’s most demented, flakiest, drug-addled sorts and come out of the other end intact. And I’ll be asking her how, before getting two nights off.
On November 12, refreshed after taking in Akala and his Hip Hop Shakespeare Company and a couple of other events as an audience member, my Humber Mouth stint as gobshite with a microphone ends with a conversation with Laura Barnett, whose debut novel The Versions of Us spent 10 weeks in The Sunday Times hardcover bestseller list, went straight to number one in The Sunday Times paperback fiction bestseller list, with translation rights sold in 26 other countries, and TV rights optioned. Still writing the questions, but I’ll probably ask Laura stuff like, “what’s your favourite colour?”, and so on.
Naturally, I’m really thrilled and delighted about the above events. But there is much more going on at the festival and you should endeavour to attend as much as you can this year, because it will be impossible to get tickets come 2017 when all the tourists descend on Hull. In fact, they’re probably all revving up to try it out this year too, so get in there while you can and buy, buy, buy (or just book, some of it’s free) from www.humbermouth.com