As we crawl our way out of winter and begin to see the longer days, warmer weather, and the vast array of literary festivals glistening on the horizon: here at Comma our events listings are piling up. With the imminent release of five new books and the continuation of great press for recently published ones, we are keen to begin the discussions and events that contribute to the wider conversations that make up contemporary literature. This year we are travelling to Edinburgh, Salisbury, York, London, Bradford (and more…) with a busy schedule of ordering visas, plane, and train tickets for our authors around the world. Listed below are the events planned so far, with more to come…keep updated on our website and Twitter for further info.


JEBEL MARRA COVER27 March, International Anthony Burgess Centre, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester M1 5BY, 6 pm

Launching the much-anticipated debut collection of short stories from Manchester’s Michelle Green, a poet and former aid-worker who spent six months in Sudan during the crisis. Join us for this celebration of the book, with additional readings from Rosie Garland, again about her  experience of the Darfur. More info about the book here. More info to follow.

APRIL: Sleeping On It: Short Stories From the New Science of Sleep

9 Apr, Summerhall, Anatomy Lecture Theatre, 8:00pm

EISF logoThis April, Comma will be presenting an event at the Edinburgh International Science Festival called: Sleeping On It. Shakespeare called sleep ‘the balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course’. But recent studies show that, as well as being restorative, sleep is an incredibly dynamic period of activity for the brain: a vital opportunity for the mind to subconsciously solve problems, build memories and develop motor functions and instincts.

Join editors Ra Page and Dr Penelope Lewis from The University of Manchester as they discuss their new book, Spindles, that pairs neuroscientists with authors to explore the science of sleep, with award-winning writers Prof Russell Foster and Sara Maitland

Full Price £8
Concessions £6
#SciPals students £4

More info on the Edinburgh Science Festival website

MAY: The Book of Gaza: Life and literature on the Strip at

Writing on the Wall Festival – 21 May – TBC

The Bradford Literature Festival – 24 May – TBC

University of York – 26 May – the Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, 6:00pm

SOAS – 27 May – The Brunei Gallery – Time TBC

The city of Gaza may feagazature constantly in the news, but what do really we know of life there, beyond the headlines and the politics? Two contributors from a recent anthology of short stories offer insights into everyday life and its everyday struggles. The Book of Gaza offers a cross section of the three generations of authors to have emerged in the city since 1967, and together the stories present a literary map of the city. Published just before the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge, the contributors have since lived through yet another period of intense and deadly conflict.

Nayrouz Qarmout was born in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus in 1984 and was returned to the Gaza Strip as a refugee, as part of the 1994 Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreement. She currently works in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Mona Abu Sharekh’s family was originally from Ashkelon (her father being expelled from his land in 1948). Her first collection of short stories, What the Madman Said was published in 2008 by the Palestinian Writers Union.

MAY: In Discussion: Sema Kaygusuz (author) and Maureen Freely (translator)

Ageas Salisbury Literature Festival 23 May, Salisbury Playhouse Studio, Time TBC

artist_91583For this event, Turkish author Sema Kaygusuz will be discussing her new book A Well of Trapped Words with the translator Maureen Freely. In a celebration of the fact that this is the first time Sema’s work will be appearing in English, as well as the fact that she has received the English PEN translation grant to complete the book, this discussion between author and translator is a valid conversation that reflects upon Turkish literature, translation, and, of course, the new book.

“If the structure of national literature can be understood from a shared-language perspective, it occurs to me that no language can be defined by nationality. This is because language does not belong merely to those of the same race, but to communities”
Sema Kaygusuz at the Edinburgh World Writer’s conference.

More info here


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