If you haven’t already realised, Stoke Newington is really the only place to live in London. A vibrant, creative community on the edges of Islington and Dalston in the borough of Hackney, it’s like living in a village in the city – without the need to drive everywhere, or the Conservative Club (sorry village dwellers, but you know what I mean).
For many years the Stoke Newington Festival was the highlight of the summer. A weekend of music, events and a huge street party. It even included and overnight family camp out in the park – when I woke at 3 in the morning (a little bit hung over) thinking, why am I in a tent in the middle of London?
Many of us long time Stokey residents still mourn the demise of the Festival (thanks Hackney Council!), but as we get older and less inclined to drink Red Stripe in the street, we are happy to celebrate the areas radical and literary heritage at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival.
The festival takes place from the 3 – 9 of June and as always features some really interesting events and speakers.
Last years highlights for me included a talk by Pauline Black singer from Ska band The Selector, a talk by Craig Taylor about his book ‘Londoners: The Days and Nights of London and a fascinating walk with historian Simon Cole, round Abney Park Cemetery, the setting of Amy Wine house’s ‘Back to black and home to the gravestones of some of the most revolutionary writers and philosophers that made Hackney a hotbed of activism and abolitionism.
By all accounts the performance by John Cooper Clarke was the highlight of the weekend, but tickets sold out fast, so this year I’ve booked early and am looking forward to seeing Irving Welsh, the author of my favourite blog Spitalfields Life and a conversation between local resident Suzanne Moore and Caitlin Moran, which is sure to be this years hot ticket.
Come and join us, we’re a friendly lot in Stokey and at £50 for a whole weekend ticket, it beats spending a fortune to roll around in mud at Glastonbury!