Preview: Humber Mouth Literature Festival 2016

Now in its 24th year, Humber Mouth 2016 looks set to be the mouth that roared.

Headline acts for November’s literature festival include: BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist and writer Akala, with Hip-Hop Shakespeare; David Bowie drummer Woody Woodmansey; music journalist Sylvia Patterson; and The Magnetic North, featuring ex-The Verve and Blur muso Simon Tong.

Shane Rhodes, programme director for Humber Mouth Festival, says: “This is one of our most diverse line-ups yet, and we’re proud to bring such big names to Hull. Akala is consistently producing groundbreaking, exciting work, both independently and through the Hip-Hop Shakespeare company, and we’re delighted he’s joining us in the year he marks a decade in the music industry.”

Get a flavour of Akala’s Hip-Hop Shakespeare here:

Drummer Woody Woodmansey who, along with fellow Hull musicians Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder made up Bowie’s Spiders From Mars, is returning to his home city for Humber Mouth ahead of two sold-out gigs in 2017. Expect rock’n’roll revelations and some rollicking good tales.

Woody’s memoirs, My Life With Bowie: Spider From Mars, are due for release a couple of days before his festival talk at Hull Central Library. The book, he says, is a chance to pay tribute to his late bandmates – and to bust a few myths…

“The more I’ve read some of the books that have been written, I see stuff written by people that weren’t there,” says Woody. “It’s grown into this big myth and it started to lean me in the direction of doing a book, just to put the record straight, from the viewpoint of a band member. David never did that, Mick never got the chance and Trevor never did either.”

Humber Mouth also marks the opening event of a new cultural celebration of the North – Substance. It begins with a gig from The Magnetic North, who will be playing their album Skelmersdale, and a talk by controversial architect Will Alsop, whose proposals have included the creation of a coast-to-coast Supercity stretching between Hull and Liverpool, and the reinvention of the South Yorkshire town of Barnsley as a Tuscan hill village. Substance will tour the North, before returning to Hull in December 2017.

Discussion is high on the agenda for the festival with conversation evenings with Phil Redmond, who will be talking about his new novel, Highbridge, Laura Barnett – author of Sunday Times bestseller The Versions of Us, crime heavyweights Val McDermid and Mark Billingham, journalist Marcus Berkmann and human rights campaigner Sara Khan who will discuss The Battle for British Islam.

Shane adds: “We’re not ones to shy away from difficult issues here at Humber Mouth, so we’re also proud to be opening up a number of discussions around extremism, art and culture in our two events focusing on Syria and perceptions of the country.”

Also gracing 2016’s festival will be award-winning Barnsley poet Andrew McMillan and highly praised Hull poet Dean Wilson. The poetry theme continues as Humber Mouth play host to a fierce re-match between eight Hull and London poets as they battle for wordsmith glory, plus a raft of riotous children’s events.

Events take place across the city from Thursday 3 to Monday 14 November, 2016. Book now at

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